5 ways to eliminate last-minute time-management tendencies

Posted 5 days, 3 hours ago @

time is money

In a whole host of different careers and lines of work, time management is important. In meeting and event planning industries it is absolutely paramount, with many people looking to you as their guiding light in how to pace the whole approach to the event. However, we live in an extremely busy age, with instant communication, constant distractions and an overbearing sense that if you aren’t moving at break-neck speeds then you aren’t succeeding. All of this can lead even the most organized people to slip behind and be forced into situations where they are leaving important things to the last minute.

Here are a few ways in which you can try to combat the demands of the busy world, to ensure that you never slip behind in your time management and find yourself scrambling to get things together.

1. Know your limits

It seems a strange place to start, but one of the absolute keys to avoiding that mad last-minute rush is, sometimes, to not take on the event or meeting in the first place. This shouldn’t be used as an excuse to avoid pushing yourself, but it can be really important that you actually pace yourself in what you agree to.

“Over-committing is such a common mistake I see,” says Vivienne Britton, team leader at 1Day2Write and Brit Student. “I’d much rather someone say ‘no’ to me about taking on a job, than agreeing and then letting me down.”

You’re much less likely to run into last-minute time-management issues if you’re doing the right amount of work rather than way too much.

RELATED STORY: The time is right to simplify and focus

2. Don’t let yourself slack off

Sometimes, the exact reverse of the point above is true. Busy people stay organized, or so the famous maxim says. It’s certainly true that you need to know how much you can take on, but sometimes having hardly anything can actually be a hindrance to achieving what you do have to achieve on time. When you’re in the routine of meeting daily goals and hitting your targets, it feels much less difficult to achieve everything you need to in good time. When you have hardly anything on, you can much more easily find yourself rushing to get the one thing you did have to do done.

3. Track of your behavior (and start now!)

Accountability is key in eliminating late-game panics from your life. Knowing what you are supposed to be doing and then actually recording what you have spent time doing can be a really effective way of keeping things on track in the future. Kathy Bridge, a meeting planner at WriteMyx and Australia2Write, says, “Keeping a log of your activities daily can then become an excellent resource for future projects. You can see where you optimized your time, but most importantly what might have directly caused issues in the past.” Once you know what mistakes you are making, you can then eliminate them until you’ve perfected your scheduling practices.

time management4. Prioritize tasks effectively

It’s a bit of a typical thing to hear, and one which can be quite annoying to be reminded of, but it is really important that you tackle the most difficult, daunting, time-consuming tasks first. Often your perception of what is actually going to end up taking up a lot of time can be miscued—the biggest jobs are the ones that will hurt you most in this regard. If you get them out of the way first, then you are eliminating the possibility of one of them really hurting you with how much time it is taking. You’ll always find meeting your deadlines a lot easier when you do this.

RELATED STORY: The fastest way to save time and money

5. Train yourself to handle the rush

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just end up with a mad rush to the finish line on a project. The first thing to do is not to beat yourself up about it. Things happen: Maybe it was your fault, maybe it wasn’t. Given that you’re in the situation you are, there is nothing that you can do about it. So, a bit of skill with handling the accelerated deadline is actually really important. In the best situation, you learn to avoid the last-minute struggle altogether. But completing the project at all is still better than just throwing in the towel altogether. Figure out how to work under pressure, so when the situation arrives, you can handle it.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, a few ways you can avoid mistakes that force you into last-minute situations. You’ll always run into a few, no matter who you are, so be prepared for those. But, with some good discipline and self-awareness you should be well on your way to tightening up your planning.

RELATED STORY: Sometimes it’s better not to follow the leader

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Category : Blog and Industry News

The time is right to simplify and focus

Posted 2 weeks, 5 days ago @

stress and anxiety

Organizational complexity is strangling innovation, productivity and engagement. It is fogging people’s ability to proactively focus our time and energy on the top strategic priorities. We get sucked into low value, reactive busy work, which contributes to ordinary performance. But we, individually, are also responsible for allowing complexity to drive constant distraction, low focus and low energy. We live highly cluttered lives, have become addicted to checking our phones, are too responsive to interruptions and do not nurture, protect and direct our most productive energy.

