Archive for the ‘Corporate Event Success’ Category

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?

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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!

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!

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!

The Secret to Event Production Success

April 10, 2010

Many types of businesses have a very complex formula for success. However, the key to success in event production is deeply rooted in planning and delivering two important concepts; big and little ideas. Excellent corporate event production is similar to winning a baseball game. You need big, home-run type ideas to put runs on the board and deliver instant engagement. However, a good baseball team doesn’t neglect to perform the simple, fundamental tasks as well!

Jim Belushi performing with the Sacred Heart Band

A great example of a big idea I used during a sales force reception was inviting Jim Belushi and the Sacred Heart Band (above) to perform. Belushi and his band brought down the house and put energy and excitement into a company that was looking for a spark to get their team going. Needless to say, the mission was accomplished.

But as I mentioned one should never over look the little things that make a great event. For instance, have your C-Level team go from table to table and shake hands with everyone in the room. It may not seem like much but this is the type of gesture that really resonates with attendees.

It’s like I’ve always said, big Ideas can make impressions but little ideas can leave lasting impressions.

Have you been to a corporate event that had a great mix of big and little ideas? Tell me about it by leaving a comment!

Event Production 101: Staying out of the gutter or not!

April 2, 2010

Having a unique venue for your evening functions can make a corporate event. Often times event planners fail to place themselves in their client shoes, selecting venues out of routine. A large aspect of the success we’ve had at Esprit Productions can be directly related to our mindfulness of breaking routines.

You may ask, what makes a venue successful? A successful venue gives attendees options, engages audience members and creates positive participation amongst attendees!

For instance, I am currently producing a user conference for SmartSignal at the Swiss Hotel. I could have elected to hold the evening event with one of the usual suspects (a museum, a private room at a restaurant or a dinner cruise) but instead I chose Lucky Strike bowling lanes (above).

What sounds like more fun to you: Staying glued to your seat while you have another sit down dinner or giving a high five to the IT guy after picking up a 7-10 split?

Have you been to an event that picked a unique venue that really engaged attendees? Tell me about it by leaving a comment; I’m always looking for cool, new spots!

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!