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Meeting Tech Expert to Address SMM Conference

Keeping pace in this technology-driven business world is a real challenge for meeting planners. With techie gadgets changing almost monthly, it’s sometimes a wonder planners stay informed about the many tools they need to do their jobs.

“You can’t have a conversation in any industry when people are staying sedentary in what they know,” said James Spellos, founder of Meetings U, a technology training company. “The technology is changing so fast, and if anyone in the industry doesn’t keep up, they literally run the risk of not being germane in their jobs for very long.”

Spellos will be a speaker at the 2016 Small Market Meetings Conference (SMMC), October 2-4, in Huntsville, Alabama. Spellos has lectured at past conferences and also within the travel industry.

Spellos said that his SMMC address this fall will include an overview of different technologies that are relevant and effective in all industries, along with a hands-on component for everyone to try. “It will be whatever the latest devices are that planners and suppliers need to know about,” he said.

Spellos, who has 25 years of experience teaching technology, including a stint at New York University (NYU), said many people see all the new technology and their eyes glaze over. He intends to bring to the conference only key concepts, ideas and technologies that attendees can use right away. “To overcomplicate this message doesn’t do justice to ours or any other industry,” he said. “The idea is to keep up but not to mystify all the information.”

Commenting on the so-called technology gap between baby boomers, Generation Xers and millennials, Spellos thinks some people overgeneralize. Assuming that boomers will automatically have trouble with new technology and that millennials will easily embrace it is foolish. “Learning is always a little more challenging when it is not rooted in your core and how you grew up,” he said.

Spellos emphasized that delegates don’t have to learn everything at a single sitting and that no one knows it all. “The tech conversation we will have has a ‘wow’ factor, a fun approach,” he said. “It could be fearful to some people who don’t understand how all these things will interact with their meetings. But once they see them, play with them and talk to their peers about them, then they become more useful tools.”

Spellos is a busy lecturer, delivering 150 courses and seminars each year. He describes his content as “way-cool courses,” including social media, mobile apps and productivity tools. He won an award for teaching excellence while at NYU and also earned an outstanding service award from the university.

Spellos is a proud member of the musical group Contraband and is committed to improving the plight of the hungry through his Rock and Wrap It Up outreach. The group encourages planners to donate leftover but safely stored food from events like corporate meetings, athletic competitions and concerts.