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Two Memorable Sessions from the 2015 SGMP NEC

By Laurie Brown

I am passionate about learning and education and I look forward to all opportunities within my grasp where I can take advantage of activities and events that promote learning. Recently, such an occasion came my way, in the form of the SGMP NEC in Minneapolis this past April.

I’ve enjoyed attending the education sessions and related activities at past SGMP national conferences because there are an abundance of chances to meet new people and reconnect with old friends and, most importantly, to learn things that benefit me personally and professionally. I am always in a quandary when trying to select which education session to attend since there are more topics of interest than there is time to attend them all.

This year I was particularly impressed with two of the sessions I attended, “Just Say It! Making any Conversation Easy” and “Participant Involvement = Success.”  The Just Say It session focused on feedback. We learned the difference between effective and ineffective feedback; effective feedback being termed ‘real feedback’ versus ‘Capt’n Crunch Feedback’, which is not helpful feedback. 

Shari, the presenter provided three tips to help us know if our feedback has been ‘real’ and they are:

  1. You give the person one to three specific examples of what s/he did or did not do.
  2. The person knows specifically what to start, stop, or continue doing.
  3. Your examples are so specific that the person can picture themselves doing what you described.

I gained tips from this session that I can take back and use on the job; any learning I can take back and use at work is very valuable to me.  I also really enjoyed the ‘Participant Involvement’ session, which had some good take-aways for my future use.

This session was of particular interest to me since it touched on learning and how we learn; I enjoyed the discussions we had around the Learning Process steps:

  • Preparation
  • Presentation
  • Practice (50--‐70%+)
  • Performance

The obvious point here, and one that is worthwhile remembering, is Practice—practice is key in all we do and a critical element in self-improvement.

I appreciate the availability of both the chapter and national scholarships. They are excellent vehicles to help SGMP members stay connected and engaged and to continuously learn and practice new skills.

The 2015 SGMP National Education Conference from a New Member’s Perspective

By Jose Ortiz

The SGMP conference definitely left me with a completely new perspective on event planning. Planning events only covers about 25% of my job duties. Most of my events are done locally and the vendors are usually people we have dealt with in the past and have a good relationship with. I was not sure that this conference would be beneficial to someone like myself. I can now honestly say that I am very shocked to see how much of the material presented at this conference does relate to me. Alcohol guidelines, positive attitudes, the travel industry, even contract negotiations with vendors and much more, were all things that absolutely relate to my current job. The amount of professional development that I brought back from this conference has proven to be very valuable to my everyday duties. I would definitely recommend that someone in a similar position join SGMP and attend a national conference.

This conference was well planned and it definitely showcased how a big event should be done. The networking breaks allowed all members to discuss the previous session and to get to know one another. The keynoters were all very insightful and included some great speakers. The showcase was a great tool for people who use vendors throughout the country and really allowed everyone a chance to meet and showcase what their properties have to offer. I was never turned away due to the fact that I only plan events in Florida and was even invited to tour properties in other cities and states. Everything went flawlessly from an attendee’s perspective.

Members at this conference were fantastic and friendly. I really felt like I was part of something bigger. From day one everyone makes you feel like you are part of the SGMP family and everyone was very eager to share their experiences with SGMP. Most members have been around for years and you can see that is not just about networking but much about friendship and community. During the final dinner I could really see how much everyone cares about one another and how mentors and mentees have grown bonds that will last a lifetime. I was really impressed by SGMP’s sense of community and I hope to one day receive a warm message like the ones I experienced during this closing dinner.

The scholarship made it possible for me to attend and I am very grateful that a new member like myself was able to apply and actually receive a partial scholarship. I plan to get more involved with SGMP, invite new members and continue to grow my knowledge and networks through this great society. I personally plan to get more involved with the committees and be able to grow within the Central Florida Chapter.