We experience a constant stream of interruptions. We have phones that vibrate or ping anytime we receive a new email, a calendar invite or reminder, a LinkedIn or Facebook update or a notification from the plethora of apps that want to keep us engaged. These disruptions break our focus and reduce our ability to think deeply. But we don’t seem to mind. We are now so addicted to checking our phones every few minutes that if we are away from them for any extended period of time, we suffer withdrawal. According to one publication, we check our phones well over 100 times per day and up to every six seconds in the evening.

RELATED STORY: 8 signs that your work-life balance is looking good

If we’re working on our computer, we have instant messaging popping up at random times breaking our focus. We have multiple programs open at the same time and seem to click back and forth between them endlessly. We have the browser open with multiple pages up at the same time. We make it too easy to get distracted and pulled from the work that matters.

We allow our calendars to be booked back-to-back with meetings on every topic imaginable. Our global teams demand an always-on mentality, and that’s what we give them. We do not recognize when we do our best work and religiously protect this time to focus it on what matters most. And we don’t let ourselves recharge our batteries when we’re not doing work, thereby increasing the speed of burnout and generally limiting our potential.

heavy burdenIn almost every one of the 100+ companies I have consulted with over the years, I have witnessed leaders simply going from one meeting to the next. It is a stream of one topic to the next without breaks. No time to reflect, process and synthesize. No time to recharge and refocus. The highest opportunities seem to get lost in the jumble of various things that take up their time. Having to deal with so many things naturally limits the depth of thinking and focus and consequently quality of their contributions on the things that matter most.

RELATED STORY: Live music reduces stress hormones

Many of us have simply lost touch of the work that truly delivers the greatest value and impact to the business. We stay busy on the tasks that are apparently most urgent. We are often stuck in firefighting mode, responding to problems, errors or crises that keep us from operating in a strategically proactive manner. I remember a conversation I had with a highly experienced executive coach. I asked him how much time on average his leaders spend on reactive work, like responding to email or attending low-value meetings. He said they spend at least two-thirds of their day, with many allowing all their time to be absorbed by reactionary work. The opportunity to refocus on the highest priorities and remove or redesign how the low-value, non-core, reactionary work is managed is huge. The spike in productivity, strategic impact and cost savings would be tremendous if habits were built around prioritization, time management and focus.

Simplify WorkAnother area that seems to be under-appreciated is our energy. Our energy, both physical and mental, is a driver of our productivity, creativity and problem-solving abilities. We do not do enough to nurture, protect and dedicate our best energy toward the highest priority activities. Most of us don’t even consider how to structure our day so that we best use our most productive time. We also have so much on and are pulled in so many directions that we don’t take time to recharge, let go and refocus. We work late into the night and do not prioritize our sleep. Simple shifts in how you organize and structure your day will increase energy levels, and as a result, increase not only your productivity and impact but also your general well-being and happiness. This is why topics such as mindfulness and meditation are getting more traction in mainstream business. People are discovering that taking five minutes to switch off all the noise in your prefrontal cortex is hugely beneficial as it can help to elevate thinking and reduce impulse reactions to the various fires going on around you.

What if we could take a fresh look at our businesses and our lives, reconsider what is really important and start to focus our time and energy on those things that matter? Imagine the positive effect it would have on your people if you told them they now have permission to do more of the work they were hired for. Imagine their sense of liberation if you removed a big chunk of the activities that soak up their time: low-value training, compliance, meetings that should be emails, expense processing, report building, budget setting, clunky performance management and so on.

 

Jesse Newton is the author of Simplify Work; Crushing Complexity to Liberate Innovation, Productivity and Engagement. He is the founder and CEO of Simplify Work; a global management consulting firm that helps organizations throw off the shackles of debilitating complexity and reignite top performance.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Fyre Festival and planning in cinema

Posted 3 weeks, 5 days ago @

fyre festival typewriter

Remember that glorious 2017 music festival in the Bahamas that garnered headlines for its excellent planning, exceptional execution and gorgeous attendees? Fyre Festival was all the rage, until it was supposed to happen and attendees found themselves stranded on an island with no infrastructure, F&B easily surpassed by your average soup kitchen, leftover FEMA tents for housing and, well, no festival.

