- Your professional headline and picture compel them to click on your profile. Make certain you have a photo! Without one, they are less likely to make the connection.
- Make sure you have a LinkedIn company page and that you are connected to it. Without this connection, it says you and your organization may not be legitimate.
- Post value-driven content about your meeting, conference, or industry once a day.
Easy Way to Get Started: Within 24 hours after a meeting or networking event, enter the individuals you met into LinkedIn and request a connection.
- Make sure your summary section is well written.
- Be sure it speaks directly to your ideal attendee and positions your credibility in the industry.
- End your summary section with a call to action. Ask the person to register for your conference, go to your website or email you for more information.
Easy Way to Get Started: Work the top 10 search words for your event into your summary section.
A fast, reliable and secure Internet connection is probably the most crucial part of an event's success and yet, it is probably the most misunderstood metric. And it isn't becoming an easier. Just like a gallon of coffee is priced differently from city to city and venue to venue, so are Internet charges. But unlike coffee where you can have a pretty good estimation of the amount you need based on the number of attendees at your event, Wi-Fi is much harder to understand.
Here are four ways corporate meeting planners can use to help keep event Wi-Fi costs under control:
Stop Being an Ostrich.
All the things that make good planners great, like negotiating the right amount of F&B and a competitive room block, are now parlayed with the need to negotiate and understand Wi-Fi services. You don't need to be an expert, but it is important that you have the knowledge to ask the right questions of the venue and supplier in order to meet your attendees' needs.
Know Your Bandwidth Needs.
The concept of bandwidth is relatively easy. Think of a pipe pushing something through it. The larger the pipe, the simplier the flow (such as water) and the less pipes coming into the major pipe from different sources, the easier and faster it is for the water to get from Point A to Point B .
Same with bandwidth.The larger the pipe, the less connections to the Internet and the simplier the data packet are all elements of making the transportation of data fast. But this is where you have to be clear and understand exactly what devices your event participants are bringing and how they will use those devices. For example, free Wi-Fi is usually shared among all the venue's guests and if your event attendees are streaming video and connecting mulitple devices to the network, you can see how the system could slow down or even break.
Chances are you will need to rent a Wi-Fi network array especially if your event is large and the data transmission is complex.
Start Your Bandwidth Negotiations Early in Your Planning Process.
Once you know what you need, now you need to put a contract in place. Just like anything else associated with a event -- guest rooms, food and renting audio visual equipment -- this requires time, patience and understanding. Negotiation is just that...going back and forth in order to get what you want at the price point that will work for your budget.
Go with a Wi-Fi Expert.
Many organizations and venues claim to be Wi-Fi experts, but in the end, they really don't have the experience to know what to do with your requirements. Ask probing questions and make certain to obtain referrals highlighting events that are simular to yours. Most important, ask how they will manage the "peaks and valleys" of bandwidth demand.
AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, has been delivering successful Wi-Fi network arrays to events since 2011. They have both the knowledge and equipment to make certain your Internet connection is fast, robust and secure. Check out their Facebook Fan Page for great tips on how to manage your WiFi at events!
In a recent study by Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), they polled 2,415 users from six countries and found many employees were very interested in BYOD and even willing to pay for them. Here is a highlight of the study:
- With a strong BYOD policy, organizations can save $1,300 per year per mobile device.
- Workers are willing to pay $965 out-of-pocket for their own devices and $734 annually for data plans.
- BYOD workers are happier and more productive, saving over 70 hours a year in productivity gains.
- 81% of the BYOD devices were smartphones
- 56% were tablets
- 37% were laptops
According to Cisco, the key takeaway from this study is employers need to have a strong and strategic BYOD policy that enables employees to access corporate tools and data while they continue to be vigilant about security.
So, how can the the meeting industry adapt to this and be prepared, especially as the demand to be green, paperless and mobile continues into the future? Here are three things to help you prepare for the inevitable:
Determine well in advance of your meeting, the applications you are planning on using and supporting.
Not all apps will run on every mobile device. Because smartphones, tablets and laptops are of different dimensions, most developers will only support a few device types. Choose the app that works best for your meeting, not necessarily the one that is supported on a variety of mobile platforms.
Have a strong and strategic BYOD policy for all your meetings and communicate it regularly to attendees.
Once you decide on the meeting apps, you need to be clear about what devices you will and will not support. Then, you need to have a plan to allow attendees, speakers and exhibitors to be included in the meeting, even if you do not support their devices. For example, if you decide on the iPad platform, you may need to rent iPads for those meeting participants that do own one.
Make certain you have enough bandwidth to support all devices.
According to Cisco, the average BYOD user owns 1.7 devices. If they bring a tablet and a smartphone and use both of them on the Wi-Fi network, it will tug at network performance. Understanding what devices attendees are bringing and how they will be using those devices at your meeting, will allow you to engage in an intelligent conversation about Wi-Fi with the venue. In many cases, what the venue offers will not be enough. Renting a Wi-Fi network array to meet your meeting needs may be a real possibility.
AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, can provide you with a plethora of total technology options including iPads, laptops and Wi-Fi network array systems. Give them a call at 888.249.4903 to get the process started!
With four generations -- Mature, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y (or commonly referred to as Millennials) --- in the workplace today, it can be a marketing puzzler for exhibitors to determine what will attract each generation to the show and the exhibitor's booth. Of particular concern to event planners are Millennials. Because of their technological savvy, one might ask if trade shows are going "bye-bye" in the next few years.
According to a recent study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) where they interviewed 9,000 attendees and 800 exhibitors, trade shows are going to be more viable than ever before.
