The KC Expo in Review: Planners “Elected” to Learn

December 21, 2004

It was a landslide! The election-themed Missouri Meetings and Events Expo in Kansas City Sept. 9 gave more than 100 attendees the opportunity to learn, interact and network with one another and with suppliers.

MME hosts two expos annually, one in the St. Louis area and one in the Kansas City region. The 2004 Kansas City expo was the magazine’s fifth.

“This was our second Expo in the Kansas City region,” notes MME publisher Joe Clote. “The attendees and the exhibitors seemed to really buy into the theme, and the seminars were packed with great information.”

The expo was held at the Crown Center Exhibit Hall. Expo sponsors included Destination Crown Center, The Westin Crown Center, George Fern, VAE and the Hyatt Regency Crown Center.

Ninety-six percent of the attendees filling out evaluations noted that they had received a return on their investment, while 99 percent said they learned something new at the expo. One hundred percent felt that the topics presented were relevant. Ninety-four percent of attendees said they met or saw new properties and/or services during the trade show, and a quarter of the attendees said they booked business on the trade show floor.

Expo presenter Ann Gravette, CMP, a training and project manager for systems support and professional development at Maritz Travel Co., summed up her perspective on the Kansas City experience with these words:  “As a former event manager, I have managed numerous high-end conferences, meetings and incentive travel projects.  I must say, your MM&E Expo ranks up there with the best run events I have seen.  The level of organization, creativity and attention to detail was extremely visible.  You and your team should be proud.  The decor, meeting room settings, food and beverage, agenda… everything… was perfect.  Kudos to everyone!  I look forward to any involvement I may have in the St. Louis Expo… if nothing else, I will be there as a paid attendee.  It is well worth it and I will recommend it to all of our internal event and meeting planners.  For an organization with a regional focus, MM&E sure is world-class! Thanks for including me in a great event!”

The Kansas City Expo changed formats slightly from previous years. The opening session was held in the exhibit hall and featured a political convention-style opening, with each presenter pitching his or her session to the audience, much in the spirit of a political campaign. Then national speaker, psychologist and humorist Bruce Christopher presented the first half of his outstanding session, “Why are Women So Strange and Men So Weird? Understanding Gender Styles and Differences,” for the entire audience. The second half of his presentation came later that day in a breakout session.

Additional presenters included:

Euclid Strayhorn, CMP, director of conferences and food services, TripleXpresso’s Conference Center in St. Louis, who presented “Understanding Wireless Communication.” A feature story on this topic is included in this issue of the magazine.

Gravette and Karen Zimmerman, CMP,  also of Maritz Travel Co., collaborated on the topic of “Becoming Site-Wise.” Gravette led this informative session, which taught planners how to use time efficiently on a site inspection. Planners were given terrific tools to help them plan, conduct and follow up on site inspections, as well as a workbook for future site inspections.

Zimmerman led a session titled “The Art of Room Set-Up.” This class enabled planners to recognize types of room set-ups, identify when and where the types of room set-ups are most appropriate and use formulas to find appropriate square footage for meetings and events.

Gravette has received the St. Louis Area Meeting Professional International (SLAMPI) Salutes Award, the 1998-1999 SLAMPI New Member of the Year Award, an ISES President’s Award and an ISES Service Award.

Zimmerman has more than 15 years of incentive and meeting planning experience, both domestic and international.

The husband-and-wife team of Craig Hawksley and Terri Williams presented an energetic and entertaining session on communication, conflict resolution and humor called  “The ABC’s of Communication, Conflict Resolution & Comedy.”  Hawksley, a comedian, actor and professional speaker, helps organizations understand the power of humor in communication. Williams, former mayor of Webster Groves, Mo., is a leadership speaker, trainer and facilitator. Hawksley also served as emcee for the KC Expo.

Missouri Meetings & Events awarded two exhibitor prizes. The Truman Library won the President’s Award, and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission took home the Best Theme Award.

The St. Louis Expo will be held March 15, 2005, at America’s Center.

About the author

Joe Clote

Joseph W. Clote is owner of Publishing Concepts, LLC a communications and marketing firm based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mr. Clote is Group Publisher of MeetMed™ and Missouri Meetings & Events™ (MM&E) magazine, a quarterly publication read by thousands of meeting and event professionals, and producer of the St. Louis and Kansas City trade shows under the MM&E name. Mr. Clote has extensive sales and marketing expertise in the travel, tourism, fine art, insurance, and software development industries.