With so many outlets for fresh streaming content, we’re blessed with two documentaries chronicling the disaster that was the Fyre Festival, which was more of a Ponzi scheme than an actual event. Start with Fyre Fraud on Hulu to get a solid background of the characters at play, their previous dealings/money shuffling and the dream of this beautiful event.

As that concludes and the cringe-chills remain, got over to Neflix for Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, a piece that acts more as a companion—or extended DVD extras—to the Hulu offering.

Rest assured, both films are sure to induce anxiety in planners. Don’t believe me? Check out the Reddit thread, “Watching the Fyre Festival doc as a former event planer feeling TRIGGERED.”

“I have experience in event planning too and the time frame got me so perplexed. 6 months is barely enough time to plan a neighborhood festival,” said redditor 1nformalStudent.

However, watching these movies did make me wish the event—or at least a multiday, island-based music festival more in line with my tastes—was on the table. Turns out, planners thought about that, too: “I am also an event planner and Fyre Festival goer who got stranded on the island,” redditor taytotz said. “This doc made me want to actually throw this festival. Totally doable with the proper team, planning, and expectations.”

Of course, the main problem with Fyre Festival was that the big-picture organizers were experienced con artists more interested in getting large investments for the festival to pay off investors from their other schemes, all to prop up an online talent-booking service (Fyre) that was actually a really good idea. This situation is more about financial fraud than event planning—but since events are such a visible highlight, many people see it as though the event itself was the problem.

After biting my nails and laughing for three hours watching the pair of Fyre docs, I thought more about the representation of meeting/event planning in film. There’s no shortage of feature films that prominently (if not always accurately) depict the chaotic life of meeting and event planners. Think back to the last time you sat in a theater (or chilled on your comfy couch) and cringed as you watched a snippet of your life—wine and all—portrayed on the big screen.

After 16 years in this industry, my antennae still twitch when I get a hint of the meeting/event life while watching a movie. In order to manage my thirst for fodder on this topic, I reached out to a selection of meeting and event industry friends to commiserate and identify more movies that you can add to your queue.

Weddings & parties

Of course, you’ve got the wedding angle—perhaps the most prevalent and more easily accessible to non-planner humans.

wedding couple

“One that I do like a lot is The Wedding Planner. Why? Mathew McConaughey…and it does portray the job somewhat well,” says Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC, president and chief connecting officer of thrive! meetings & events.

Something Borrowed with Candace Bergen as the wedding planner. This is a complicated story about two best friends who are getting married but who have a fight and then learn they’ve chosen the same wedding planner and venue,” says Kim Estep, founder and CEO of ConventionNation.com. “I love that Bergen’s character is able to satisfy both brides and delivers a memorable experience despite the emotional turmoil between the main characters. A true professional.”

Courtney Stanley recommends a pair of wedding-based movies to consider.

My Best Friend’s Wedding. I love a good romantic comedy, especially one starring Julia Roberts! The drama around a big wedding, hilarious scandals and a great soundtrack make this movie one of my all-time favorites,” says Stanley, owner of CS Consulting.

“And if you haven’t seen the movie Bridesmaids, it’s time to check this comedy off your list. This hilarious film portrays the events leading up to a wedding in a whole new light. From competitive and dysfunctional bridesmaids to food poisoning and bridal showers gone wrong, Bridesmaids never fails to make me laugh myself off the couch,” Stanley says.

“Additionally, this movie inspired some seriously great memes and GIFs that I throw into conversations and presentations every now and then.”

RELATED STORY: Say ‘I do’ to these wedding planning tips

MPI’s director of community Kristi Casey Sanders, CMP, CMM, DES, HMCC, gives a nod to Four Weddings and a Funeral as, “a delightful exploration of how events, especially pedestrian life events, can bring people together and change how we see the world.”

