Archive for the 'Meetings' Category

05
Jan
16

Post-event fulfillment reports: Setting the stage for sponsor renewals

plant in coins TFPost-event fulfillment reports consistently rank at the top of sponsor lists in terms of the most valuable services provided by conference hosts. According to the 2012 IEG/Performance Research Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey, fulfillment reports tied audience research as the most important service provided by conference hosts.

So what is a post-event fulfillment report? In a nutshell, it’s a report penned by a host organization and provided to sponsors following an event. It benefits sponsors in the following ways:

  • Helps sponsors justify their investments.
  • Builds internal support at sponsoring companies.
  • Demonstrates how conference hosts have over-delivered.
  • Sets the stage for renewal discussions.
  • Delivers gratitude on behalf of conference hosts (and their constituents).

While typically reserved for sponsors, fulfillment reports could easily be tailored to address the needs of exhibitors, speakers and attendees – any constituent group for whom an organization might wish to demonstrate a mutually beneficial partnership (particularly those who pay to attend events or for whom participation is otherwise uncompensated).

According to IEG, key elements of a post-event fulfillment report include:

  1. A brief (one-page) introduction and executive summary. Assuming it’s the only portion of the report some busy professionals will read, it should summarize key deliverables and include a short interpretation of the data.
  2. Participant/attendee information, including attendance figures, demographics and the results of any audience research (e.g., aggregate evaluation data).
  3. All on-site exposure documented through photos, samples and reproductions; the number of people who received promotional items or were exposed to advertising; and a comparison of quantities, location and position delivered versus what was promised.
  4. Any off-site exposure (e.g., print, television or radio).
  5. Trackable promotional results, including the number of people responding to sponsor campaigns.
  6. Any additional outcomes (e.g., donations to charitable organizations, employee participation or economic impact summary).

Business Communication Duplicate model

Additionally, consider adding in third-party endorsements or testimonials, including feedback or data from the event’s attendees or participants. Particularly impactful are pictures of attendees with their names, titles, organizations and insights.

The National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) offers one example of a post-event fulfillment report. In this case, NASC utilized issuu to display its report in an interactive and visually appealing platform. Issuu gives anyone with digitally bound content the ability to upload and distribute publications worldwide both quickly and easily.

So what does it take to develop and release your first post-event fulfillment report? Following are five tips to get you started:

  1. Dedicate staff resources. Assign someone as the lead and ensure multidisciplinary buy-in from all other supporting departments/staff.
  2. Make it an ongoing process. Create the basic template and keep it updated leading up to the event. Ensure all staff assignments onsite and post-event are clearly communicated. This should ensure the report is less tedious to complete post-event (with no lost information).
  3. Keep reports succinct. There’s no magic number – but you’ll know what’s right for the recipients of your report. Bullets, photos, charts and other brief expressions of content are always preferable to lengthy paragraphs.
  4. Consider the different audiences. A single report may be viewed by the chief executive officer, the chief financial officer, the marketing department and countless other individuals employed by your sponsoring organizations. Consider their needs and ensure your post-event fulfillment report meets them head-on.
  5. Deliver in a timely fashion. It’s best to complete and deliver a post-event fulfillment report within 30 days following an event.

Finally, a note about customization. While it would be optimal to customize every post-event fulfillment report before hand-delivering it to sponsors (e.g., custom cover page, sponsor-specific photos/data, testimonials naming the sponsor), that’s likely not feasible given our often limited time and resources. So, do your best. If nothing else, deliver the report via your organization’s email platform and be sure to personalize the recipient’s name.

29
Dec
15

Connecting for Maximum Event Success

View More: http://pinupbyginger.pass.us/anne-bonneys-final-edits

Anne Bonney

This month’s guest blog post is by Anne Bonney. She is a John Maxwell Team certified speaker, trainer and coach specializing in leadership and empowerment topics. Bonney has spent the last 20 years bringing this to leadership and educational roles with companies including Under Armour, Les Mills International, Town Sports International and The New England Aquarium. 

