Want a Good Monday? Have a Great Weekend!

May 25, 2010

Working hard Monday through Friday is important, however recharging during the weekends is essential. I had the chance to enjoy the weather this weekend biking through Highland Park (above) and golfing with my family (picture below: myself, my father and my son).

What do you do to recharge?


Snapshot: Seminar 2.0

May 23, 2010

Yesterday I produced a seminar for Meeting Professionals International. We used Skype to host a Subject Matter Expert (above). We were able to view and hear her via the projector and speakers that were set-up in our room as she streamed her lecture from her laptop. The  SME was able to view the audience on her computer. What a great way to spice up your next seminar!

Hot Tip: Draw a Bigger Crowd

May 19, 2010

It is crucial to have a great registration before an event to help draw some immediate capital and generate some buzz. However, creating excitement before an event can be a daunting task. Many companies will have a well known speaker or an engaging workshop. However, my client Nielsen has mastered pre-event buzz with a rather old concept; the marquee name.

This June 16, Nielsen will hold their Consumer 360 conference with a truly special headliner, Donna Summer (above). Their registered attendees are happy that they will be viewing a performance from a living legend and more importantly the word is spreading about her attendance. In fact Nielsen’s webmaster noted that the page on their conference website that is getting the most hits is the one showcasing their Closing Night Party and Donna Summer. Bottom line; a big name can bring your next event big numbers during your registration period.

Have you seen a big star or big name speaker at a corporate event? I’d love to know who it was, leave a comment!

Take it from TED

May 13, 2010

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday”. Anytime I get a free minute I try to learn something new about event production. In fact, it is one of the best aspects of my job!

Recently I found two excellent new concepts in event design when reviewing the TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Conference:

1. No speaker talks for over 18 minutes; never allowing the audience’s attention to fade. This also gives equal value to each person and their speech

2. There are no breakout sessions; everyone shares the same experience. TED’s philosophy is as a whole we should emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole. Simply; all knowledge is connected

It is absolutely essential to choose an event production company that never claims to have perfected the method. The best company will always continue to learn and implement new concepts and ideas.

Have you seen something new and fun at a conference lately? I would love to hear about it!

The Driveway Conversation

May 10, 2010

Allow me to set the scene: it is 8 PM and a limo pulls  into your neighbor’s driveway. He/she is all smiles as they exit the vehicle. Naturally, you want to know; what has caused your neighbor to become so elated. After a few seconds of small-talk you’ve pin-pointed it. Your neighbor has just spent the last few days at their company’s meeting that completely knocked their socks off!

A client of ours has decided to name this particular circumstance the “driveway conversation”. I’ve adopted this term and use it as our goal to create meetings and events that cause our attendees to go home and brag about what took place.

However, it truly takes some special planning to cause this phenomenon. One of my clients, Big Machines of Deerfield, IL has mastered hosting events that produce the “driveway conversation”. How did they get there?

For the past few years they have invited Second City (above) to perform improv at their event’s welcome reception. Now, when their attendees register for the event, the buzz starts before they enter the hotel. All because they know they’re in for a real comedic treat!

The added bonus is that some of the best one-liners from the Second City performance at the reception is recycled during the general sessions and breakouts. This gives the performance “legs” and creates congruency for everyone who attended the conference.

Have you been to an event that caused a “driveway conversation” with your neighbor? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Biggest Bang for the Buck!

May 6, 2010

The Society for Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) has asked me to say a few words at an upcoming meeting May 12. The SGMP asked if I could tailor my chat towards giving advice for both the exhibitor and attendee on getting the most “bang for the buck” at trade shows.

My goal is to leave both exhibitors and attendees with a quick takeaway for maximizing their time at a trade show. Here is a sneak peak:


  • Attendees spend the least amount of time on the trade show floor. Ahead of time create a tight, focused list of people you want to meet with, be proactive and try and set-up appointments with these people. Also, you may need to meet them at one of the seminars that they are attending or invite them out for breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee.


  • Create a list of things you want to learn about, as well as companies and people you wish to meet with. Be direct and set up appointments and time to network with people who can benefit your organization and your career.

Change the way you have been doing things at trade shows. Be proactive. Get out of your comfort zone. Get results.

What has caught your eye at a trade show lately? Leave a comment and tell me about it!

Live from Siemens

May 1, 2010

This has been a huge week at Esprit Productions. I’ve been working around the clock to prepare for the very first Siemens Industry Sector meeting (above)! Emotions and expectations were high but as a team we didn’t stray from our mission; meeting our clients needs!

Here is what our client had to say:

“Our conference was a great example of collaboration in action from across our entire organization.  The quality of the content and professionalism of the execution was terrific.”

It just goes to show with the right meeting planning and production company and a client that understands the power of face to face communication, the sky is the limit.

Have you been to a terrifically executed event? Tell me about it by leaving a comment!

Staying Active Pays Off!

April 29, 2010

It is great when you get recognized by your peers for your efforts within your respective industry. Earlier this week I received the following message from a board member at MPI-CAC (Meeting Professionals International – Chicago Area Chapter):

“Along with global warming and what to make for dinner, you’re on my mind. Clearly there are countless reasons, yet the most important one is the celebration of your selection for April 2010 Volunteer of the month.”

The take away; constantly seeking new and exciting information about your professional field and participating as an industry-leader is very rewarding.

Have you received any accolades lately? Grab some room next to me on my soapbox and tell me about it!

Event Production 101: Understanding Expectations

April 24, 2010

I’ve been working with Siemens USA for over 20 years and can say with confidence; they understand the significance of face-to-face interaction. That is why I’m excited to say that I’m currently producing one of their upcoming sector meetings. In related news; it is not always an easy task to organize an event for a company that employs over 430,000 people worldwide.

However, our success at Esprit Productions has come from keeping it simple and following two easy rules:

  1. Understanding our clients expectations
  2. Delivering

Whether you’re creating an event for 10 people or 10,000 it is important to know what your client would like to accomplish. Once you understand their expectations, create open conversation and deliver to the best of your ability! Your client will be pleased to hear your listening.

Have you been to an event that met every expectation? If so, how did it feel? I’d like to hear about it!

The Progression of Audience Voting

April 20, 2010

Do you remember watching Star Search with Ed McMahon. The best episodes always had the challenger and champion caught in a tie. The winner was then determined by the audience. The cameras would cut to the audience (all dressed in great late 80s clothes) holding a small key pad with two buttons. The excitement was at an all-time high simply by engaging the audience and a sure fire way to engage people is by asking for their input. But technology has allowed us to evolve in the way we  track the audience’s responses.

I recently produced an event that used enotes, an interactive laptop software that captures and measures the audience’s feedback. The results were nothing short of astonishing!

Enotes has two primary functions:

  1. Instant Messaging: Attendees can submit feedback in their own words, instead of just checking a box on a one-size-fits-all questionnaire
  2. Interactive Voting: This function leaves endless possibilities, like using enotes to receive real-time feedback on presenters or as a great way to wrap up a meeting and gather suggestions

Bottom line; it is much easier to successfully measure audience engagement by collecting their full thoughts rather than just asking them to select a one-size-fits-all multiple choice answer.

Have you been to a corporate event that used technology to capture real-time feedback? If so, leave a comment, I’d love to hear about it!