The People Puzzle: Putting Together Convening Leaders 2014

photo by Jacob Slaton

photo by Jacob Slaton

Meeting spaces aren’t exactly blank canvases. In addition to the challenge of putting together what, for a meeting like Convening Leaders 2014, is essentially a 4,000-piece puzzle that has to be reassembled again and again every day, the Hynes Center Convention Center in Boston offered a few functional space challenges. Constraints, however,  are the gateway to creativity. Here are some of the ways in which PCMA made it all fit together:

hynesaudiencAn Intimate Space — for 3,400

PCMA’s goal is to seat a minimum of 3,100 attendees during general sessions, and record-breaking attendance meant that as many seats as possible were needed in the Hynes Veterans Memorial Auditorium.  PCMA worked with Freeman to design a custom stage that was flat against the back wall, eliminating backstage areas, and making 3,400 seats usable. Presenters came from the main floor, which erased some of the boundaries between the stage and the audience. Overflow rooms with video and audio were on stand-by.

© Jacob Slaton Photography

No Stage? No Problem.

Monday’s networking luncheon posed similar space challenges — feedback from attendees was that they wanted a sit-down, plated lunch in order to maximize their ability to connect with others. All of the space in the room was needed for tables, so PCMA dispensed with the usual stage  and presented the program via video on large screens. Note: wrapped pillars became part of the room decor.

© Jacob Slaton Photography

Everybody Gets Screen Time

Table props — moustaches, frames, and glittery lips — encouraged sharing on social media networks during the luncheon. Sponsor Tourisme Montréal provided the quirky accessories and attendees who posted photos to  Twitter or Instagram using were entered into a drawing for prizes.

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Building Learning Lounge 2.0

Learning Lounge 2.0, powered by Freeman, provided space that was both integrated with meeting content and allowed maximum flexibility for attendees to use however they liked. Pillars were pressed into service to help divide space into colored-coded zones, which offered a variety of ways for meeting attendees to connect with meeting content or with one another.

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Mini-Meeting Spaces

The Learning Lounge offered semi-private corners where attendees could meet one-on-one or in  groups of two or three with presenters, business partners, or one another.

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Softer Seating

Learning Lounge 2.0 offered the opposite of the “one-size-fits-all” approach, with seating options that allowed almost unlimited ways for people to gather together. The Learning Lounge also featured a Hackathon, moderated panel discussions, PCMA’s Town Hall Meeting, intimate chats with keynote presenters, and much more.

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