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“EG Tips” – 10 Critical Tips to Stay on Track with Event Transportation

“EG Tips” – 10 Critical Tips to Stay on Track with Event Transportation

Planes, trains and automobiles… just some of the many travel options your groups or attendees have in traveling to, from and during your event. For some eventprofs, transportation plays a big role in the experience you provide to your guests. Building a flawless transportation plan can be a big undertaking, but with a few important reminders you can keep your event running smooth.
  1. Have a Plan
    Planning, it is what we do for a living, and it is also the best way to start out in your transportation process! Having a quality plan will give your guests a great experience and an opportunity to enjoy the event even more.
    Be very detailed and create a document that will show your entire team the in’s and out’s of your travel process. Be sure to include every detail that might need to be referenced during the event.
  2. Be Ready for Changes
    Inevitably changes will arise at some point during your event. As with every aspect of event planning you need to be ready for these speed bumps. Ensure you have a backup option for getting your guests from point A to point B.
    Perhaps a road is closed near your venue, or your driver becomes ill. The scenarios that can throw off your plans are endless, but being prepared for these challenges to arise is key. Do your best not to panic and utilize the backup options that are available to you.
  3. Always be a People Person
    When you are transporting large groups of busy attendees it can become stressful and at times, hard to keep your mind on customer service. Even in these challenging situations you must be able to keep your cool and interact with your guests in a positive manner.
    Make it a priority to provide each person with an incredible experience. When you go out of your way to make a guest feel welcomed and appreciated, they can often times forgive a small mishap in your transportation or overall event.
  4. Follow Up Constantly
    Follow up is the name of the game when you are working with vendors, but in transportation you cannot risk anyone forgetting where or when they are supposed to be providing service to your group.
    Following up with your transportation vendors right before the event begins is vital, along with giving them an hour or a 30 minute warning. If something goes wrong or changes in that last bit of time, it at least gives you, as the planner, an opportunity to implement your backup option.
  5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
    Communication is not just for the vendors and service providers. You must make sure that your staff is always in the loop on what is planned for transportation. If something changes, contact the entire team and have them adjust their schedule.
    This is very critical when it comes to multiple pickups, if for example you have a variety of guests flying in and out. Flights are always changing or delayed and making sure your guests aren’t stuck hanging around waiting at the airport will go a long way in their first, or last, impressions of your event.
  1. Be Firm, Yet Professional
    Sometimes you have to take a stand in order to get things accomplished in this industry and the transportation aspect of events is second to none. If you have paid for a transportation service, they should arrive on time and be attentive to the needs of your guests.
    Stay firm and don’t allow transportation companies to push you around. They often times have many clients that need a vehicle on a given night, and this can lead to delays in service, but they should never discount the value of your business. Many times if you follow up and communicate you can avoid any issues that might arise. Do your best to build a lasting relationship with vendors and they will make it a point to provide you with high-quality service.
  2. Evaluate Your Routes
    We all take the time to do a site visit and a walk through prior to our guest arriving, but we should also make it a point to evaluate the routes we are using to move our guests from venue to venue. Perhaps there is construction, flight delays or train lines down. Prior to the arrival of your guests take a look at all of your routes, along with the weather forecast, to plan ahead and predict any challenges you might face.
  3. Think Outside the Box
    Transportation doesn’t have to be traditional! Have you ever taken a boat to an event? Or perhaps ridden a bike between venues? Take a look at your location or host city with a critical eye and see what transportation options might be unique and special to your location. These creative methods of transportation will give your guests an interesting experience that they may not have had, and one that they can share with their friends and colleagues who could ultimately become your future clients.
  4. Say Goodbye to Boring
    If you have a lengthy journey from one location to the next, do you best to create an entertainment opportunity while your guests are traveling. You could bring in a guest speaker or tour guide to provide information on the event topic or the host city.
    This experience serves as a bonus to your guests and will take away from the otherwise boring trip. Your guests will enjoy the opportunity to learn and enjoy the travel they are embarking on. Your speakers will also take pride in having the full attention of your guests while they are on this excursion.
  5. Evaluate Areas for Improvement
    Each year you will learn and improve upon the event transportation you provide. You may find travel companies that are a joy to work with, while others may be a challenge. You should always be seeking out new and creative ways to move your guests between cities and venues, and never be afraid of changing up your transportation to bring a fresh aspect to the event. Ultimately you should be open to new ideas and seek to improve year after year!