Here are the highlights of the survey and the many ways technology can help in your quest to keep and obtain more attendees.
90% of the respondents indicated the value of exhibitions today is the same or greater than it was in 2011.
This is great news! This means attendees are getting real value out of attending a show and can justify the expense and time away from the office.
53% of respondents between 18-27 years old (Gen Y) indicated they plan to attend more exhibitions in the next two years.
Again, great news! The youngest generation is seeing a clear-cut value in trade show attendance.
50% of Millennials indicated their primary reason for attending a trade show was for inspiration and motivation.
So, how can you inspire and motivate? Perhaps having C-Suite management in your booth or connecting them live with attendees through a video wall. Or hiring motivational speakers that can give a brief talk and autograph their book. Brainstorm ways to do both and make certain to use interactive technology tool rentals such as iPads and computer kiosks to tell your story.
31% of Millennials indicated that online interaction before the trade show increased their participation in the event.
Using a social backchannel or online community to allow attendees to mingle and interact before the event, is what Gen Yers are interested in. How are you getting them interested in your event? Are you asking for their input and feedback? Getting them conversational before the event and then keeping the conversation going is important to your success.
20% of Baby Boomers and 19% of Gen Xers ranked "making a purchase" as the top reason for attending.
The morale of the story: Don't hard sell your products or services. Make an impression and by all means follow-up! It is so much easier to follow-up with attendees on an automated Lead Retrieval System!
"The good news is that face-to-face interactions at exhibitions are highly valued by professionals of all generations, including younger professionals. The fear that the relevance of this medium will wane with younger professionals is not evidenced in this study," said Nancy Drapeau, Research Director at CEIR.
For more helpful insights what the future holds for trade shows, check out this AVES blog as to how they might look in 2016.
Many times when I speak to planners about their AV and IT meeting needs, their eyes glaze over because the technological options and rate of change can be overwhelming and daunting to them. However, AV and IT (due to increasing bandwidth demands) are what make most meetings, events and trade shows tick. Admit it: without them, your meeting would be dead in the water.
Here is the overarching question...
How can meeting planners understand what they are doing when renting audio visual equipment without sucking up all their valuable time and resources in the process?
If you follow these four simple rules, your life and the process will become much easier.
Rule #1: Set your budget early.
Knowing how much you can spend on AV equipment and labor helps the audio visual provider select the right products to meet your budgetary needs. Don't expect a flashy production performance if your budget is only $10,000 for the entire conference. And by all means, don't rely on last-minute sponsors to make up the budget difference.
The key here is to be realistic about what you need. If the AV company cannot provide what you want and need given your budget, they will tell you. Then, it will be your job to garner more money from the organization or live with what you can afford.
Rule #2: Ask for help.
Who know the venue space better than anyone? You got it: the venue sales and event staff! Paint a picture for them about what you envision for your event. Ask them to share with you what works and what doesn't in that space. Ask for suggestions about ways you can make your event stand out.
By the same token, the conference equipment rental firm can help you create a specific mood or feel to the event. By utilizing sound and lighting rental options, the AV technicians and project managers will give your event the look and feel you desire.
Rule #3: Get everything in writing.
In order to avoid confusion and last-minute change orders -- which can have a significant toll on your budget --- ask your speakers and exhibitors to provide their interactive technology tool rental needs in writing to you. Survey your attendees about what mobile technology they plan to bring to the meeting and how they plan to use it.
Pass along all your information to the pertinent partners as soon as you receive it.
Most importantly, put together a communication plan so all partners are working together toward the same objective: a very successful conference.
Rule #4: Choose one AV partner.
There are many advantages in working with one partner, including the possibility of obtaining a multi-event and/or multi-year contract with them that can afford your organization some discounting options. In addition, when you work with one partner they know your meeting needs very well. A national organization with branch locations throughout the United States can give you the benefit of breadth of products and depth of expertise -- all with a local company feel.
The Convention Industry Council (CIC) Standards Committee headed by MaryAnne Bobrow, President of Bobrow Associates, Inc., determined it doesn't make sense to send suppliers a Wi-Fi RFP form because technology is changing at such a rapid pace. It is better to enter a discussion about attendee, speaker and exhibitor needs while taking into account current and future technological enhancements.
Here is an excerpt of what Bobrow shared in a recent CMP Today article and some observations on how meeting planners can be better prepared to give everyone at the meeting the best bandwidth available.
- How many attendees will be at your meeting?
- How many devices will each attendee bring to the meeting? Be certain to ask whether or not they have a smartphone and if it has a data plan.
- What will they be doing with their mobile devices -- checking email, posting on social sites, or video surfing?
- What meeting apps are you going to use? Are the apps native or web-based?
- Are there virtual attendees at your conference? If so, how many?
The number of attendees, total devices and usage will give you a good idea on the amount of bandwidth you need.
- What applications will they be using?
- Will they be utilizing video streaming?
- Will they be collaborating with others remotely, such as for a training session?
- Will they be setting up their own private networks? If so, please note that radio signals from different networks can interfere with each other and the network you or the venue is providing for attendees.
- What are the Wi-Fi demands of your exhibitors?
- How many devices will they have accessing the Internet and what type of apps will be running on those devices?
GENERAL QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION
Will the venue's network be shared or dedicated? Can the venue partition the network, if you require a dedicated system?
Shared is exactly that, it is what the hotel or conference center has set aside for use by any guest or meeting attendee. Shared bandwidth is not very secure and depending on the number of devices on the system and its use, the Internet can be very, very slow.