This movie also got two thumbs up from Andrea Driessen, chief boredom buster of No More Boring Meetings, “in part for a very funny bit about catering and mitigating guest ‘issues.’”

While we’re looking at social-party-type of events, one recommendation came in for Office Christmas Party, along with some activities you can go through to actually learn and better your professional self.

“From a safety and security perspective, Office Christmas Party is horrifying, but it is also a fun adventure in impromptu emergency planning,” says Jessie States, CMP, CMM

head of meeting innovation for MPI. “Watch it with your team, and every time an incident occurs analyze the risks associated with it, set some SMART objectives and detail what tactics you would take to protect life and property.”

F&B

OK, enough about weddings and parties. Over on the F&B/catering side of the world, Big Night, got multiple props.

food disaster

“I LOVED Big Night, it’s about two brothers whose Italian restaurant is not going well as a rival Italian restaurant is out-competing them. In a final effort to save the restaurant, the brothers plan to put on an evening of incredible food,” Stuckrath says. “The first time I saw this was at an ILEA (ISES at the time) event in Columbus, Ohio. We watched a portion of the movie in a theater, then went to the lobby to eat that same course. Went back in for the next part and then again to the lobby to enjoy the next course. The movie event was hosted within another event.”

Casey Sanders says Big Night, “really captures the anticipation and all the work that goes into creating a memorable event and some of the fires that happen behind the scenes.”

RELATED STORY: F&B shortfalls? You have options

But then her consumable recommendations get a little disturbing with The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover: “Probably one of the creepiest illustrations of the effect of revenge being best served hot. In this case, through one of the world’s most disgusting catered events.”

Conventions

Of course, the bit convention and trade show side of the industry deserves some play here, especially as pop culture cons continue to grow.

“One of my all-time favorites is Galaxy Quest. I love that the main character, played by Tim Allen, uses Trekkie-like conventions to showboat and feed his ego. He is found at one of these convention by actual aliens who confuse his fictional character as a real character and ask him to come save them in an intergalactic battle. The drunk egomaniac actually goes, involving his bitter co-stars along the way,” says Tyra W. Hilliard, Esq, PhD, CMP, a speaker, professor and attorney with Hilliard Associates.” Of course, the convention attendees who witness part of this just think it’s part of a stunt. Convention magic!”

Shawna Suckow, author, speaker and founder of SPiN, notes, “There are several Apple-like events, with Tom Hanks as the Steve Jobs-type character, in The Circle starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and others. Aside from being Paxton’s last movie, I really like the plot of this movie. Lesser known and not loved by critics, but I love the storyline about our growing lack of privacy. I love it both from an event planner standpoint and a tech geek standpoint. They have elaborate meetings with huge crowds, big tech reveals and cool effects.”

On the political side, Hilliard is fond of The Manchurian Candidate, in which, “The action crescendos at the political convention with the assassination attempt. You don’t know just how badly the convention is going to be affected until you see who he takes a shot at and whether he’s successful. Risk Management Girl (me) thrills at this one, of course.”

Back to the real world

For a conclusion, this fun list circles back around to another Netflix documentary around the world of big-name professional speakers.

I am Not Your Guru. A behind-the-scenes look at Tony Robbins and his events. It’s interesting to watch his team create these events, get the audience insanely fired up, and then try to get Tony Robbins to listen to them and their suggestions. AND his team are entirely volunteers from what I understand,” Suckow says. “Worst-paid, hardest working, toughest boss. Ugh.”

Now, what are you waiting for? Step aside from your spreadsheets and cloud-based organizational apps and grab some snacks…and get you’re binge on!

What are some of your go-to planner-related movies? Share with your peers in the comments!

RELATED STORY: Event planning at the movies

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Productivity tips to start the year in high gear

January 7th, 2019 @

I’ve given many presentations on various aspects of achieving work-life balance, being more productive and getting more done. Sometimes, audience members send me summaries of what they heard, and their summaries are often excellent.

Here are 10 tips on productivity, which I’ve discussed at length over the years, which a single individual sent to me, as brief phrases, in bullet form. The list is so good, that I knew I needed to expand each tip and convert them into this article.

