If your stage isn’t big enough for your presenters, entertainers or award recipients, or high enough for your audience to see them, your event will be disappointing for the guests. Stages are the showcase of any event and much thought should go into exactly what size and shape will be appropriate. Basically it depends on what elements will be on the stage and the activities taking place on it. For example, does it need to accommodate risers, seating, audio equipment, lectern, tables, chairs, backdrops, lighting, décor, plus room to safely navigate between and around all the elements?
In addition to the size of the stage, consider what activities will be going on. Will it need to hold 50 people for a graduation, or support a gymnastics or dance competition? And if the stage is outside and on uneven ground, setting up a structure on a slope requires leveling with additional legs, bracing and railings. Make sure your event company has the know-how to construct a stage that is sturdy enough for your event.
The height of the stage depends on how many people are in your audience. The more people, the higher the stage. As a guideline, smaller events of 100 people or less can use a stage that is 8” – 16”. Five hundred people or more needs a stage that is 36” – 48” high.
Then there is the particular shape of the stage. Rectangular stages are the most common, but you also have the option of a circular stage, zig-zag, one with ramps, or a combination.
To help you sort out all your options, click here for a free downloadable guide that explains in more depth and illustrates various stage options for inspiration. Or contact Event Resources for a free assessment of your needs.
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Creating the perfect sound quality between mics and speakers is a science. You want and are paying for quality sound at your event. At the same time, you are also balancing the aesthetics of a room with tall black stands and speaker boxes that are obviously there.
To create quality sound for a room, audio engineers have to evaluate both the size of the room and the number of people in attendance, then strategically place the speakers so everyone can hear equally as well without any feedback (that high pitched squealing sound).
To do that, speakers generally need to be placed so the microphones are in back of the speakers (on the stage, for instance) and in the front or along the sides of the first row of the audience. The height of the speakers should be at least at the height of the audience heads. This placement prevents the feedback from occurring, and unfortunately, makes the speakers very noticeable.
Because the front speakers may also be angled towards the back of the room, the folks in the first few rows of the audience may not hear as well. In that case, a center speaker in front of the stage and on the floor will do the trick.
For a large audience, more speakers are placed down the sides of the audience so everyone can hear at the same sound level while the presenter is speaking at a normal conversation tone. If you only had speakers up front, the sound would be blasting to the audience up front in order to reach the back of the room.
Of course, every event and room layout is different. That is where working with your audio engineer will result in the best balance between finding the quality sound you desire, while locating the equipment to keep it as unobtrusive as possible. This is best done on site during set up, when the equipment can be moved around to test the sound, and feedback.
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Last month the Event Leadership Institute created an online self-assessment test for event and meeting professionals to gauge their knowledge in the area of event design. Take the test and see how you score against 1,000 other event planners!
Ten questions were pulled randomly from a bank of 25 so that the type and level of question would vary from one person to the next. Questions covered topics such as color palettes, floral arrangements, lighting, event staging, and design aesthetics for both social and corporate events. After three short weeks and more than 1,000 respondents later, the results are in.
The average score was a 51 out of 100. More than 75 percent of participants scored between 30 and 70, while only 10 percent scored 80 or above. Ouch. While not every planner may possess the same caliber of skills as, say, David Stark, Colin Cowie, or Preston Bailey, scoring below 60 percent is a pretty good indication that perhaps your client knows as much as you do, if not more!
Questions with the lowest scores were those of a more technical nature, such as the appropriate size table or dance floor based on guest count, hanging heights for installations, space requirements needed for entry/exits, etc. In fact, only about 20 percent of respondents knew the maximum height of a non-elevated floral arrangement. This is a top priority if you don’t want your guests’ view to be blocked, or worse, have them move the centerpieces entirely!
While the online assessment scores are low, it clearly demonstrates that design goes much deeper than what can be found on Pinterest and Etsy. These are excellent places to look to for inspiration; however producing an aesthetically pleasing event that impresses seen-it-all attendees requires more. Today’s designers are expected to incorporate food and beverage, technology, and branding into their events, while finding innovative ways to create unique focal points and floral designs all within budget. Could this be a daunting task? Yes. Impossible? Not with the right education, tools, and training.
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How do I keep track of my staff or key contractors before and during the event? There are so many things going on at the same time!
In this digital age, there are two options you have to keep in touch with your staff at events. One is obviously your cell phone. This ubiquitous tool will get you in contact with virtually anyone, anywhere, and anytime they answer their phone. The other option is 2-Way Radios (what we used to call Walkie-Talkies) which is what emergency personnel use for their urgent communications.
There are pros and cons of using each type of technology. Cell phones limit you to contact or text one person at a time, although everyone on your staff has a cell phone. There are voice charges and battery issues if not everyone has a charged phone.
2-Way Radios may be the better option to communicate to your entire group simultaneously. This is particularly efficient when relaying information or emergency notices such as trying to locate something or someone on the premises. However, remember that there are no security or privacy with 2-Way Radios, so be careful what you say. You never know who will be standing nearby overhearing your conversation.
The range of the newer 2-Way Radios can go from 1 to 5 miles, depending on whether you are indoors, outdoors, and the number of frequency obstructions. But safe to say that for a large event in a hall, convention center, hotel, school or even a mall, you can cover the location without any worry.
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Who doesn’t love balloons? They have been a staple in celebrations for years!
When it comes to using them indoors though, helium balloons become an issue. Mostly when they become untethered and float up to the ceiling. After the event, someone has to figure out how to get them down, particularly when the ceiling may be 50’ high! In order to get the balloons down, the venue has to use a scissor-lift to actually get up there (an expensive ordeal).
If left alone, balloons eventually lose their helium and drift downwards. Hopefully not on someone’s dinner during another event. There are lots of great balloons designs that don’t require helium. Just Google “Balloon Event Decorating“ or check Pinterest for many interesting ideas.
Along with an industry outlook, Kevin Kirby, Chairman of the Board of Meeting Professionals International, provided a glimpse into the new, hot trends to make your event special directly from the renowned Andrew Freeman & Company 2015 Culinary Trends Report. Here’s snapshot of what you should see in 2015.
Story Time: Give more information on why attendance at your events is important. Tell your guests a story to immediately engage them in your mission.
Breakfast is not just for breakfast anymore. Gourmet breakfast entrees like savory pancakes are lighter and more interesting, even for dinner.
Chef’s Choice: Let them go crazy! Every Chef has a craving to cook something totally different that’s not on the standard menu. Give into his passion and let him create a special new dish just for your event.
Short Cocktails: Sliders are so popular now because they give you just a small taste of food. Now think beverage sliders. “Short cocktails” are smaller than average, so you can either imbibe a smaller quantity, or try different varieties without guilt.
Food carts are becoming the rage by offering a variety of table side offerings. Not just deserts, but appetizers and samples you can choose from up close.
Soft serve ice cream with all the toppings can make you feel like a kid again.
Get the full report on 2015 culinary trends from Andrew Freeman and Company. Now in its eighth year, AF&Co’s annual trends report has become an industry standard in anticipating market demand and consumer feedback.
When it comes to the latest trends, it seems everyone has an opinion and a blog. But here’s some trend info coming from the real deal – the 2015-2015 Chairman of the Board of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Kevin Kirby. Mr. Kirby recently traveled across the country visiting scores of regional MPI chapters, including the Connecticut River Valley Chapter. Kevin Kirby knows what going on in the industry. And fortunately for us, he shared his latest intelligence for 2015!
Kevin Kirby, an event and marketing veteran from Universal Studios, Disney and the Hard Rock International, provided insight into the state of the meeting and events industry and how US economic trends are affecting it. Below is a summary of his comments derived from the MPI Meetings Outlook Report. It was an interesting discussion on what event planners should expect in the upcoming year, and it was almost all good news!
Let’s start with an overview of current landscape of the events industry across the US.
• 1.83 million meetings and events are held in the US annually
• $280 billion spent
• Creates 1.8 million jobs
• Average cost per person at a meeting is $400.
Training, educational events and sales meetings will be the most common types of events in 2015 with substantial increases over 2014.
Now we know that the events industry has a significant impact on the US economy. On the flip side, there are also issues of the US economy that have a direct impact on the meetings and event industry. For example:
- The US economy is slooww-lly growing and businesses are gradually recovering. Therefore, event budgets are continuing to be scrutinized and raised only when necessary.
- Terrorism is still (sadly) a part of our daily lives as well as communicable diseases (Ebola, measles). At the same time, group travel is flat. Is that a direct connection? One thing is for sure: air travel is expensive and has hazardous implication, leading to second thoughts on where and how to travel as a group.
- With the highest US trade deficit in history, commodities cost more. This leads to increased prices in food costs and catering.
- Hotel expansion has been slow in the past few years since there was a steep decline in discretionary spending and business budgets were cut. Now that events industry is moving forward, there is a shortage of hotel rooms in prime areas, leading to higher prices.
- Expect cost increases for: Hotel Room Rates: 3.9% , A/V Rentals: 3.1%, Air Travel: 5%, Food, Beverage, Catering: 4%
Nothing compares to face-to-face meetings for building
relationships. The 2015 CT Economic Forecast (pictured above)
had a standing-room only crowd.
Of course, in an expanding economy comes more opportunities and demand for meetings and events. Even with online communications becoming the norm, nothing compares to a face-to-face meeting to build powerful personal relationships. In short, the events industry is definitely on an upswing, marching alongside the upturn in the economy. All indicators point to a promising year.
Meet Kevin Kirby
The 2014-2015 MPI Chairman of the Board is a senior global sales and marketing executive with more than 20 years’ experience advancing entertainment-centered hospitality brands. He has served in leadership roles over the course of 18 years for Universal Studios, Disney Parks and Resorts and Hard Rock International, where his responsibilities focused on marketing, promotions, and global sales. Kevin recently launched his own company, The KIRBY Consulting Group LLC. He has been a champion and architect of multi-platform strategic initiatives, including integrated advertising campaigns, new product launches, e-commerce, CRM engagement, and business development.
Throughout his 15+ years as an MPI member, he has served on numerous international committees, as an international board member since 2008, and as an executive committee member since 2010. Kevin is a proud member of MPI’s Greater Orlando Chapter. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio with a dual major in International Business and Sales Management. He resides in Windermere, Florida with his wife, Jennifer, daughter Taylor (13), son Colin (11) and energetic white labradoodle Lucky (3).
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Movie nights are great fundraisers, particularly for families and children. It fosters a bonding experience and at the same time, teaches valuable lessons and values. Here’s what you do to set one up:
• All you need is a large movie screen, a laptop and a sound system. (Just call Event Resources. We have screens of all sizes, as well as the projection and sound equipment. For one fee an entire movie package can be delivered, set up and removed so you can focus on fundraising.)
• Publicize movie events in local newspapers, community websites, school bulletin boards, newsletters, websites, posters and bulletin boards around the community; and local parenting magazines
• You are LEGALLY REQUIRED to get permission before using movies for fundraising. (Hint: Get a grant for the fee if possible.) To book a movie for public showing, contact an independent broker who will provide the movie and charge a fee for the process.
• Sell admission tickets, popcorn, snacks, beverages and raffle tickets.
For more information, contact these independent film brokers or your local movie theaters. They can provide you with a list of available movies, trailers and tips on how to use movies for your fundraising efforts.
• Kit Parker Films – Shorts, serials, and old features. RKO, Janus, indies, others.
• Swank Motion Pictures – Paramount, Buena Vista/Disney/Touchstone, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony/Columbia/Tristar/Triumph, MGM/UA, Miramax, Live Entertainment
• Criterion Pictures – 20th Century, New Line/Fine Line Features
• October Films – Arthouse and indie distributor
We get this question a lot. Most venues have some sort of sound system built into their room(s). So the answer to “do you have a sound system?” is typically ‘yes!”. However, if you are doing more than just public announcements, here are some questions you should ask to determine if the in-house sound system is adequate for your needs, or if you should inquire about using an outside vendor to supply the sound system.
• Does the venue have enough wired and/or wireless microphones for your use? Not only should they have enough, but extras for backup.
• What kind of content will you have? Some speakers are intended for speech, some for music.
• How many speakers are in the room and where are they located? The correct number of speakers and where they are placed (in the ceiling or at ear level, for instance) will determine if everyone in the room with receive the same quality of audio, and if the placement fits with the content and acoustics.
• Will there be a professional sound engineer on site for adjustments? Regulating the volume and clarity of sound between presentations, videos and speeches is crucial to a pleasant audience experience.
Download a free How To Guide on Sound Systems for an overview of what you should look for when ordering a system for your next event. Or contact Event Resources at 860-528-1343 for free assessment of your needs.
Anyone who’s ever been to an event with dancing knows that the dance floor is typically front and center in the room, directly in front of the stage. It’s the standard set up so people can immediately get the party going by easily entering the dancing area.
Here’s another school of thought for events that include not only dancing, but speakers, awards, formal programs, you get the idea. For those events, I recommend moving the dance floor to the back of the venue. Yes, the back. The front of the room is now reserved for guests to be seated up close to the stage for the best view of the speakers, projection screens and signage.
The dance floor, now located in the back, also gives a lift to those not fortunate to get front row seats. These guests are now close to the dance floor and DJ, which is an unexpected bonus. At the same time, a bar and high top tables can be set up in the same area, now converting the space into a cocktail lounge.
If you have 500 attendees and they all want to sit in the back of the meeting room, what creative ideas do you use to seat them up in front?
- If it’s theater seating, rope off the back few rows to “force” attendees to sit up front. Once the front is close to filling up, free up rows until the room is full.
- If it’s banquet seating, place reserved signs on the tables closest to the entrance(s). Once the tables up front are full, remove the reserved signs from each table as the room begins to fill up.
- Offer a bonus for sitting in the front seats. Use more comfortable chairs up front or leave a small chocolate or lottery tickets on the seats closest to the stage.
- For even larger groups with theater seating, close the back doors to encourage people to sit in the front of the room (some will still drift to the back). Then open up doors as front seats filled up.
- Tell them that the first 50 to occupy the front rows can have a 3-5 page handwriting analysis profile the form they fill out to do this will have your branding message.
- Post a sign that says “back rows reserved for attendees in live skit”.
- Have people turn their chairs around after they are all seated. Those who thought they were in the back end up in the front! Depending on the type of group they take it with good humor and it works.
- If you put out only as many seats as you know you will fill, when the back seats are full the rest have to sit at the front.
- Personally guide attendees to the front.
- Set 2/3 of the room in rounds of 6 with theater seating in the back. Attendees would rather sit in a more comfortable environment for taking notes and for placing a coffee cup or water than sit in the back. Also, as typically attendees want the option of leaving a meeting room quickly and easily, leave the side doors open, for easy escape from the rounds.
- Set up the first 2 rows for social media so that those who want to video, tweet can get a better view. It also elevates and encourages social media. This way the regular audience doesn’t feel like they are getting too close and the social media folks can be engaged and recognized.
- Only distribute materials in the first three quarters of the room. For instance, if its classroom style seating put out note pads, pens, glasses for water at each setting but not in the back row(s). If its theater style put the outline for the talk, programs, etc. on each of the seats (again not in the back). It helps people naturally sit where materials are. Then keep a few chairs in the back of the room for late comers or overflow.
Fortunately, with the latest cell phones, you can track inclement weather headed your way and be ready for it. Prepare as much as you can for bad weather during set up. The performers with their electric instruments are typically located on a stage under a tent. The sound board, usually next to the stage, is also under a tent, preferably with sidewalls. Most importantly, electrical cords should be the “grounded” type and plugged into a Ground Fault Interrupt (GFI) outlet. This protects against a power surge, which can damage not only instruments, but expensive sound systems. Disconnect the electrical cords from their power source. Since most everything is covered by a tent, equipment is somewhat protected from the rain. Be cautious and cover what you can with plastic to protect speakers and the sound system. And watch out for winds! If the tent isn’t staked, the wind can pick it up and blow it around. Then seek shelter for yourself. A tent will not protect you from lightning, as the metal frame and center poles actually act as lightning rods.
Need that “Wow” factor in your event? You can have it in a very cost effective way with a carefully planned lighting scheme. Just think of the drama lighting creates – adding ambience to a room that changes a dark mood to one of elegance and fun. There are multiple ways to use lights, including logo displays, moving lights, up lighting, focal lighting, intelligent lighting and LEDS. Here’s a brief introduction on the differences between the lights.
GOBO – Derived from “Go Between”, or “Go Black Out” or “Goes Before Optics”, this is a commonly used light to add virtually any custom design or logo to the room. There are also hundreds of designs to choose from. As you can see, this daisy design sparks up the room and takes it from bland to extraordinary. It’s very easy to order a GOBO template as well as being inexpensive and reusable.
Up Lighting – Up lights are accent lights for streaming light up a wall or onto architectural details. It adds drama and understated elegance to a room, particularly when lighting heavy draping that would otherwise fade into the background.
Focal Point Lights – Highlight a special area to bring more attention to it. For example, use a light that focuses on a special auction table, buffet, or trophy to draw guest’s attention. In this case it was used to focus on the speakers on the stage, as well as the fashion show runway.
LED Lights – A light-emitting diode (LED) light has only been around since 1962 but has recently become very popular due to more advanced technology. LED lights are used in a variety of applications, but here we’d like to talk about event lighting. With LED lights, you have the availability of a multitude of colors and ambiance options. LEDs emit such bright, vivid colors that singular lights (shown) as well as fully lite panels add drama to any setting.
Intelligent Lights – These can be more expensive than other options, but if you want to change the direction, use and lighting color scheme on the fly, then these are for you. These special features can be more expensive and there’s more set up time required, but once it’s done, you can change what’d you like at the touch of a button.