Dedicated bandwidth, which can be provided to you when you rent a Wi-Fi network array, is guaranteed for your use only and is recommended when you have a large meeting and/or when information shared at the meeting is sensitive or confidential.
How will the Wi-Fi network be managed and who will manage it? Having a skilled AV staff can set your mind at ease. If the venue doesn't provide the necessary resources, look outside for support.
- What is the age of the venue's Wi-Fi system and what technologies does it support? This is very important especially if attendees, speakers and exhibitors are utilizing state-of-the-art interactive technology tool rentals.
To explore a Wi-Fi booster for your next meeting, event or trade show, contact AV Event Solutions at 888.249.4903!
Hosted Buyer programs have been catching some traction over the last couple of years. Rather than luring attendees to your booth with giveaways and contests, this system allows "buyers" (attendees) and "sellers" (exhibitors) to sit across from each other and talk one-on-one for an allotted time period.
Brian Perkins a Partner at Highliner Events, LLC stated that two exhibitors at his hosted buyer seafood event closed $8 million of business.
Gregg Herning, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Peabody Hotels said his sales team expects to close up to $8 million in business from MPI's WEC hosted buyer program.
Because they are small in scope, they allow buyers and sellers to forge a real connection.
There is no traditional trade show floor, just timed face-to-face meetings.
"Long before the actual face-to-face meetings, both planners and suppliers can see what products and services work best for them and they can set up appointments, so they can prepare and speak accordingly," said Meaghan Ferrazza, Event Operations Manager for MPI.
Exhibitors save money because the cost of the booth is reduced and they only have to ship a limited amount of marketing collateral and giveaways.
If exhibitors rent iPads, their costs go down even further because all information can be accessed from the mobile device and sent directly to the buyer's email account.
ROI is easier to justify because exhibitors know in advance the buyers they will be meeting with and what they are looking for from the seller. Business won can be traced directly back to the program.
- Buyers are pre-qualified and have to have "x" amount of business planned in the next 12-18 months. Because of this prequalification, sellers take the buyers very seriously.
AV Event Solutions is a professional, affordable, experienced California-based event services company that is now part of the SmartSource Rentals national family! They can offer state-of-the-art interactive technology tool rentals for your next hosted buyer program. Get the process started today through their Express Quote form!
With a growing world population, increased concern about global warming and landfill limitations, it is in the best interest of the meeting industry to limit all resources used at any event. One of the ways to get everyone on board and involved is to announce that from now on, all of your meetings and events will be "green". If you have already adapted green policies, great! But if you are looking for ways to improve the ecofriendliness of your event, here are 20 simple ideas that will make a difference.
- Ask the venue to put recycling stations everywhere a trash container is located. Encourage attendees to recycle their plastic, glass and aluminum containers.
- Recycle plastic badge holders for future use.
- Donate meeting banners to organizations that will recycle them into message bags, file folders, wallets or attendee goody bags.
- Eliminate all paper by using interactive technology tool rentals such as iPads, computer kiosks, touch screens, and wireless Audience Response Systems.
- Drop print advertising. Shift those dollars to a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign for your event.
- Eliminate paper registration. Manage attendee registration process through online booking engines, such as Cvent, Eventbrite or Constant Contact.
- Provide session video recordings online. If attendees want to review a speaker after the session, provide a URL link to YouTube. No jump drives or DVDs mean no shipping costs, no materials to be purchased and most importantly, no hassle.
- Eliminate bottled water and replace with pitchers of water.
- Obtain an accurate meeting count. This will allow you to have the right amount of food and beverage.
- Turn off all the light switches when you leave the meeting rooms.
Understand all the transportation options attendees have to get to your meeting and promote those ways on your website.
Utilize bus shuttle service to get attendees to and from the airport.
If they must rent a car, let them know where to rent hybrid or electric cars.
If your destination has a high walkability score, use that information in your marketing efforts.
Encourage attendees to walk to local restaurants and attractions or share a cab.
Go local for everything. Sourcing everything local from the food to renting audio visual equipment saves money on transportation and shipping.
- Replaced paper and plastic serving items with glass, china, and cloth napkins.
- Arrange for all leftover food and beverages to be transported to a local food kitchen.
- Replace one-time use posters and signage with digital signage rental units.
- Renting audio visual equipment provides you with all your meeting technology needs at a fraction of the cost it would be to purchase, maintain and store that equipment at your company site.
AV Event Solutions, now part of SmartSource Rentals, is available to help you make your next meeting green! Give them a call today at 888.249.4903 to learn more about their total technology solutions.
Every speaker wants to accomplish three things by the end of their talk:
- Have great stage presence
- Be well liked and accepted by their audience and
- Obtain additional speaking gigs or be asked back to speak the following year
Chris Anderson, Curator of TED (Technology, Entertain and Design) stated in the latest edition of Harvard Business Review that most speakers miss the boat because they are uncomfortable giving presentations. His mission is to help inexperienced presenters to become polished speakers. Anderson said his tips can be used for any presentation -- whether it be a CEO addressing stakeholders at an annual meeting, a brand manager organizing a product launching event, or a start-up pitching their idea to a venue capitalist.
His suggestions may seem common sense in nature but it is always good to review what works and what doesn't when it comes to delivering an effective presentation.
FRAME THE STORY
Anderson stated the audience wants to listen to the presenter's story and be taken on a journey, so it is extremely important to know where to start and end the presentation. With TED, each speaker is given 18 precious minutes to tell their story.
First, start by asking two basic questions about the audience members:
- What do they already know about your subject matter?
- How much do they care about it?
