Many attendees of the Small Market Meetings Conference look forward to keynote speakers. Audience members never know what they’ll come upon. It may be expert tips on improving their businesses, special sales techniques or out-of-the-box motivational advice. Some talks are just plain funny. Other stories are so remarkable that listeners are spellbound.
The next Small Market Meetings Conference, October 4-6 in French Lick, Indiana, will feature a keynote from Jeff Koziatek who is an interesting combination of inspirational presenter, clever performer and life coach. The audience can expect Koziatek to bring to the stage 20 years of professional entertainment experience, including juggling and some memorable messages.
In people’s work and personal lives, “it’s not about surviving but about striving and growing and making an impact,” Koziatek says in a video on his website. “People will hear your heart before they hear your technique. And people are going to remember how you made them feel.”
Speakers who make audience members feel good while also educating them are an important part of the conference lineup, according to conference organizer Joe Cappuzzello of The Group Travel Family.
“Speakers and entertainers like Jeff are important to a conference like ours,” he said. “Meeting planners have a lot on their plates, and it helps if they receive solid information from a speaker who’s educational, entertaining and memorable, all rolled into one. We strive to bring the best speakers to our delegates, so they leave with great takeaways.”
The Small Market Meetings Conference traditionally arranges an afternoon of touring for the delegates, and delegates will love touring French Lick. Details of this year’s outing are still being worked out, but meeting planners will get to see several appealing sites. This might even prompt them to book meetings in the region.
French Lick is in southern Indiana near the beautiful Hoosier National Forest. The resort consists of two historic structures — the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel — located about a mile from each other. For many decades, the two sites were the centerpieces of the mineral springs industry, and they drew people for the springs’ health benefits and for luxury vacations. On-site visits and a history narrative are a good way for today’s visitors to learn more about them.
Another go-to option for meeting planners is the French Lick Scenic Railway. The venue offers an off-site theme excursion that can include a dinner train, a tasting train or even a Wild West hold-up train.
“Nearby Patoka Lake Marina offers wildlife cruises,” said Kristal Painter, executive director of Visit French Lick West Baden, the local convention and visitors bureau. “The marina has two boats that will accommodate 55 people each. They can arrange for a wine/bar cruise with appetizers or a full lunch or dinner cruise along with sightseeing or sunsets.”
Painter also recommends Patoka Lake Winery, which offers wine tasting, dinner and entertainment at its rustic lodge, tasting room and event center.