Archive for the ‘Meeting Planning Tips’ Category

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!


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!

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!

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!

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!