Today I watched from the comfort of home, the Opening General Session for the WEC09. It was streamed live and from my "vantage" point appeared to be well produced and staged. Staging was simple. In previous years there was usually a large set that was integrated into the theme. This year, however, it was 3 screens. The main center screen seemed to display PowerPoint, or a video or was simply a backdrop. The two outer screens showed the i-mag (image magnification). The important thing, is that the speakers are seen and heard.
The teleprompting was well done, with very large screens in the rear of the room that only the speakers could see. It also seemed that there were plasma teleprompter monitors on the front lip of the stage. This definitely made for much smoother speeches, especially as not all were professional speakers.
Whoever the producer was, seemed to plan well. The session was well scripted, with good transitions. The video that's also on the WEC Website showing how important meetings are, was well done. If you haven't seen it, go to the website. It's quite nice.
Orchestrating a large session and streaming it live takes a lot of planning and coordination, which I thought was well done.
There was a feedback issue at one point, but it seemed to stop. However, later during the day my Twitter & Facebook pals tell me that the feedback lasted during Ben Stein's entire speech.
Now, one doesn't know what was happening backstage. Live events sometimes have small glitches for sure, but this should have been corrected fairly rapidly. Someone wasn't paying attention. I would love to know why this happened and why from what I understand lasted during an entire speech.
There was a session later in the day, as always, "behind the scenes of the general session". I'd love to know how they explained the audio glitch.
Now about the content.
Ben Stein was very funny in his usual droll way and made several good
points about the importance of business meetings as a business tool.
Gary Loveman, a former Economics Professor at Harvard and now CEO of Hurrah's, gave an interesting talk, using Harrah's as his example. He relied on innovation by his people rather than just spending a lot of money. Meeting planners can fit that mold.
Betsy Meyers, who worked on the Obama Campaign and feels that meetings helped him get elected spoke very well, and showed how important it is to have face to face meetings. Hers was less analytical and more heartfelt.
Ann Godi, CMP, the new chairwoman of MPI also spoke well.
All the speakers clearly showed how meetings are an important business tool and necessary to business.
Lastly, although I enjoyed the session while watching the streaming video. I wish that I could have been there to see it all happen "live and in person" and to get the energy of the room. Missed seeing fellow MPI and MECO members and all those whose Tweets I've been reading.