Tech Tip: Brand the Set

April 13, 2010

In today’s high tech, constantly changing visual world it is not just enough to put a logo on the set and light it. As we began to produce Nielsen’s upcoming customer conference at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, we wanted to create a stage that would have movement, color and animation. Our idea was to create an exciting environment for these leading marketing and media professionals from around the world.

To make this happen we are using Barco’s MiTrix that allows us to create impactful visuals and animations to change the look and feel of the set throughout the sessions. Thanks to this technology, we can turn a flat, stagnant set  into an innovative, visual experience to engage our attendees!

Barco’s MiTrix can:

  • Project images or animations
  • Set different size screens, leaving endless creative possibilities
  • Take a boring space and transform it into an exciting display of image projection

Take a look at how MiTrix turned this empty space into the focal point of the room:

Do you use another way to turn a “blah” space into a brilliant space? 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!

Snapshots: GranTree Reunion

April 6, 2010

I recently released a few posts about the GranTree reunion I attended in beautiful Las Vegas! Here are a few shots from our weekend event:


Doing what I love, producing and overseeing corporate events!

Don't we look like the Rat Pack version 2.0? Gotta love Vegas!

Having fun and keeping the event lively is the key to having audience engagement. Plus, it is just plain fun to see your friends and colleagues looking silly

I have a request, show me your favorite shot you’ve taken at a corporate event or reunion lately! I’d love to see 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!

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!