In Conclusion

Many events have multiple components that involve travel from one venue to the next. Utilizing the steps above will set you apart as a prepared and innovative planner. Most eventprofs dread the transportation aspect of their event, because of the uncertainty. However, through proper communication, follow up and assertiveness you will be moving your event and your guests towards continued success.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 15 Ways Event Planners Can Brainstorm New Ideas

“EG Tips” – 15 Ways Event Planners Can Brainstorm New Ideas

Constantly coming up with new ideas is key to being innovative and standing out in the event industry. Here are 15 ways to get the creative juices gushing!

Part of planning events can be looking at things from a different perspective and either coming up with ideas or changing the narrative of something traditional into something attendees haven’t seen before. This can be tricky and we’ve all inevitably suffered from a creative block at one time or another. Here are a few ways to help you brainstorm new ideas, get everything you want down on paper and create the best events to make you an unstoppable eventprof.

  1. Free Writing/Doodling
    Free writing allows you to sit down for a set period of time and write without actually thinking about a set train of thought. For example, you write down literally whatever pops into your head, whether that is words, sounds or feelings and this can help to both free your mind from the clutter of thoughts that may be overshadowing your creativity but can also spark inspiration for your ideas later on, so don’t throw this paper away!

    Doodling works in the same way as it is seemingly mindless but can be your subconscious trying to break through which means you might find yourself leaving visual cues to yourself that inspire new ideas.