Regardless of the lighting equipment you use, a lighting plan is necessary so every part of the room is accentuated properly. Definitely take the advice of your event planner and electrician when planning a lighting scheme. There are many considerations when it comes to placement, electricity and installation to have it come together successfully. But in the end, it’ll be spectacular.
For more information on lighting, download a free Lighting Guide at http://www.eventresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ER_Lighting6.pdf
As with planning any event, the more questions you ask and the more information you have, the smoother the installation and setup will be. When it comes to lighting, there’s significant information that will make or break a plan. Here are some questions we ask to ensure a great lighting installation.
- Does the facility have sufficient power for the lighting scheme, or will a generator be needed?
- What else is sharing the electrical service in the building?
- What is the height of the ceiling?
- If you need a dark room for a presentation, are there any windows or skylights that need to be covered?
- If there are already lights in the room, can they be redirected for your particular setup?
- Is there enough time to set up your lighting plan? Lights take time to set up since poles and trusses may be involved.
- Can the room and stage lights be controlled (turned up or down) quickly for video projections?
- Where are the lighting controls?
- If it’s a union site, are you restricted as to who can hang the lights in the building?
- Does your lighting contractor have proper liability and workman compensation insurance?
As you can see, there’s a lot involved in setting up lighting to avoid mishaps. Call me if you have any questions about your lighting plan.
For more information on lighting, download a free Lighting Guide at http://www.eventresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ER_Lighting6.pdf
Remember when a telephone was used for conversations? Now you can also use it as a level, flashlights, music CD, camera, map, and business card file with these mobile apps.
- Flashlight – Uses the LED light on the iPhone to fill the screen with bright white light.
- Weather app – Get the latest weather, news, flight status and driving forecast.
- Decibel Ultra: Decibel meter app called Decibel Ultra.
- Audio Tools – A sound level meter, RTA and signal generator.
- Bar code reader – Scan bar codes.
- Photosynth – Take panorama pictures with your iPhone.
- iHandy Level – Use your iPhone as a level.
- HeyTell – Turns your smart phone into a walkie-talkie.
- Rdio – Unlimited on-demand music with 18 million songs.
- Spotify – Instant access to “all the music in the world”.
- HeyTell – Turns your smart phone into a walkie-talkie.
- Zkipster – List management for the iPad.
- Dropbox – Save a file to Dropbox and it’s accessible from all your computers, iPhone, and iPad.
- MagicPlan – Measures your rooms and draws floor plans just by taking pictures.
- QUICKCOMM – Takes the place of welcome packets, program materials and surveys.
- Check In Easy – Check in guests on multiple iPads/iPhones and the web.
- Qbengo – An indoor navigation app that routes visitors to the right booths from wherever they are, using their smart phones.
- Crowd Compass – Customizable apps for conferences, meetings, trade shows or conventions.
- Super planner – A variety of planning tools, including calculators for venue capacity, staffing, catering, staging, projection and dance.
- GenieMobile – Event apps and tools for engaging your event attendees and sponsors.
- EventMethod. Registration, planning and check-in portal.
- MiThoughts – View slides, submit questions, answer straw polls and see audience responses in real time.
- PDF Expert – Read and annotate PDF documents, highlight text, make notes, draw with your finger and save these change.
- coachmyvideo Video analysis and screen capture
- camcard -Take a picture of a business card with your phone and import it into your phone like a rolladex.
- Square – Process credit cards quickly and easily for Reservations to client payout.
- Evernote – All of your notes, web clips, files and images are made available on every device and computer you use.
Here’s a great article with tips to make your e-invitation and e-mail professional, fun, informative and the first step to encourage quick R.S.V.P.’s
- Type of event: Help your attendants see what type of event to expect, e.g. a conference, public lecture, round table discussion, networking reception, etc.
- Event title: The catchier, snappier, and shorter the title, the better! Often, you can integrate the title seamlessly with announcing the type of event, e.g. … invite you to a public lecture on ‘A Global Meltdown? – Battling the Financial Crisis’.
- Speaker information: Don’t weigh down the invite with lots of background information on your ‘stars,’ rather focus on the speakers’ position and experience that is relevant for the event at hand. Place a link from the speakers’ names to their online bio, so those hungry for more details can get the information they require. This flexibility is what I love about an electronic invitation!
- Date, time, and location: Save your guests some time by linking the location’s Web site, and a mapping application such as Google Maps that allow for quick access to driving directions.
- Host(s): Incorporate logos on the invitation with a link to the organizations’ Web sites. Avoid the long list of sponsors and partners that are typical for conferences, but rather place those on the event or conference Web site.
- Cost/attendance fees, as well as mode of payment: Again, if there is too much information to convey, make a brief mention in the invitation, and link to further instructions on the event Web site.
- RSVP/registration procedure and deadline: Do specify requirements, also if no RSVP is needed. This small addition will save you lots of time answering inquiries on registration procedures!
- Dress code: Be aware of geographical differences in regards to dress code for business events. ‘Business casual’ attire might, for example, exhibit various levels of formality in different parts of the world. And for Friday events in the US, consider the popular showcasing of ‘casual Friday’ attire, which is only slowly spreading throughout Europe. Research, decide on your perfect fit, and communicate your choice to your guests appropriately!
Design: Keep the design and visuals for the electronic invitation simple, and stick to common file formats such as .pdf or .jpg. Try to use only 2-3 basic colors for background and font (assure text is still legible if placed on a visual!), and go for a large font size, so the invite can also be easily read on the go via a handheld device. Include images that convey the gist of the invite – the old saying holds true: an image says more than a thousand words! And images also help your potential audience to quickly grasp your event’s topic.
Once you have outlined your main invitation, move on to drafting the accompanying Email announcement. This is the part that makes or breaks the deal, and affects whether your invite will get a second look, or will be punished by the ‘delete’ button.
Don’t give in to the temptation to place any information that didn’t seem appropriate for the main invite here. Rather, provide just enough information to tease the reader into moving from the Email announcement to the main invitation.
Stick to the following for your Email text …
- Personal salutation: Address the recipient with their name, if available. This simple gesture creates a more personal bond, and raises your invite’s chances of being seen.
- Host, event format and title, date, time, and location: These are the only duplicates recommended! Keep this information short and snappy.
- Link to the formal invitation: Indicate that further information is available via the formal invitation. Use a hyperlink to lead to the invite, and avoid sending attachments. – Spam filters will nip the good thought in the bud!
- Call for distribution: Encourage distribution of the invitation, or invite the recipients to bring a guest for a public function. This will help you spread the word on your upcoming event.
- Contact point: Clearly spell out who can be contacted in which manner with questions or concerns.
… and voila, mission accomplished!
Or almost … You have resisted the urge to pack your invitation with information. You have set up an event Web site for additional details that need to be communicated, e.g. for a multiple day event or conference. Looking good! But as much thought and time as you have invested in the ideal invitation, your task is not yet complete.
Now come the challenging parts of marketing your event and assuring that you remind those registered to attend of their commitment!
Sending a reminder with directions to the event location, or details on parking options is a good way to follow-up with those who registered to attend shortly before the event. I typically include a request for an update on the attendance status. Having a close estimate of the number of attendants is golden when working on logistics, and catering preparations.
(reprinted with permission from Social Tables: The Blog)
Draping is one of the most widely used and versatile materials for event spaces because it’s functional, decorative and cost effective. It’s the perfect solution for providing backdrops, partitions, creating new spaces, cordoning off large spaces, and more. And with the virtually unlimited choices for color, textures and patterns, decorating with draping has taken on new proportions. For instance, consider draping to:
Dress up a plain or unlikely space, transforming it to match your vision for the event
Enhance a stage with a backdrop or “frame” your stage to become a focal point
Make a statement with a dramatic entryway
Mask an entire room with fabric flowing on every wall
Choose drape colors that complement your theme or your organization’s branding
Create theatrical drama by shining lights onto the drape
Add swags for a formal touch to the drape panels
A critical aspect of the draping material is ensuring it complies with fire codes regarding flame retardant regulations. Interestingly, there are no uniform regulations across the country regarding the use of flame retardant drapes in public areas. However, there are nationally recognized standards for flame retardancy in relation to drapery, such as the The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 701 standard. To be absolutely sure you meet fire code requirements, ask for a flame retardant certificate from your event planner or event production company and keep it on hand.
There are several different levels of fire retardants as it relates to draping, depending on the level of durability to sustain laundering and flame retardancy.
Non-Flame Retardant (NFR or Non-FR)
These drapes do not have any flame retardant qualities at all and should not be used when flame retardant fabric is required.
Flame Retardant (FR)
Fabric that has chemicals applied that render it flame retardant and needs reapplication after 5 launderings.
Durably Flame Retardant (DFR)
Durably Flame Retardant fabric uses non-water soluble chemical compounds that bind into the fibers, meaning the flame retardant withstands at least 25 washes (when laundered properly).
Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR)
IFR fabrics are assumed to continue to meet these fire codes for the duration of its useful life when laundered according to guidelines, even after repeated laundering.
Not sure about if your fabric is flame retardant? First consult your local fire department about the proper way to match test your fabric. When a flame is applied to flame retardant fabric it should not hold the flame. Rather, the fabric should melt or shrink into itself but no fire should spread. Taking the flame away should leave the fabric extinguished. Of course, ask Event Resources for the Flame Retardant Certificate and we’ll take care of making sure the fabric meets code. This is where it’s important to have an event production company that understands the fire codes and certificates necessary to produce an event.
I am happy to announce that 2012 was a banner year for Event Resources. So much so that six new personnel have joined our team in client event services and marketing. Now we’re ready to expand even more by bringing you new event products and services.
As always, my primary goal is to ensure that we are serving clients like you in the best way possible. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 860-528-1343, to discuss new ways on how we can work together and serve you best in 2013.
Thank you for your continued support. We all look forward to working on your special event in 2013.
Videotaping an event has taken on new life as a marketing tool. It’s the hot new way to promote your event/message in social media, websites, advertising, and inserted into any email message or newsletter. Therefore, the video must not only be well done, but branded and cultivated as a marketing voice for your organization. Getting it right the first time is tricky. Sure, you could just take the footage and post it on You Tube or Facebook, but thus may not be enough to achieve your goals. And of course, you only have one chance to record the event and get it right. So make the most of it. Don’t make these rookie mistakes….
Plan Before Shooting: Don’t wing it! This is how the pros do it: Whatever message or story you’re trying to convey, it should be documented on a storyboard. First write down your story in text. Then go back and indicate what type of footage will be needed to convey each story point. The result is your Shot List. Once your shot list is complete, any extra footage is gravy. It can be added/deleted as you’d like.
Poor Sound: It’s been said that sound is over 50% – 75% of the story. One of the biggest rookie moves is bad sound. It can be as simple as not using a quality microphone, improper mic placement, loud background/ambient sound, maybe some RF interference – any of these can torpedo an otherwise perfect visual performance. It’s easily overlooked if you aren’t paying attention (or monitoring the audio) and makes many video shoots unusable. There are few remedies for truly bad audio as an event only happens once and it can’t be re-recorded.
Bad Lighting: The overall mood of a video can be set or shifted solely by lighting. Imagine the star of the show in the shadows? No one notices them, or is confused by what they are seeing. Make sure the lighting in the room emphasizes camera shots and certain angles to make subjects look their best. This is where a dress rehearsal comes in handy. Check the lighting before the event – you can’t bring in trusses for overhead lights once the event begins.
Background Clutter: Your video camera is focused on the main speaker, but the shot has the “EXIT” sign at the top of the screen. Or there are people walking in the back of the stage. Or the servers are clearing tables in the background. Keep clutter from ruining your shot by always observing what is going on in the entire frame. The TV show 60 Minutes always has a carefully decorated interview space. The background is clutter-free with just a table, lamp and/or plant in the background to provide a perspective of depth. They keep it simple and you should too.
Copyright Infringement: There’s a myriad of legal issues about who/what/when/why/where you can shoot and post video, and if you don’t know what you are doing, you can easily get sued. There are also liability-related issues. For example, do you know what would happen if you get hurt while shooting a company video ‘on location’? And then there’s trademarked logos which is a completely open field.
Optimize for Internet Use: Video needs to be optimized with meta-tags, potentially encoded, distributed and archived in various formats, etc. These are just some of the issues that can take some pretty advanced technical understanding and experience. There are high definition, standard definition, PAL, NTSC, MPEG 2 or MPEG 4 formats, and more. If you don’t know how to format your video, then use a professional.
Contact Information: Obtain contact names to receive the video footage, in designated format(s) and delivery method(s). A video file is very large, so emailing it is usually out of the question. You can use an upload site, which was created for this very purpose. If the organization doesn’t have one of their own, there are free or low cost upload sites available on the Internet such as Mongo Files.
If you’ve addressed all the issues discussed here, you’re technical problems should be over. Now you can concentrate on the subjects themselves. Now that’s an entirely different blog!
Find out more about how to visually connect your audiences with this six page How to Guide on Video Projection.
Ask The Expert: Giving a PowerPoint (PPT) presentation makes me nervous. What can I do to prevent boring slides?
We run PPT presentations for all kinds of clients for all types of audiences. The best design practices for PPT slides are the standard K.I.S.S. method (Keep it simple, stupid!). PPT offers many graphic elements, but consider how an audience views the slides and you’ll quickly see that simpler is better. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Remember the Scouting rule “Be prepared”. Nothing kills a presentation more than a false start. Bring an extra lamp (light bulb) for the projector – and test the projector with the laptop you’ll be using beforehand. In case the projector doesn’t work, be prepared to give your speech without the slides. Then pass a piece of paper around and ask people to jot down their name and email if they would like you to send the slides to them after the event.
2. Check the format of the display: PowerPoint gives you three size choices: 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10. These are called aspect ratios. For instance, some monitors are wide screen and require the 16:9 aspect ratio. Otherwise, the slide won’t show up as full screen.
3. Make sure the screen resolution selected on the laptop is compatible with the monitor. If not, the image will be completely distorted.
4. Choose a design template that is simple and themed for your audience. Business presentations should be neutral in color, presentations for children should be colorful.
5. Dark text on a light background is best, but tone down white backgrounds by using beige or another light color that will be easy on the eyes. Dark backgrounds are very effective, but be sure to make text a light color for easy reading. In short, avoid straight black and white.
6. Fonts: Use either Arial or New Times Roman fonts in a minimum of 30 points in size in no more than 2 different different font styles.
7. Remember the 4-4-4 rule. You want to get across only four points to your audience. There should be four bullets on each slide, and four words for each bullet. The information on any slide should not take longer than 10 seconds for an audience to absorb. This keeps the audience focusing on you and not the slides. Also, don’t read the text to the audience. They read it as soon as you posted it on the screen.
8. Don’t overload your presentation with charts, graphs and graphics. If someone in the back of the room can’t read the details, skip it.
9. The same goes for animations, transitions and sounds. They look cool when you’re creating a presentation, but are very distracting from both a visual and comprehension perspective. Again, less is more.
10. How many slides do you have? For a typical twenty minute presentation, 10-12 slides should be plenty. Flipping through slide after slide sends the audience reeling from too much information.
11. Easy on the laser pointer. By the time the audience finds the dizzying dot, the point of the topic is lost.
12. Pause during your presentation. Avoid talking non-stop, and pause after important statements, to let the idea sink into the audience’s minds. It’s a very powerful element of public speaking.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a presentation that smoothly gets your message across. Now, wasn’t that easy?
After months of planning, you only have one chance to make a strong first impression with your audience. That’s why it’s so important that you have clear, eye-catching signage that makes people stop, look and immediately be engaged with your event. Just think of all the ways signage and graphics bring your event to life and engage your audience from the get-go.
Branding is an effective marketing strategy. Use your logo often and effectively, repeat it on your stage backdrop, and place it on the lectern, welcome signs and entryways.
Transform a space from mundane to fabulous with graphics lining the walls. Change the gymnasium to an alfresco dining area within minutes.
Make it easy for your guests to find their way around. Use graphics to guide them to particular areas, instruct them about issues or share information.
Impress Sponsors with high impact graphics, displaying their names and logos prominently and accurately.
Don’t be short changed by the limitations of your event space. Expand the possibilities by using large format digital printing to make your space come alive.
Custom digital printing can range from single color to photo-realistic, full color. It is an ideal, cost-effective way to create a big visual impact. With a wide range of materials and hundreds of different uses, graphics are an excellent and affordable way to promote your event, organization, and mission.
Smart planning will also make your signage re-usuable, especially with logos walls. There are also large graphic murals that can be rented to stretch your budget while making a great impact.
Check out our Guide to Graphics which illustrates how spaces such as halls and gymnasiums have been transformed into another world.
Anyone involved with events at some point needs to deal with graphics files. It is often required to send logo files, photos, etc. to designers for use on the web, banners or PPT presentations. But how do you know which ones to use for the best result? Here’s a brief tutorial that you may want print out and hang on your wall for reference.
Graphics file formats vary depending on how they were created, in what software program, as well as their application. Let’s start with the two main types of graphics files, then list the various types and how they are used.
There are two main types of graphics files: Raster and Vector.
Raster File Types: A raster graphics image, or bitmap, is a dot matrix data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels, or points of color, viewable via a monitor, paper, or other display medium. Raster images are stored in image files with varying formats. Think of these as lower resolution. For a complete list of Raster file formats, click here.
Vector File Types: Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based on mathematical expressions, to represent images in computer graphics. “Vector”, in this context, implies more than a straight line. These are very high resolution files that can be enlarged without forfeiting quality. For a complete list of Vector file formats, click here.
Under each of these broad categories are the most common image file formats and which are most appropriate for printing, scanning, and Internet use.
