Recently I caught up with Conor Cunneen, MPI-CAC Board Liaison for TechCon. Connor has been very busy preparing for this “rockin’ event” coming up on February 8th, so I was lucky enough to chat with him briefly to discuss his MPI involvement and of course, technology.
Conor joined MPI about four years ago for two reasons. First as a keynote speaker, MPI was an obvious and fruitful business networking group to help him grow his business. The second reason was for educational purposes. Conor admits that when you work in a small business it is easy to get out of touch with what is happening and MPI’s education programs and content effectively keep him at the cutting edge of what’s happening.
Within weeks of joining, Conor was “volunteering” (admittedly willingly) on the Education Programs Committee. After a few very enjoyable years on that committee, he was nominated to become a board member!
Conor is most proud of the program he did for job seeking members of our MPI community. He recalls, “Although it is not an extreme for me, I speak a lot to job seekers, many of whom go through very tough times. We have a lot of members who have been badly hit by the economy and as a result, a lot of those members are now non-members, but fingers crossed, we’ll see them back soon.”
A BORN KEYNOTE SPEAKER?
When Conor speaks to business groups, he speaks a lot about the importance of having a clear and compelling vision. Ten years ago, he NEVER thought he would be a keynote speaker whose clients range from Harley-Davidson to Helsinki, from Memphis to Malaga. When Conor left the corporate world, he started consulting – mainly in foodservice marketing and was asked to speak at a number of conferences. Conor mentioned how it just took off from there. “I was asked back and I was asked back again and I thought ‘Hey, maybe there’s an opportunity here for an Irishman to talk good business sense, laced with just a touch of blarney to get the message across.’ Voila, I had become a keynote speaker with a Brand Promise of E4: Energize, Educate, Entertain and Easy to work with. And guess which one of those really strikes a chord with planners?”
ON CURRENT TECHNOLOGY
Conor gets a lot of his business via internet searches. Even as we were chatting he received a query from a potential financial services client who found him through web search. Social Media is a definite! “I use LinkedIn and Twitter a lot, Facebook purely for business postings, but it is YouTube that is the gold mine for me where I have a number of channels geared to Business, Healthcare, Foodservice, etc.” Check out Conor’s latest material at http://www.youtube.com/user/irishmanspeaks
ON NEW TECHNOLOGY
When asked what is the most interesting technology he has come across for meetings and events, Conor answered with whit of course. “I’ll tell you that after TechCon where I and many others are going to learn the latest and greatest technology on Housing, Registration, RFID and so much more. “ He thinks that in terms of planning an event, cloud computing and concepts like Dropbox, Google docs etc. have made life much easier for everyone.
ON INDUSTRY TECHNOLOGY CHANGES
When asked how the industry will have to adapt to new technologies, Conor acknowledged, “It’s going to have to embrace it obviously. The potential for virtual /hybrid meetings will continue to grow as technology continues to develop and the price comes down. It is truly amazing how fast social media has taken off. Meeting professionals will need to keep abreast of the advantages and disadvantages of technology as indeed do speakers. Real time evaluation via twitter is one interesting dynamic.”
I hope to see you all on February 8th at TechCon Chicago 2012 where you can learn about these new technologies and earn CE’s towards the CMP or Recertification application.