  2. Mind Maps
    Mind maps can be a useful tool for event planners when brainstorming because they can highlight linked processes and help with problem solving and joined up thinking. They can be particularly useful for those who are visual and it helps to share triggers to spark other ideas.
    You can also use mind maps to follow a thought process and make it easier to understand the areas that need to be worked on while highlighting how different ideas are related.
  3. Vision Boards
    Dealing entirely in images can be particularly beneficial when coming up with event ideas. Get inspired by placing images together. Vision boards can sit in the background while you work on other issues and will catch your eye across the room for momentary idea bursts without having to waste time re-reading what you have previously done and covering old ground.
  4. Speed Writing
    Set yourself a time limit and see what you can come up with because for some people they need the pressure and deadline to come up with their best work! For brainstorming in particular, 60 second bursts can be beneficial by setting a focus to your writing, for example; catering ideas for the event. In 60 seconds scribble down everything you have come up with within that time frame. While you will get a lot of obvious answers, you will be surprised where your mind goes and what you manage to come up with when you put yourself momentarily under pressure.
  5. Role-Playing
    It may sound silly, but act out what you are trying to achieve and put yourself in the position with others. We often find inspiration through interacting with others that prompts a new thought process so it makes sense that being specific and putting yourself directly into that situation would yield some results. Plus, if all else fails you can use the other person or people as a sounding board for the ideas you do come up with.
  6. Collaborative Boards
    Sometimes bounding ideas off each other and building on what someone else says can be all you need to brainstorm your ideas because after all, several heads are better than one. Other people see things from different perspectives so getting someone else’s eye can spark a new thought process you hadn’t even considered. Digital collaborative boards which allow you to share text, images, comments and mixed media formats can be beneficial for larger teams and to avoid wasting time in meetings as everyone can add things in their own time around their workload.
  7. Follow The Steps
    Usually you know the outcome that you want to achieve and where you are now but it is the path that is less clear. Coming up with new ideas can be very much the same so you should try to follow the steps you would naturally take in order to come up with ideas in the right process order. For example, if you have an event theme but need catering ideas look at it in order of courses, food type, event budget and supplier before trying to come up with fancy display or food station ideas.
  8. Voice To Text Software
    Some people get physical writer’s block meaning they can discuss their ideas easily but when it comes to getting them on paper they struggle or forget what they are trying to say. The free flow of speech can make thinking easier and therefore a dictation app that allows you to speak your ideas and convert them to note form that you can then share are ideal and also means you can brainstorm on the go!
  9. Make A Change
    Whether it is your environment, physical position or perspective, change can foster new ideas and get you out of a rut quickly. Going to the same room, desk or office can hinder creativity and leave you with stale ideas so instead go outside or for a walk while you are trying to brainstorm.
    Working at different times or in different positions can also help find your most productive side and help you come up with new ideas. Standing up or walking around can help you do two things at once and take some of the stress away from staring at the blank screen or piece of paper, while mixing up your timings could mean you are less tired and brimming with more ideas. Ultimately you can’t expect to constantly keep coming up with new ideas if you are doing the same old routine day in and out.
  1. Meditation
    You may find coming up with new ideas difficult because you have a lot of mental chatter that keeps coming to the forefront when trying to brainstorm. This can be the case with many event professionals as they are often have many jobs to do in a day and in a high powered environment you are used to multi-tasking and doing a lot of things at once. This doesn’t necessarily promote brainstorming and can not only hinder new ideas but also makes you struggle to keep focus.