.ai: Adobe Illustrator File. As the industry’s leader in software for creating vector graphics, Adobe Illustrator files are commonly used in the creation of logos by graphic designers all over the world. These files can also be supplied to printers for use when printing in large format or to other designers for creation of business collateral (advertisements, brochures, business cards, etc.)
.bmp: The Windows Bitmap or BMP files are image files within the Microsoft Windows operating system. These files are large and uncompressed, but the images are rich in color, high in quality, simple and compatible in all Windows OS and programs. BMP files are also called raster or paint images. When you make a BMP image larger, you are making the individual pixels larger, and thus making the shapes look fuzzy and jagged. BMP files are not great and not very popular.
.eps: Encapsulated PostScript File. .eps files are often used for signs, banners, and billboards…or anything that is to be printed in large format. Vector graphics are easily scalable and can be used at any size without loss of image quality or definition. They can also be supplied to print designers for use in their designs, guaranteeing an image that prints clear and crisp.
.gif: GIF uses only up to 256 colors from a pool of 16 million. If the image has fewer than 256 colors, GIF can render the image exactly. Otherwise, it approximates the colors as closely as possible. Thus, GIF is “lossless” only for images with 256 colors or less. For a rich, true color image, GIF may “lose” 99.998% of the colors. GIF is still very good for web graphics (i.e., with a limited number of colors). For graphics of only a few colors, GIF can be much smaller than JPG, with more clear pure colors than JPG).
.jpg (.jpeg): JPEG is short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and is the most popular among the image formats used on the web. JPEG files lose information from the original image when you save it in JPEG file. This is because JPEG discards most of the information to keep the image file size small, which means some degree of quality is also lost. While a .jpg will excludes some data, it is widely used and easily opened by most anyone with a computer. JPEG files are commonly used for photos but are also acceptable for logo or advertisement files.
.pdf: Portable Document Format (PDF) is an open standard for electronic document exchange. When you convert documents, forms, graphics, and web pages to PDF, they look just like they would if printed. But unlike printed documents, PDF files can contain clickable links and buttons, form fields, video, and audio — as well as logic to help automate routine business processes. When you share a PDF file, virtually anyone can read it using free Adobe Reader® software or the Adobe Reader mobile app. (As a side note, some .pdfs can also be used as vector files so long as they were developed in Illustrator (or other vector software) and saved properly for this use.)
.psd: Adobe Photoshop Document. .psd’s are typically layered files in which designers can manipulate the text, images, shapes and format. These can be created in any size, resolution and color space.
.png: Portable Network Graphic. These are often used in web-based design and applications but can also be supplied in CMYK/300dpi if intended for print use. These are easier to use in web activities as the transparencies remain intact and are of better quality than .GIF’s. PNG is, in all aspects, the superior version of the GIF. Just like the GIF format, the PNG is saved with 256 colors maximum but it saves the color information more efficiently.
.tif (.tiff): Tagged Image File. These files are the preferred file format for print designers as they are widely accepted by many of the design software programs and are equipped with all the file data. TIFF is a rich format and supported by many imaging programs. It is capable of recording halftone image data with different pixel intensities, and is the perfect format for graphic storage, processing and printing. This makes TIFF the superior raster image format.
Page Layout File Types
.indd: Adobe InDesign File. These are layout files with one or more pages arranged in a particular order.
.qxd: QuarkXPress File. Like .indd, these are layout files with one or more pages arranged in a particular order.
.pdf: Portable Document File : see above.
Print Graphics: TIF, AI and EPS files are the best choices for professionals when images are intended for print. Its ability to read CMYK and YcbCr color, plus its ability to store such high pixel intensity makes it the only choice for designers, photographers and publishers.
Web Graphics: PNG, JPEG and GIF are the most web friendly image formats. JPEG is great for images when you need to keep the size small, such as when you need to upload it online. If you don’t mind compromising the quality of the image a bit, use JPEG. If you want to keep the size small, but still retain the image quality, use PNG. GIF is the worst choice, although file sizes are very small, and they load very fast. Plus, if you want to add animation effects, use GIF.
PC & Mac Compatibility: If you are using Mac or PC, or constantly shifting from one to another, JPEG is the best image format for PC and Mac Compatibility.
Logos & Line Art: JPEG is the worst choice, it tends to add artifacts and blur the text, line and edges. JPEG also cannot support transparency, which is often a need for logos or icons. GIF is a good choice, but it pales in comparison to TIFF, PNG, AI and EPS. Both of the latter image formats retain much image information, and are not limited to 256 colors, unlike GIF. TIFF and PNG files keep the logo or line art sharp and concise.
Clip Art: GIF is the best image for clipart and drawn graphics that only use few colors and precise lines & shapes.
Need a fresh photo for your graphic? There are many online sites that offer free graphics, illustrations and photographs. Depending on the site (and the size of the graphic you’re looking for) they are free or at very low cost. (You can spend anywhere from $200 on up for a high resolution photo!) Typically the free images are small files, but perfect for websites or draft printed work. If you need a larger sized version then they are available for purchase at lower than average prices.
Bigstockphoto.com – Owned by Shutterstock, this site has over 13 million images. Purchase them by the size of the image. Small images start at around $2.00 for a single, small image, up to $6.00 for a high res vector file.
Creative Commons: This is not a search engine, but rather offers convenient access to 13 search services provided by other independent organizations.
Dreamstime – Download Royalty-Free stock photos, illustrations & images for as low as $0.20 / image or free.
Flickr : Flickr is a convenient way to store, sort, search and share your photos online.
Free Digital Photos: Offers a unique way to download photos and illustrations. ALL the images on the website are available free of charge, for business, personal, charitable or educational use.
Free Foto: They claim to be the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet. They feature exclusive images with new pictures being added every week. Original images are free to download but if you want higher resolution you will need to pay.
Freerange Stock was formed with the goal to provide free quality stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use. How do they do it for free? Photographers get paid when users click on the ads that appear next to their submissions.
Graphicriver.net : Graphics from $1 and up from an online marketplaces allow anyone to buy or sell digital goods like WordPress themes, background music, After Effects project files, Flash templates and much more.
Istockphoto.com: Not free, but offer high quality vector graphics that you can use for future projects.
Microsoft Image Gallery- A great source for stock images, clip art, icons. Not a lot of high-res files suitable for print work, but a great selection for web and email.
Morgue File: The term “morgue file” is popular in the newspaper business to describe the paper folders that hold past issues notes and information. The term has also been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits. “This is the world wide web’s morgue file.”
Photo Rack: Easy to use and navigate this free stock photo provider features over 27,000 free images categorized in 149 categories. There are no search options and no required registration. Just find proper images and download it, it’s that easy.
Shutterstock.com: For tight budgets, they offer a one-month plan for $249 that lets you download up to 25 images a day. Great way to build a big library of hi-res images for current and future projects.
Stock.XCHANG: Owned by Getty Images. There are many free photos to choose from. Some require you to notify the photographer / get permission or credit them on your site; but many others have standard permissions that don’t require notification. There is a community feature that allows you to send a note letting the photographer know how you have used their work…a nice way to acknowledge their expertise.
Stockvault.net: A stock photo sharing website where photographers, designers and students can share their photographs, graphics and image files with each other for free.
BizBash posted this article on their website, and I thought it was a perfect piece to pass along.
You may think you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, but if a guest asks a staffer a basic question that goes unanswered—well, there goes that attendee’s experience. Arm every event staffer and volunteer with the answers to these 11 questions and avoid unhappy, frustrated guests.
1. Where’s the bathroom?
We probably don’t have to tell you why this one’s important. If there are multiple restroom locations, the staff should also be able to provide details on the nearest, or the largest, or which is disabled-accessible, among other details.
2. What’s the Wi-Fi code?
It isn’t just a matter of convenience; it’s also about an event’s potential to go viral. Give every staff member the name of the Wi-Fi network and log-in info so that guests can check their email, sure, but also post the photos and tweets that give the event life outside its physical walls.
“I produce events for digital marketers, so there’s an expectation that we always have Wi-Fi available at our events, but I think it applies to nearly any event regardless of who your audience is,” says BtoB magazine marketing and events director Michele Langer. “People need to stay connected to their daily workflow if they’re going to take the time to attend your event. At the same time, giving them a connection also fires up attendee engagement on site if you’re offering social media integrations and interaction with other attendees as part of the program.”
3. What’s the event’s hashtag?
See above. If you want your event to go viral, you need to make it easy for people to follow the conversation on social media channels. Beyond informing the staff as to the relevant hashtags and Twitter handles, here are 15 clever ways to promote your event’s hashtag.
4. What’s in the food?
People might want the info for their Instagram captions, but more importantly, they might need to know what’s in a dish for their allergies (say, to shellfish or gluten) or dietary restrictions (for instance, vegetarian or kosher). Make sure staff members passing the trays and manning the stations know the ingredients in the foods they’re serving.
5. What do you do with leftover food?
Similarly, many guests—a number that increases daily—have environmental and philanthropic concerns regarding the food served at events. Make sure staffers know the fate of the leftovers, especially if you’ve got a great plan to distribute the food to folks in need.
“Laws vary from city to city, but frequently we will make inquiries as to whether or not it may be feasible to donate leftover food to a local food bank or homeless shelter, and we like to try to do that if possible,” says HBO vice president of special events Cindy Tenner. “Sadly, most times the food must be discarded due to health and safety codes.” If guests understand why food can’t be donated, they’ll be more understanding—so give the staff that info, too.
6. Is there some place I can charge my phone?
If you’re offering charging stations, great. Make sure staff members know where to direct guests to find the outlets. If not, the staff should know that, too, in order to avoid any disruptions to the event’s power needs. For instance, the answer should be: “Definitely not at the lighting console,” says Kinetic Lighting’s Rachel Miller.
7. Who’s the host?
If the venue is splashed with logos galore, the answer might be obvious. But it can certainly also be ambiguous as to who is hosting the event, particularly if there are multiple entities or title sponsors that could confuse the matter. Even if someone’s chief role is to guard the door, that person should be prepared to tell guests who’s shelling out the cash for the event and also the fundamental messaging behind it.
“It’s crucial my production staff and vendors all know who the client is,” says Alexandra Rembac-Goldberg of Sterling Engagements. “Not only do I make a point for them to know the host but also their team. At any given moment you never know who will be in need or will ask a question.”
8. Is there a medic?
Larger events are likely to have a medic stationed on site, and all staff people should know that medical professional’s location in order to get help fast. If people don’t know how to access the help, what’s the point of hiring a medic?
9. What time does X, Y, or Z happen?
Guests have tight schedules, and they may be hoping to get the most out of the event with as little time invested on site as possible. Make it easy for them to grab the important message and dash if necessary by arming all staff members with a basic run of show they can share, to answer questions like “What time does the speaker come on?” or “How long does this session run?”
10. What vendor or sponsor did this or that?
It’s nice to give a shout-out to your loyal vendors—what comes around goes around, and it’s an industry based on relationships, after all. So give staffers the information they need to advise guests if they love the decor, flowers, lighting, food, or something else. And of course, sponsors will feel validated—and likely to return—if guests know exactly the sponsor’s role in their comfort or enjoyment at the event.
11. Where can I smoke?
“Occasionally we host events that may include outdoor space, and if the host city’s fire marshal allows, we may have a smoking section,” says HBO’s Tenner. And yes, even in cities like Los Angeles, people still ask where they can light up. So all staffers should be prepared to direct them to the designated outdoor area—or know if there simply isn’t one.
Last week’s webinar session “New Thinking in Content Delivery & Engagement” with instructor Howard Givner, Executive Director of Event Leadership Institute was a resounding success!
If you didn’t have the opportunity to view it live, here’s your chance. Until April 30, 2013, the webinar will be available at no charge, courtesy Event Resources.
Please find below instructions on how to access the recorded webinar session and PDF slide presentation. If you’ve already paid for the webinar, there are no additional charges for these materials. When prompted, please enter the promotional code provided to view the slides and video segment. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Event Leadership Institute at (917) 301-6092 or via email email@example.com.
WEBINAR VIEWING INSTRUCTIONS
1. Click the link to the class page here.
2. Click the blue button that reads $40 Buy Now (Note: when asked for payment, you will enter the promo code instead).
3. Next, please complete our basic registration for access to content and submit. If a current member, please log in.
4. Once on the next screen, click Have Promo Code? (enter code: ELI_Content Delivery and Engagement_VIDEO).
5. You will now see that the balance for payment is $0.00; Click Proceed to Payment and this will then take you back to the class page where you can access the video and slides.
Hello there from Arnold Berman. I’m very pleased to announce the addition of six new members of our team. After producing over 11,000 events since 1989, and coming off of an extremely successful 2012, we’re experiencing continued business growth and are proud to welcome:
Their enthusiasm, skills and energy are already being felt by our staff and clients. We look forward to continued growth in 2013 – look for new products, services and client event announcements in the coming months!
Biographies and photos of all employees available at http://www.eventresources.com/about-us/meet-our-team/ or contact Mary Beth Staron at 860-528-1343, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The webinar was a resounding success with registrations from across the US, standing room only in a private viewing session at Event Resources, and feedback that rated the webinar “Good” to “Excellent” from 99% of the participants. If you didn’t have the opportunity to view it live, here’s your chance.
Until April 30, 2013, the webinar will be available at no charge, courtesy of Event Resources.
Please find below instructions below in the shaded box on how to access the recorded webinar session and PDF slide presentation. When prompted, enter the promotional code provided to view the slides and video segment. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact Event Leadership Institute at (917) 301-6092 or via email email@example.com
About “New Thinking on Content Delivery and Audience Engagement Webinar”
Fishbowl Set Ups
Flash Learning Mobs
…… and more ideas to take your event engagement to the next level!
1. Explain how your event can provide value in a world where content is available everywhere.
More educational events are planned for 2013.
To join our mailing list for future events, kindly contact Mary Beth Staron at 860-528-1343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a speaker fumbling with a microphone, trying to turn it on, hearing that screeecccching feedback sound, or not being able to hear the event at all. When it comes to sound, microphones and speakers, there’s more to it than renting a system and setting up equipment. Between the acoustics and the size of the room, there is a science to having the best sound available (hence the term “audio engineering”). Here are three tips for getting the best sound for your event.
Choose the Appropriate Microphone: Many people like wireless mics so they can walk around as they talk. However, if presenters are tied to a lectern, then wired mics are fine (and much less expensive). You also have to think about how close the presenter is to the mic. Why? Mics are optimized for the proximity to the sound being amplified. The further away from the sound, the more sensitive the mic. For example, rock singers use mics that are close to their mouths, but presenters with lecterns are about a foot away from the mic.
Place Your Speakers Properly: First determine if you need speakers that are intended for music, or the ones that are optimized for speech. Then you have to establish where and how far the placement of the speakers should be around the mics, stage and audience. If the speakers are behind the microphone, or close to it, you end up with “feedback”, or that terrible squealing sound. How does it happen? Feedback occurs when a microphone feeds a signal into a sound system, which then amplifies and outputs the signal from the speaker, which is picked up again by the microphone. It’s this continual loop and forms the “squeal”.
For a large room, second or third sets of speakers may be necessary and they must be on a “delay”. Since sound travels at 1126 feet per second, each set of speakers that set back in the crowd must be electronically delayed to match the sound coming from the stage.
Adjust for the Acoustics: Each room has its own acoustics: some great, like Carnegie Hall, some not so great, like a train station. This is where the science of audio engineering comes into play. A Sound Engineer has a set of tools that allow the sound to be adjusted in a number of ways: leveling the mic, eliminating low end sounds, feedback, etc. Each of these variables is adjusted for each zone (speakers, auxiliary equipment, monitors, etc.) Remember that the structure of the room plays a large part in the acoustics. Soft surfaces , with draping, carpeting and soffit ceilings, absorb sound and form acoustically- friendly environments. Then there are the hard walled rooms like train stations, where brick walls and windows are common. In this type of room the sound isn’t absorbed but instead bounces around the walls, ceiling and windows – a very non-friendly sound environment.
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the importance of professional sound system at your event. Sound glitches can leave you stressed and your guests scurrying for the door. For more information on how to get an awesome sound system, click here for a guide to “Good Sound”.
I found a place where more than 1400 experts hang out – a web site chock full of expert speaker presentations with over a billion (yes, that’s with a “b”) views. TED TALKS has been around since 1984, born as a conference designed to bring people together from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design.
Today it is a very popular website where the best talks and performances are available to the world, for free. More than 1400 TED Talks are currently posted, with more added each week. Each talk is accessible online, is 18 minutes or less in length (very succinct), with amazing production quality. There are two TED conferences held each year, and each day the Best of Best TED Talks are posted on the web site. I highly recommend checking it out for ideas and inspiration in both your work and personal life. Here is a couple to start with:
For the nonprofit world: Dan Pallotta – “The Way We Think about Charity Is Dead Wrong”
For Crowdfunding/Sales/Marketing/Branding: Amanda Palmer “The Art of Asking”
Other Sources for Event Ideas
You can also check out BizBash, an online website, magazine and semi-annual trade conference that focuses on the latest trends in events across the US.
Locally there are several organizations that hold frequent events in sales, PR and events.
- American Marketing Association, CT Chapter
- Meeting Professionals International, CT River Valley Chapter
- Public Relations Society of America – CT Chapter
- The Alliance for Non Profit Growth and Opportunity
- Connecticut Society of Association Executives
- Metro Hartford Alliance
If you’re on LinkedIn (and who isn’t?), there are dozens of groups dedicated to Event Planning, Marketing, and virtually any subject. You’ll get daily or weekly emails, discussions and can ask questions of your peers.