Thanks to Bonney for submitting her post! If you have a guest post to share, please send it to kristen@eventgarde.com.

Managing and executing events is a tough job – one you can’t do alone. Event planners have to rely on the help of vendors, staff and sometimes volunteers to make an event successful. If everyone is on the same page, and they respect your leadership, an event runs like clockwork and it’s a beautiful thing! Everyone wants that…so how can you be that kind of leader?

  • PROVIDE ALL THE INFORMATION: Create a template for your vendors, staff and volunteers that has all relevant information. Have others on your staff take a look at it to be sure it’s thorough. Try to create a standard template that you can use for each event.
  • PROVIDE ROLE CLARITY: Assigning roles and making sure everyone knows their area of responsibility prior to the event will allow you to supervise the whole event while your staffers manage each moving part.
    • Volunteers: Nothing is worse than showing up to volunteer and having nothing to do! Be sure that whomever is coordinating the volunteers has clear instructions and can give your volunteers all information before and during the event so they’re confident they had a positive effect on the success of the event.
    • Staff: Everyone should have a clear job. They should know what they’re doing, why and what it’s going to look like when they’re successful.
      • Assign captains so there’s one go-to person for each functional area of the event (registration, sponsors, AV and stage, food, talent, etc.). Once you’ve done that, and you’ve given the information and tools they need to be successful, empower them by letting them do their job!
    • ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES: Get in there when things get hairy. If things aren’t going as planned, be sure help get things back on track. When your staff and volunteers see you rolling up your sleeves and busting your butt too, they’re likely to work even harder for you.
    • LEARN PEOPLE’S NAMES: People love to hear their names, and when the busy person in charge of a large event remembers their names, it has a huge impact. There are tons of techniques to help you remember names. It will make a HUGE difference in people’s commitment to your event.
    • THANK EVERYONE: Without them, you’d be sunk, so tell people how much you appreciate their part in making the event successful. If you have the budget for a small gesture, even better, but a simple, well-timed “thank you, you’re making a difference” will go a long way in their commitment to you now, and how much they’re willing to help you in the future.

If you can do these things, your team will function like a well-oiled machine. And this will leave you free to deal with unforeseen challenges and create a team that’s energized and excited to be a part of your events.

Event Garde is a professional development consulting firm that employs a versatile skill set and a wealth of experience to create well-connected leaders. We’re committed to lifelong learning, for ourselves and for our clients, believing in its ability to produce transformational experiences that advance innovation. Sharing our deep knowledge, we’re dedicated to performance improvement for the professionals we serve and those who attend the events we facilitate.

 

22
Dec
15

Vote for us for best meeting planning company!

MIMEBO16_web_600x480_voteAs you probably gathered from our recap of 2015, it’s been a pretty awesome year for Event Garde!

And it shows.

Again this year, Event Garde has been nominated for the best meeting planning company for the Michigan Meetings + Events 2016 Best of Michigan Awards.

We’d love your support, and ask that you vote for us! Click here to vote.

Each year, Michigan Meetings + Events sponsors the readers choice awards. The MIM + E team chooses categories, which vary every year to reflect a changing industry. This year, some of the categories: best audio-visual provider; best caterer; best convention and visitors bureau; best college/university venue; best event rental company; best hotel with meeting/event space; and best service.

“Event Garde should win for best meeting planning company because our team not only believes in dynamic, meaningful and compelling learning and networking experiences, but is committed to operational excellence and the delivery of exceptional experiences, both for our clients and for their attendees,” said Aaron Wolowiec, founder and president of Event Garde.

With 3,000 votes received for 2015, last year’s Best of Michigan Awards final voter tally set a record, so let’s do it again! Voting is limited to one ballot per email address and voters must vote in at least 10 categories. Write-ins are an option.

Voting closes Feb. 2. The winners will be announced at the annual Best of Awards Party.

So…why should Event Garde win for the best meeting planning company?

