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Published on : Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Hundreds of association professionals from across the world gathered to attend a highly interactive and insightful Association Day at IMEX in Frankfurt. Held at Kap Europa, Messe Frankfurt’s new congress centre, the day before the show, this popular annual event is designed specifically for all levels of association executives.
Facilitation Partner IAF (International Association of Facilitators) worked with delegates to drive an interactive approach and enable a valuable discussion on the biggest challenges that associations face. Participants began the day by gathering to discuss the issues they wanted to focus on and the key learning points they wanted to achieve. This interactivity continued throughout the day with delegates engaging strongly with the sessions, all co-delivered by some of the industry’s leading trade associations including ICCA, PCMA, IAPCO and ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership.
This year’s four-track programme covered issues that are challenging many parts of the meetings industry including how certain sectors are responding to significant shifts in their marketplace. An IAPCO Session – powered by PCMA – explored the Strategic Positioning of Medical Conferences in Today’s Environment. Using case studies, the panel discussed how the sector has responded to shifts in medical meetings including the growth of new markets, a trend towards compliance and an increasingly regulatory environment.
Led by session leaders: Martin Sirk, ICCA, Rod Cameron, JMIC and Lyn Lewis-Smith, Business Events Sydney, a highly interactive session covered Why What Happens at your Meetings Matters Far Beyond your own Membership. Focusing on the wide positive impacts that are delivered by international association meetings, the session explored how knowledge creation and exchange can lead to innovative solutions to society’s problems through the advancement of healthcare and science, building bridges between cultures and stimulating long-term investment in the knowledge economy.
Fresh from last week’s JMIC conference on this subject in Paris, ICCA and JMIC leaders explained how new models are being designed to measure such impacts, what associations can do to improve their communication of these impacts, and why it directly benefits associations to get this right.
“This is my fourth time at Association Day and it’s better and better each year!” comments Konrad Klockner, Euromicro Conferences, Germany. “The event is an excellent way to bring people together. As an organiser of computer science conferences, I always need good ideas to communicate the value of being part of our association. Thanks to Association Day, I’ve come away with some great ideas.”
Erica Serbin, European Academy of Paedriatric Societies, Switzerland adds:
“I’ve made pages and pages of notes – with some really key take-aways. This includes ideas about holding ‘best of conferences’. It’s comforting to know that we all have the same ideas regardless of where we from or what sector we operate in. The interactive nature of the session enabled me to talk to others and share our ideas. That was great – there is a real sense of camaraderie –we’re all in this together!”
Martin Farrell, Regional Director IAF, Europe, Middle East, North Africa (EMENA), explains:
“We’re delighted to be in this partnership. Delegates are incredibly interested and very willing to participate when given a ‘structure with a smile’.
“The plenary session saw everyone engage and everyone’s voice was heard. People left with a collective sense of the challenges they face.”
The day was rounded up with a comprehensive overview of the key insights gained, with participants then looking to the future and developing ideas for how the next generation of associations will deliver value. Buyers are set to continue networking tonight at Association Evening, the unofficial opening party for IMEX and an event hosted exclusively for association executives to meet with the industry’s top suppliers.
A number of industry organisations supported this year’s event including Business Events Australia, Your Singapore and Vienna Convention Bureau. The IMEX in Frankfurt trade show opens at Messe Frankfurt tomorrow, Tuesday 19 May.