Will Address How to Reinvent Special Events for Non-Profit Organizations
April 16th, 2013, East Hartford, CT — Event Resources Inc., a leading Connecticut event production company, is pleased to announce that Arnold Berman, founder and president, will present at the upcoming TANGO (The Alliance for Non Profit Growth and Opportunity) Conference being held Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
His topic “How to Reinvent Your Special Event” will focus on how non-profit organizations can change up their meetings, conferences, dinners, fund raisers or other special events with the latest ideas in event production. Since events are a major source of fund raising for non-profits, this is an intriguing topic, particularly when budgets are strained and new ideas are critical for engaging donors at special events.
“How to Reinvent Your Special Event”
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
1:15 pm – 2:15 pm
“Best Practices for Non Profits”
42 Century Drive
Bristol, CT 06010
The Conference Program includes a total of eight sessions, all designed to educate and inspire non-profit organizations in the areas of health care, taxes, finance, personnel, relationship building and special events with a special keynote from Mark E. Scheinberg, President, Goodwin College.
Admission to “Best Practices for Non Profits” is free for TANGO members. TANGO membership is free for non-profit organizations. For more information on the conference or TANGO membership, go to www.tangoalliance.org, or contact Sarah Morin, TANGO, Tel: 877-708-2646 X116, Email: email@example.com.
For information on Arnold Berman and Event Resources, go to www.eventresources.com, or contact Mary Beth Staron, Event Resources, Tel: 860-528-1343, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Alliance for Nonprofit Growth & Opportunity (TANGO) is a community of more than 800 nonprofit organizations in CT, MA, and RI that receives best-in-class services and educational opportunities from a partnership of top-tier professional service firms. All that a non-profit has to do is join – and joining is free. For more information go to www.tangoalliance.org.
Music is an important part of every event. Two music options are live music or DJs. DJs can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 depending on the length of time you need them and their experience. However, in many instances, your special event may not even need a DJ, saving you a significant amount of money. How do you decide if you need a professional DJ or not? Here are some points to consider.
You do need a DJ when:
- You need an emcee that has a big personality to get the crowd going.
- It’s a long event with different crowds to entertain: families in the morning, teens in the afternoon, and adults in the evening. A good DJ will read the crowd and know what kind of music to play and when.
- A selection of thousands of songs is ready at a moment’s notice.
- Your guests will make spontaneous requests. The DJ should not only have a large song selection available, but know when to best include requests in the playlist.
On the flip side, there are many times when you don’t need a DJ. This can save $$ in the budget and still be professional. Just make sure you have a high quality sound system and you’re ready to go.
You don’t need a DJ when:
- You only require background music. Ask your event planner to create a playlist of instrumental music.
- You know what music your guests prefer. If you know the music genre you’d like to play, just tell your event production house to create a playlist, or use your i-Tunes account and create one of your own.
The most important quality of any music is the sound. Clear, balanced background music is only achieved with a professional sound system, as opposed to blaring out dance tunes for a late night dance crowd from a corner of the room.
If you’re still not sure which way to go, feel free to give me a call. We can run through the pros and cons of using a DJ for your special event as well as how to incorporate a quality sound system.
No, we were not investigated by 60 Minutes, or even interviewed. But a call from the producer of the 60 Minutes TV show does pique some interest. When the 60 Minutes crew interviewed the parents of the Sandy Hook victims, Event Resources was there for event production on installing risers, pipe and drape, and other needs for the broadcast.
Whether you opt for a Standard Definition or a High Definition presentation, you’ll need to adjust your presentation image to fit screen size. Standard Definition screens typically use a 4:3 aspect ratio, and High Definition generally uses 16:9. This is an important distinction because the shape of the resulting image displays differently on a screen. (Side note: Interestingly, the human eye sees in 16:9.)
When creating a video, PowerPoint slide, or image for your presentation, you should confirm that the image’s aspect ratio matches the screen aspect ratio. If you don’t match them up, in order to fit the whole image on the screen you will have black bars like these.
By not creating your presentation or cropping your image to the correct aspect ratio, the program will automatically either cut off or stretch your image to fit the ratio it needs. This results in mismatched screen images throughout your presentation with black bars across the top or sides. Not a good look.
There is easy to fix. In PowerPoint you can adjust the aspect ratio of your presentation simply by going to the Design Menu/Page Setup and selecting either 4:3 or 16:9.
But Wait, There’s More Screen Sizes
There are many screen sizes depending on the projector or monitor you’ll be using. However, no matter what the actual screen size, the aspect ratio will either be 4:3 or 16:9. Here’s a simple chart to see what ratio you use for various screen sizes.
Confused? Using your own monitor day in and day out, it’s easy to forget about other screen sizes. If you’re not sure what to use, here’s a hint: reserve your A/V projection screens needs ahead of time and know the exact aspect ratio before you start creating your presentation. Or be prepared to refresh all the material to match the projection screen size afterwards. Either way, to have a professional looking presentation, at some point you’ll have to match the aspect ratio of the image to the A/V screen.
We do this day in and day out and can help you determine the correct way to proceed. Just give us a call – we’ll be glad to help out.
Presented by Arnold Berman, President, Event Resources, Inc.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
9:00 am – 10:30 am
90 Brainard Road, Suite 201
Hartford, CT 06114
Learn how to change up your meetings, conferences, dinners, fund raisers or other special events with the latest ideas in event production. Viewing real world examples, you’ll learn go behind the scenes to see new and different ways to create unforgettable experiences, transform an unconventional space into one that inspires and wows an audience without breaking the bank, and apply the best tips and tricks to presentations, lighting, sound, staging and more.
No Charge for Members, $30 for Non-Members
High definition (HD) is rapidly replacing standard definition (SD) when projecting PPT slides, photos, or videos at special events. Why? As with any technology, improvements continue to be made and eventually old standards make way for new ones. (Remember the pre-historic vinyl record transformed into the cassette, CD, DVD, Blue-ray, and now streaming media!) HD is superior to SD since it takes advantage of new digital technology to deliver a sharper, clearer picture. You probably have an HD television set in your own home for that very reason.
Still, Standard Definition has been around for the past 10 years. It’s fine for projecting images on large screens, provided the images are high res, of course. But we all know that once new technology has gained a foothold in the marketplace, the older technology is phased out. Transitioning to HD is well underway, and within a year or two A/V equipment will only be offered in High Definition.
For the time being though, we still have an option to do either HD or SD presentations. Therefore, it pays to know at least the basics of what the differences are between the two formats.
- High Definition signals carry much more picture data making the picture much clearer.
- Pixel Lines: Pixel lines carry the picture information across your screen. Standard definition is limited to 480 lines per screen, while High Definition can support 720 and 1080 lines. High definition has more pixel lines so the picture has much higher resolution.
- High definition equipment is the latest technology so the cost is higher than current Standard Definition equipment. How much higher depends on many factors so please inquire for specifics
Now that everyone is used to High Definition presentations, they’ll be expecting it at your next special event. Let us help you decide if and when the transition from SD to HD is right for you.
These are two key components in an event: with good sound people clearly hear the presenters and music and get involved in the event, and lighting adds a very dramatic effect. Here’s the tip: once you have a good sound system, it doesn’t matter how much more money you spend on it. The results will still be the same. Once the sound is great, spending more money on it will not make it any better.
On the other hand, the more you spend on lighting, the better it will look. You typically start with functional lighting (for stage, buffet, signage), then you can add exterior lighting (entry ways, parking areas), ambient lighting for a warm glow throughout the room, and finally, decorative lighting for décor, large projections (gobo lights) and illuminating the dance floor. Each layer of lighting adds ambiance and drama. Go for more lighting and your event will definitely shine. Unlike sound, you can always continue give the room more impact and drama.
And of course, feel free to contact Event Resources for some timely ideas to make your event special. (860-528-1343 or email email@example.com)
The American Flag is a sign of respect to our country and people, and also to the men and women who sacrificed to build a land of prosperity and freedom. Download a free e-book that outlines the official US government rules on how to properly hang the flag in different situations, displaying it for special occasions, folding, and more.
The Bar is one of the first places people visit as they enter an event. Make it a great first impression!
Check out this article from Biz Bash that illustrates how others have made their bar works of art and inspiration.
Making your event special can range from dramatic draping, spectacular lighting systems, to a signature drink and fantastic entertainment. The challenge is to “wow” the guests as soon as they arrive, then continue to dazzle them throughout the event. With some creativity and imagination, your event can be memorable, and one that people will look forward to next time! Here are some examples of how some organizations in the Hartford area impressed their guests.
Create an Upscale Space for Upscale Fashion
A plain white space was dressed in New York chic for the Juvenile Diabetes Association’s Catwalk Fashion Show. Using the 2013 color of the year (emerald green) the runway, models and fashions from Saks Avenue were showcased at their finest.
Carry Your Theme throughout the Event
Goodwin College’s sold out “Big Top” Gala had a circus theme complete with the big tent, mid-way, fun lighting, and of course, circus performers!
Use Draping for Dramatic Effect
Basement System’s 2012 Annual Conference Party took on a true lounge feel at the Connecticut Convention Center. Private rooms constructed with draping broke up the large area.
Keep Crowds Engaged with Bigger than Life Entertainment
Infuse your fashion show with entertainment from bigger than life characters. In 2012 Michell’s did just that with an Asian theme for “Near and Far” Aid.
Create a New Atmosphere with Lighting
The lighting system at the University of St. Joseph dinner transformed the gymnasium into a room filled with magic!
Stretch Your Imagination
Multidimensional stretch screens add a whole new design element to stages. Not only do they draw attention, but add a theatrical flair to the room and presentations.
Spruce Up the Gym for Graduation
Even school gymnasiums can be set up for a formal occasions. Wtih the proper draping, lighting, staging and projection, everyone enjoyed Bulkely High School’s 2013 graduation.
Set a Dramatic Stage
A backdrop of draping, lighting and banners gave this panel discussion a whole new lift. It focused the audiences’ attention on the speaker and created a dramatic impression.
Think Out of Box
Infinity Hall recently “broke ground” on their new facility in Hartford. Yes, the building was already built, but inside there was still a gravel floor from which they will construct their new Music Hall. Using a stage, backdrop, lighting and sound spotlighted the action for speakers, entertainment and the actual first shovel throw.
Looking for inspiration on how to make your next event special? Download our free How To Guide “Stand Out” for more ideas. Or contact us for a free consultation – 860-528-1343. Events@eventresources.com. www.eventresources.com.
After the meeting space rental, lighting, staging, food and décor, there are many other “hidden” costs that may have escaped your budget. Knowing where to look for them upfront will prevent blowing your budget. Whether your event is being held in a rental space, at a park or a full service venue, it’s good to know what fees can be hidden in the contract - before you sign on the dotted line.
The most common hidden costs are administrative fees that get tacked on top of a quoted food and beverage minimum. Sometimes this cost is taxable and other times it is not, depending on if it’s a gratuity, commission, or service fee.
Using In-house Vendors
Here’s an instant 25% savings. Many venues have preferred or in-house vendors, particularly for audio-visual services such as sound, lighting, staging, etc. The vendor not only charges for their services, but the venue may add a service charge as well. You are not typically obligated to use an in-house A/V vendor, so opt for going with an outside professional staging company. (Such as Event Resources of course. Had to put in the plug.) and save at the very least, this gratuity fee.
Set Up and Breakdown
This is normally included in the space rental fee or food and beverage costs, but additional costs can be incurred, especially if tight reset times or unusual set ups are required.
For smaller parties (less than 50) most venues will have staff members present. However, if you have a few hundred people, crowd control may be necessary, particularly if anyone is “over-served” with alcohol. If your venue is a museum, government owned building or some other fascinating location, security must be in place.
For professional security, figure $25 an hour per person with a 4 hour minimum. Private duty police officers may be quadruple that amount. Remember, as the host, you can be liable for incidents and injuries resulting from intoxicated guests – at the venue and beyond. Check your state liquor laws to learn more about your potential liability.
Is your event covered by the venue’s liability insurance? Or do you have to get a policy to cover your event? That can run a few hundred dollars, so check it out.
Tables, Chairs and Linens
Ask if and what kind of tables, chairs and linens the facility has available. If you want to upgrade from these, additional charges will be added. Most venues include white linens at no charge. But colored linens to match your décor may be extra.
Room Rental Start Time
Venues like to book as many events as possible, even back-to-back. They know how much time they need to turn a room over for the next event. However, setting up stages, lighting systems, sound, and other special effects may take more time than the venue may expect. Include enough time for all your set-up and breakdown needs. This extra time may result in increased fees, but it’s absolutely necessary.
Rental Items Transport
You’d assume that when you rent dozens of tables or chairs that delivery would automatically be included. (Who has the time and vehicles to pick up and deliver 150 chairs?) Ask the rental company for the cost of the rental as well as pick-up and delivery.
Taxes and Gratuities
Taxes are always added to fees. Knowing which fees and services are taxable up front will save sticker shock when you pay the bill. Remember, venues with an in-house A/V vendor will charge 20% or more gratuity for their services. Using an outside A/V vendor, you immediately save that expense.
If you use the liquor provided by your reception site, the charge is typically wrapped into the cost. Bringing in your own vino can raise the price. Why? Because the venue’s workers are responsible for corking and serving the wine. The cost is from $2 to $5 for every bottle the venue opens.
Cleanup and Breakdown Costs
A full service venue won’t charge for these items, but if you’re paying a flat fee to rent only the space, anticipate fees for garbage removal, freight elevator use and cleaning. And if your event is on the weekend, expect to pay time and a half for labor, and even more for late night pickup and cleanup.
Some venues require a down payment or deposit after they give you an estimated price. If you have to change the date or cancel, the down payment or deposit may be forfeited in lieu of a cancellation fee.
All venues should have at the very least, a first aid kit. More medical attention may be necessary depending on the weather, a strenuous sporting event, the demographics of the crowd, whether alcohol will be served, etc. The level of first aid can range from a First Aid Station to medical staff and an ambulance on site.
If you’re required to get a permit for parking, liquor, tents, entertainment, etc., there will certainly be associated permit fees.
Is free parking included with the rental space? If not, can you get a flat rate for the event or a reduced rate for your guests?
As you can see, all these fees can add up. To help you keep track of them, we enhanced the Microsoft Excel Template for an Event Budget with these and more items you should always include in your budget. Click here for the free download!
As always, if you have any questions about event budgets, feel free to give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you out.
Tel: 860-528-1343 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s an easy to use (but not too exhaustive) budget worksheet for your next event. We’ve included many “hidden fees” that you should take into account with your venue. The worksheet is based in Excel so you can customize it to your specific needs.
My boss wants me to get a “ballpark estimate” for our next special event. What kinds of information do I need to provide to get an approximate cost?
This is a common question for us. It’s the old chicken or the egg paradigm. Do I start with a budget and see how much I can get, or with the creative elements of the event, and see how much it costs?
Creating An Event Budget
Making a budget can be a challenge depending on the size of your event and how you approach it. It isn’t as difficult as many think and should be viewed as a good companion to the creative process of putting on an event.
First, start with listing the different aspects of your event – tables, chairs, food, drinks, presentation, entertainment, lighting, and decor. Next, look at each line item and ask:
- What does each line item need to be a successful part of the event?
- Do you want standard white linens for the tables or specialty linen for extra pizazz?
- What kind of centerpieces for the tables?
- Any special seating?
- What are your sound requirements? Speeches, band, DJ, etc.?
- Is there a presentation portion? Screens/ projectors or flat screens?
- Do you want to have any special décor? Mood lighting, projections or table spots?
Once you determine some of these things you can start to estimate the costs. At some facilities, tables/chairs/linens may be included in the room cost, unless you are going for a custom look. But even if you want special linens or chairs, the venue may be able to help you with that. If you are at a location that is a la carte, these items must be priced separately, and thus the challenge begins.
(Click here for a free Event Budget Worksheet to get you started.)
“Can you give me a ballpark estimate?”
One common mistake people make is calling around and looking for a “ballpark” estimate for an event. This is a hard question to answer, as there are many variables within each event service that are co-dependent. The type and size of the sound system depends on audience size, type of program and the room. Presentations have similar variables- will it be video, I-Mag and/or PPT slides? Décor of course, has a huge range of options. Lighting can also run the gambit from simple to over the top extravaganzas.
Options for obtaining estimates for all these elements are just as varied. The only correct way to get even semi-accurate estimates is to map out your expectations and provide as much information as possible to vendors.
Where do I start?
You have the option of going to companies in the area that specialize within each of your line items: tables, chairs, linens; décor, or sound or video, lighting, food, etc. You can call and work with them individually, essentially becoming your own production manager. One challenge of this is understanding how all the event components interact with each other technically and logistically. For instance, ensuring each of the vendors you are talking with will deliver the appropriate level of service you need. One errant vendor can cause ripples that will throw your whole event off track.
You could also reach out to an event production company who can help you by doing all the foot work by talking to the multiple vendors and pulling all the pieces together for you. They have established relationships with trusted vendors with whom you can work. Having one point of contact will also make your planning more efficient and timely. Again, every event and organization is different, so weigh your resources. Not just your budget, but your time and creative ambitions as well, before deciding which route to take.
To ease the burden of deciding how to approach your next event, feel free to contact me for a free consultation and honest opinion of the best route you should take in developing your next event.
To help you budget, here’s a free Event Budget Worksheet to get you started.
About Ed Woodward, General Manager, Event Resources, Inc.
Ed keeps Event Resources’ operations in sync with our clients’ needs. He has filled many roles in the music and event world since his start in 1976, and his propensity to stray outside of the lines has enabled him with a unique set of production and problem solving skills. Ed has been part of the team since 1996.