    Regular meditation can help you to not only calm your mind but can also be a tool for organizing thoughts and becoming more creative. The mind is a muscle and meditation is a particularly useful way of exercising it so that it is conducive to calm and focus which are necessary for coming up with original, thought provoking ideas.
  2. SWOT Analysis
    This technique that stands for; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is often used in business practice and strategies to understand your current situation. This can also be effective when brainstorming as it can show you what ideas need to be focused on, for example knowing the threats and opportunities of the current market can help an event planner create an event accordingly which allows you to frame new ideas and know exactly what you are looking for.
  3. Round Robins
    In a group, create a game whereby everyone is only allowed to come up or contribute one element before passing on the idea to the next person. By the time it comes back to being your turn the idea or inspirations have changed and you are looking at it entirely differently, which can promote new thinking.
    Round robins also not only add a restriction that reduces the amount of bad ideas but also prompts people to put their best ideas forward and can also be a way to build on other’s perspectives in the same way collaborative boards do.
  4. Idea Categories
    It can be helpful to form themes or connections between thoughts and ideas because it becomes easier to build on them as you go, which tends to lead to a flow. If you are struggling with linking ideas together or trying to come up with something new, create categories for your projects and then get specific about them to bring more depth and tie things together more closely. For example, when brainstorming event catering, you would start with the category “catering” and when you have run out of ideas for that, narrow it down to “finger food ideas” or “food stations” and then you can continue with niche brainstorming without getting lost in all the possibilities and adding context to your ideas.
  5. Word Association
    Quick fire improv games such as word association can train your brain long-term to brainstorm and come up with new ideas quickly. For many eventprofs, it isn’t the creativity that is the issue, it is the time restrictions and deadlines for coming up with new and original ideas. Word association is best played with others and can help your event team when joint brainstorming as you don’t know what others are going to say and that surprise-triggers your own response. However, if this isn’t possible, you could create standardized cue cards that help to spark your creativity, face them down and mix them up and draw from them in the same way.

    Alternatively, you can play word association variations such as coming up with as many words as you can associated to a category and this helps get all of your ideas (good and bad) out and then you select the ones that are most suitable and build on them. Training your brain using improvisation games helps speed up its processes and makes you more reactive in the future too, so it helps now and later.

  6. Multitasking
    Have you ever thought really hard about an idea, come up with nothing and then out of nowhere when you are doing something else, inspiration strikes? While you shouldn’t always multitask, moving onto something else while still thinking about your brainstorming can be an interesting way of being productive and coming up with new ideas. Specifically, choosing monotonous or repetitive tasks alongside brainstorming can help create a meditative effect for some and the act of doing something physically can trigger creativity responses and allow you to brainstorm better subconsciously so that when you come back to it, your ideas just flow.
    One thing to remember with multitasking is to not try to overload the brain with too many difficult tasks at once because this can have the opposite effect and actually reduce overall productivity so select tasks that are on the opposite ends of the spectrum of difficulty.

Brainstorming Tips
Remove Censorship – Don’t discount any of your ideas at first by limiting and deciding that they are bad. You may find that you have had an idea that you can build on later so just focus on getting ideas out and then judge them later.

