A few weeks ago, I wrote about preparing for face-to-face meetings, including PCMA’s new program at Convening Leaders 2013, pairing “newbie” attendees with “die hards” who have been to several annual meetings. Today at the packed-to-the-brim Convening Leaders orientation, a number of these attendees got a chance to finally connect. The goal? Not only to help first-time attendees navigate the many avenues of the meeting, but to “Help you build your own personal and professional network,” said John Folks, president and principal of Minding Your Business, Inc. and PCMA’s 2012 Member of the Year.
Not that this is necessarily a breeze, especially considering the formidable Convening Leaders schedule. With so many options, it can be hard to strike a balance between absorbing it all, meeting potential mentors, and making professional connections. It’s not unlike a tightrope-balancing act, which made the orientation’s guest so appropriate. On June 15, 2012 Nik Wallenda became the first person ever to walk across the Niagara Falls — on a two-inch wire. He joined The Tourism Partnership of Niagara in greeting the crowd at orientation, then stuck around to sign t-shirts and take photos with attendees.
Wallenda’s wire walk took an amount of preparation that might surprise even the most veteran meeting planners: Two years of geological surveys, engineering prep, and even lobbying the United States and Canada to reverse laws against “daredevil stunts” at Niagara Falls that had been in place for 116 years. Wallenda is now planning for his next wire walk, across the Grand Canyon.
And that, like any major meeting, convention, or tradeshow, will be no easy feat.