EMEC, a Conference That is Not a Conference?!?

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EMEC, a Conference That is Not a Conference?!?

By Mariska Kesteloo | Jan 14, 2020

I have attended many events, exhibitions and conferences all over the globe, as an attendee, as a speaker and sometimes backstage as an event planner. I can say I have seen many sides of the events industry. Every event, target audience, and program is different, but of course I also see a lot of similarities.

Finding the Right Word for a New Approach

We tend to use common words to attract the right people because then our target audiences know what we are talking about. But be honest, if you say the word conference, your first reaction is not: ohhh, exciting, correct?

A different generation is entering the workforce and we need not only change the words we use to attract the right audience, we also desperately need to change the content for different purposes. First, we are all busy and need to choose wisely which conference we will attend. Because the last thing is to end up at a typical, boring conference. Next, we want to learn new things, we want to be inspired, either by the content but also by the people who are attending the conference. Especially at larger events it’s challenging to find the time to talk. And also, we don’t just want to sit and absorb information.

Last year I attended the EMEC conference (again, not the right word, anyway) in The Hague. They told me upfront it’s going to be exciting and different, but that’s what we all say isn't it? The reality is often different, but not this time. It was clear that the organising committee (MPI Netherlands) understood this message more than anyone else!

Did you know they used more than 20 venues during the conference?

One of the new aspects EMEC introduced are the learning journeys. Upfront you could choose from different topics, like leadership, design thinking, risk management and more. I chose to join the leadership track and went on Sunday morning to the Zoo.

Just an important note, we didn’t start ridiculous early like at some conference, departure was around 11 so you could choose to chill, to do some sports (yoga and running sessions were available) or use the time for networking.

We went by bus to the zoo (a networking moment) and got familiar with “Apemanagement” (it was the first time I heard this word). What we as adults can learn from apes about leadership, and how to apply the information, given with funny and real examples, in our daily lives. Of course, after the presentation, we went out to see the apes and I really shifted the way I looked previous to apes, and paid attention to their behaviour.

EMEC is not only for event planners

I would love to see a shift in the participants, it would be nice to see a younger audience attending the upcoming edition in Seville. If you’re organising events (or anything related) in a start-up, scale-up, involved in marketing and communication or perhaps in HR, employer branding, this conference is the perfect fit.

I can say that I was and still am inspired and excited by the previous conference of February last year and meet a lot of amazing people due to the use of different venues, you have lots of opportunities to network. And also education level was high and very unique.

And last but not least, did you know that the edition in The Hague won an international award for the best conference?

Hurry up to register now! See you in Seville?

PS I have chosen for the business storytelling track, I love the opera. 



Mariska Kesteloo
Mariska Kesteloo

Mariska Kesteloo is the founder of Word of MICE, a public speaker and a past president of the MPI Belgium Chapter. Her company connects the MICE industry with the right social media influencer to tell the story of the suppliers in an authentic, creative and fun way within the right target audience.