Heidi Riese, Event Specialist, Land O’Lakes, Inc., hriese@landolakes.com

“I am grateful”- this saying from Roger Haskett stayed with me throughout the day. I am grateful to be employed in this industry, to meet such inspiring people, and to be able to spend all day learning how to engage your audience through this conference.

Being my first iConnect conference, I had all sorts of thoughts on what I would take away, but I didn’t realize how much I’d learn about innovation in the industry. Corbin Ball’s session, “Disruptive Technologies,” showed the need to embrace the new technologies of virtual/augmented reality, because they are coming to everyday life of meeting attendees. In his session, “The Power of Play,” Roger Haskett encouraged attendees to “let loose.” Whether singing karaoke or interacting on the phone, we are building traits of empathy and trust through play. In any meeting, being an active participant is so important. Ninety percent of information is left at a conference; it is our duty to change that so learnings are brought back to workplaces. The “play” Haskett described can be audience engagement or ice breakers, but as shown at iConnect, can be using a creative room lay-out (thanks to BeThings) where the keynote sessions included couches and lounge chairs.

“Change is all around us,” Theresa Rose said, noting the need for confidence and courage during any major transition.

iConnect had the perfect amount of learning, networking, and personal development opportunities, as well as great little touches such as Modern Event Rental's unique cellphone charging station and the brunch provided by Minneapolis Marriott Southwest. Besides rejuvenating us, iConnect reminded us of the impact we have and brought opportunities to glean new ideas from each other, explore venue options, give back to the community through the Angel Foundation and learn about emerging trends. And, of course, I must add that it was also a great opportunity to visit the Premier Transportation's new motorcoach and enjoy a glass of bubbly!

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