Ask Questions – Free thinking doesn’t always come naturally and if it’s a broad subject you can struggle with where to start or to move on from. Asking questions can help frame your thinking and lead you to explore specific avenues with a little more guidance.
Take Breaks – Even the best of us can’t keep churning new and original ideas out day and night so remember it is okay to take a break and come back to it later. Sometimes it can be more helpful to take a step back and give your brain a rest from focusing on one area that it can be the breakthrough that you need.

Carry A Notebook – You never know where inspiration may strike so carry a notebook with you or a note taking app on your phone so that you don’t lose any ideas and you can refer to them later on.
Avoid Negativity – Negativity can be a creativity killer and if you are constantly getting yourself down then you won’t consider all the possibilities and ideas that could be your next big thing! Not every idea is going to be a winner but put it to one side, move on and try not to be hard on yourself; positivity tends to help you be more productive in the end.

In Conclusion

Brainstorming can be hard but to remain current and competitive in the fast-paced event industry it is necessary to keep coming up with new and innovative ideas. I have given you some tips and tactics for brainstorming that should hopefully prevent a block and keep your creativity juices flowing!

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 9 Steps to Gaining Profitable Corporate Event Clients

“EG Tips” – 9 Steps to Gaining Profitable Corporate Event Clients

Working with corporate clients can be very different than working in the personal event space, but it can also lead to big rewards. Corporate business means larger events, expanded budgets and most of the time higher stakes. While working in corporate events can be a lucrative business for many planners, you need to work hard to maintain relationships with your clients in order to thrive in this industry over the long haul.

The importance of maintaining a relationship with corporate partners plays a big role in your continued success as a planner. Retaining a client and nurturing a connection is much easier and more cost-effective for your business than constantly scouting and attracting new clients. Most customers in this genre will bring you to repeat business, sometimes multiple events each year! Using the tips below will help you to maintain lasting corporate relationships which will be your key to obtaining their future business.

  1. Listen to their Needs
    Anytime you meet with a new client you spend time listening to their desires and needs for their event. After an initial meeting, we as event planners often times have an inherent ability to “know” what the client is looking for. We all have a knack for reading people and using this talent to predict the requests our clients will ask for, often times even before they have asked. While this characteristic is wonderful to have as a planner, it can get you in trouble with corporate clients.
    Unlike personal events, every corporate event is very different. You need to truly listen to what they say and take notes to ensure the purpose of the event is always the focus. Are they entertaining potential business partners at the event? Debuting a new service? Recruiting future employees? Dig into the main goals of the event and keep this purpose in the forefront throughout the planning process.
  2. Define the Event Objectives
    Although you may be listening, corporate clients don’t always come forward or even know the full purpose of the event that is being planned at the start of the planning process. Make sure you do some digging to get to the bottom of the true event objectives. Learn about the history of past events, who the big decision makers are (not always the person you are working with) and what buttons you need to push in order to make the event a success in their eyes. Without fully understanding and defining these objectives with your corporate client there is no chance for you to shine and exceed expectations.
  3. Understand Branding and Culture
    Branding and culture have become major buzzwords in the corporate landscape. Every company is looking to develop a strong, definitive brand and culture that can be reflected in everything they do.
    When you are planning an event for a corporate client, take some time to learn everything you can about their company. The way they do business and the things that are important to them should become important to you. This will show the client that you are a dedicated part of their team and that you respect the atmosphere that they have worked hard to create.
    Use the event to expand upon the mission or purpose they serve. Everything from the venue choice, to the color of the up lighting should properly identify with the company you are working with. Partnering with companies that align with your personal values and beliefs will make working incorporate events even more enjoyable and easy to integrate into your planning process.
  4. Meet Face to Face
    Meeting in person is something we often overlook in the hustle and bustle of the busy, technologically driven world we live in. However, you need to arrange for at least one or two face-to-face meetings with your new corporate clients. Try to plan the meeting in their office space, so you can get a feel for the vibe of their company, staff and culture.
    As a huge proponent of conference calls and video conferences, I know it can be hard to see this as a priority, but there is just something you gain from an in-person meeting that you cannot obtain from a digital or voice connection. This will also show the business that you are invested in making their event an accurate portrayal of everything their company represents.
  5. Be Careful of Competition
    When working with a corporate client you run the risk of having to turn down other business from other companies in the same sector. While this may seem like a drawback to the corporate event landscape, it is an important part of the business. You are working for a company that is likely to have major competitors and they may not like the idea of you planning events for both.
    Do your best to be open and honest with the companies you work for, while also being smart about the business you take on. Trust your gut and spread your work throughout a variety of industries in order to avoid an overlap between two fierce competitors.
  1. Get to the Point
    In the personal event space, some planners have a tendency to sugar coat certain aspects of an event. You may tread lightly when speaking about an unforeseen expense or change to the event schedule, but with a corporate client they want you to cut to the chase. Don’t talk in circles around a potential issue. Identify the problem, provide solutions and work it out in the most productive and efficient manner. Corporations are in the business of making tough decisions on a daily basis. They will respect you more if you get to the point and provide transparent communication.
  2. Respect the Budget
    Corporate clients often times have a lot of money to spend, but that doesn’t mean you get to take advantage of the situation. Even though they may bring more money to the table than a private event, you must find a way to fit within the budget they have established.
    Showing them that you are willing to negotiate prices and come in under their set budget will establish a solid relationship with the client and show them that you are on their side, not just another vendor looking to make money. This level of mutual respect will pay off for you as the planner and will do wonders to ensure that you are their go-to planner for future events.
  3. Bring Innovative Ideas
    Even though corporate events will have an established budget (see above), this industry is a great place to spread your wings and try out a new exciting technology that a small private client isn’t financially able to explore. If you can provide proof that an innovative idea is worth the added expense, the client will often times find a way to make it financially possible.
    Think outside the box and give them options on possible ideas that will set them apart from their competition. Businesses love the idea of being on the cutting edge of their industry and the event space is a great opportunity for them to show off their forward thinking ideas.
  4. Maintain the Connection After the Event
    Even though the corporate space isn’t as intimate as a private event, you should do your best to establish a real personal connection with the lead decision makers. Follow up around the holidays or on their birthday with a handwritten card or letter just to let them know that you appreciate their business and see them as not only a client, but also a friend and partner. This small personal touch, in the sometimes harsh corporate world, can make all the difference in getting future business from their company.