The greatest event in the world isn’t appreciated unless anyone and everyone knows about it. Here’s a list of 20 ways to get the word out about your event. Start with standard information (event name, date, time, place) then add some text about what makes it special: headline entertainment, noted speaker(s), charitable benefits, etc. (See the accompanying “Ask the Expert” article on how to do this.) Once this information is set up, it’s easy to insert it in the following promotional vehicles and get people interested in attending.
Event Promotion Checklist
1. Email: Send an email to all your targeted lists. Use your current email system (Outlook, for example), or have the information designed in an online email system such as Constant Contact, Open Moves, etc. Emails are easy to personalize using these systems. But don’t overdo the number of emails. Three well-spaced emails are recommended to get your audience’s attention without annoying them.
2. Twitter: Tweet your event to your constituents before, during and after the event. Give your audience nuggets of information about the event to create intrigue and anticipation. For instance, there are only a few seats left, a description of a grand auction item, the chef can tweet that he’s preparing the food, the florist is delivering the flowers, the weather report, etc.
3. Facebook: Post the event on your Facebook timeline as “Status Updates” counting down to the event, and under the “Events” area. For added effect, boost the post to thousands of people on Facebook for a nominal cost ($15.00 per post).
4. LinkedIn (Groups): Professional groups you belong to will may also share an interest in your event. Post the information on each group’s LinkedIn page as well as your own and your organizations’.
5. Print and mail personalized invitations. Formal invitations still have cache.
6. Newsletter: Include a notice of the event in the newsletter with a button or banner ad linking to the information and registration.
7. Website: Post a notice on the Home Page as well as under the “Events” section.
8. Blog: Write several blogs about the upcoming event to build excitement. Post the blogs on the website, on LinkedIn, Facebook, email, etc. Talk about how the event will have an effect on people’s lives: for example, how the money raised will be used to benefit others.
9. Press Release: Create a press announcement with all the pertinent information about the event: time, date, place, organization, purpose, sponsors, key elements that will make it stand out. Send to all the local media via email.
10. Reach out to the media: State and local media typically have an events section both in print and online. These include state and local:
d. Radio Stations
11. Telephone: Pick up the phone and call people. They all like that person touch.
12. Email signature: Include a link to the event in your email signature.
13. Public Service Announcements: Provide a 30 second script on your event and send it to area media. It’s fairly common for the host of your event to be from a radio or TV station, so start with theirs.
14. TV Appearances: Contact your local news team about your event. Most TV stations have short segments on their morning newscasts for personal interviews on upcoming events.
15. Partners: Team up with others to promote the event (major sponsors, contributors, etc.) Just send them the materials you’ve already created to post/insert into their print and online publications, include in their enewsletters.
16. YouTube: Post video clips from last year’s event and include the link in your communications. For instance, illustrate how your organization benefits the community.
17. Online Event Listing Sites:
a. Tweetvite makes it easy to create invitations for events you’re hosting or to find local Tweetups (events) in your area.
b.Eventful (Lists all types of gatherings in your local area) http://eventful.com/hartford/events/categories/fundraisers
18. Word of Mouth: Tell everyone you know and meet about your event and drum up some excitement. Provides great credibility when people are buzzing about an event in person.
19. Posters: Yes, the printed kind, with a QR code so people can instantly go to the website for more information.
20. Paid Advertising: Place a banner ad or print ad in your local newspaper. Yes, it’s not free, but you could get a discount and people still do read the newspaper.
Lastly, ask guests where they heard about the event and keep track. That way you’ll know what marketing activities work best to promote your event next year!
By Lee Simmons, Client Relationship Manager, Event Resources
Click image for real world examples of live video streaming.
We all know how impactful the Internet has been in our lives. Now we can experience how impactful it can be for your events. Clients have told me many times that the room for their event only holds 200 people but they want to invite 300 people. Or, their event will want to be seen by people in different states or different countries. These are a few reasons why streaming your event on the web may be a good idea for you.
The concept is easy: camera + streaming device + software + Internet = live stream. All you need to do is share the web page link for people to view.
The key for successful live streaming is the speed of the Internet connection. This may sound silly to you, but the Internet connection for your event is regulated by a certain transmission speed. (This is the same as when you purchase an Internet connection for your home.) You’ll need at least 1.5 to 2 Megabytes of speed for a good video streaming signal. Keep in mind that if the venue has an Internet connection, they may charge you to use it based on a flat rate or on the speed you require.
One question I get asked a lot is “Why can’t we just use the free Wi-Fi from the venue?” Good question! Wi-Fi is still “plugging” into the Internet. Not physically but wirelessly. The Wi-Fi speed may be more than adequate for live streaming, but if your guests and staff are sharing this Wi-Fi signal for their laptops or mobile devices the speed of the Internet is slowed down, which affects the quality of the stream. Also, have you even been on a Wi-Fi signal with your mobile device and all of a sudden you lose the connection? We certainly do not want this to happen for your live streaming video.
For information on Event Resources’ new Live Streaming Video Services, click here
The best option is to utilize a dedicated hard wire line to the Internet that no one else can access. That way your live video stream
is the only traffic on the line.
If you have an interest in streaming your event live and having it available on-demand to watch 24/7, please reach out to us at 860-528-1343, email@example.com, and we can discuss if it’s the right fit for your event and your venue. Or, click here for a free brochure on Live Streaming Services, or visit our Live Streaming Services Page.
Lee Simmons, Client Relationship Manager, Event Resources, Inc.
Lee comes to Event Resources with an extensive television production background. Previously he was with WGGB – ABC 40/FOX 6 where he served as a Newscast Director. Prior to WGGB, Lee was in commercial and Internet sales at local television stations. He started his career at WFSB as an engineer and Newscast Director. Lee is also currently an Adjunct Professor teaching Television Production courses at the University of Hartford.
A few times a year Event Resources holds an Executive Roundtable at our offices in East Hartford. Last week we hosted executives from area non profit organizations, who shared questions, concerns and ideas for their fundraising events. We thought we’d share one of the lively discussions with you today!
Topic: “We haven’t changed the format of our special event in years. What can I do to make it interesting and fresh?”
This is a common concern. After doing the same event for several years, it can become stale and predictable. Every event planner has this dilemma, so here are some suggestions that area non profits have actually done to boost their attendance.
Move the event from a weekend to a weekday. Many people can stop in after work for a few hours instead of on the weekend.
Instead of a two hour, four course dinner, go for a cocktail hour with hor’s dourves. There’s more variety of food, more time for networking, and people can come and go as they please.
Silent auctions take a lesson from eBay with “Buy It Now” options. A wider audience can view auction items on the web beforehand and start the contributions early.
Change the location. Move the event to your organization’s offices, a museum, or in one instance, an equestrian facility. A different atmosphere peaks people’s attention and interest.
Of course, change is easier said than done. Think you’ll get push back from the planning committee? Try one little change at a time and see its effect. Even a small variation can increase awareness and curiosity.
If you’d like to attend a future Roundtable, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add you to the invitation list!
Designers take a modern twist on the traditional for spring 2014 by pairing soft pastels with vivid brights to create a colorful equilibrium. Pantone colors are the industry standard. Check out their website when planning your color scheme for next year. Remember though: THE color for 2014 is DAZZLING BLUE.
by Liz Piacentini, CMP
Are you overlooking key opportunities to maximize your speaker budget? Meeting professionals understand that selecting a professional speaker requires a keen understanding of the audience and program objectives. However, when this task has specific budget limitations, planners need to maximize their return on investment AND avoid unexpected costs. A speaker’s bureau can guide planners through the selection process and provide recommendations for increasing the event’s success.
Here are a few tips that add value to your event by maximizing the role of the Speaker you hire:
- Articles – Drive attendance through your newsletter, website and social media by having the speaker submit a short article that builds excitement for the keynote.
- Conference Calls – Speakers not only learn about your audience and objectives, they may offer recommendations on room layout or stage set-up to enhance interactive activities and content delivery.
- Audio-visual Requirements – Request the speaker’s audio-visual requirements before contracting with them. Remember, sound and A/V are not places to cut back on your budget. These services are critical to focusing the audience’s attention on the speaker’s content and delivering a professional-quality program.
- Multiple Dates – Some speakers offer lower rates for multiple engagements, such as several regional meetings, contracted at the same time.
- Recording Permission – Always obtain your speaker’s written approval in advance. Depending on your intended use, fees may apply. Keynotes typically contain the intellectual property of the speaker and may have recording limitations.
- Keynote AND Breakout – Consider having your speaker conduct a breakout session (or moderate a panel discussion) after the keynote. With the speaker already on site, this is less expensive than bringing in another professional.
- Meeting Activities – Invite the speaker to the welcome reception, lunch, VIP meet & greet, or golf with company executives. Attendees often appreciate the extra attention. Speakers learn more about an organization before a speech, increasing its relevancy and impact.
- Enhance Learning – Increase retention and engagement by structuring 10-minutes of round table discussion and 10-minutes of wrap-up after a 45-50 minute keynote.
- Tools & Take-aways – Speakers can bring handouts or books, if appropriate. Attendees gain something to review after the session, increasing content retention. If the Speaker is an author, arrange a book sales and signing session after the keynote, or purchase books at bulk rates in advance.
- Master of Ceremonies – Consider an after-dinner comedian (or professional speaker), who is also a skilled Emcee! By combining their ability to build energy with an Emcee’s ability to enhance program continuity, you hire ONE entertaining individual to introduce executives, present awards, and deliver comedy.
- Follow-up webinar – Provides an opportunity to engage those who were unable to attend, while offering additional value for those who did.
- Post-event Conference Call – Some organizations may wish to continue the dialogue between the speaker and key executives. Often an ideal option for organizations trying to implement strategic initiatives presented during the keynote.
- Evaluations – Review your feedback! The information guides next year’s speaker search and program development.
Professional speakers want to deliver their best and may even offer additional ideas. Not all speakers can accommodate every option and may have a different fee structure based on what they’re asked to do. Feeling overwhelmed? Working with a speaker’s bureau offers a solution. For no additional cost, a bureau provides appropriate speaker recommendations, conduct negotiations, and coordinate the logistics – helping you select the right speaker AND maximize your return.
Liz Piacentini, CMP, is Director of Sales & Marketing for the Goodman Speakers Bureau in Windsor, CT, which provides guidance and advice to meeting planners in selecting the very best professional speakers for their event – www.goodmanspeakersbureau.com. She is also the Director of Leadership development for the Connecticut River Valley Chapter of Meeting Professionals International and has been the chapter’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) study group leader since 2006. Reach her at email@example.com
Andrew Mitchell-Namdar certainly knows fashion, no doubt about that. For generations his family have been the owners of the Mitchells Family of Stores, high end luxury clothing stores located in the über stylish neighborhoods of Westport, Greenwich, Huntington NY, San Francisco and Palo Alto.
But Andrew isn’t just another luxury retailer. He sets himself apart by constantly giving back to the community in a big way, by backing and hosting several charity events at Mitchell’s every year. With style and meticulous attention to detail, he has integrated women’s love of fashion with philanthropy and taken it to the next level. As a founding sponsor of Pink Aid, in 2013 Andrew was the proud host of the annual Pink Aid Luncheon, a tremendously successful luncheon and fashion show that showcases world renowned designers to hundreds of fashionistas. In only three years, Pink Aid has generated millions of dollars in donations.
How does he do it? There always something special about Andrew’s events, and this year was no exception. For the first time, the featured designer, Brunello Cucinelli, requested to be an integral part of the fashion show, speaking to the audience and personally introducing his fall line to them. One of the most exclusive casual-chic fashion brands in the world, Cucinelli is famous for his cashmere products.
Having the lead fashion designer speak to the audience is commonplace. But not this time! Cucinelli wanted to speak to the audience from his headquarters in Solomeo, Italy, in real time. The quality of this video and audio transmission also had to be in keeping with Mitchell’s high standards of excellence. With today’s technology and the help from Event Resources, Inc., Mitchell’s go-to event production company, this was made possible through high definition video conferencing.
To accomplish a high definition video feed from Italy, Event Resources’ Production Manager, Brendan Twitchell set up a control area behind the scenes at the fashion show. The control area allowed Brendan to regulate the overall “run of show” presentation elements, alternating between PowerPoint slides, video, and a live feed to and from Cucinelli’s office in Italy. While operating the equipment, Brendan was also communicating with Cucinelli via email to insure the system was working correctly, the audio and video were perfect, and the timing coordinated with the overall presentation schedule.
The backbone of the set up was two video conferencing systems, a Tandberg system located at the fashion show in Mitchell’s Westport store and a Polycom system in Cucinelli’s headquarters in Italy. Both were linked together through the Internet, with the video and audio feeds from Italy downloaded directly to the control center, and in turn, to the large monitors located throughout the audience.
In keeping with exacting standards, the entire system was tested the day before to insure everything was set up properly. Considerations were made for the bandwidth, dedicated IP addresses for the video and audio streaming between the US and Italy, and the elimination of any delay between the two locations. In contrast to Skype, what many people are familiar with when it comes to calling and seeing people in real time, professional video conferencing provides high quality video and audio transmission, handles multiple microphone feeds in the respective rooms, eliminates sound “echo”, and offers an exceptional viewing experience.
For an audience in excess of 500 people, professional video conferencing was the perfect solution. Cucinelli was clearly heard and seen by the audience, and he was able to interact with the audience from Italy as well.
This is just one way Event Resources has expanded event production to areas that bring an events to the next level. From live video streaming to international video conferencing, special event professionals now have the opportunity to take on global aspects and audiences.
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The extraordinary vision of Mitchells | Richards | Marshs is to “hug” the customer—to enhance and add value to the retail experience. They are obsessed with extraordinary customer service and creating a uniquely warm environment, because anyone who becomes a customer has an enduring relationship with Mitchells | Richards | Marshs. Their motto is “Once a customer, always a friend.” They give back to their communities and build trusting relationships with customers and friends that will last throughout generations. That is exactly what Mitchells | Richards | Marshs does to maintain their excellence.
One of the most successful high-end luxury retail groups of stores in the world, offering men’s and women’s clothes, jewelry, and accessories. Located in five cities on both coasts, the stores comprise over one hundred thousand square feet of retail space. They’re not successful because they have better products or prices than their competition; it’s because of how they treat their customers. Mitchells is still independent, family owned, and operated by a second and third generation of Mitchells who are looking forward to serving their customers for many generations to come. (Company information courtesy Safari Books Online.)
For more information about Mitchell’s Family of Stores visit contact:
Mitchell’s, 670 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880
Event Resources is a full service, special event management and production company serving Southern New England. Producing over 11,000 events since 1989, we provide comprehensive logistical and technical solutions from the smallest meeting to the largest formal gala. Clients in the corporate, retail, education, non-profit, municipal, government and community arenas have relied on Event Resources as their one-stop resource for behind-the-scenes planning, coordination, and onsite execution of their important occasions. For additional information please contact:
Event Resources, Inc., 333 Park Avenue, East Hartford, CT 06108
There are several organizations that compassionately assist women in need that are diagnosed with breast cancer… but of course, they are in great need of funding. While it is critical that we all continue to contribute to breast cancer research initiatives, Pink Aid is a grant-based organization that funds the efforts of organizations that provide this type of compassionate care… currently locally and ultimately beyond. Pink Aid offers a welcome opportunity to join together to make a real difference in the lives of many women and their families, within and around our communities. Pink Aid is fiscally sponsored by FJC, a 501c3 public charity. As such, all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
For more information about Pink Aid, please contact:
Pink Aid, 670 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880
Attn: Andrew Mitchell-Namdar
Didn’t have time to read every issue of this newsletter? No problem! Out of dozens of articles produced this year, these are the top 5
Most Clicked Through! See what hundreds of people enjoyed reading in 2013!
- May: When Do You Really Need a DJ?
- June: Photo Showcase: How to make Your Event Special
- August: 20 Ways to Promote Your Event
- September: Live Streaming Video: The Next Best Thing to Being There
- October: eBook: How to Properly Hang the American Flag
Last week’s webinar “Secrets of Negotiating with Venues” (sponsored by Event Resources) was a resounding success! People from across the country tuned-in to hear how to maximize their budget for special events. The ideas from Howard Givner, founder of the Event Leadership Institute, were not only educational, but showed how venues and planners can both benefit from smart negotiations.
Venues are in the business of selling: event planners are in the business of getting the best event at the lowest cost possible. Knowing what is important to your event and what you can offer the venue to make more profit, will result in a successful negotiation. If you are a savvy planner, this can be a win-win situation for both of you.
1. First and foremost, venue rental and catering is a business. And just like any other business, supply and demand drive the amount of money you will pay. For example, there are only a few venues that can accommodate 1,000 people for dinner. Those venues are in high demand and they can and will charge a premium. If you’re talking about Hartford or Manhattan, there are only a handful of venues that are in that category, and many organizations vying to use them.
2. So you’re not having a large event, but a smaller one which a number of venues can handle. Most events are held in May, June, September and October. If you’re interested in those months, remember, so is everyone else. There are a limited number of Saturday nights in June so the venues will naturally capitalize on that demand. After all, they are running a business and have to make up for the winter months, when planners shy away from holding events.
3. Ask for several dates around the one you prefer. Then you will know if the venue is filling up or if they have openings they need to book.
4. Have a friendly cancellation clause. See if the cancellation fees can be applied to the next event. The venue may have lost one event, but is guaranteed future business.
5. Piggyback menus with another event happening at the same time. For instance, a small group may have a minimum fee requirement. However, see if there is another group in the same facility at the same time. Offer to use the identical menu if the venue will waive the minimum. That way the venue doesn’t have to do more work for a separate menu, they get more business and you eliminate the minimum guarantee.
6. Even if you don’t need a minimum, offer to piggyback off another event’s menu anyway. The kitchen will love you for it, you may be able to cut a better catering deal, and the venue wins too! After all, the chef just cut out the preparation for an entirely different menu.