1) Review and prepare your to-do list the night before. When you take this step, you’re better prepared and focused to start the next day. To use the expression, “you hit the skids running” that next morning.

2) Start with the hardest task. When you tackle the hardest task first, before moving to progressively easier tasks, you do yourself a great favor. You get the big one out of the way and everything else seems mild by comparison.

3) Periodically review your to-do list or whatever project roster you maintain. A periodic review enables you to more effectively plan your day and week. Also, mixing easy tasks among hard tasks can help you sail through the day with more energy and focus.

RELATED STORY: 8 signs your work-life balance is looking good

4) Take strategic breaks throughout the day, even if they’re only 60 seconds in length. Ten one-minute breaks strategically taken will enable you to be more productive than if you work the whole day through without such breaks.

5) Anytime you’re going to have a meeting, establish an agenda. An agenda keeps you on track. It lets all parties know the sequence of topics to be addressed. And an agenda helps in ending the meeting on time.

6) Each time you find yourself vacillating during the day, recall that you are happier when you’re productive, as opposed to not. That alone could help you to start on the next task at hand, or to proceed with the one that’s currently bogging you down.

7) Continually separate the important from the urgent. Urgent tasks are those that scream at us, but in the grand scope of things are not that vital. Important tasks add value to you, some end-user, your team, your boss and/or your organization.

8) If it helps, use a timer set to about 20 minutes to keep you productive all day. At the end of 20 minutes feel free to check email or handle personal tasks, and then return to work, re-setting the timer to 20 minutes.

RELATED STORY: 21 ways to gauge your work-life balance

9) Anticipate obstacles, because they will occur, often multiple times daily. No one endlessly sails through eight or nine hours unscathed, especially you.

10) Prepare for your daily departure from the workplace, long before doing so. Decide what you want to complete before leaving. Once you leave, do so with a clean mind. When you reach your next destination, be it home or someplace else, be there! Have a life for the rest of the day.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Essential conferences to attend in the next 6 months

December 31st, 2018 @

business meeting

If you’re growing your professional education while on a budget, hosted-buyer programs may be just the kind of initiative you need.

Speak with colleagues and search the web to learn first-hand about the particulars of each event’s hosted-buyer program as they do differ and some can feel onerous—but in general they offer excellent opportunities for you to attend the industry’s leading events at little or no cost. The following events have hosted-buyer programs worth checking out (and even if you’re not hosted, the education and networking is the best in the business and certainly worth attending) and take place in the first half of 2019.

RELATED STORY: Value of hosted buyer programs for planners

PCMA Convening Leaders

Jan. 6-9 – Pittsburgh

European Meetings & Events Conference

Feb. 9-12 – The Hague, The Netherlands

Asia Pacific Incentives Meetings Event (AIME)

Feb. 18-20 – Melbourne, Australia

Global Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange

April 10-13 – Park City, Utah

IMEX

May 21-23 – Frankfurt

World Education Congress 2019

June 15-18 – Toronto

Latin America Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange

June 23-27 – Guanacaste, Costa Rica

RELATED STORY: 10 essential IMEX America hosted buyer tips

success tree

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Category : Blog and Industry News

With preparation, you can put out almost any fire

December 24th, 2018 @

Have you heard people say they’re a right-brain or left-brain thinker? Right-brainers tend to be creative and instinctual, left-brainers more analytical and logical. That’s how Beauty & the Brain was born. James Rota’s creativity meshes with Christy Lamagna’s strategic thinking to bring a well-rounded approach to events. These columns are designed to highlight both sides of the planning process. 

From the Beauty

Analyzing and assessing risks allows us to understand them so we can make educated decisions on how best to manage them.

Risk consists of two components: acknowledging something can go wrong and the destructive consequences that will happen if it does.

The first step is to identify risks. They can result from human error, financial changes and market fluctuations, technology breakdowns, and/or disease, weather and natural disasters. With all we have on our plates as meeting professionals, it can be easy to overlook these risks.