In Conclusion

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 9 Ways to Save Money on Event AV

“EG Tips” – 9 Ways to Save Money on Event AV

Good AV is essential to your meeting success and a great way to bring the wow factor to your event, but it can also eat up a lot of budget too. Here are 9 tips to save big bucks on your audio visual expenditure.

Having a solid AV set up at your event, provided by a tech team you can trust to deliver, is essential to keeping an event planner smiling. Likewise good sound, screens and lighting are basics that your participants expect to be right if you want to keep them happy and attentive to your event content. Unfortunately though, no event manager has a bottomless budget and your AV bill sometimes has to be trimmed back to stay in the black.

  1. Bring In Your Own AV Company
    Of course it’s convenient to use the hotel’s in-house AV Company, but that convenience can be really expensive. The hotel AV company needs to pay a large commission of your invoice to the hotel (40-50% on average). To cover that, you will need to pay a premium. If cost is a major concern, and especially if you want any specialized equipment or technicians, you should always consider bringing in your own AV Company.
  2. Think About AV When Negotiating and Booking Your Venue
    If you have a preferred AV company that supports your events, you should bring them with you for a site visit to the potential venue. Make it clear upfront that you intend to use your own AV partner. At a minimum, make sure to negotiate the contract so that it leaves you the flexibility to choose the best vendor for you.
  3. Get Several Competitive Quotes
    AV companies will compete aggressively for your business. By taking competitive quotes back to your preferred vendor, you will usually be able to negotiate a lower cost. If you find out that the prices are similar from multiple companies, you can at least make sure you’re getting the highest value solution for that budget.
  4. Book Multiple Meetings at the Same Time
    If you have a number of upcoming meetings, consider using a nationwide AV company. They’ll be able to help you no matter where your meetings are located, and they’ll give you a quantity discount for multiple bookings. As well as potential cost savings this also helps ensure consistency in setup, service and quality between your different event projects and locations.
  5. Give an Option for Virtual Attendance
    It’s great to attend a meeting in person. You’re able to network face-to-face, sit down over meals, and have a shared experience. It’s also expensive to attend meetings, especially when you factor in airfare, hotel, meals, and the opportunity cost of being out of the office. Many planners are moving to hybrid events, combining a live event with a professional webcast, to give the best of both worlds. There is even the option to monetize virtual attendance if you wish.
  1. Ask Your AV Provider to Help You Uncover Inefficiencies
    It is always worth talking to your AV provider to learn any areas where savings could be made. If you have multiple meetings, a great AV partner will provide you with improvement ideas after each one. Ask them to have a Project Manager onsite who can identify opportunities to lower your costs by optimizing crew size, eliminating unnecessary equipment, and looking for ways to get the work done in less time.
  2. Consider Various Service Levels
    For some events, you may need full service, including setup, onsite technicians to run the show, and teardown. For other events, you may simply need a self-service equipment rental. Make sure you’re not paying for service you don’t actually need.
  3. Think About Creative Sponsorship Opportunities
    There are many event technology solutions that allow you to add powerful sponsorship potential. You can often pay for these technologies through the sponsorship revenues, and sometimes they can be profit drivers for you. For example, you could rent a video wall and utilize the displays to mix sponsorship messages together with event information and social media activity.
  4. Ask Your AV Provider to Give Multiple Options
    A good AV company will not provide you with a “take it or leave it” proposal. They should be able to present several options, at various price levels, for you to choose from. An AV partner will work with you to identify different solutions to realize your vision, whilst staying within your event budget.

In Conclusion

Audio visual plays a vital part in the success of your event and you want to be sure to get it right. With these 9 tips you can be sure that you are saving money on AV and achieving the best value for your event, without compromising on quality.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 13 New Words We Use in Events

“EG Tips” – 13 New Words We Use in Events

Most of us are products of the period of time in which we are born into. At least our language is. Today’s event planners have a whole new way of speaking compared to 20 years ago. Here are a few words we use now that meant something totally different in the past.

Imagine traveling back in time to 1985 and conversing with people on the street. You could tell them that the Terminator would one day be Governor of California and that the goofy guy on the TV show Facts of Life would one day “grow up” to be a Hollywood heartthrob. And if you said, “LOL” or “OMG” they would wonder what you meant.
Everyday language evolves, new words become a part of our lexicon while terms and phrases such as “Will you tape that for me?” (as in videotape) become obsolete. Industry and technical terms undergo the same metamorphosis. Today’s event planners use many words that were not heard of even a decade ago. If you stumble across a time traveler, you can give them this list of words we use now that had no meaning (or at least a very different one) before the year 2000.

Drones
Pre 2000, if people heard you referring to drones in the air that are focused on capturing the event from an aerial view that you plan on then uploading to your site, they may have looked at you a little strange. What is a drone? Now we use these unmanned aircraft for all sorts of crowd shots and special footage.

Streaming
Another word that would give people from twenty years ago pause. While they may have been able to decipher that streaming involved some kind of flow, they would never understand the ability we have today with video on demand and live-streaming events so that people on other continents could watch as if they were in the audience. Although the concept has been around for a few years now, technology behind streaming of video and WiFi speeds have increased to the point that often you can’t tell if something is being streamed or played back. There’s a lot less buffering today.

Virtual Concierge or Chat Bot
This concept is quickly becoming how we maximize our time and reach the largest number of attendees in the most effective manner possible, but only a few years ago someone would wonder what you were talking about. Now we all rely on at least one chat bot, be it Siri, Cortana, or Alexa in our daily lives and event planners have begun adopting similar technology or concierge apps for their events.

Fishbowl
Years ago this term may have referred to a glassed-in office in the middle of a building but today’s event planners use it to mean a room layout set up in the round to facilitate conversation involving the larger group and not just a presenter.

Projection Mapping
Another relatively new term that event planners use often, projection mapping creates the ideal customized look for an event through the use of 3D objects as a display surface. It also referred to as 3-D mapping and video projection mapping.

