Archive for February, 2010

My Calendar: Vegas Baby! March 13th

February 26, 2010

In the 1970s I was living in California and early in my career working for an exciting, growing furniture and appliance rental company called GranTree. From the top-down it had a real “can do” attitude, and now as a seasoned corporate event planner I’ve worked with dozens of organizations but I haven’t found a firm that could match the energy and excitement that I found at GranTree.

On March 13, I’m heading to Las Vegas for a GranTree reunion (which I am co-chairing). During the afternoon we’ll discuss “lessons learned” from our days at Grantree. It should be interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts 25 years later!

That evening after dinner I’m sure that it won’t be the rock n’ roll times I remember from the 70s. Quite frankly, it will be kind of scary watching us dance, but regardless I’m happy to reconnect (I’m really curious to see if any of us look the same, see the pic below).

However, my trip isn’t all about the reunion. I have two on-site visits planned while in Las Vegas. First, the luxurious Bellagio Hotel, the site of Nielsen’s upcoming Consumer 360 Conference  that I’m producing.

The second, the brand-spanking-new Aria Hotel & Casino, I’m really excited about this one!

Do you have a great Las Vegas business trip story? Leave a comment, get me ready for Vegas baby!


Face to Face Communication Works Best: 3 Reasons Why

February 24, 2010

Throughout this rocky economic climate I am continually asked, “Why should I spend money on event production during times like this?” Many companies have elected to replace conferences and meetings with phone calls and emails. While phone calls and emails may save money short-term, they could be causing larger problems that will effect your bottom line.

There are 3 major benefits that can only happen with face to face events:

  1. Physical Feedback: It’s the best way to build  team rapport, honesty and trust
  2. Persuading and Encouraging an Audience: Captivating and interacting with an audience is essential in creating new relationships and most importantly establishing credibility
  3. Positive Recognition and Reinforcement: Instant, in-person recognition and reinforcement boosts employee morale and customer loyalty

Think I missed one? Leave a comment and explain why face to face communication is important for your business.

Snapshot: The Nerve Center

February 18, 2010

Do you ever wonder what is going on behind the scenes at an event you are attending? Here’s a look at the control center for an event I produced! Is anybody else reminded of “The Matrix” (below) when they see this?

Do you think you have a cooler behind the scenes pic? Show it off! Leave a comment

My Calendar: MPI-Chicago Event March 11th

February 16, 2010

One of the many hats I wear is serving as a committee member in Chicago’s chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI).  On March 11, 2010 I will be attending MPI’s “Spring Education Program” a two hour interactive discussion covering the latest in contract trends and event planning news.

The Details

  • March 11, 2010 between 11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
  • Hospitality attorney Joshua Grimes and a panel of  event industry leaders will guide the discussion and provide insight on hotel event production.
  • AMC River East 21 will host and provide a fun and engaging backdrop
  • Anyone can come, members or non-members

Sound fun? Want to join me? To register or for more information please visit here.

Tech Tip: The Future of Multimedia Projection

February 11, 2010

It’s great when a new video tool for a client truly surpasses our expectations and gets me excited about new possibilities in corporate event production. That was the case at a  3-day management conference I recently planned and produced where we tried the Hippotizer HD media server from Green Hippo.

Throughout the conference we used the Hippotizer  to display multiple layers of video, animation, and text along with the customer’s logo on top of a 10′ stetch fabric on the main stage and it was jaw-dropping (see picture above). This video on YouTube gives you a good feel for the tool’s potential:

Think you’ve seen projection more unique? Leave a comment! I’d love to know about it.

Event Production 101: Know Your Customer!

February 9, 2010

Have you ever heard of HarpCon? I hadn’t either until our team was hired to plan their event in August at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis. HarpCon is the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen’s convention and as the title may suggest, it’s a far cry from your typical corporate event production!

Understanding your customer and their needs is essential to event planning. For HarpCon we’re sticking to a brief list of “dos and don’ts”:


  • Bring a Powerpoint show! It’s all about the music
  • Worry about the numbers. There will be no sales forecast or budget discussion here!


  • Gather the very best Folk Harp players from around the world
  • Schedule classes with tutorials from leading teachers and craftsmen
  • Plan daily live concerts in a beautiful, world class grand ballroom

It is great to have many different types of clients as you can learn so much from different organizations and their audiences.

The point is, understanding your customer means listening, then plan an event that meets their expectations, not yours. It’s worth it to pause and ask so you can wow them – hippies, harpists or corporate honchos alike!

Snapshot: Spatial Parallelism

February 4, 2010

What do you see in these pictures?

Do you see…

  1. A sold-out room of attendees engaged and entertained?
  2. Visually stimulating imagery?
  3. A presenter that has captivated his audience?
  4. All of the above.

Luckily for us it was “4” thanks to something called Spatial Parallelism.

Parallelism is a concept that has been developed by leading designers to present as much relevant information as possible (and desirable) on as large a scale as possible. Spatial parallelism takes advantage of our capacity to reason with multiple images that appear simultaneously within our eye span. Audiences are able to select, sort, edit, reconnoiter and review information and all of this keeps them engaged.

Have a snap you’d like me to comment on? Email me at!

Hot Tip: Leave The Slides At Home

February 2, 2010

One way to ensure better event participation and engagement is to explore alternate ways to present information. Slides aren’t always required to make your point!

Try passing out a short written synopsis of your session. Include the title, a statement of objectives, key points, and expected outcomes. A written document will require a different copy approach than your traditional PowerPoint presentation. However, a handout will provide a permanent record for later review and this fresh approach is sure to keep your audience engaged.

Here are my 5 easy steps to a successful speaker handout:

  1. Include a high-resolution graphic or diagram. Eye-catching visuals will help foster thinking and exploration.
  2. Ask the audience to read the document before the session. This will help convey your message clearly and leave more time for in-depth interaction and discussion.
  3. After the audience has read the document, offer a brief synopsis (about 5 minutes) of the key points
  4. Once the key points are reviewed open the session with Q&A to ensure audience engagement, understanding, and buy-in.
  5. Have fun! A handout will help attendee involvement but your enthusiasm may have the biggest effect.

What have you tried in place of slides? Share your successes with us here!