The process of analyzing risk can be very involved. You need to get detailed information on the risks from all areas relevant to your project. A good first step is to discuss the program with your insurance carrier.

When it comes to guests’ safety and fire, one of the best things you can do is get certified in crowd control. You’ll learn how to move guests to safety in a quick and orderly fashion avoiding panic, which could result in tragedy. You can become certified online HERE.

RELATED STORY: The latest, greatest PYM Professional Development Guide

It doesn’t take much time to get your certification, and the time is a small investment in yourself and your business. In this case as in many others, knowledge is a beautiful thing!

From the Brain

Although risk is present in every component of our days, we leave home each morning and lead productive lives. We can’t change the presence of risk, but we can mitigate its potential damage by being prepared.

We each react to extreme stress differently. Regardless of the situation or your mindset in a moment of crisis, without a plan or the proper tools in place, your ability to manage it can be severely hampered.

My barbecue caught fire during the summer. Not a simple, “the burgers were flaming” fire, a full-on inferno at the gas line. The propane tank was full so the fire had hours of fuel. I wasn’t sure what the physics behind propane tanks exploding was, but I knew I had to get the fire out quickly and that water wouldn’t work. Thankfully I had two fire extinguishers nearby. My preparedness compensated for my lack of knowledge on the subject of propane gas explosions and a crisis was averted, save for my destroyed grill.

toolboxMy point: Identifying risks requires a two-pronged attack: forethought into what can go wrong and preparing for it with both knowledge and physical resources.

On-site at events, that means knowing where defibrillators and fire extinguishers are and when they were last serviced, meeting with the security team, understanding evacuation procedures, having a planner staying at every hotel guests are at, making sure that person has a list of all guests staying there and contact information for all key players. Knowing where the closest hospital or walk-in clinic is, and directions to it, are also essential.

Bringing a well-stocked gang box means you can handle office emergencies, but for true emergencies, make sure you have flashlights and first aid kits complete with warming blankets, CPR mouthguards, rubber gloves and ice packs.

With all we’re responsible for during a program, averting or minimizing a disaster is paramount. Remember: Well-prepared is beautiful!

Next: MBEC 6.03 Develop management and implementation plan

RELATED STORY: See all 33 skills you need to be an effective planner

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Category : Blog and Industry News

6 ways to wrap your events in color

December 17th, 2018 @

girl many colors

Every year, Pantone, the global authority on color, releases its color of the year. For 2019, the color of the year is Living Coral, a soothing yet vibrant hue that brings to mind natural environments and comfort.

There are many strategies event planners can use to infuse color into events. Some favorites include linen, tableware, lighting, backdrops, handouts, clothing for hosts and hostesses and graphics. Living Coral presents an opportunity to kick things up a notch and play with the themes and props the color suggests.

RELATED STORY: From brown to green: Changing the environmental color of your meetings

1. Showcase your theme through color

A tropical theme is a natural fit for Living Coral. Décor can include shells with coral hues, starfish and even goldfish. Small fish bowls with coral-colored goldfish make interesting centerpieces.

Garden and forest themes are also a perfect way to reflect Living Coral.

2. Floral arrangements

Living Coral can also be found naturally in flowers and shrubs. Roses come to mind, but the color can also be found in dainty hypericum, snapdragons, hibiscus, peonies, carnations, magnolia, marigolds and blossoming quince branches.

3. Berries

Inedible berries can be used as part of the décor. Examples include coralberry, honeysuckle and American bittersweet. While they have a vibrant color, if children will be attending your event, don’t use them even in décor.

Depending on whether or not they are edible, berries can be used as garnishes, for flavoring and ingredient for sauces and desserts. Edible berries that come in coral hues include Nanking cherries, pin cherries and Evan cherries (that have a tart flavor).

RELATED STORY: What color is your meeting?

4. Desserts

Experienced pastry chefs can create cakes, pastries, puddings and other desserts in just about any color or shape. Even if your theme is not tropical, here is a simple way to make Living Coral come alive for desserts.

