16-05-11-picBy Bonnie Watts, CEM

I recently saw something running through my Facebook feed that said, “Being an adult was by far the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.” It made me chuckle and of course I had to hit the share button. Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted to do was play all day? Play music, play with friends, and play with ideas in your head. There’s a reason adult coloring books are the latest trend. They’re an easy way to relieve stress and likely bring back nostalgia for many of us of when life was more fun!

For those of you joining IPI next week at the 2016 IPI Conference & Expo, May 17-20, Nashville, Tenn., it’s time to get reinvigorated. (If you still haven’t registered, what are you waiting for? We’re going to be playing music, introducing you to new friends, and packing your head with lots of new ideas. Sign up today.)

There are dozens of opportunities to enjoy yourself in between entertaining general sessions, diverse education streams, open roundtables, the massive show floor, and meaningful networking events. The reality is we are adults and the IPI Conference & Expo brings some serious value to our careers and businesses but why not tap into your younger self and challenge yourself to have some fun too?

From the moment you arrive, you’re going to be putting your fitness trackers to work so we’ve made a game out of all the extra steps you’ll be putting in with the GETFit Challenge. The winner will take home some serious swag valued at more than $500, including a new iPod shuffle, Fitbit Blaze, wireless earbuds, $50 Amazon gift card, and tons of other stuff for the fitness enthusiast. The contest starts Tuesday, May 17, so be sure to sign up and sync with our leaderboard (find it in the IPI2016 mobile app) to be eligible.

Speaking of — if you haven’t already — download the new, more powerful 2016 IPI Conference & Expo mobile app (IPI2016) before you take off. Keep tabs on the daily activity feed, full of exclusive content and prizes. You can complete session evaluations on it, share photos and comments with attendees, and earn badges and points. One lucky winner will get tickets and hotel stay for the 2017 Country Music Festival. Find it in the App Store or Google Play.

The fun and games don’t end there. Exhibitors will be giving away prizes every hour. Grab your Expo-opoly game board with your registration materials and visit exhibitors to get your board stamped. One lucky winner will receive two tickets to the 2016 Country Music Awards plus one-night hotel stay. Second-place prize is $500.

Great networking events are also key to tapping into our passions and connecting with people. There are still a few spaces left in IPI’s anything-but-standard mixers. To start the week off, check out the food and music scene at the opening Taste (& Sounds) of Nashville. Later in the week, take in a baseball game with the Young Professionals in Parking (YPIP) or put your cowboy boots to good use at the Wild Horse Saloon.

Play doesn’t end with childhood. Adults need recess too, so get out of the office and get ready to socialize, connect, and maybe even a little competitive at the 2016 IPI Conference & Expo. Game on!

Bonnie Watts, CEM, is IPI’s vice president of sales.