Between May and November, Event Garde managed five major meetings and several other education events. As such, Wolowiec spent many hours on an airplane for speaking engagements. From Atlanta to Florida to Michigan, he spoke at 25 events on a range of topics. Audience size varied from three to 144, but in total, Wolowiec spoke to more than 1,200 people. Some of the topics: learning/how the brain learns; how to improve conferences and events; and membership.

IHS groupBut don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what others have to say:

“Aaron and his staff at Event Garde provided first-rate service to our nonprofit organization. Their professionalism and dedication to delivering a thorough and comprehensive analysis of our team’s annual conference planning process was present from start to finish. … We were encouraged to brainstorm solutions and outline the future of our conference and are motivated to take the lessons we’ve learned to improve our process for next year’s event! We appreciate the timeliness and promptness of Event Garde’s staff. They were crucial to making sure we stayed on schedule and made the best use of the time with our team.”
Julie Metty Bennett, Great Lakes Fishery Trust

“Aaron Wolowiec and the Event Garde team provided calm and confident direction, helping us remain focused. … Part of the benefit of working with Event Garde is the professionalism. They are excellent at handling challenging tasks and finding ways to minimize the stress, all while keeping the rest of us at ease knowing things are under control.”
Jean Jernigan, vice president of business development, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants

While we’re at it, Event Garde would like to give props to some of our friends in the profession. Below is a list of fellow nominees for whom we hope you vote!

Remember: Voting ends Feb. 2, so please consider voting for Event Garde for the best meeting planning company. As always, thank you for entrusting us to help you learn, network and transfer differently.

Event Garde is a professional development consulting firm that employs a versatile skill set and a wealth of experience to create well-connected leaders. We’re committed to lifelong learning, for ourselves and for our clients, believing in its ability to produce transformational experiences that advance innovation. Sharing our deep knowledge, we’re dedicated to performance improvement for the professionals we serve and those who attend the events we facilitate.

 

30
Nov
15

The circle of [meetings] life: 4 steps to facilitate the most productive meeting ever

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Last month, I had the opportunity to present a session on meeting management (e.g., a staff meeting, a committee meeting or a board meeting) to a group of volunteer leaders. We started by viewing the following (hilarious!) YouTube video depicting every meeting ever.

After debriefing the video, which included a discussion of many of the personalities/bad habits represented (e.g., The Time Nazi, Get Here When You Can Guy and The Negator), we launched into my four steps for facilitating the most productive meeting ever (which you may find helpful in managing your own meetings).

Step 1: Create and launch an effective meeting agenda.

  • The Circle of [Meetings] Life must begin somewhere
  • Agenda should be drafted/distributed a minimum of one week out
  • For the first “formal” agenda, plan for 30-60 minutes of prep
  • Follow the template:
    • Organization
    • Committee/task force/meeting name
    • Date
    • Start and end times
    • Location/dial-in information
    • Welcome
    • Attendance
    • Content
    • Parking lot
    • Adjourn
  • Clarify meeting goals/objectives
  • Be thorough – amass all possible discussion items
  • Consolidate agenda items/content for efficiency
  • Be clear about the pre-work:
    • Ask participants to review the agenda
    • Ask participants for additional agenda items
    • Ask participants to come prepared with responses, decisions, ideas, examples and the like

Step 2: Examine the role of meeting facilitator.

  • Attend to logistics prior to the meeting
  • Learn to be cognizant both of your role as facilitator and of your environment
  • Start the meeting on time
  • Have a welcome prepared (to prevent rambling)
  • Take roll call
    • In person: Allow participants to say their names aloud in a logical manner around the room (perhaps clockwise)
    • On phone: Call out participant names in alpha order
  • Dig into the content swiftly (within five minutes of the start of the meeting)
  • Add off-topic questions/comments to the parking lot and return to them at the end of the meeting
  • Be aware of your environment and truly facilitate/drive the meeting forward
    • Time – consider how much time you think each section of the agenda will take and note these times on your copy of the agenda; move conversations forward that seem to be taking too long or are “stuck”
    • Participation – ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in the meeting, either by round robin or by calling on quiet participants
    • Action items – as decisions are made, ensure the following questions are answered:
      • What is the action to be taken?
      • Who is to complete it?
      • By when?
  • Be aware of/handle distractors:
    • Thank them for their comments
    • Provide feedback, if appropriate
    • Redirect the conversation
  • Establish the next meeting date/time or commit to sending a Doodle immediately following the meeting
  • Return to the parking lot, time permitting
  • Thank everyone for their participation before adjourning
  • Try to end the meeting early by 5-10 minutes; this will allow everyone time to start in on their action items

Step 3: Identify strategies for writing clear and timely minutes.