7. Negotiate free meeting rooms when purchasing food and beverage.
8. Hire an outside A/V vendor and save 22%++ gratuity/service charge. Although many venues have their own in-house A/V, you are under no obligation to use them.
9. Summarize where the venue will have its name published with your event and value it as PR. The venues name will appear in all event advertising, invitations, tickets, promotion, press releases, social media, signage, and more, resulting in thousands or even hundreds of thousands of impressions. The attendees can add value as well for they are an influential group for future business. That can be very valuable, particularly for a new venue.
10. You’ll need access to the event space before and after the event for set up and tear down, for which you will pay for the room. However, if the room isn’t rented out before or after your event, see if you can get in earlier or stay later. Setting up the night before a morning event will save overtime costs for a setting up stages, A/V, etc at 4:00 am.
11. Negotiate a free hospitality suite. This can be used for dignitaries, a private cocktail party, or as an office for the staff conducting the event.
12. Show proof if you consistently go over your guarantees. You may be in the habit of “playing it safe” by guaranteeing a low number, but typically end up with 50 – 75 more guests. Proving this through a few years of past paperwork will work in your favor to confirm your business is more valuable to the venue and may lower the overall meal cost.
13. Ask for a flexible payment schedule: Pay less up front and more at the end after the ticket sales start coming in.
14. Contract for free WiFi. It’s already in the hotel and all the sleeping rooms anyway.
15. Make contracts at the end of the month or quarter when managers have to reach quotas.
As you can see there are many ways to bring venues increased business without sacrificing the quality of your event. At the end of the day, knowledge is power. The planner has the knowledge of what they can offer venues to be as profitable as possible, and the venues know what they can offer without dipping into their profit margin.
The full webinar is available on the Event Leadership Institute website. This is a subscription only website, but well worth the cost to gain access to all their educational videos and webinars.
For more information about the Event Leadership Institute contact:
Event Leadership Institute
People are usually curious to know if the challenges they are facing in creating events are the same ones that others are experiencing. Of course, from a vendor point of view, we’d also like to know what’s on our client’s minds. This helps us understand how to make their events go more smoothly. So we asked.
During the Fall we exhibited at several area conferences attended by not-for-profit organizations. We were delighted that dozens of people in the event job function answered our survey about their biggest challenges. Now we’d like to share the results with you.
Question 1: What is your biggest event challenge?
- 47% said Low Budget and 40% wanted More Attendees at their events.
- These areas were followed by presentations, sound, venue location, and food.
Question 2: Think about your last event. If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
This was an open ended question so the respondents filled in their own answers. These answers were then grouped into categories to make the tabulations easier. There were two categories that received far more attention than the others: Program and Volunteers.
Under the Program area, here’s what people would have changed at their last event:
- Factor in weather. “The gorgeous day drew many of our attendees outside for lunch when we had an exciting keynote planned indoors.”
- More seminars
- Free lunch for attendees
- Include a live auctioneer
- More impressive speakers
- Better entertainment
- Better sound system
For the area of Volunteers, people emphatically stated the need for more volunteers on all levels, from the Board of Directors to committees and onsite volunteers.
Programming and Volunteers were followed (in order of priority) by:
- Planning: Start planning sooner, hire an event planner, and allow more planning time.
- Venues: Get a bigger venue in a better location, and set up the food service differently.
- Marketing: Place event info in additional outlets to obtain more attention and attendees.
- Raising more money: Sell more sponsorships and target a smaller, more focused donor group.
So there you have it. Are you experiencing the same challenges as other organizations? If you are, you’re not alone. Event Resources will be holding more in-house events and webinars in 2014 to address challenges such as these to aid your event planning process and success.
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Although Event Resources Inc. strives to make the information on this website and blog as timely and accurate as possible, our goal is to stimulate thinking and broaden perspectives. We make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy and completeness of the information or the adequacy of the contents or its suitability for your particular situation.
The outdoor concert season in 2011 was an unfortunate one. Three weather-related staging accidents occurred, the most memorable of which was the stage rigging collapse at the Indiana State Fair. These disastrous events refocused the industry to more closely collaborate on safety issues, as well as create new, wide-reaching guidelines to avoid tragic events in the future.
Thus the Event Safety Alliance (ESA) was founded in 2011 by Jim Digby, a 30+ year veteran of the entertainment industry. ESA provides education and training for event safety through webinars, events and a new Event Safety Guide that will be available shortly.
Currently over 2,000 event professionals (including event producers, venue owners/operators, municipalities, service firms and Event Resources) participate in the Alliance to insure all technical, planning and communications are dedicated to insuring the safety of clients.
Always ask your vendors (event production, caterer, photographer, florist, etc.) for their Certificate of Insurance. This confirms the vendor has adequate insurance for themselves and their company in the areas of Workman’s Compensation, liability, and property. The document should list the effective date of the policy, insurance coverage, and the types and dollar amount of applicable liability.
This is particularly important if the event has a third party vendor charging and serving liquor. In this case the vendor is required to have a liquor permit as well as liability insurance.
A sample Certificate of Insurance with descriptions of the various components, click here.
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Although Event Resources Inc. strives to make the information on this website and blog as timely and accurate as possible, our goal is to stimulate thinking and broaden perspectives. We make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy and completeness of the information or the adequacy of the contents or its suitability for your particular situation.
At a recent Event Resources’ Executive Roundtable, one of our clients asked about Event Insurance. When do you need it? What should it cover? With all the “What ifs” surrounding an event (What if my guest speaker’s flight is cancelled? What if a snow storm or hurricane impacts my event?) and ever tightening budgets, you don’t want to overspend on any line item, but at the same time, you need to be adequately insured against any loss. Here’s an overview of the types of insurance that are available.
Event insurance can be purchased for virtually any event, large or small. It’s comforting to know it covers any damages, injuries, accidents or event cancellations that are out of your control. You can recoup the costs for creating the event, or even the profits you expected to generate from it. With event budgets getting into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, it makes sense to protect your investment.
To begin, here are the main types of event insurance:
• General Liability: Bodily Injury/Property Damage
• Third Party Property Damage
• Liquor Liability: Host and Vendor
• Collapse of Temporary Structure
• Inclement Weather
• Prize/Promotional Insurance
• Errors and Omissions by the Event Organizer
• Contractual Liability
• Damage to Premises
• Offsite Activities Liability
• Athletic Activities Liability
• Hired and Non-Owned Autos
• Terrorism (Actual or Threatened)
With all these choices, it’s not a simple task to place an order for event insurance. On the flip side, there are enough types of insurance to cover you for practically any part of your event.
How to Purchase a Policy
First off, see if your organization’s general business insurance also covers special events. You may purchase insurance event-by-event, or if you frequently hold events, on an annual basis. There are many insurance companies you can find on the Internet that can provide a quick quote, or call your insurance agent directly.
How Much Does It Cost?
Of course insurance costs vary on the location, time, date, etc. of an event. Real world examples are always interesting, so without putting anyone on the spot, let’s create a fictitious event and input it on a couple of online sites for an instant quote. A “Kentucky Derby” Benefit was hypothetically created for May 17, 2014 for 500 people. It includes a banquet, liquor would be served by the organizer and valet parking offered.
Here’s the criteria:
• General Liability – $500,000/$1,000,000
• Damage to Premises – $50,000
• Medical Payments – $10,000
• Contractual Liability – Covered
• Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability – $500,000
• Liquor Liability – Covered
• Accident Medical Expense – $10,000
• Accidental Death – $5,000
• Accidental Dismemberment – $5,000
The resulting quotes were $728 and $1400. (Pays to shop around!)
Now these may not be the appropriate options you should use for your event. Every event has different needs for insurance coverage. Plus, there are also additional details that you should address such as: is the time for set up and breakdown covered? Volunteers? What are the deductibles?
To make sure our information in this article is correct, we ran it by Robert O’Connor, Senior Vice President at Peoples United Insurance Agency. He commented,“Regarding general liability, typically we see minimum requirements of $1m each claim/ $2m aggregate. For special event policies providing general liability, it is important to review the exclusions on the quote or policy. One problem we commonly see is the policy covers spectators only and not participants.”
Keep in mind that other insurance, such as Weather and Cancellation Insurance, is extra. However, your event can be covered for any revenue you have lost from contractual obligations as well as loss of revenue from refunded tickets and sponsorships. The rule of thumb is that cancellation insurance covers perils that are beyond your control, such as a keynote speaker dropping out at the last minute, labor strikes, outbreaks of disease, fire, delayed construction, and so on.
Weather can have a significant effect on outside events. Weather insurance can be purchased for even a certain amount of rain that affects attendance and revenue.
Said O’Connor “The types of coverage and the perils that are covered can be tricky especially when it involves event cancellation and/or weather insurance policies which are much less common and not well understood by most agents or clients. I suggest they use an experienced agent who has some familiarity with these policies.”
Should you get event insurance? To have a “worry free” event, absolutely. Shop around, ask around and see what makes the most sense for your event.
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Event Insurance Now.com
R.V. Nuccio & Associates
The Event Helper.com
BizBash.com: “When and Why You Need Event Insurance”
When to Have Event Insurance
Event Leadership Institute
Although Event Resources Inc. strives to make the information on this website and blog as timely and accurate as possible, our goal is to stimulate thinking and broaden perspectives. We make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy and completeness of the information or the adequacy of the contents or its suitability for your particular situation.
I am proud to say that 2014 marks the 25th year Event Resources has been in business.
I’d like to thank our long standing customers, new clients, and an amazing group of dedicated employees for their continued trust and support. The past 25 years would not have been possible without you and I look forward to sharing many more great years ahead.
In 1988, in the middle of a four week run of The Nutcracker as Production Manager at the Hartford Ballet, I realized that it would be my last season there. With a thought that there were many organizations in the community that could use a little help behind the scenes producing their special events, Event Resources was established. I envisioned Event Resources to provide project management in the special event marketplace – community festivals, concerts, theatrical events, and more.
Little did I know, or expect, that 25 years later, Event Resources would have a staff of over a dozen event professionals producing close to 1,000 events a year for over a 100 corporate, non profit, educational, municipal and government clients in southern New England.
Please stay tuned to our monthly newsletter to hear about our 25th anniversary celebration activities, including the continuation of our educational series and other special happenings to mark this milestone.
Look forward to an exciting 25th year at Event Resources!
Event technology continues to change, and bring with it lots of new products and services. What should you focus on? Here’s a quick list of what trends we’re seeing in the special event space for 2014.
Presentations are morphing to the form of TED Talks: short, focused presentations that are high on delivery and staging, and low on PowerPoint slides. Speakers should engage with their audience as much as possible, inviting questions, comments on Twitter, and postings on social media sites.
High Definition is here to stay. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive, but the impact is immeasurable. With high definition TV commonplace at home, expectations continue to rise. Standard definition is still appropriate in many situations, but you’ll see the trend for High Definition accelerating.
Live streaming is becoming more popular. The ability to stream your event to audiences around the town or around the world brings a new dimension to events. Using live streaming for these “hybrid events”, (where there are in-house and online participants) is very cost effective, considering it greatly extends the audience for keynote speakers, conferences, corporate meetings and even high school graduations. Another added bonus is the event can be recorded and posted on YouTube, websites and social media, leveraging its use for an extended period of time.
Lighting has a significant impact on your event – the more lighting, the more sophisticated the space appears. LED lighting is now more commonplace as the price is continually decreasing to make it much more budget-friendly.
Unconventional spaces are putting a new interest and twist on events. We’re seeing more special events being held in museums, tents, and municipal facilities. Again, it’s a way to change up the event and make it more interesting for guests.
Events are being booked 50% earlier than before. That’s a sign that special events budgets are increasing. According to a new study of event planner predictions by Penton Research for Special Events, approximately four in ten respondents (43 percent) expect to stage more special events in 2014, relative to 2013. Just over a third expect their event count to remain the same (37 percent). Only 6 percent expect to stage fewer events in 2014.
In summary, we see 2014 offering event planners more creativity for budgeting new technology, venue selection and presentation delivery – all aimed at providing unique and interesting experiences for attendees.
Many events have presenters who are projected to the audience via huge I-MAG screens or smaller monitors throughout the room. Either way, presenters should be conscious of what they are wearing “in front of the camera”.
Dressing for the camera is different from dressing “in-person”. Even though at an event you’re doing both, here’s some simple tips on what and what not to wear in front of live camera. The key is to be comfortable and not have anything that distracts from your face. If in doubt, check out what the national news anchors wear, such as the team at Good Morning America or Al Roker (below).
Women should dress simply:
- Solid colored clothes (navy blue, grays, purples, dark creams, browns and neutral colored suits)
- Blouses in jewel tones that will enhance your skin tone
- Natural fabrics that breathe
- Scarves with subtle patterns
- Simple jewelry
- Comfortable, low heels
- Hairstyles that are off the face
- Brown tones of lipstick to match your blush and clothes
Stay away from:
- White, bright yellow, red or black suits
- White blouses
- Shiny fabrics
- Complicated patterns
- Sleeveless or short sleeves without a jacket
- Large jewelry or dangling jewelry
- Heavy fabrics
Al Roker gets it right. The best combination for men is a light blue dress shirt with a pastel tie and a natural tone coat.
Men should dress in:
- Solid colored clothes
- Suits in blue/dark blue, gray, brown
- Shirts in blue, gray, pink or beige
- Natural fabrics that breathe
- Medium colored handkerchiefs
- Comfortable shoes
- Knee length socks
Men should avoid:
- White, yellow and black shirts
- Black suits
- White, yellow, red handkerchiefs
- Shirts with pinstripes
- Complicated patterns (checks, stripes, plaids)
- Neckties with tight patterns, polka dots and plaid
- Short sleeves
- Shiny jewelry and metal tie clips
- Heavy fabrics
Men should also bring a small bag for their wallet, cell phone, change, comb, etc. so those items can be conveniently held off stage. And, just to be safe, men should prepare to shave again if on camera later in the day when five o’clock shadow may set in. Bring extra clothes just in case there are any last minute background changes or the host is wearing the same colors.
Lastly, relax and smile. After all, you’re the expert in your field!
Click here to see the Connecticut Forum live in action. “An Honest Look at Mental Illness” was the subject at The Connecticut Forum’s panel discussion with Andrew Solomon, Kay Redfield Jamison, Hank Schwartz and moderator John Dankosky on Friday, March 7, 2014 at the Bushnell. The evening was hosted by Hartford HealthCare and presented by Wheeler Clinic. (Youtube video courtesy The Connecticut Forum)
When you are speaking on stage, be sure to turn your cell phone completely off.
Many cell phones and other wireless devices cause interference and noise with microphone signals. (Blackberry devices cause serious interference for all manufacturers’ microphones.) Even if the ringer is shut off, a cell phone periodically transmits any time it is turned on.
The frequency, or radio wave of the cell phone transmission, can get into any audio gear located within a few inches. The worst scenario is a phone in a pocket next to the lavalier mic. To be on the safe side, keep all cell phones a foot or two away from the console and the mic.
Local Connecticut Organizations Live Stream Their Events to Extend Their Audience and Bring Them Closer Together
Ever have an event where you don’t have enough room for everyone who wants to attend? Sounds like a nice problem to have, unless you’re hosting a sold-out school recital and Grandma and Grandpa can’t get seats. What about relatives that can’t attend in person because they live out of state? Or perhaps you’re planning a business meeting that’s of value to employees in remote offices – but its cost prohibitive for everyone to travel to company headquarters.
Fast forward to live video streaming: using the power of a video camera and the Internet to broadcast your event live, in high definition, to computers and mobile devices.
Just think of the possibilities: out of state relatives, even soldiers overseas, viewing school graduations, or business travelers and companies’ remote offices simultaneously seeing the CEO’s address. The best part is the reasonable cost, especially if you already have a robust Internet connection in place.
Local Hartford-area groups are already employing the benefits of live streaming. Below is a short list of several of these savvy Connecticut organizations, with a description and link to their 2013 live streamed event (now recorded and available online).
American College of Surgeons delivered eight conference and panel discussions across the U.S. regarding new practices and challenges in the medical field. The Connecticut event, held at the State Capital Building, was live streamed for doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Connecticut-Israel Technology Summit
The 2013 summit focused on building partnerships between Israeli and Connecticut companies. The organizer’s goal was to encourage Israeli companies to locate their U.S. offices in Connecticut and to assist existing businesses in the state in partnering with Israeli technology companies. Four companies were also recognized for successfully forming partnerships.
Miss Porters School Graduation
Schools are a mecca for once in a lifetime events such as student and sports awards, graduations and reunions. Now students, graduates, teachers and family members, no matter where they live, can share in the excitement and joy of these milestones.
Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame
The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame 2013 Induction Ceremony hosted over 800 of Connecticut’s civic, corporate and government leaders to honor the achievements of exceptional Connecticut women. It was also live streamed so others can be inspired by these exceptional role models.
See how live streaming can extend your audience and bring your event to the next level. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain how live streaming works and if it’s possible for your next event. 860.528.1343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Quite simply, risers or a stage are needed when the audience must see what’s going on: a presenter, panel discussion, singer, band, etc. If the audience can’t see they won’t pay attention, and the program starts to unravel.
How big should the stage be? Look at two factors: the length and width of the stage in proportion to the size of the room, and the height to accommodate the people on stage as well as their distance from the audience.
Use a higher stage if the presenters are seated or the audience is standing.
Use a lower stage if the presenters are standing, or the audience is seated.
In addition, the further away the audience is seated from the stage, the higher it needs to be. Here is a standard guideline:
Up to 100 Attendees 8” – 16” high
100 – 300 Attendees 16” – 24” high
300 – 500 Attendees 24” – 32″ high
500+ Attendees 36” – 48” high
For additional information on stages, download our free “How To Guide” on stages.
