If you ever want to go to a huge industry conference that is heavily focused on motivating attendees, you just might want to qualify for and become a member of the Million Dollar Round Table and attend its annual meeting.
This year’s event is wrapped up in Los Angeles on Wednesday, after five raucous days, with more than 15,000 members from 53 countries attending.
Through 200 unique sessions and presentations, members exchanged innovative ideas to develop not only their professional careers but their personal lives as well.
The 2018 Annual Meeting brought together key industry experts to share insights with members on a variety of topics such as practice management, retirement and wealth, risk and products, marketing and the “Whole Person” concept. Members learned techniques to drive business growth, navigate disruptions in the industry, prepare for future challenges and stay competitive among other professionals.
Attendees also participated in the MDRT Foundation Forum: Operation TraffickWatch™ in partnership with The Exodus Road, an international nonprofit organization fighting human trafficking in communities around the world.
During a Main Platform session, MDRT President James D. Pittman, CLU, CFP, announced that the 2019 Annual Meeting will take place in Miami, from June 9-12, 2019. MDRT’s global membership can also attend the inaugural 2019 Global Conference, which will take place in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 1-4, 2019. Sydney is expected to welcome 8,000 of the world’s top-earning professionals to join their Australian peers to exchange insights, share innovative practices and collaborate with the best in their profession. Members can expect more exclusive and local content with global networking opportunities.
“We are optimistic about the future growth of the organization with our meeting expansion to offer our members more opportunities to network at next year’s Annual Meeting as well as our first-ever Global Conference,” said Pittman. “Members can now nominate the speakers they want to see at both events, our meetings are driven by serving our member’s professional development needs, we look forward to seeing how they shape our offering.”
Here are a few casual observations from this week’s meeting – the first I’ve attended as a member of the media in the past few years but my sixth overall.
Some things never change. I would be tempted to wager that at no conference anywhere are more pictures taken by attendees than at the MDRT Annual Meeting. Literally dozens of MDRT-logoed photo op “stations” are set up throughout the convention center and surrounding areas, and they are constantly mobbed by members from overseas. There are lines to take your picture in front of the MDRT logo, or with your national flag alongside the MDRT flag. There are also more selfie sticks at this convention than in any other one place I have ever seen.
- The national and company uniforms are as colorful as ever. Often a sport coat with the MDRT crest in bright colors like orange and royal blue, or embroidered windbreakers, they make it easy to tell where an attendee is from or which company they are affiliated with. Lots of interesting hats included in many uniforms, too.
- Lots of spirit and pride here. MDRT members who made the trip are excited about it, and eager to participate enthusiastically in every task put before them – from slapping high-fives with as many people as possible to taking selfies with as many people as you can – as happened during one of the breaks in the long main platform session on Tuesday morning.
- Many sessions are translated into a variety of different languages, and many of the sessions are presented in languages other than English – which makes sense given the high percentage of attendees from non-English-speaking countries. Americans are definitely in the minority here, easily outnumbered by attendees from Far East countries. The main program book for the event was printed in 10 different languages, including two Chinese versions (Mandarin and Cantonese).
- This week’s Main Platform sessions were held in a giant room in the convention center that can accommodate 10,000+ and has stadium-style seating in the back – easily more than 100 yards back from the main stage. Where most industry conferences might have two or three screens showing an up-close view what’s happening on stage and graphics from presenters, there were 11 such screens at MDRT.
- One of the Main Platform speakers during Tuesday’s “MDRT Takeaways” segment – think mini (5-minute) Ted talks from MDRT members – estimated that his “investment” to attend the annual meeting was $42,087.66. That’s the amount of fee income speaker Simon D. Lister figured he would have generated on average from his practice during the time he took to attend the conference. He encouraged members to make the most of their investment in attending by writing down a specific goal they want to achieve as a result of attending. The one idea, area they want to improve in, the person they want to meet to help take their business to the next level. He told the audience to commit to the goal by writing it down and sharing it with someone who would hold them accountable – which I found to be a recurring concept during the conference.
About MDRT: Founded in 1927, Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), is a global, independent association of more than 66,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 71 nations and territories. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business. For more information, please visit mdrt.org and follow them on Twitter @MDRtweet.