  • Minutes should be drafted/distributed the same day as the meeting
  • For the first “formal” minutes, plan for 30 minutes (write this time into your calendar as if it were a meeting)
  • Use your agenda as the template
  • Take draft minutes during the meeting
  • If you’re facilitating a majority of the meeting, identify someone else who can take notes
  • Following the meeting, clean up the minutes and edit out superfluous information
  • Highlight all action items – what, who, when; consider different colors for different meeting participants
  • Ensure meeting goals/objectives have been met
  • Be clear about the post-work:
    • Ask participants to review the minutes
    • Ask participants to complete their assigned action items within the designated timeframes
    • Ask participants to add the next meeting to their calendars

Step 4: Describe a successful post-meeting routine focused on action.

  • Serve as a good role model by completing your action items timely
  • Determine the priority of the remaining action items and follow-up accordingly:
    • Extremely important action items – add to your calendar and follow up with the owner if not completed
    • Less important action items – allow the participants to be accountable to one another
  • Draft/distribute the next meeting agenda
  • The Circle of [Meetings] Life begins again…
What strategies have you found most successful in managing The Circle of [Meetings] Life? What tips or tricks have you found most valuable in facilitating the most productive meeting ever?
13
Oct
15

Small but mighty meetings

cwmeeting1.jpg.441x331_defaultThink back to your college days. Remember those massively packed, overwhelming lecture halls? Was it hard to pay attention? Did you feel like a minnow in a sea of students swimming upstream?

I did.

Then, think back to your smaller classes (even if that only happened in high school). Wasn’t it easier to focus? Didn’t you feel a bit more important when the professor/teacher actually saw your hand…and called on you?

Now apply those same scenarios to the workplace. How much do you really get done in hugely packed meeting rooms?

When it comes to strategy and long-term planning, small groups are much more effective. Confidence is higher. Communication flows.

And so, it makes sense that in a recent Successful Meetings survey on small meeting trends for this year, event professionals ranked strategizing as the best goal for small meetings. Training came in a close second and team building took the No. 3 spot.

Also in the survey, Successful Meetings members viewed meetings with 25 people or fewer as “small meetings.”

As for location? A city center took the top spot. Think place-based education, yes? Hosting small meetings allow organizations to showcase local hot spots – and yes, even a favorite eatery works. But resort and hotels nearly tied for second and third place favorites.

However, surprisingly, 46 percent of respondents indicated they don’t use social media for small meetings. Perhaps that’s because face-to-face interaction is conducive to small settings, but it seems social media should have a presence, regardless of size. At the same time, 70 percent of survey participants indicated they don’t offer online components.

That said, of those who indicated they employ social media for small meetings, Facebook was the most common platform. Members ranked LinkedIn and Twitter as second and third.

The biggest challenge to small meetings planning? Room negotiation rates. Finding available dates presents the second largest challenge, followed by securing suitable function space onsite.

So what do you think? What trends do you predict for small meetings in 2016?

29
Sep
15

Cool app! Now what?

5-steps-to-launch-checklist(infographic)It seems there’s an app for everything, right?

Meeting and event professionals are raving about event apps, which allow everything from registration to hotel check-in to real-time social media conversation.

But if no one knows about an app, it’s worthless. The trick, according to Results at Hand, is to promote it.

Results at Hand just released “5 Steps to Successfully Launch an Event App,” an infographic with tips for gaining loyal app lovers.

The five steps: email marketing; website; publications; social media; and venue signage.