Anderson stated once you know the answer to these two questions, the goal of any speaker's presentation is to:
- Introduce the topic,
- Explain why they care so deeply about it by presenting in-depth, vivid details and
- Convince the audience they should do the same.
BOTTOM LINE: Your speakers need to tell a deep-dive story they can effectively deliver in 18 minutes.
PLAN THE DELIVERY
Anderson stated there are 3 ways to deliver a talk:
- Read it from a script or teleprompter
- Develop a set of bullet points and show it on PowerPoint presentation equipment or
- Memorize it.
He stated the most effective talks were memorized, but he also realizes not everyone has the time to rehearse and remember. So the next best option above is #2 as long as your speaker doesn't read the slides.
BOTTOM LINE: Choose a presentation platform that can aid in the delivery of your speaker's story, not detract from it.
DEVELOP STAGE PRESENCE
There are many ways to keep the audience focused on the speaker. Here are four ways he said that can help any presenter increase their presence:
- Keep their lower body motionless (many speakers move their body from side to side or shift their weight while on stage)
- Make eye contact as often as possible with different parts of the room
- Breathe deeply before going on stage to combat nervousness and
- Be authentic.
BOTTOM LINE: Speakers need to find ways to continually connect with their audience.
PLAN FOR EFFECTIVE MULTIMEDIA
Here are Anderson's presentation services audio visual equipment tips:
- Don't use a slide deck as a substitute for notes
- Don't read the slides
- Use photographs, graphics and illustrations
- Explore alternatives to PowerPoint, such as Prezi
- Automatically advance your slides after so many seconds or minutes so the speaker doesn't hurry through the ending slides
- Use silence to your benefit
- Videos are effective especially if they are 60 seconds or less in length
- Don't self-promote
BOTTOM LINE: Use visually orientated slides that help resonate your message with your audience.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
For TED, speakers need to prepare their talk for delivery 6 months before the TED conference and practice it in front of others for constructive feedback and criticism.
BOTTOM LINE: Practice before friends, family and smaller organizations. Take their criticism seriously and tailor the presentation to be more effective.
Are you event planning in California? Call AV Event Solutions for a complete quote on PowerPoint equipment including LCD projectors and screen rentals.
Is Technology STILL Missing from Your Meetings? Look at the Seven Ways it can Help Your Meeting Grow
Technology -- if used correctly --- should provide positive impact to every area of your event from registration to feedback. It is meant to save time, resources and amplify content. Yet, many planners still are not using it because they don't want to change the status quo, are uncomfortable with technology or are unsure of what they need.
Let's take a look at some of the old and new ways of running a typical meeting and the benefits the right technology can offer to you.
OLD WAY: Gather testimonials from paper surveys about your meeting and post them on your website several days or weeks later.
NEW WAY: Rent iPads for attendees -- preloaded with social media -- that allows attendees to amplify the content, speakers and post testimonials on a real time basis.
BENEFITS: Rather than waiting on your webmaster to post "old" data, attendees are providing fresh, conversational postings themselves which lend to more credibility for your event.
OLD WAY: Print paper conference binders that attendees have to lug around -- in addition to their laptop and smartphone.
NEW WAY: Utilize meeting apps that allow attendees to BYOD to the meeting or rent Tablet PCs that are light and easy for attendees to carry around at the conference.
BENEFITS: Major savings on printing, assembling, shipping and storing binders. In addition, content can be updated and changed instantaneously.
OLD WAY: Complete paper surveys and have staff members enter them into an Excel spreadsheet.
NEW WAY: Secure Audience Response System rental units where attendees can answer questions instantly, anonymously and the data can be retained for further analysis.
BENEFITS: Your staff is freed up to do other event related tasks, participation is greatly improved and it is very easy for attendees to complete the survey.
OLD WAY: Gather leads by collecting business cards at your booth.
NEW WAY: Rent a lead retrieval system that can capture accurate data about the attendee in a few seconds.
BENEFIT: More qualified and accurate leads will be collected because you will know exactly what product information each attendee wants.
OLD WAY: Rely on the venue's Wi-Fi system, even if it doesn't have enough bandwidth.
NEW WAY: Understand the apps, uses and devices for your meeting and plan Wi-Fi use accordingly including the possibility of renting a network array.
BENEFIT: Before the meeting starts, you will have a good handle on bandwidth needs and have the right solution implemented.
OLD WAY: Let the presenter do all the talking and keep your sessions long.
NEW WAY: Keep your sessions short and let the attendees drive the meeting through their questions and comments generated from their mobile devices.
BENEFIT: Attendees are driving content direction thus making them feel it is their meeting, not yours.
OLD WAY: The meeting will either be face-to-face or a webinar.
NEW WAY: Hybrid meetings allow the best of both worlds.
BENEFIT: Attendees who really want to be at the meeting, but cannot be due to workload or budgetary demands, can view and participate in the event on a real-time basis.
AV Event Solutions has state-of-the art interactive technology tool rentals and a full grasp of how technology benefits meeting organizers, attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. They are ready and willing to help you deliver better, technology driven events.
I don't think most meeting planners equate their words as power statements -- but they are.
Because you often are the "go-to" person for attendees, sponsors, venues and exhibitors, it is important that the following words be banned and replaced with more positive statements in order to keep your meetings thriving and growing.
Here are the words, what they mean to the recipient and the replacement statements that can work in your favor.
"Never." When you use the word never, it means final and there is no hope for change. It is an "all-or-nothing" phrase and should be taken out of your vocabulary for two reasons: First, the landscape of meetings and events is changing rapidly. Second, you might change your mind. Instead say the following when approached with a proposal or opportunity:
"I will look into it and get back to you." This opens you up to new possibilities and shows you are open to listening, compromise and creating good will. The important thing in this process is to keep the communication going and let them know where you are in the process. Even if the answer is no, you did your best and opened the door for change.
