ff I go to San Francisco for a conference I've been to many times before-MPI WEC--which stands for Meeting Professionals International World Education Conference. Although I've been in the past, this one feels different. If I leave my husband and dog and be away from the flow of my businesses for a week, I want to make the most of this time. Making the most of this time means having clear goals for the week and doing my best to stick to them. I am a hosted buyer this week which means MPI has paid for me to be here. In exchange, I attend hosted buyer events and have 15 one on one appointments with various hotels, destinations, and meetings with industry vendors selling their wares.
I don't mind this format at all because knowledge is power and I love meeting new people. Most of the regular attendees will arrive tomorrow. Hosted buyers arrive today.
I will explore that scene for sure. I LOVE PARADES.
The best way to master these goals is to keep my "at home" schedule which is:
Wake at 4:30 am.
RPM (rise, pee, meditate)
Write for 30 minutes
Get ready for various sessions, trade show and appointments for the show
I set some goals for the week. Lately, when I've been traveling, I've been bringing a dry-erase marker with me and writing my goals on the mirror in the hotel bathroom so they are front and center. See this pic--this is how I do it.
My professional goals for the week are:
TikTok Tour: I have some interview questions for fellow meeting planners and vendor partners. I want to video them answering the questions. A sample question: "In 20 seconds or less, what excites you about your next conference?" or "In 20 seconds or less, what's on your mind about the state of our industry?" I will ask, video and then upload to TikTok. I think our industry does not use TikTok as much as we can. It's a haven for information and knowledge. I want to share the knowledge gained so we can all use for our future meetings.
Education: The good people at MPI WEC spend months preparing the educational sessions for this event. I mean, it IS called World EDUCATION Conference. I am an info junky and curiosity is my superpower so I am always excited for a breakout session with an expert. This year, I have so many friends and peers that are actually presenting at MPI. The session I am most excited about is by Amani Roberts on Thursday at 9 am. He uses Gamification to amp up the live and virtual meeting experience. He is hosting a LIVE game show in that session. I am excited to see how he does it so I can share it with my clients but I am also excited to participate. I LOVE GAMESHOWS!
Safety of the City: There's been a lot of hubbubs lately about San Francisco not being safe for meetings or not being safe at all. I don't know if that is fake news or propaganda.
I intentionally came to this meeting to see and document it. San Francisco is such a rich city with history, culture, diversity, great food, and entertainment. I've always had excellent meetings and conferences here so I am eager to hit the streets, take some video and pics and see if there is any concern. I need to get my eyes on it for myself so I can report back to my clients who are considering this city for their next meeting. I will upload my findings to Mandi's Excellent Site Inspection Adventures YouTube channel.
Networking: Even though many of us have been back to meetings since early 2021, I still haven't reconnected with as many industry peers and planners as I'd like. I am excited to see them. have hallway experiences, and learn what's happening in their lives, with their jobs, families, meetings, etc. Nothing replaces the power of face time and interacting with people in person. There are many networking opportunities at this conference such as an event at Oracle Field, City Hall and unique activations on the trade show floor. I want to immerse myself in all of it, make new friends, and reconnect with old pals. I've been in the industry for more than 20 years. That's a looooooooooong time to know industry peers and I am excited to see everyone.
I have some personal goals too. They are:
1 SoulCycle Class, 2 Brisk Walks , 1 Gym Weights
The gym and SoulCycle will be easy peezy. The brisk walks are ambitious. I will definitely do 1 brisk walk as I invited a client that I've been working with during Covid but have never met in person to do a SWEATworking walk with me. That appointment is set and I am excited to meet her. For the second brisk walk I have to convince industry pals to meet me at 5:30 to do it. Hosted buyer stuff starts at 7:30 am so if I want to get a workout in it is 5:30 am or bust.
I think I can wrangle at least 2 others to walk with me at some point this week, don't you?
Finally--the parade! Believe it or not, I was actually in the city during the Giants victory parade and here I am for the Warriors' victory parade. Timing is everything. I am not a fan of either team but my husband is from this area and a longtime fan of both. I will channel my inner hubby and cheer loudly for him as these winners roll down market street later today. Also, I love parades, so there's no arm-twist to get me there. I just have to get ready for the day's events in time for the parade so I am not late to my first hosted buyer appointment shortly after the parade ends.
All and all, the week is set for knowledge, fun, and adventure. I can't wait and wonder what it will bring. If you want to do a TikTok video, hit me up. If you want to brisk walk at 5:30 am, hit me up for that too. Let's make the most of our time together at MPI WEC!
Mandi Graziano is the author of Sales Tales: The Hustle, Humor and Lessons from a Life in Sales. She is Vice President of Global Accounts for HPN Global and has been in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. You can follow Mandi's adventures on any one of the handles below.
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