Webcast
Sounds vaguely like something an arachnid would do, but modern-day event planners know it to be the act of streaming a live event over the internet, which brings us to…

Virtual Attendees
The concept of being able to partake in a conference or meeting without actually being there used to be relegated to dialing in through a phone and hearing a lot of noise you didn’t quite understand. Today, we have entire conferences available to the world through virtual tickets where attendees can watch, learn and participate from the comfort of anywhere they have an internet connection.

Gluten-Free
Special dietary requirements are something event managers see more and more of in their food requests. But gluten intolerances are something we have only recently heard of. If you traveled back to the 90s and asked someone if the cake in front of you was gluten free, they’d have no idea what you were asking about.

Charging Station
No one from the 90s would ever understand the need for charging stations every few feet. Even those of us who may have had cell phones back in the early days knew that they could go days without charging them. But that was back before the phones were “smart.”

Engagement
Engagement used to have a very different connotation than it does to today’s event planner. In fact, it is employed so frequently in regards to the need to engage the audience, attendees, website visitors, and more that it is fast becoming meaningless like the word synergy. Still, the concept is critical to event success.

Personalization
Like engagement, personalization is an event trend that is hard to ignore. Attendees have been “spoiled” by online retailers who personalize the shopping experience for them and now they expect personalization in every aspect of their lives. It’s no longer enough to plan a nice event. It’s essential to understand what your audience wants and personalize the experience to their desires and interests.

Reach
Many event planners are starting to get into the data of their events at the same time that clients are becoming more data savvy. Reach is a big interest in deciding what audiences you’re hitting and how your event information is being shared. If a handful of years ago you asked about your reach in a planning meeting, people would’ve naturally looked at what was in the near vicinity of your arms.

Selfie
There is a whole language that has been adopted due to social media and verbs involved with posting to these sites, but selfies transcend platforms. Picture taking opportunities are important at events and people no longer wait around awkwardly until they find someone who looks trustworthy enough to hold their camera and take a picture of them. Now if you want a shot of yourself in front of the event banner, you take it. Even presenters are doing selfies of themselves with the attendees.

In Conclusion

Do you ever stop to think how often the terms we use as part of our daily routine have only been around for a short time? It’s amazing how our language has changed. Watch kids playing tag on a playground and instead of yelling time-out, they use “pause the game.” They also say “versed” when talking about who they competed against, even if it was in a foot race.
These changes spring directly from our daily use of technology and are hardly understandable to people who haven’t experienced the 21st century. What would you add to this list?

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 8 Time Sucking Tasks and How To Streamline Them

“EG Tips” – 8 Time Sucking Tasks and How To Streamline Them

Are you finding yourself spending too much time on certain jobs? If so, take a step back and see if you can streamline and speed up your daily tasks!

“Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted, the leader must be doubly vigilant.” – Colin Powell

An eventprofs day is stacked full of appointments, meetings, tasks, projects, reminders, checklists, and lots and lots of details! While this may seem crazy, we are event professionals and we love details! But, with all of the details that go into creating an amazing event, even ninjas can sometimes find themselves out of time. If you find yourself constantly out of time, leaving out the details is not the answer. Take a step back and see if you can streamline your day, speeding up your activities and creating more time in your day to do more.

Here are a few areas that are huge time-suckers:

1. Emails
While emails are wonderful and convenient, it can become overwhelming. Ideally we should check email less often. Try to be more strategic in your email communication. Part of being more strategic is considering it may be quicker to meet face to face or pick up the phone. If you find yourself staring at your inbox all day long, and have only responded to one conversation (20 times!), pick up the phone and call them instead next time. In ten minutes, you can divert both parties attention to focus only this situation, discuss all of the details, and effectively solve the problem that would have taken all day through email.

2. Typing and Data Entry
If typing is not your strong suit, there are several different solutions that can help, depending on your situation. If you are creating a new document yourself, and your typing can’t seem to keep up with the ideas coming to you, look into a speech to text software. As you talk, the software automatically converts it to text. We use this all the time on our phones. The actual software programs that are available to purchase are even better, and are getting better each day!
Despite being in the age of wonderfully integrated technology, sometimes it’s impossible to get away from data entry tasks. Before doing these types of tasks yourself, think of the other tasks you could focus on. Sometimes it’s more cost effective to hire outside help.
If you simply have a need for data entry or written note transcription, consider hiring some temporary help. While a temp agency can find you someone qualified, you can also be more creative with finding additional help. Reach out through your local meeting planner organizations or college programs. This would be a great way to bring in a student or apprentice planner to work with and mentor.