"Always". Using this word, shows rigidity and righteousness. You are saying to your sponsors, partners or exhibitors that you are right, they are wrong and you really don't care if things have changed for them or their business. A better option would be:
"What would you like to change? How can I help?" This shows understanding and the ability to learn. If your primary sponsor always paid $10,000 for your meeting and this year they can only afford $8,000, try to find out what has changed and how you can work with them. Don't discount their loyalty to your organization or meeting, it might be they are just having a very difficult financial year.
"But." This word shows a lack of integrity and insincerity. You negate whatever was said before. For example, an attendee comes to you and complains that the meeting room is too cold. Your response is, "I'm sorry that you are uncomfortable BUT the temperature is not something I can control." This simple little word does not lend itself to building trust or credibility. This is much better:
"I'm sorry. I will do everything in my power to fix it." Then fix it and follow up. Don't blame others for the problem -- attendees don't want to hear it. They want to know that you understand what is bothering them and you are doing everything in your power to make things better. Communicating with them via mobile devices is one way to keep them up-to-date.
Take the time to think about the impact of your words before you speak them to meeting participants. Find words that are conducive to creating trust. In the end, attendees and partners alike want to be heard and appreciated. Are you doing everything in your power to create this type of environment?
AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, has interactive technology tools rentals such as iPads, computer kiosks and wireless Audience Response Systems. Give them a call at 888.249.4903 to get your AV process started and be assured they do not have the three words above in their vocabulary!
The Millennial Generation, or commonly referred to as "Gen Y" consists of individuals born between 1980 - 1995 (ages 18 to 33 years old). This is the group of individuals most business organizations are focused on because they will be running our corporations, government entities and meetings in a few years.
PwC, in conjunction with the University of Southern California and London Business School, conducted a global generational study of 1,000 Millennials from 18 global territories. Because 66% of PwC's workforce consists of Millennials, it was important for them to find out if the stereotypes were accurate.
Meeting Speak Translation: Millennial meeting planners are not going to stay up all night and travel on weekends to work a meeting. In the same light, this class of attendee is not going to want to travel on Sundays or take late night flights. They want balance and in the evening they want to participate in fun, exciting activities that do not revolve around work or the conference.
- Create a flexible work culture -- Don't have every minute planned at the conference. Give attendees choices and plenty of opportunity to network.
- Fully leverage technology --- This generation is particularly savvy with mobile technology and their apps. Rent iPads, touch screens and computer kiosks. Put Gen Ys in charge of helping other attendees feel comfortable with this technology.
- Build a sense of community -- Online and off, communities can help keep the group connected before, during and after the meeting.
- Consider introducing or accelerating your global mobility program -- This group of attendees can help grow and develop international meetings.
AV Event Solutions is here to help you attract and retain Millennial attendees by offering state-of-the-art total technology solutions for your next meeting or event!
As the summer heats up, an employee appreciation event is a great way to get everyone together in a social, casual setting. Whether you host a company picnic on your grounds or you have a networking reception at a local restaurant, getting employees together in a non-work setting, shows them your organization cares and is willing to go the extra mile.
Appreciation events have been shown to improve employee loyalty, reduce attrition and create or maintain a positive work environment. Knowing the benefits of this type of event are great, but what do you need to know in order to pull one off? Below is a planning checklist of things to consider:
What is the goal of the event?
Other than getting everyone together in a social setting, what is the goal? Here are a few examples of appreciation goals:
Hold an event where all employees, their spouses and children are invited to attend so everyone can get to know each other on a more social basis.
Host an exclusive meeting for the top 10% sales performers.
Put together a fun team building session for all employees.
- Hold a 1/2 day business meeting with employees and the remaining 1/2 day go to an amusement park with employees and their families.
When will you hold it?
Holding it during the business day may be best for employees and they can view it as a paid day off from work. However, during the evening or on the weekend will allow spouses and family members to attend. Again, look at the culture of the company and the goal of the event to determine the day of the week and the time of the event.
The summer months are particularly popular because the business climate is usually more casual, the weather is warmer and children are off from school.
Where will you hold the event?
If budget is a particular concern for your organization, holding the event on site will be the most cost effective. However, employees will feel more appreciated if they are taken off-site, especially to somewhere new and exciting.
Whether you hold the event onsite or off, consider the age, gender and interests of your employees. Try to find somewhere that will work for everyone and has multiple things for individuals to do.
If there is going to be recognition involved, consider renting audio visual equipment that includes LCD projector and screen rental and sound and lighting rental so everyone can see and hear what is being said. .
What will the employees do?
The size, ages and interests of the group, whether children and/or spouses are invited, whether it is held onsite or off and the event goal, will dictate what the group will do.
In the end, you want employees to feel special and appreciated. Taking the time to put together a well thought out appreciation event will keep employees talking days and weeks after it is over. This type of event is money well spent!
AV Event Solutions will partner with you to develop and execute a custom tailored appreciation program for your staff. They have experienced professionals to brainstorm and create innovative programs that can be enhanced with interactive technology tool rentals. Fill out their express quote form to get the process started!
Whether your organization has one large national convention per year or several smaller meetings throughout the year, the purpose of bringing sales professionals together is to train, motivate and reward them for their hard work. However, due to the nature of sales theses days (larger territories, quotas and remote support staff), many sales meetings are suffering from dwindling attendance.