Or call us (860-528-1343) and we can help you determine exactly what size and height of a stage you really need for a “Worry Free” event.
There is one simple tactic you can incorporate that will help anyone – volunteers or a professional sales team — sell tickets more quickly.
Each guest who buys a raffle ticket should be given a visual identifier to alert others that he’s purchased. This avoids the common annoyance to guests: multiple people approaching to sell raffle tickets. Assume you have three teams of volunteers roaming the crowd to sell raffle tickets for a diamond bracelet.
Team #1 approaches Mr. Smith and sells him two tickets.
Within minutes, Team #2 talks to him. “I just bought some tickets,” he says. Is he fibbing? Team #2 isn’t sure if he’s telling the truth, but they wander on to approach someone else.
Team #3 catches Mr. Smith at the bar. They ask him if he wants to buy raffle tickets. “I’ve already bought two tickets,” he sputters. Team #3 is surprised at how grouchy he is. After all, this is a fun gala, right?
How many times do you think Mr. Smith will be asked to buy raffle tickets? And how much time is wasted by Team #2 and Team #3 who keep approaching guests who have already bought tickets?
Visual identifiers serve three purposes:
1. Your guest will not become annoyed from being asked multiple times if he will buy a ticket.
2. Your volunteers know who has purchased a raffle ticket and who hasn’t. They can focus on making new sales.
3. The visual identifier serves as a simple marketing tool to alert other guests about the presence of a raffle.
There are many inexpensive visual tools you can use:
• Blink-y lights in necklace, pin, or ring form
• Paper bracelets, similar to those used at large outdoor festivals or bars
• Cloth bracelets
• Metal pins
• Hawaiian leis
• Flower boutonnieres
• Plastic necklaces (For an example, see the photo of the cute cowboy necklaces used at a Western-themed event I worked earlier this month.)
• Stickers (They come in a multitude of shapes and colors to fit many themes.)
This is a low-cost, simple trick which will work wonders through greater productivity from your raffle volunteers, better sales from your raffle, and guests in a better mood.
©2014 Red Apple Auctions Co. All rights reserved.
Benefit auctioneer Sherry Truhlar publishes “Benefit Auction Ideas,” a bi-monthly e-zine for auction chairs seeking to improve the financial results of their charity auctions. Get your own copy – and a FREE gift! – at www.RedAppleAuctions.com.
They’ve celebrated Miracles, EnvisionFest, the CT National Guard’s Leaving/Coming Home ceremonies,multiple Governor Inaugurals, Infinity Hall’s groundbreaking, many Galas, Concerts, Fashion Shows, and just about everything in between. Who are they? The Event Resources’ crew. A band of professionals whose job it is to translate equipment and cables to a magical special event.
When all the trucks are unloaded and the stage, sound and lights are set up just right, you’ll see the space take on a different feel: an enchanting theatrical theme, a Wild West town, or an executive press conference.
These Event Resources team members mix artistic, engineering and organizational skills with an ability to fit into virtually any organization’s culture–meaning they can speak video and sound engineering to busy meeting planners, organize the vast array of required resources, and hold their own among the executive speakers to do the one thing that Event Resources does best: provide first class event production services the first time and every time.
Most people don’t see them or hear them during the event, because they are working behind the scenes to ensure everything is going smoothly. But they are there in the back, or the side, of the audience, behind the black draping, to ensure that your event continues effortlessly for the guests.
Our thanks go out to the crew: for their hard work and dedication to provide outstanding customer service no matter what comes their way during late night break downs, early morning set ups, or changes in plans or schedules. They make it happen!
Arnold Berman and Ed Woodward
by Loren G. Edelstein
Meeting Professionals International has released its “Meetings Outlook, 2014 Summer Edition.” The latest installment of MPI’s quarterly reports, based on a survey of its members, shows meetings overall are expected to grow, with virtual meetings developing at twice the rate of face-to-face gatherings.
Budgets, however, are not keeping pace with this growth. Virtual meeting attendance is anticipated to grow by 3.9 percent, almost twice the rate of live attendance (2 percent), over the next year. More than half (52 percent) of U.S. respondents and 59 percent of European planners have a favorable budget outlook, expecting, on average, an increase of 2.1 percent.
Among other findings, 22 percent of respondents are compressing meetings into less time, 13 percent are increasing the use of technology, and another 13 percent are holding more local and regional meetings to reduce travel. The full report is available at here.
Note: Event Resources is a member of Meeting Professionals International, Connecticut River Valley Chapter. MPI CRV is a great group to join to learn more about local meeting trends through their frequent meetings and educational sessions. To learn more click here.
# # # #
Stunning Video and Photos of UCONN’s
Freshman Convocation Were Captured Via a Drone
Remote control helicopters, also referred to as drones or quad-copters, have been “taking off” recently for use in aerial photography. In fact, one of our clients, UConn, used one for their recent Freshmen Convocation with amazing results. These quad-copters afford angles and perspectives never-before possible without a professional aerial photographer.
These high flying machines come in various price points. On the low end ($500 range) you can attach your own camera, such as a GoPro, which is very popular. Professional drones come with HD photo and video cameras built in and start at about $1,500 for a basic fly/point/shoot model with 640 x 480 pixel resolution, which is good, but not professional quality, and an 1100 foot range. At the top end are models priced more than $25,000 for a 1080p resolution and a long-range (up to three miles) professional system with separate controls for the camera and flying controls for the pilot.
Commercial Use Banned by the FAA
Sounds too good to be true? It is for the time being. Here’s the catch. The FAA’s (Federal Aviation Administration) position is it’s illegal to use drones to film an event if the purpose is commercial. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in a statement that an operator of radio-controlled aircraft can mount a camera on it and shoot video for his or her personal use. For UConn’s event, the drone was owned by the university and operated by staff. The video was posted on YouTube for public viewing.
“But if the same person flies the same aircraft and then tries to sell the video, or uses it to promote a business, or accepts payments from someone else to shoot the video, that would be a prohibited commercial operation,” said Gregor, who works out of the FAA’s Pacific Division office.
The FAA is not a prosecutorial agency, but it would send a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) operator a cease-and-desist letter if it became aware of the unauthorized commercial use of a UAV.
The FAA claims jurisdiction of the entire U.S. airspace and relies on a 1981 advisory circular regulating model aircraft as the basis for standards for small UAV use. The circular encourages voluntary compliance and advises model-aircraft fliers to keep their planes below 400 feet and to notify an airport operator if they are flying within 3 miles of the airport. The FAA is scheduled to set rules for small UAVs this year with a review period to follow before implementation.
What to Consider When Using a Drone
If you are fortunate to purchase, or borrow, a drone to take outstanding photo and video of your event, here are some considerations:
Drones can be noisy and they may interfere with a presenter speaking to a crowd.
The noise, lights and seeing a unique flying object overhead can easily distract guests, paying more attention to the drone buzzing around than the presenter.
Make sure the operator is experienced before you send them flying a drone over people, power lines, and property. You and/or the drone operator should have liability insurance to cover accidents.
The operator should always have the drone in their line of sight.
Depending on your event, privacy issues may arise if you don’t have specific permission releases from people being photographed or videotaped.
Notify the venue when drones are planning to be used.
Obey FAA Rules
Fly the drone no higher than 400 feet, and notify authorities if you are within 3 miles of an airport.
One significant caution is that this is still in the wild-west stages of development. The FAA has yet to fully weigh in on the topic and significant restrictions may be coming. When commercial use is permitted, look for someone who has a commercial drone certification to insure that whom you hire is qualified and licensed to pilot the aircraft safely.
# # # #
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney used drone at his wedding — violating Federal Aviation Administration rules http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/house-member-drone-wedding-violates-faa-rules-article-1.1866876#ixzz3BbYMpzsS
Corbin Ball Associates – http://www.corbinball.com/articles_webmeet/index.cfm?fuseaction=cor_av&artID=9198
Federal Ban on Drones Doesn’t Stop Photography- http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20140114federal-ban-drones-photography.html
To keep people and donors coming back year after year, create a fresh, bold approach to your next gala. or any special event. It will renew their interest and provide a unique experience to share with other guests. Here are some novel ways to bring people together and provide a unique experience, without taking anything away from your mission and messaging.
Time your event with national celebrations, such as Halloween or Valentine’s Day. This gives people a chance to really celebrate the holiday, dressing up for a “Vampire’s Ball”, or going to a romantic setting with a significant other.
Sit down dinners are transforming into tailgating affairs, where guests tour various tasting stations while sipping on signature cocktails served by roaming waiters. If you still want a sit down dinner, switch up the menu, ask the chef for new recommendations, or go for a “farm to table” theme which is very popular.
Try the new, dramatic 3-D mapping software that projects video on ceilings and/or walls, giving an entirely new atmosphere to any space. (Check out how Event Resources used this technique for a spectacular stage presentation by clicking here.
Incorporate technology by using an app like BidPal to access automated mobile auction and payment processing services . Guests find it very useful for monitoring coveted auction items.
Don’t want to wait for the auction? The Saint Francis Foundation posts their auction items online before the event, with a “Buy It Now” option. This kick starts the auction and the anticipation for their “Miracles” gala.
A noisy audience is a problem for many presenters. Just remember that most of the audience wants to hear you, and will appreciate you quieting those who are distracted by other matters.
Here are 20 suggestions to get your audience to be quiet and pay attention, which is something all presenters need to achieve from time to time.
1.- Use lighting to your advantage.
It is best to have the room well lit prior to the performance and the stage not really lit at all. Then just before the program is to begin, you dip the lights two or three times. This gets almost everyone’s attention and they will quiet down. Secondly, leave the house lights dim and bring up the lights on the stage. Now you have the focus of the room on the stage, so folks are going to be essentially looking that way now.
2.- Stand still.
Just stand still and relaxed. Gaze quietly around until everyone is silent, then begin. This may take some time, and may need courage, but it will work.
3.- Use your arms.
The signal for silence is to put your arms out wide in front, palms down and slowly move them down at the same speed as the quiet descends.
4.- Ring a bell.
Take a small bell and ring it when you need to start speaking. This is particularly helpful for events such as training courses where you will be stopping for exercises. An improvised alternative is to tap the side of a drinking glass with a pen. This is not as loud, but can still be effective if the room is not too large.
5.- Just say ssshhhh…
A neat trick is to quietly say ‘shhh’ so it comes out as a long ‘shhhhhhhhh’ sound. What often happens here is that other members of the audience joins you. This can be combined with using your arms.
6.- Encourage ssshhhh…
A collaborative variation on the above is to say ‘If you’re ready to begin, just say sssshhhh’. In this way, people who are listening will join you. Others will also join in and hence amplify and spread the hushing.
7.- Start talking.
Start with a loud comment that does not directly ask for quiet but is clearly louder than the noise and is indirectly addressed at those who are talking. “ ALL RIGHT! Let’s Get Going! ..”.
8.- Ask for quiet.
Ask in a general way for quiet without directly addressing the noisy people. “Ok, we’re ready to begin. Can we have some quiet now please?”
9.- Speak directly.
Speak directly to the people who are being noisy. This may be needed if they are ignoring other signals for quiet. “Excuse me — yes, you — could you be quiet now please so we can begin?”
10.- Ask “What’s up?”
Assume that people are talking about what you have said and perhaps have not understood something (or maybe cannot hear you well). “I can hear some discussion — could you share? What’s your concern?”
11.- Point out the problem.
Make a pointed comment that identifies the problem being caused. For example, there are people who want to listen. “There are people at the back who are talking and I can see that this is disturbing others. Can we have quiet so everyone can hear, please?”
12.– Start and hope for the best.
Just start your talk and hope that those who are talking will politely quiet down and pay attention. “Have you ever ridden a bike in a rainstorm? …”
13.- Start with a loud, inconsequential comment.
Use of sarcasm or other biting wit. Do this only in extreme situations and when you really know what you are doing! “Hey there! Do you want to come up here and do the talking? No? Well be quiet and listen, then.”
14.- Select a popular song that most people in your audience are likely to know and play it loudly.
For instance, play Pharell’s “Because I’m Happy” the moment the ballroom doors open. Loop the song to play two or three times. The premise is to have everyone coming in the door start singing and dancing to the song. This gets everyone’s attention on the same thing (rather than hundreds of individual conversations). Once the song stops it will be fairly easy to shift the attention to the Master of Ceremonies.
15.- Plan an invocation at the beginning of your event.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly people quiet down when they realize that someone is about to say a prayer.
16.- Ask everyone who IS listening to you to start a steady, synchronized clap.
Keep it going for 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly, the chatterboxes will realize that some thing is happening and they’ll quiet down.
17.- Start a guided-response chant with everyone who IS listening.
“When I say UCONN, you say Huskies. UCONN….Huskies!… UCONN! … Huskies! and
continue until you have the attention of the room.
18.- Ask everyone who IS listening to gently tap their knives against their glasses.
If you get enough people tapping the glass, it definitely grabs the attention of their chattering neighbors.
19. – Look directly at people who are talking during your presentation.
If they continue to talk, then stop talking until they notice. If this doesn’t work, ask them if you are too loud for them or if you are interrupting them. The audience will laugh and the offenders will quiet down.
20.- It is also imperative that the act you are about to introduce be entirely ready.
That means tuned up, plugged in, if you can swing it, and warmed up. You’ll lose everything you created if the act you introduces takes ten minutes to get started.
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The best solution for engaging your live audience is something you do long before the night of the event: Make sure you have a sound system that is appropriate for the size of the room, acoustics of the room and size of the audience. Obviously, managing your costs is an important part of your planning process, but don’t scrimp on the sound system. When you invest in a good sound system, it will pay for itself many times over in the quality of your event. Here’s how sounds systems and lighting play a critical role in the success of your event….
With the right sound system you can:
1. Gain control of the room.
Your Master of Ceremonies can talk over a chattering crowd and when his or her voice actually “interrupts” their conversations, they’ll settle down.
2. Start on time and stay on time.
When you’re on time, your guests will donate more money, have a better overall experience, and will be more likely to return for your next event.
3. Hear the important information about your charity and the great work that you do.
4. Hear the auctioneer. When people can “hear” the auctioneer, they bid on the items. When they can’t hear the auctioneer, they don’t bid on the items. It’s pretty simple.
Here are seven ideas on how to create content about your guest speaker for Facebook, a blog, and other mediums to maximize the exposure your organization receives via the relationship.
1. State the obvious:
Tell us about him. Who is he? Why is he important to your organization? What has he done that’s so special?
2. Recall memories:
Ask people to share their favorite recollection of the honoree. For instance, at an event earlier this year, the honoree was well-known to members of the school as a former administrator. Some tales are made for sharing.
3. Share the guest list:
Who is coming to watch the honoree receive his award? Highlight them. “We received an RSVP from Bill’s first secretary, rumored to have prepared him for the firm presidency role. We’ve heard she’s feisty, and we’re thinking of handing her a microphone that night.”
4. Ask for gift ideas:
Stumped on a plaque inscription? Wondering if you should present him something in addition to handing him a certificate for his wall? Share your dilemma and ask followers to make suggestions on what they think would be a good thank you gift.
Shoot a preview with the honoree over Skype. Ask him a few questions in a mini-interview format. Make the questions fun, so others get to know him as a person. “If you could vacation anywhere, you’d visit …“
6. Throwback Thursday:
Post a photo of a younger version of the honoree. Ask if anyone can identify him.
7. Blast from the past:
If you have an honoree every year, share a special moment involving your honoree from last year’s event. Do you show a video? These posts will help prep your guests as to what makes your evening special.
COPYRIGHT © 2014 RED APPLE AUCTIONS CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Missed our recent panel discussion about event photography? No worries! We noted all the great ideas and advice from the area experts who were on the panel. Get the inside scoop on how to leverage event photography, what is the most important element in setting up a shot, and what to do with “Uncle Bob”.
“Bringing Your Special Event Into Focus” was a special panel discussion hosted by Event Resources, Inc. and The Society Room of Hartford. Four area professional event photographers, each with a distinctive artistic style, made up the panel. They shared with the audience of event planners their experiences, expertise and yes, pet peeves, about taking photos at special events. The Society Room kicked off the program with a fantastic meal (have you ever had lobster for breakfast?!) to acquaint meeting planners with their outstanding food offerings and first class venue.
Let me first introduce you to the panel of experts:
It’s Not The Oven That Makes A Great Cake
When guests registered for the panel discussion, they were each asked how they currently take event photographs at their special events. Interestingly, they were almost evenly split between hiring a professional photographer, having their staff take photos, or winging it with their cell phone. When evaluating event photographers, keep in mind that it’s training, experience and artistry that makes a good photographer. Even if you have the best camera in the world, it doesn’t mean a good photo will result. How many people have had “Uncle Bob” at their event? The uncle with the latest and greatest camera equipment that insists on following the professional photographer around and mimicking their photos. But Uncle Bob’s photos never quite measure up to the professional ones. Why? Because the most expensive camera doesn’t lead to the best photos. As one panelist stated, “It’s the chef that is responsible for this great meal today, not the oven!”
Let There Be Light, And Lots of It
Before any special event, sit down with your photographer and review essential items. First and foremost, all the photographers said the most important aspect of any room is the natural and ambient lighting available. Since lighting plays an important role in any photo, they need to know where the light is coming from and what lights they will need to bring up otherwise dim areas. (Hint: Have your event production company throw a light across the audience and capture guest expressions for great photographs.)
Shoot the Shot List
Next, where will the photos be used? Look for opportunities to use them for social media, newsletters, website, annual report, marketing brochures, advertising, etc. This gives more depth and breadth to the shot list the photographer will use during the event. Review this list beforehand so the photographer has a complete grasp of all the photos that are required.