3. Bidding, Contracts, & Invoicing
Being self-employed, getting signed contracts is always a wonderful feeling! The hard part is finding the time to do the research for them, create beautiful proposals, edit them, submit them, and everything else that comes in between! Sometimes, you are too busy to create new proposals to bid on new projects. Other times, it feels like all you are doing is bidding on projects and customizing contracts. If you find bidding and contracting is taking up too much of your time, consider technology. With specific proposal and contract software, you are able to create templates that can be reused and quickly modified and customized. These tools can help streamline your financial process and help you look more professional.

4. Repetitive Tasks
As Event Professionals, you may have one or more of these time sucking repetitive tasks: separating name badges, stuffing name badges, labeling envelopes, stuffing envelopes, collating delegate folders. Should I go on? Sometimes I do like to stuff name badges. Being able to zone out a bit and still feel productive. That must be an EventProf Zen thing. However, more often than not, I just don’t have the time.

When faced with these repetitive tasks, try to think of a more effective way to accomplish them. What is the cost of having the printer complete the name badges or the mailing? There may also be some great resources in your community to provide work for individuals with disabilities. These organizations offer business services like bulk mailing, package assembly and all the while providing education, training and employment opportunities. It’s a great way to fulfill the needs of your business and help serve the community as well.

5. Delegating
Do you find yourself spending more time to explain the task being delegated than it would take to actually do it yourself? It takes some practice, needs clear communication, and the right people involved, but delegating can free up a tremendous amount of time in your day. By using a software program you can easily and efficiently delegate, communicate, and oversee different projects. For this to run smoothly, though, the software must be consistently used to its fullest potential by everyone involved! Be sure to also set clear expectations and visions with everyone involved.
Working with a team and delegating tasks can be a tricky situation. Be sure to take extra care to ensure that you do not become a micromanager! While it is never a manager’s goal to become a micromanager, sometimes it just happens without them realizing it.

6. Education
As eventprofs, we should always be learning new things and refining our skills. Taking a class or researching a new topic is very rewarding, but also very time consuming. If you find that you want to continue to learn, but can’t find the time, consider using an audio book program. I have found that listening to books while driving or exercising is a great way to get away from everything, while still being productive and checking something off of my list! Also look for online webinars that are shorter. Many industry resources are doing 30 minute sessions that get right to the core educational content.

7.Normal Business Tasks (a.k.a. – doing everything yourself!)
Running a small business is very rewarding, but it does come with its challenges, especially when you are the one doing everything. You fill many roles, and are responsible for representing your marketing department, financial and accounting department, legal department, sales department, customer service department, human resources department, custodial department, research and strategy department, and many others!

As an entrepreneur, we are generally skilled at many facets of business, and are able to be successful wearing most of these hats. However, if you find yourself struggling with a particular “department,” consider contracting out that area to a professional. Contact your local chamber of commerce for recommendations or look for a virtual assistant. Though there is a cost involved in outsourcing, the time you save yourself may end up being more valuable, since you are then free to do something else you had to put off from before (maybe researching that new client or catching up on emails).

8. Technology
Today’s technology-based world has turned its focus recently to the event arena. Every week, it seems like a new technology is introduced that can help make our events even more remarkable! With new products coming out so quickly, it is harder and harder to find the time to research, explore, and become proficient in them all.

If technology is slowing you down, look outside of your company for a contractor that focuses simply on finding and integrating the best technology for your needs. By hiring a professional that has the dedicated time and skills to finish a project that may take you twice as long, you are then able to focus on other things, effectively speeding up your activities by allowing doing so more each day.

In Conclusion

As an eventprof, we are not just professional event planners. We are next level ninjas – we can do it all! While we know we can handle and master anything given to us, time is the only thing that holds us back. If time seems to be constantly winning, take a step back and look to see where you could use help. Look at your daily processes to see if you can streamline them. If not, look at bringing an expert into your ninja dojo to help you defeat time.TAGGED

(Social Coup LLC)