The key to a successful sales meeting is to create an agenda and environment where reps WANT to attend it. Here are 6 tips to help you create a buzz worthy environment for your staff:
Technique #1: Get the stakeholders involved.
By asking the sales personnel, managers and C-Suite what they desire out of the meeting and the good, bad and ugly of your previous meeting, you will create an environment where they know you care about their input. Using wireless Audience Response Systems (ARS) is one way you can easily poll attendees about the meeting content, speakers and test their knowledge about the subject matter.
Technique #2: Create compelling content.
Salespeople are all about learning from the "best of the best" in the company, the industry and the world. Providing them with access to motivating presenters and creating an interactive process, is the best way to drive attendance at your event. All sales reps are hungry for knowledge and if you give them the right topics, speakers and interactive technology tool rentals to make the meeting interesting, they will show up.
Technique #3: Keep focused on your messaging.
What is the purpose of your meeting? Is it to train your reps on a new product prior to the product launching event? Is it all about motivating the troops? Whatever the goal, keep focused on creative and compelling ways to deliver the message. Provide the theme on both printed and digital materials as they will help visually reinforce the message.
Technique #4: Consider whether or not a hybrid event makes sense.
If your sales team is global and your live meeting is large enough, it may make sense to offer a virtual component of your meeting. Remote attendees will be able to communicate with you, your staff and the presenters via social channels or texting, making them feel part of the action. Hybrid meetings take planning and will have an impact on your budget, so take enough time to plan accordingly. A Wi-Fi network array rental system may be needed if bandwidth will be taxed due to local and remote usage.
Technique #5: If you are doing a recognition event, figure out a way to involve everyone.
The last thing sales people want, is to sit in the audience and watch 5-10% of attendees get recognized for their achievements. While it is great for those in the spotlight, it is deflating for the rest of the sales force as a line of individuals stream up front to get their award. The bottom line: figure out a way to make everyone feel like a winner while recognizing the achievements of those at the top.
Technique #6: Use technology to garner a "wow" effect.
Especially for an awards event, using Plasma displays instead of screen rentals, installing digital signage instead of posters and providing videos, photos and gamification on mobile devices are ways to create a HD environment for your attendees.
AV Event Solutions wants to make your next sales meeting rock! Give them a call at 888.249.4903 to get the ball rolling!
In corporations and government agencies across the country, it is pretty much mainstay for employees to be issued on their first day of work the following items:
- A uniform cell phone with a homogeneous talk/text/data plan;
- A desktop with an operating system and apps the IT department supports and;
- A laptop for those individuals who travel or are part of the C-Suite.
Usually the employee's monthly cell bill is paid for by the organization and when the employee departs, they have to turn in both the phone and the laptop. Life is easy for purchasing and IT personnel alike. But the future is looking a lot murkier as employees become more tech savvy and the price of said technology continues to decrease.
According to Gartner, Inc., an information technology research and advisory company, in the not-so-distant-future Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is going to be prevalent in the workplace. Their research states the following will occur:
- 50% of all employees will be using their own mobile devices at work by 2017
- 38% of organizations will stop providing mobile devices to their employees by 2016
- 22% of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) say they have already made a strong case for this option.
"If you are offering BYOD, take advantage of the opportunity to show the rest of the organization the benefits it will bring to them and to the business," stated David Willis, Chief of Research, Mobility and Communications at Gartner.
So, how will BYOD inadvertently affect meetings and events? Here are three things to consider as you look to the future:
With a plethora of mobile devices in the marketplace and even more to be announced in the next three years, it is important to recognize that not all mobile devices are alike. In fact with different screen sizes and pixel definitions, it will become increasingly difficult to find apps that run across multiple platforms.
The Solution: Rent iPads which have thousands of apps ready to load onto the system. In addition, if you have one mobile platform versus several, hardware and software support become much easier to achieve.
Many meeting venues have limited IP addresses, access points and bandwidth. Mobile devices have weaker antennas than laptops and require shorter interval access points. In addition, with the average attendee carrying three devices with them to a meeting, it is quite possible if you are not prepared adequately, your bandwidth can come to a crawl or even crash.
The Solution: For many meeting planners, understanding your Internet needs is like trying to understand the workings of a computer. You know you need the computer to do your job, but you don't know (or for that matter want to know) the internal workings. The same goes for your Wi-Fi needs. When renting audio visual equipment, it is in your best interest to find a partner who understand IT and can determine whether or not you need a Wi-Fi network array rental in order to meet your bandwidth needs.
Security is the top concern among CIOs when it comes to BYOD as it should be with any event organizer.
The Solution: Having dedicated bandwidth at the venue, as well as, augmenting it with a Wi-Fi network array rental unit will help keep your data secure.
AV Event Solutions is your meeting partner that provides interactive technology tool rentals for meetings, events and trade shows on a national level.
Photo courtesy of Jamais Cascio
Even though the technology landscape has changed much since the introduction of the PC in 1981, have you ever considered the rapidity of this change and how it might evolve in the meetings industry?
Here's a quick look at the last 30 years of technology used at meetings and events:
1983. Most presentations were carried out in a dark room with an overhead projector and transparencies which were typed or handwritten. To change out the slide, someone (usually the speaker) had to take the current transparency down and put a new one up. Attendees took notes on the presentation and submitted a typewritten report back to management. When attendees arrived at the meeting, they were given large unwieldy conference binders. Email was being used a little for communications but event planners relied mainly on direct mail and telephone calls to confirm and register attendees. Face-to-face meetings were well-attended and often three or more days in length.