Compile a short list of “must have” photos. Perhaps the VIPs or important guests. Since the photographer doesn’t know who is who, assign a point person to literally point out dignitaries and arrange group photos with names.
One last thing in pre-planning: discuss the event attire. Generally photographers dress in black so as to blend in with the crowd and not attract attention. However, let them know if the event is casual, has a theme (like country) so they may dress accordingly.
Not Everything Can Be PhotoShopped
Photography goes beyond snap and click and the infamous selfie. During an event, a photographer may be creating one or more of these different types of photos, each of which is an art form in itself (another reason their expertise is crucial):
Portraits: Step and repeat as the guests walk into the room
Groups Organized groups of people or speakers.
Photo Journalism: Unstaged and purely natural.
Detailed: Close ups of awards, food, etc.
Speaker shots are also key to many events. To keep the shot clean, make sure there isn’t anything that is on the lectern (like a water bottle). If possible, remove the iPad from the lectern since it casts a blue glow on the speakers face. Photoshop can’t fix everything! Shots of the entire room are also standard at any event. To make these more interesting, try shooting at different angles (low, through the crowd, and from a balcony) for different perspectives.
Getting Your 15 Minutes of Fame
Sadly, The Hartford Courant doesn’t accept any event photos for print publication. They may, however, send one of their own photographers to take photos of your event. To ask for consideration, send an email to email@example.com. Any event can be newsworthy – even photos of setup are interesting as they build up anticipation for a big event. If you would like to submit your photos for the Hartford Courant’s “Reminder News”, which accepts local news and photos, click here or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible use online.
Running the Hurdles
Photo obstacles present themselves without warning at any type of event. For example, security personnel prohibits the photographer from getting close to the subject, or maybe it’s even the Secret Service that holds them back. (Ok, they’re entitled.) A speaker may show up late and accelerate/change the entire schedule and timetable for photos. Be careful when there are other companies displaying their goods and services. They will need to complete permission release forms so photographs can be taken of their booth and/or products. And of course, there is Uncle Bob following the photographer around.
Another challenge are the hordes of guests crowding around the professional photographer so they can shoot their own photo. Now we’ve all done this at one time or another, at a wedding for instance. How do you deal with lots of guests (and Uncle Bob) using their cameras? First, ask them politely to wait until the photographer “has done their job” before they start snapping away. Or, have an ”unplugged rule”. Ask guests to put their iPads, mobile phones and personal cameras away during the most important part of the program. Flashes from these devices are disruptive and can interfere with professional flashes. Not to mention that people just plain get in the way. Also, the event may have some sensitive information being presented, so you don’t want people taking photos and uploading them to social media networks before express permission has been granted, or the organizer has posted them first.
If you aren’t aware, clients who hire photographers don’t automatically own the rights to the images a photographer takes. Here’s the breakdown of who legally owns the copyright for a photo unless they officially waive the rights:
• If you take a photo for yourself, you own the copyright.
• If you take a photo as part of a full time job, your employer owns the copyright.
• If you hire an event photographer, the photographer owns the copyright unless they waive it in a written contract.
It’s important that permission releases and licensing terms be worked out prior to the event. For a more detailed explanation of photo copyrights, click here.
Get Your Invitation!
As you can see, this panel discussion was rich in information for event planners. This was the seventh in a serious of educational events from Event Resources, Inc. To insure you receive an invitation to future events, just sign up for our newsletter and mailing list.
Now you can use your iPhone6 and click photos lightning fast just like professional photographers do. Just hold down the “camera” button and the iPhone6 will continue to take photos at the rate of 10 per second. They refer to it as a “burst mode”. Then, instead of looking through all photos to choose the best one, click the “Favorites” button in the lower left hand corner of the screen and the iPhone6 will display the photo “it” believes is the best!
Recently the Federal Aviation Administration permitted seven motion picture companies to use camera-equipped drones on outdoor movie and television sets that are closed to the public. This is the first time that any company in the United States has been granted permission to legally fly over people and take photographs for a commercial purpose.
Outside of these few movie companies, it is illegal to use drones for commercial photography. It IS legal to use a drone for photography if you own it and are not using it to sell the photos or services. Just be aware of the liability that goes along with flying objects with rotor blades around people, electrical wires and airports.
Click here for our September blog explaining the legal and illegal use of drones.
Click here for the complete article from the New York Times regarding the latest legal decision for movie studios.
Group hug from all of us to you! Thank you for your business, partnership and most of all, your friendship. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a very Happy New Year from the entire team at Event Resources.
(Back Row): Matt Thomas, Mark Bottaro, Steve Johnson, Rudy Owens, Brendon Woodard, Prince Clarke, Ed Woodward, Felix Rodriguez, Clifton Longman
(Middle Row): Stacy Taylor, Michael Booker, Arnold Berman, Stephanie Famiano, Lee Simmons
(Bottom Row): Mary Beth Staron, Swain Wallace, Marty Schreck, AJ Judge, Brendan Twitchell, Jenn Hedges
Photo courtesy of J. Fiereck Photography
The night of December 9th was rocking for our 25th Anniversary Celebration at The Society Room of Hartford. A packed ballroom of past and present friends, clients, colleagues, suppliers, and families came to celebrate Event Resources’ milestone anniversary and to honor building an enviable and thriving business over the past 25 years.
The night was aglow inside The Society Room of Hartford
for Event Resources’ 25th Anniversary Celebration.
The evening kicked off with a video timeline that captured how times and technology have changed since 1989, followed by a celebratory program with East Hartford’s Mayor Marcia Leclerc presenting a proclamation to Event Resources for outstanding contributions to the community.
A special salute to Event Resources’ 25 year history was showcased through a custom video created especially for the occasion by Lee Simmons, Event Resources’ Client Relationship Manager. The video featured special events produced as far back as 1989, shout outs from clients, vendors and friends, and an introduction of our employees.
East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc presented
Arnold and Ed with a proclamation to
commemorate the 25th Anniversary and thank them
for their leadershipand contributions to the community.
(From left: Ed Woodward, Mayor Leclerc and Arnold Berman)
To cap off the program, both Arnold and Ed spoke about how Hartford’s First Night in 1989 was Event Resources’ first big gig and began to put the company on the map.
Said Arnold, “Event Resources’ very first gig was First Night in 1989 when the Hartford Downtown Council called me to see if I was available. I told them I’d check my schedule and get back to them. I called them back pretty quickly.”
“Back in 1989 Brad Snow of then “Snow Sound” called me to work with his team on First Night, but I heard that there was a new company headed by a guy named Arnold Berman who was looking for someone to assist with managing the event and I went in that direction.” said Ed.
And so Event Resources began. Arnold and Ed recalled their experiences over the past 25 years and were quick to recognize that many employees, clients, suppliers, and family members were instrumental in making Event Resources as a first class event production company. Afterwards, long time employees Brendon Woodward, Swain Wallace, and AJ Judge presented two handmade custom glass sculptures to Arnold and Ed that were gifts from the employees.
One of two custom glass sculptures presented
to Arnold Berman and Ed Woodward
from all the employees at Event Resources.
But that was just the beginning! With a background of a soulful live saxophone and keyboard music from Doug Jones Jazz and special lighting effects, close to two hundred guests enjoyed savory and artistically presented food from The Society Room Chefs, left personal greetings on message boards, and perused the cocktail tabletops featuring photos of the past 25 years of events such as the original First Night Hartford, Band Slam, 20 years of The Connecticut Forum, Filenes fashion shows, Hartford Hospital’s “Black and Red”, Saint Francis Hospital’s “Miracles”, MetroHartford Alliance’s Business Conferences, and dozens more.
Our special friends from Westminster School
joined the celebration.
(From left, Ken Mason, Thea Leach,
Alan Brooks, and Maggie Pinney.)
MetroHartford Alliance commemorated the occasion
with a group photo. (Top Left: Meredith Gazdzinski,
Mia Przybyla-Irons, Laura Dinan
Bottom Left: Becky Nolan and Susan Winkler.)
Capturing all the special moments of the ceremony and festivities was Jennifier Fiereck Photography. Along with her assistant Andrea, a step-and-repeat backdrop provided by Sign Center was set up for formal (and not so formal!) portraits which were a huge hit with the guests. As testimony to how Event Resources has forged close relationships, clients requested photos taken with their Event Resources setup crew to hang in their office.
“This is just like a wedding”, commented AJ Judge. “There are people here I haven’t seen in years and I just can’t get to talk to everyone I want to.”
The best parties are ones where the guests just don’t want to leave, and this one was no exception. Reluctantly, the last guests left over an hour after the bar shut down, saying goodbye to the past and hello to the next 25 years at Event Resources.
This is just a snapshot of what happened on December 9th, with many more photos and videos to follow on our website, Facebook page, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more. Many thanks to Jessica Correira, Jane Dimartin, and the rest of the team from The Society Room of Hartford for their outstanding advice and coordination in planning our special event.
From the entire team at Event Resources, we thank you for your business, partnership and most importantly, your friendship. We look forward to producing more successful events for our clients and colleagues and wish you the happiest of holidays and a very Happy New Year!
View the videos here!
View this special 7 minute video showcasing Event Resources’ events through the past 25 years, who we are, where we’ve been, and who we’ve helped. First unveiled at our 25th Anniversary Celebration.
Happy New Year! We are happy to have been part of three notable and simultaneous events on January 7th that quickly kicked off 2015 for Event Resources. If you would permit me to brag a bit, I’d like to share with you what happened that particular day because it showcases that “Hartford Has It!” and what Event Resources is all about.
For the sixth consecutive time, Event Resources was selected to provide event services for the Governor’s Inauguration’s Oath of Office. The location was the Connecticut State Armory in Hartford, where Governor Malloy’s first inauguration was held in 2011. We were called to provide a 640 square foot stage, hundreds of feet of draping, a sound system for a challenging 55,000 square foot space with 80’ high ceilings and a huge glass skylight, plus setting up 1800 chairs, laying down 8,000 square feet of carpeting, and hanging theatrical lighting.
Transforming the space from a 1909 military drill shed into a formal inauguration space required a full team of our event experts. They worked alongside several groups from the military and government to provide event project management of the many elements and crews that were necessary to produce this event. New elements at this particular inauguration included featuring the state seal and two color draping, which added a dramatic effect.
Transforming a Military Drill Shed
Already familiar with the challenges of the Hartford Armory, we brought in the appropriate sound, lighting, video equipment and skilled engineers to provide the high quality each discipline required. The high ceiling and large glass skylight created the biggest challenges for sound and lighting. The cavernous space creates echoes and sound reflections that “muddy” the sound, making it almost impossible for the live audience to clearly hear the presentations. At the same time it creates a hollow-sounding audio for the television audience.
Although the skylight brought an abundance of natural light into the Armory, theatrical lighting remained essential to make certain the stage was evenly and well lit, regardless of the position of the sun or the conditions outside. These sound and lighting challenges added to the already tough television requirements. Three video cameras were set up so the various live outlets had the best camera angles from which to choose. The sound, video and lighting crews also successfully responded to the individual demands of the numerous media outlets, as each outlet had their own needs for their particular audience.
Eighty-foot ceilings and a large glass skylight contributed to a challenging event environment at the Connecticut State Armory.
And speaking of high ceilings, hanging truss and lighting to points up to 80′ high was demanding, particularly when there were no catwalks for the riggers as there are in many theatrical venues. That none of these challenges were ever an issue is testament to the skilled engineers and technicians who worked hard to make the event run so smoothly from a technical perspective.
Eight thousand (yes, you read correctly, 8,000) square feet of carpeting was laid down for aisles and 260 feet of draping was hung to aesthetically overhaul the drill shed into a formal atmosphere. After that came unstacking and precisely aligning 1,800 chairs.
Event Resources transformed the 1909 Connecticut State Armory into a formal space for the 2015 Governor’s Inaugural Oath of Office.
Orchestrating all these elements and crew teams was Ed Woodward, General Manager of Event Resources, who was onsite for the 9 day project. To capture the complete transformation of the space from start to finish, we set up a Go-Pro camera on the balcony. This camera took one photo every 5 minutes for a total of 4,000 photos. These photos were used to create a time lapse video that condensed the 9 day project to only 2:00 minutes.
In the end, this event illustrates the confidence people have in using our services to produce a “worry free” event. That is, when everything absolutely, positively, has to be perfect.
Across the way, the opening of the Legislative Session had our crew tweaking the ceremonial area for the hundreds of lawmakers to officially get down to state business. At the same time, we also provided production management services for the 2015 Economic Forecast and Summit, a joint event from The Connecticut Business and Industry Association and MetroHartford Alliance that was held at the Hartford Marriott. It drew over 500 people, in fact, there was standing room only! The set design was literally aglow with a customized lighting and a graphic structure that continually changed color. (To see a video of the transformations, click here). Rounding out the presentation was sound, video and PowerPoint presentations that provided the much anticipated information about the economic outlook of the state of Connecticut.
The stage at the Economic Forecast from the CBIA and MetroHartford Alliance featured a truss and banner structure that glowed various colors for a stunning effect.
While we were in the neighborhood for these events, we also stopped at Infinity Hall to help them out with some furniture rentals for an Inaugural-related event. Infinity Hall is the latest in unique meeting spaces in the Hartford area. I heartily recommend you check them out for your next event.
We say all the time that whether your event is for 20 or 2000, we take care of the details with professional care to insure a “worry free” event. However, January 7th is just a sample of a day in the life of Event Resources so you can see how we are truly multi-dimensional and can make you shine for both large and small events.
My thanks to the crew and entire Event Resources team for their continued outstanding work. We all look forward to bringing your remarkable events to fruition in 2015.
Fun Video Clip: View the 9 day long set up of the Governor’s Inaugural in only 120 seconds click here.
Here’s a great idea from United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. Make it simple for your guests to spread your message by telling all their connections how much they are enjoying your event. Just insert the Facebook and Twitter links right in the program book and the guests will be ready to go viral!
To get you started, read what United Way printed in their 2014 Best Of Awards Program Book:
“Are you having a good time at the Best Of Awards? Tell your friends!
Find us on Facebook. Facebook.com/unitedwayinc (United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut)
Include @United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut in your status updates about the Best Of Awards.
Mention us in your Tweets. Be sure to tag @unitedwayinc and #UWbest on Twitter.”
The result? 39 Tweets and 3,000 Facebook impressions showcased what a great event this was and spread the awareness of United Way. Way to go!
Keep your event fresh and interesting with the latest in event “fashion”.
What’s In: Fairy tale themes, customized graphics, luxurious patterns and textiles, Korean cuisine, the Pantone color “Marsala”, metallic accents, surprise entertainment, paper flowers, marquee lights, bite size menus, farm to table, and technical décor such as bitmap projections.
What’s Out: Rustic décor, Great Gatsby themes, glowing furniture, macaroons and tightly bound floral arrangements.
CORT Furniture also predicts mid-century modern and Hollywood regency furniture will be hot, and mobile charging stations will be available and even incorporated into furniture. Find out how to make your event state of the art at:
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Many people shy away from standing up and asking a question in front of an audience. To eliminate this stage fright, you can request people to write their questions on a card, then pass the card to runners throughout the audience. Or, post a Twitter link on the screen, or in the printed event program so audience members can discretely ask questions with their cell phones.
Gloria McAdam, founder and head of Foodshare, has left a grand legacy for the Hartford community. Starting with only one person in a 2,000 square foot warehouse and a van distributing 100,000 pounds of food in 1984, she has grown Foodshare into a nonprofit powerhouse with 55 employees, more than 4,000 volunteers and a 50,000 square foot facility in Bloomfield distributing 30,000 pounds of food a day. (That’s a 100 fold increase.) She has created the heart of a hunger fighting network of local charities throughout Hartford and Tolland counties.
Foodshare distributes 15 tons of food each day to a network of 300 nonprofits that feed 100,000 people. Over 47% of the goods are fresh, a major accomplishment in nonprofit food distribution. In addition, the business side of Foodshare sets a fine example. Charity Navigator rates Foodshare a 4-Star organization (the highest level) – a testimony to their efficient business operations. They have also received numerous national awards for their work.
Ms. McAdam has left Foodshare to return to her childhood home in upstate New York’s North County to be the Executive Director of Garden Share, a food policy organization. To honor her legacy, The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has established a permanent endowment fund in her name, “The Gloria J. McAdam Fund for Foodshare”.
A farewell celebration was recently held at Foodshare, hosted by Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Scot Haney, and Brad Davis, to celebrate Gloria McAdam’s work, legacy and commitment to the needy. Words cannot express the amount of service Gloria has provided to the community, as well as the gratitude from the hundreds of thousands of people who have benefited from her organization.
We’ll miss you Gloria!
Sources: Hartford Courant, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Foodshare, Charity Navigator. Photos courtesy of Foodshare
Foodshare’s Walk Against Hunger is the largest fundraiser of its kind in the state of Connecticut! The very first Walk was held in 1983, attracted 100 walkers and raised nearly $3,000. Fast forward to last year, when over 4,000 walkers raised almost $650,000 to help feed our hungry neighbors in greater Hartford. Event Resources is pleased to again be the event services provider for this event, which is held at and presented by The Hartford. You can be a part of reaching this year’s goal by walking, donating or sponsoring the event! For more information, click here or email Foodshare’s Events Coordinator, Jordan Nyberg at email@example.com.
The Event App Bible is a free 95-page eBook from EventManagerblog.com containing invaluable information about how to develop a sound mobile event app strategy with comparison tables to quickly select the right event app for your budget. It’s being offered for free to celebrate eventmanagerblog.com surpassing 250,000 members.
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