5. 3D projection mapping

3D projection mapping can transform any event venue and transport event guests to just about any environment. The setting, colors and hues are under your control. This projection created by Paint Sculpting, incorporates coral hues.

knobbed conch

6. Educate

Living Coral is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the need to protect and preserve nature. Around the world, coral reefs are in danger. So are conchs. The inner hue of conch shells is Living Coral, but it is now illegal to harvest conch shells in the U.S. and other destinations. Vivid photos on the wall, projected images or ceramic shells incorporated into the centerpieces can work just as well.

If you use ceramic shells or goldfish as centerpieces, you can auction them off and donate the funds to a charity like the Coral Reef Alliance or the Bahamas National Trust, which seeks to protect Queen Conch.

Pantone’s Fall 2018/Winter 2019 Color Palette

If you are looking for other colors to incorporate into events, Pantone’s Fall 2018/Winter 2019 color palette includes:

  • Classic Color Palette: Sargasso Sea, Tofu, Almond Buff, Quiet Gray, Meerkat
  • Autumn 2018/Winter 2019 Top 12 Color Palette: Red Pear, Valiant Poppy, Nebulas Blue, Ceylon Yellow, Martini Olive, Russet Orange, Ultra Violet, Crocus Petal, Mellow Rose, Limelight, Quetzal Green, Pink Peacock

It’s interesting that a number of colors continue the nature theme suggested by the Color of the Year.

RELATED STORY: Creating memorable events focusing on the peak and end

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Weekly deals and highlights: December 5, 2018

December 5th, 2018 @

Paradise Coast
@ParadiseCoast

Discover where beauty, adventure and productivity meet when you host your event in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades on Florida’s Paradise Coast.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

SEO for events in 2019

December 3rd, 2018 @

SEO

The internet landscape continues to make drastic changes as new technologies are developed, artificial intelligence (AI) is implemented and social media expands beyond its existing boundaries. For event organizers, these changes may be as worrisome as a thunderstorm in Australia (unless, of course, you’re actually in Australia). My point is that your event’s sponsors and attendees are using the internet to search for events to sponsor and attend. How will they find yours?

Google’s algorithm is the main reason marketing on social media is exploding right now. Google’s algorithm is making it impossible for new websites to reach page one, which means no free organic traffic. So, after learning that gaining free organic traffic from Google search is not really an option, how do you plan on getting customers to your website?”

In the above quote from Austin Lawson, it’s clear that Google controls the vast majority of your customers’ search results. It is the 800-pound gorilla. Maybe you don’t worry about search engine results for your events, using email marketing instead. But if you’re like us, the majority of your customers are using Gmail accounts, which are still controlled by Google. In other words: Comply or die.

RELATED STORY: Event website and SEO best practices for meeting pros

What is search engine optimization (SEO) and why should you care?

To think about SEO for events in 2019, start by appreciating that the amount of content being created on the world wide web every day is greater than 2.5 quintillion bytes. Google processes over 40,000 searches a second. Yes, a second. In a vast sea of information, how will your conference website be found? And how will it make a great impression so your members, customers and sponsors want to open their wallets and pay for your live content rather than another conference?

Here are a few tips to make sure your event is displayed by search engines:

  • Use the same domain name (in other words, the website address before the .com or .org) for your event every year. You’ll earn domain authority because Google weighs domains that have been in existence for a period of time. If you make up new domains for every new event, you’ll be at the bottom of the search pile when a potential attendee runs a search.
  • Describe your event at the very top of the event home page and use meta tags on your event pages if you have more than one page. Why? Because if you aren’t writing your own meta tags and telling Google what content is important, the search engines will scan all of your copy on the pages and determine what they think the purpose of the page is.

Search Engine Watch says, “…meta tags offer more details about your site to search engines and website visitors who encounter your site in the [search engine results]. They can be optimized to highlight the most important elements of your content and make your website stand out in search results.”

RELATED STORY: Event marketing strategies for tough economic times

How could this go wrong?

online marketingImagine a situation where a capital markets conference is confused with a conference for grocers. The search engine could see “market” and just assume it’s a retail store when in reality the capital markets refer to inter-bank lending and such. The grocery conferences will be intermixed with finance conferences because the word “market” was ill-appropriated.