1993. PowerPoint presentation equipment replaced the overhead projector and transparencies. Laptop PCs were becoming more available. Emails and websites were used for communication, but direct mail and telephone calls were still the mainstay for communicating with attendees. Face-to-Face meetings were growing and as more airline brands were being introduced due to deregulation, air transportation could be justified for national meetings.
2003. PowerPoint was the most used method for presentations by far with Laptop, LCD Projector and Screen Rental as the typical AV bundle. Websites and Blogs were mainstay with most organizations. Email had taken over as the more preferred method of communication versus direct mail. Online registration was prevalent. Cell phones were becoming more of the norm, but they were just being used for telephone calls and limited texting. Face-to-face meetings were doing well, but with the introduction of reasonably priced video conferencing, smaller meetings were considering this as an alternative for travel.
2013. While presentation services audio visual equipment is still being used, laptops are replaced with tablets, old LCD Projectors with newer ones, and screen rentals are being replaced with Plasma HDTV and Video Wall Rentals. Event organizers rent iPads so attendees have all the data in one location including speaker presentations, sponsor information and note taking capability. Social channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the more prevalent way to communicate with attendees. Email campaigns are still in use, but direct mail and telephone follow-up are pretty much dead. Smartphones contain data plans so texting and social posting is part of the norm. No more dark rooms...attendees want to see and interact with one another and drive the conference takeaways. Face-to-face meetings are still important for driving interactivity of attendees and subject matter depth but are competing with hybrid options and webinars.
The conclusion with all this? Technology is evolving at a rapid pace but you do not have to worry about keeping up with its use in the meetings industry when you partner with AV Event Solutions, a Total Technology Solutions Provider! They are constantly evaluating and purchasing new equipment, thus giving you the best rental choices for your budget!
When was the last time you inquired about "the why" of your event or trade show? Sure, sure there are the basic responses such as education and networking. But with more virtual opportunities available to meet, your stakeholders are going to focus on bottom-line revenue and quantifiable opportunities associated with your face-to-face meeting.
Here are 7 sequential steps that will help keep your team engaged, attendees happy and sponsorship dollars flowing:
Super Step #1: Identify the WHY
Put together an air-tight case as to why attendees need to come to your meeting versus getting the information via a conference call, video broadcast or email campaign. Keep drilling down until you have excellent reasons and can articulate those reasons to everyone involved in the meeting.
Super Step #2: Identify the HOW
This is where you spend most of your time. Figuring out the logistics of the event from the meeting space to renting audio visual equipment. This is your "sweet spot" and often times, it is where you shine. But your team needs to move beyond this point in order to be successful by addressing the five remaining items.
Super Step #3: Develop specific GOALS
Now that you have the why and how out of the way, your team needs to identify concrete objectives that are tied to the meeting. Without goals, your meeting is like a ship without a rudder. Yes, you have the boat (attendees) in the water (meeting). But you have no destination, so you will not know whether or not your meeting is a success.
Super Step #4: Measure PERFORMANCE
Here are three examples of measurable goals:
GOAL: 90% of your attendees evaluate your meeting while they are at the meeting. By asking questions displayed on the PowerPoint presentation equipment, you can easily capture their responses with Audience Response System rentals.
GOAL: Eliminate 85% of the paper at your meeting and to be viewed as a green company. Rent iPads for your attendees and load program materials, speaker bios and sponsorship information onto them.
GOAL: Have 75% of your attendees to register for the conference on-line. Put together a plan to promote this concept. You will know whether or not your met your target by conference start.
Super Step #5: Improve EFFICIENCIES
By setting goals and measuring your success/failure of those objectives, you set your team up to evaluate what is working and what is not. If something is working very well, you don't have to expend your energy in that area. Conversely, by knowing where your meeting came up short, you can brainstorm about ways to make the next conference better.
Super Step #6: Meet the DEMANDS of Attendees, Sponsors and Exhibitors
All of the above tips lead to knowing your audience very well. What is important to them and what is not. Now, your team is primed to know how to deliver a knock-out meeting to your stakeholders and you have the data to support the changes to management.
Super Step #7: Get RESULTS
At the end of the day, everyone connected to your meeting wants more of something. More attendees. More leads. More business. With the logistical approach of these steps, you should be able to get the results that your team desires. But this is not a one-time process. You need to complete this process for each and every meeting you plan.
AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, is focused on making your next meeting, event or trade show a super success. Start the process today by filling out their Express Quote form and an experienced Account Executive will get back to you within four business hours!
Millard “Mickey” Drexler brought a debt-drowning J. Crew back to profitability last year. He did so by implementing the following:
- Took the company off the stock market in 2011 via a $3 billion private equity buyout
- Cleaned house in the C-suite and
- Retooled the brand’s merchandise by moving it upscale.
The results? In the second quarter of 2012, J. Crew reported net income topping $22 million compared with a $10.5 million loss in the same quarter of the year before.
Last week, he shared with Fast Company his 10 Creativity Tips and how they were instrumental in turning J. Crew around. Below are six of those tips and how they can be applied to the meetings and events industry.
Drexler Quote #1: "Every business could be creative. In my own experience, whatever was a good idea was a bad idea to most people."
Meetings Industry Translation: Are you trying new things? Taking risks? Listening to your attendees? Creativity only occurs with change and change only occurs with conflict. Having a diverse team will help move along this change.
Drexler Quote #2: "Most companies should have a rule about how big they get."
Meetings Industry Translation: Every planner wants large conventions because they represent more revenue for the organization and more recognition for them. However, a large unwieldy conference that doesn't allow for personal attention of the attendee, can make your event suffer in the long haul. Keep focused on getting your attendees to come back year-after-year. Incremental meeting growth is a solid strategy rather than trying to grow attendance exponentially.