Think about these “steps” as touch points – the vehicles through which you reach your event attendees. While text can be different depending on the audience – you probably want fun text for social media but serious for your website – the goal should be the same: promote.


Email marketing

Email is an effective way to reach a large group of people, and with email, you can provide event participants with directions about how to use the app. Start with your registration list, but also, when you email people about attending an event, make sure to plug your app.

Website
Thanks to Google, a company’s website is probably the first place event attendees looking for details will visit. So create a new section with details about the app. Or, better yet, let them download it from the website.

Publications
All written communications should include information about the app, especially program materials. For event guides, explain to attendees how to get the event schedule via your app. Or write a feature story about the app in your trade magazine.

Social media
Messaging may be different across social media platforms, but leading up to the event, use social networks to share app tips and submit feedback.
Tip from Results at Hand: Remember to have fun with your posts! Run a contest, start discussions, share setup pics and shout out to your speakers.

Venue signage
Signage should be placed around the venue and should display download instructions for the app as well as QR codes.

22
Sep
15

Making friends…not just a sale

Event/meeting planners: Remember the days of paper RFPs?

Well, some of you may still be doing those…but technology has revolutionized the meetings industry – on both sides.

According to a new Social Tables report, technological advances and social media have changed the way hotel sales teams network with meeting planners.

Full Report_ How Technology is Increasing Group Revenue at Top Hotels_Page_06“With most people now familiar with a wide range of devices, software and apps, this is spurring a rise in ‘social selling,’ where hotel sales teams are often building relationships with planners on social media to establish common bonds outside the sales process,” the report says.

Social selling is the philosophy that sales people approach customers first as a person, then as a sales person and lastly as a company. It’s about being empathetic and genuine, rather than just trying to “land a client.”

And LinkedIn is proving to be an effective tool, which sales staff use to research clients’ profiles to determine their needs. LinkedIn and other social media platforms allow sales teams to gather important company information, such as business philosophies, missions and goals.

“Social selling and social media are ways to rebuild relationships between buyers and suppliers, as long as both parties come to the table in the spirit of co-creation to strategize about meeting design and deliverables as much as hammering out a sales deal,” the authors wrote.

And with the advent of technology comes digital sharing systems. The report states hotel brands are creating internal systems to share client information among venues. This knowledge sharing is a huge boon for meeting planners, who as a result don’t have to start from scratch with every transaction. At the same time, hotels are using the portals to earmark client preferences, which in turn fosters loyalty.

In addition, mobile and cloud-based technologies have allowed hotel sales teams to work with event planners more strategically and efficiently.

“Key is being able to make changes and track analytics from remote locations on mobile devices in real time via cloud-based platforms, with the additional ability to customize levels of access for different partners and colleagues, if desired,” Social Tables says.

Full Report_ How Technology is Increasing Group Revenue at Top Hotels_Page_03In other words: Meeting planners rarely work strictly 8-to-5 jobs, and cloud technology allows information to be stored and accessible 24-7.

Some key takeaways from the report:

  • Beyond rates, dates and space, hotel sales executives are delivering more content and are being asked to provide much more detail about the “experience” of the hotel. Mimicking other industries, hotels are abuzz with content marketing.
  • Technology is now integrated into the entire sales process, with electronic RFPs and registration software. Social Tables says, “Major hospitality brands are developing a full suite of event technology products in-house that are significantly assisting planners with end-to-end meeting management.”
  • Meanwhile, independent hotels and smaller hotel brands are using technology to partner with third-party venues and software vendors to provide highly customized, full-service meeting and event programs. Regardless of size and space, hotels are investing in integrated digital content platforms. And they’re also engaging in social media conversations with community players, suppliers and buyers.

So…what do you think meeting planners? Have things changed?




meet aaron

Association learning strategist & meetings coach. Founder & president of Event Garde. Passionate about cooking, running, blogging, old homes, unclehood & pet parenting (thanks to Lillie the pup).

meet kristen

Writer, editor, public relations professional. Digital content manager. Proud mom of three. Total word geek. Spartan for life.

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