Archive for March, 2010

Mac Users Rejoice! iWorks’ Keynote rocks!

March 30, 2010

In mid-February I posted a blog about the Spring Education Program, a seminar devoted to contracts in the meeting and events industry. I produced and sponsored the event for Chicago’s chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). As a committee member at MPI, I’m proud to say that we consistently push the envelope and try new tools and technology.

On March 11, 2010, AMC River East movie theatre provided the venue along with its huge movie screen for our graphics. We elected to use Apple’s Keynote presentation software instead of the commonly used Microsoft Powerpoint. Bottomline; we made the right choice!

Keynote engages audience members and causes better participation simply because it is so visually appealing, here is 3 reasons why:

  1. Easy to use animations are well developed and truly pop from the screen
  2. Slide transitions push 2-D graphics to the max
  3. Powerpoint presentations have saturated our expectations, Keynote revives our interest

Take a look at Apple CEO, Steve Jobs using crafty Keynote animations to debut the iPad:

What side are you on, Mac or Microsoft? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear why!

My Calendar: Vegas Follow-Up!

March 27, 2010

In February I wrote a post about how excited I was for an upcoming event, the GranTree reunion! GranTree was a furniture and appliance rental company based out of California and also one of the first stops in my professional career.

During March 12-14 I was able to reconnect with some familiar faces (with a few new wrinkles) and share how the values and leadership skills we established at GranTree stayed with us throughout our careers. The entire experience was wonderfully surreal, from the opening discussion held by former GranTree CEO Jim Jensen to sharing a few stories in the lobby bar at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Revisiting our time together 25-30 years ago and rekindling those friendships was incredible!

Have you been to a work reunion? If so, where was it at and was it worth the trip? Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to leave some advice on how to make the most out of your next company reunion!

Hot Tip: Schedule Some Fun!

March 24, 2010

Take it from me; coordinating a corporate event takes a lot of thought and planning! It’s hard to create a schedule that includes time for registration, speakers, break-out sessions and our 3 daily meals. However, we need to put ourselves in our audience’s shoes and find time for one of the most important aspects of a great corporate event, fun!

Including time for some light-hearted fun:

  • Breaks up the monotony of attending events  by engaging your audience
  • Creates friendship and bonding between co-workers
  • Shows attendees that work can be enjoyable

For instance, at Siemens’ Industry sector meeting we’ve decided to leave some time during our evening reception for Nintendo Wii (above)! The most important takeaway during that portion of the day will be, “Who knew our boss was such an awesome virtual bowler?” And that sounds pretty cool to me.

Have you been to an event that remembered to schedule in some fun? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear how it stacked up!

My Calendar: Spring Knowledge Share April 8th

March 18, 2010

On April 8, 2010 I will be the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Meeting Professional International’s Chicago Area Chapter (MPI-CAC) “Spring Knowledge Share – Audio-Visual 101”.

I’m very excited about this event because it helps eliminate a very old event planning dilemma; getting everyone in one place. MPI has put together a wonderful event that will be held at 3 locations ~ Hilton Lisle, Hilton Northbrook and Event Architects in Chicago. Each location will have their own SME who will lead discussion. Knowledge Share is ideal for anyone wanting to learn more about event AV production done right!

You can join me at the Northbrook site or sign up for one of the other locations at MPI’s website.

What AV thing have you recently seen that made an impact and engaged your audience? Leave a comment and I’ll weigh in!

Tech Tip: Leave the Business Cards at Home

March 13, 2010

Networking at events has always and will always be a very important part of my work. Exchanging contact information at an event can result in gaining new business partners, finding hot new leads and can even create new business! But exchanging business cards and waiting for your new contacts to call is archaic. Today’s business happens in the moment and to keep up to speed I use Spotme!

With Spotme you can:

  • Use built in GPS to find event attendees and their location in the room
  • Identify the people standing around you by displaying their photo
  • Send and receive messages from other event participants
  • Exchange contact information by simply holding your device up to another

Don’t believe me? See Spotme in action:

You can also read how I leverage technology like Spotme to engage event attendees at Esprit Productions’ website!

Have you used any new or cool technology to network at an event? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about it!

Great Event Production Starts With Great Organization

March 10, 2010

Organization is a key facet in my career. Having the ability to stay organized and clearly communicating with our clients is what separates us from the rest!

At Esprit Productions we use an in-house project management software to assist us. Our project management software allows us to access files, graphics and emails while being able to set and maintain timelines. But our clients aren’t left in the dark either, they can access the same information 24/7, 365!

You can learn more about our project management software at our company site.

Do you have a tip on staying organized? Leave a comment, I’d Love to hear it!

Snapshot: Does Your Team Building Look Like This?

March 5, 2010

Does your team building activities look like this?


If you answered yes, you probably attended the event I produced for Monsanto’s DeKalb Genetics’ national sales meeting. The theme “Chart the Course” was wonderfully depicted during the first day when we constructed a stage that resembled the front of a boat. On the second day, attendees were pushed to their max in a team building activity that placed them on one of six America Cup boats and taking part in a sailing regatta (that’s a sailboat race for you land lovers)!

You can learn more about DeKalb Genetics’ 2-day meeting here.

Have you been to an amazing team building activity? Leave a comment and tell me about it!

Hot Tip: Solving the Post Conference Dilemma

March 2, 2010

Often I’m approached with a common conference planning dilemma, allow me to paint the scene:

A group of your best “think tank” team members had an amazing whiteboard session. You take the notes off of the easel and upon returning to the office they’re placed on your desk. A few days later you hand them over to an administrative to type up. The administrative types up the bullet-points and sends them back to you. No one remembers what most of the bullet-points mean.

All of your brainstorming is gone.

Enter Facilitate.com – An electronic flip chart that captures and organizes your thoughts.

Using Facilitate.com you can:

  • Brainstorm and record your thoughts within the meeting
  • Categorize each bullet point and organize your concepts clearly
  • Vote on the best ideas and prioritize them
  • Create a schedule to implement your new objectives
  • Survey your attendees and find out how they felt about the session
  • Document, save and share the files for as long as you wish after the meeting

Take a look at how we used Facilitate.com at an event I produced for  Sun Healthcare Group.

Do you have conference planning woes? Leave a comment and I’ll help you out!