  • Thirdly, you may want to consider listing your conference or trade show on an event listing site. You see, backlinks are another way Google and other search engines decide whether a website is reputable. Over time, they’ve come to determine that sites that are referred to have clout and authority. If your event is listed on Convention Nation, for example, you’ll earn a free backlink back to your site. And by re-linking back to us (for example, “proudly listed on Convention Nation”), you’ll share the referral authority.

Staying up to date on modern search engine tactics is time-consuming and frustrating, but it’s the best way to attract your customers, your attendees and your sponsors who are using search engines to see what other people are doing.

RELATED STORY: Twitter event marketing 101

If you’d like to discuss ways your event can be matched with Convention Nation attendee members, feel free to set up a call. We’ll discuss how your event is best marketed to our audience and make some suggestions. The goal is to increase your attendee satisfaction score so you can win more sponsorships.

The post SEO for events in 2019 appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Importance of a sense of humor

November 26th, 2018 @

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You know how vital it is to retain professional speakers for your meetings who can keep audiences awake and alert, through their elocution skills and their humor. Within the speaking profession itself, an age-old question-and-answer axiom remains popular to this day: “Q: Is humor important? A: Only if you want to get paid.”

Why is it that having some laughs throughout the day is not one of your ongoing, mini-objectives? It’s one thing to have a great career, increase your net worth, live in a big house, drive a nice car and enjoy the benefits of being a successful meeting professional; it’s quite another if your life is relatively humorless.

Is that all there is?

Based on some studies, 44-year-olds, on average, laugh less often each day than children under age 7 and adults over age 65. That’s kind of sad when you think about it. Imagine going years, if not decades, in your professional career maintaining a relatively humorless posture compared to those much younger or significantly older? Like the Peggy Lee song lamented, “Is that all there is?” Is the career and life that you’re currently leading all there is?

If it’s been awhile since you have let out a good belly laugh, or you’d simply like to smile more often throughout the day, here are some ideas that will get you back on the road to mirth.

RELATED STORY: How to pick the right speaker for your group

1) Buy a joke book.

What kind of joke book you want to buy is up to you. The Dilbert series by Scott Adams is quite funny if you’re into office humor. The Far Side series by Gary Larson hasn’t been in vogue for almost two decades, but my goodness is it funny even to this day. A variety of other joke books and joke genres are readily available. In fact, you don’t even have to buy a book, you can go online and find comic strips, lists of jokes by topic, by geography, and so on. Your ability to quickly find reading material that will make you laugh has never been easier.

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2) Watch funny movies.

On DVD, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or however you acquire them, you can find funny movies and funny shows that can make a difference in your life. Teen flicks are particularly funny when done well. Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That are bound to bring a smile to your face. Screwball comedies might be your cup of tea. Some comedies from the 1930s, 40s and 50s have stood the test of time and are still funny. In addition, there are a number of channels where you can watch comedians in high gear, including Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and HBO.

3) Associate with humorous people.

If you already have close friends to exchange jokes and witticisms with, it’s to your great advantage. Now, consider your professional colleagues, people in your social circles, those you knew way back when, including college and even high school—what percentage of them are humorous? Is it one in five? Is it none in five? Is it time, perhaps, to seek out new friends who have a lighter, cheerier and more mirthful approach to life?

4) Look for everyday humor.

We all encounter humorous situations at work, at home and in life, but to what degree do we take note of them? Sometimes, we muster a half, inner smile and then in the next second, proceed past it so that the encounter has no bearing on us. If you begin to note the humorous situations all around you, soon enough, they begin to take on greater importance. You actively seek them. Before you know it, your quest for a humor-filled life becomes a significant part of your day.

If you undertake the activities above, not too far in the future, you’ll find that you’ve added a measure of humor back into your life that helps to offer some semblance of balance. After all, as a meeting professional you will face trying days and intense challenges. It’s that fine balance that makes it all so much nicer.

RELATED STORY: 21 ways to gauge your work-life balance

The post Importance of a sense of humor appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News