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SMM Conference speakers tackle technology

Small Market Meeting Conference Speaker McNeel Keenan

Speakers at the first Small Market Meetings Conference will tackle two technological issues at the top of many meeting planners’ minds Oct. 4-6 in Shreveport, La.

Lesley Kyle, a certified meeting professional and senior event manager for the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), will discuss ways that meeting planners can put social media to work. “Dispelling Myths About Online RFPs” will be McNeel Keenan’s topic. He is senior sales executive for Cvent, a firm that offers event registration, meetings management, site selection, venue sourcing and Web survey solutions.

Kyle doesn’t profess to be an expert on social media. Yet, in her work for SPE she has found that various forms of social media such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be effective ways to communicate with meeting attendees and maximize attendees’ participation before, during and after an event.

Lesley Kyle

When it comes to social media, Kyle has learned much by “trial and error,” she said. “Success in social media marketing is built largely on common sense; creativity; dynamic, out-of-the-box thinking; and an ongoing desire to learn.”

Her interactive session will review case studies and demonstrate best practices for using social media to enhance meetings and events. Meeting planners will receive a step-by-step action plan that will allow them to employ online social media immediately. Those who are already using social media will be encouraged to share their experiences.

Kyle oversees SPE’s event management department, with responsibility for the society’s annual conference, more than 15 smaller conferences, more than 60 seminars and upward of 100 online events each year. She also writes a column, “The Media Mentor,” for Meeting Mentor magazine. She began her career overseeing Grolier Publishing Co.’s presence at 400 tradeshows; from there she became an exhibits manager for Elsevier Science.

In Keenan’s presentation about online requests for proposals, planners and suppliers will learn how to directly connect with one another to streamline events and how advanced real-time reporting and access to meeting history can maximize return on investment. Planners will learn the importance of collecting and comparing multiple bids and develop negotiation tactics to reduce costs. Suppliers will learn how advanced technology can help brand their venues and services.

Keenan joined Cvent in 2007. He has given presentations on Cvent’s event management system to thousands of meeting planners and in 2009, he spoke at more than 50 meeting industry events, teaching meeting planners how to maximize their return on event (ROE). He represents several smaller markets for Cvent including Shreveport.

The conference’s other seminar leader is Vicki Rosebrook, Ph.D., a noted expert on the aging baby-boom generation. She will discuss Xtreme Aging, a workshop developed by her organization, the nonprofit Macklin Intergenerational Institute, to help the travel and meetings industries better serve the baby-boom generation.

For more information about the conference, which is free for qualified meeting planners, visit the conference website at or call 330-337-1027.