Drexler Quote #3: "You have to keep moving forward. What has (your) company done in the past five years that somebody's noticed?"
Meeting Industry Translation: How are you keeping up with attendee, exhibitor and sponsor demands? Are you showing innovation through mobile technology, and fast and secure Wi-Fi network arrays at your meeting? Are you using apps effectively? Is your conference different than most and in what ways?
Drexler Quote #4: "I'm a very proud micro manager. We need to speak the language of customers."
Meeting Industry Translation: Are you checking every last detail about your event, including what is displayed on your digital signage? Are your volunteers and staff smiling and warmly greeting your attendees as they arrive at the conference? Are you talking and listening "attendee speak"? An easy way to do to keep the conversation flowing, is to rent iPads and pre-load social channels such as Twitter onto them. Another way is through polling devices such as Audience Response rentals.
Drexler Quote #5: "You can drown in data. You learn and then edit, edit, edit because there's a lot of junk mail in your head."
Meeting Industry Translation: While Big Data is important, you can get caught up in the so many irrelevant details. Focus first on your attendees and exhibitors because they make your event go around. Then look at your sponsors and speakers. Determine trends in your industry, gleam the highlights and then just move forward.
Drexler Quote #6: "Simplicity is very difficult to achieve."
Meeting Industry Translation: Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones, but something or someone gets in your way. How can you make your event easier for your attendees?
AV Event Solutions is a creative, high quality California meeting equipment provider based in Los Angeles. Give them a call at 888.249.4903 to understand how they can help you!
Every time your organization announces a new product or service, it helps differentiate you from the competition. And in today's "dog-eat-dog" world, it is important to do whatever you can to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.
So, how do you make your product launch extra special and memorable? It starts with a plan that encompasses the guest list and ends with your conference equipment rental decision. Here is a checklist of the things you should do to get started on your launch:
FIRST, THE GUEST LIST
Determine who you are going to invite to the event. There are 5 types of attendees to consider:
- Current and Past Customers
- Warm and Cold Prospects
- Traditional and Digital Media Outlets and
Determining the total number individuals on your guest list will help you move forward on the next phase of your planning.
Will the event be at your location or a hotel, conference center or other facility?
Obviously, a meeting held at your location will be the least expensive option but you also need to consider the interruption such event will have on your day-to-day operation. A conference center or out-of-the-way location can bring out individuals who are curious to see a unique venue and have the time to tour it, such as a mansion, national park or country club.
Will it be indoors or outdoors?
Due to technological and lighting improvements, an outdoor event is very feasible and can be an attractive option especially in the spring or summer months.
Will it be held during the day or in the evening?
What sort of mood are you setting?
Sound and lighting rental equipment will help you create the right atmosphere. Having the event at your company headquarters, indoors and during the day will set a different mood than holding it at a country club, outside and in the evening.
How will you highlight the product or service?
Putting the product on stage with specialized light equipment rentals will keep continuous focus on the features you are launching.
With so much change in the meetings industry, you may wonder who is really setting the pace in the marketplace. MPI recently identified "Chief Curators" who are considered thought leaders for the future. Here is a synopsis of what they bring to the table along with my key takeaways about what this all means.
INFLUENCER #1: Michael McAllen, Meeting and Event Production Warrior
Michael runs Grass Shack Media where he started up a website called AVForPlanners.com to help planners identify their audio visual needs and make better choices. He is also engaged in exploration of apps on mobile technologies -- such as Evernote which he states, "It is an event binder in your mobile device."
INFLUENCER #2: Joan Eisenstodt, Hospitality & Meetings Industry Trainer, Facilitator & Consultant
"Joan is a mentor to so many and a real advocate for the industry. She is one of the most recognized and respected people I know, has run and contributed to the most influential email lists in the industry and is a teacher to all," stated Eli Gorin, CMP, CMM, Vice President of Global Client Relations at ABTS Convention Services.
Joan launched the Meetings Focus Website, a networking site for meeting professionals. "My passion is connecting people through ideas," said Eisenstodt.
INFLUENCER #3: Renee Radabaugh, President and CEO at Paragon Events
"Renee taught me to sit back and look at things from every single perspective when she had to respond to unexpected construction in one hotel and complete quick negotiations with another. She made it a real 'win, win, win' for both of the hotels and our organization," said Sharon Fisher, Owner of IdeaSparker.
Renee works with 16 colleges to attract for-credit internships into her organization. She desires to recruit top talent for the next generation meeting planner.
INFLUENCER #4: Christina Coster, Founder of EventCamp
Coster launched EventCamp after planning an"unconference" in 2009 where participants drove the event by planning what they wanted to discuss at the meeting.
INFLUENCER #5: Ruud Janssen, CMM, Online & Offline collaboration specialist at TNOC.ch
Janssen thinks it is essential for meeting organizers to adapt to on-line and off-line events. "What's surprising to me is that a lot of companies are not noticing this change or adapting to it fast enough," Janssen said.
He co-created a new meeting format called "The Solution Room" where he tested this concept at EMEC where participants drove their own action plans for change. Here is a brief video on this concept:
- Provide planners with websites to make their decision process easier, especially when it comes to renting audio visual equipment.
- Mobile apps need to be constantly evaluated as to ways to save your attendees money and time.
- Social channels set up for meeting professionals to network is important.
- Continue to attract new talent into the industry through college internships.
- Work toward innovative meeting styles such as EventCamp.
- Help individuals drive change through innovative meeting styles.
- Be a curator of information that help attendees learn, network and collaborate.