The International Special Events Society recently hosted its 25th anniversary in Dallas. It was amazing to see 25 years of an association come together and create such a rich education experience. It was even more incredible to see how the organizers took education to a new level by concentrating on what  event professionals today really need  — from the beginning level all the way to advanced design classes.

Each class was interactive and free flowing, encouraging attendees to move from class to class, glean information and get the most out of the experience. Often an experienced event professional finds it difficult to see and hear things that are new and cutting-edge, so it was key that ISES hit every single group attending and gave them what they need to succeed in our ever-changing world.

The education was all top-notch, but some of the more unique parts included a on-site scavenger hunt that taught planners, in a fun and visual way, what to look for on a site visit. New planners were teamed up and set on a nontraditional tour with photos of certain items from the host hotel that are key to any meeting or event. It was a clever use of something we all do, and it taught new professionals some of the most important things they need to check to make sure that clients have successful meetings.

Also amazing was a hands-on learning lab. It let planners see an event from the tech and production perspective. We often forget that A/V can make or break an event. Giving attendees this experience let them see for themselves exactly what it takes to mix sound for a live performance, program lighting and run a camera as well as letting them test out event technology and production equipment.

The design classes created an interactive experience with some of today’s top designers. The classes broke down the elements, of course, but the educators made it interactive, so planners could ask questions for which we all want to know the answers. They also offered tips and tricks on how to work with a client’s needs and budget.

As we continue to grow our educational path in the event world, it’s vital to keep up with what technologies will next make their way into the event experience. As more clients clamor for improved ROI, increased attendee experience and continual guest engagement, continuing education is what will help event professionals know how to use the tools and technologies that make the best outcomes possible for their clients, themselves and the industry as a whole.

I heard it said many years ago by a wise mentor: You will never stop educating yourself, so learn something new every day. ISES is helping event professionals do just that.