It’s THAT Time Again: 4 Tips to Follow When Considering Your On-Site Management Needs This Fall

September Morn… ah, that’s one of my late father-in-law’s favorite songs. I can hear it in my head now even as I just say those words. Neil Diamond sure had it right when he sang about the feelings that a brisk September morning can conjure up. The whimsical freedom of summer is slowly fading and a frenzy of fall contracts is beckoning. It’s September, and that means it’s time for us all to get back to business! Although in the world of event planning, the actual planning component never really takes a vacation, the execution aspect picks up pretty significantly in the fall. Med Ed Companies have grant money to spend before the end of the year, Entertainment Companies have block buster movies to premiere and Home Consultants Companies have annual product launches to introduce to the world.  The pace in the world of event planning takes on new life in the fall and this is where onsite management services come in to play… and where they help you shine! Take a look at these tips aimed at assisting you when hiring onsite meeting professionals: Identify your needs. Depending on the onsite responsibilities you require, determine if you are you seeking a full-service meeting planner or just a second set of hands to work with you onsite. Are you looking for someone that will be your local feet on the ground at the event, someone who will ensure what you have planned is carried out as if you were onsite orchestrating the event yourself? Perhaps you’re looking for staff to assist with registration. A large group of attendees converging on a registration...

The Importance of Memorable Events

Event planners from all walks of life are often given a straightforward task: “Make this event great!” As if you were planning on making it a catastrophe. This directive is issued from the top, either from internal leadership or the head of client organizations, and is the one and only thing that you’ll be judged by when it’s all said and done. But what does it really mean? Greatness in the event space is defined by many as a smooth, crisp operation where everything goes according to plan. The shuttle busses don’t break down. A hurricane doesn’t force a last minute site relocation. The tuna tartar doesn’t cause a salmonella outbreak amongst the Australian delegation. But what event planners define as success, attendees and clients define as minimum expectations. Of course the food will be great. Of course everything will run smoothly. These are their baselines. And they will not wow them, nor help them define the event as great. So, what will? Great memories based on unique moments. This is the time to break out the goodie bag of unique vendors, unique venues, creative applications and user-friendly systems that will make each attendee feel like a king and queen. Who do you know in the area that can make these people sing, dance and laugh in a way they never have before? What app developers can put something together that will make each person feel like Steve Jobs – with the ability to change everything with the click of a button? You have these folks in your rolodex – now it’s time to use them. Don’t be afraid...

What to Expect When Your Venue is a Restaurant

If you’re new to temporary or On Site Management (OSM) work, you might think that working a few hours at a dinner program in a fancy restaurant is an easy-peasy assignment.  And sometimes they can be, but other times, watch out!  When you work a number of these programs you’re bound to experience all kinds of interesting ‘happenings’, and sometimes the challenges will be a test for even the most experienced planners. So, what can you expect if you’re a new OSM and/or this is your first restaurant-venue assignment?  Here are a few tips that will help you towards a successful program in what might be new territory for you as a planner: 1)      Upon arrival, clarify the name of your group as it’s listed at the front check-in which may be by the pharmaceutical name or by the drug or other identifiers.  This is important because many times there are multiple medical programs going on in these popular restaurants and attendees get confused right along with the wait staff.  This is also important for you at registration to reconfirm what session you have.  I’ve actually had guests sign in, sit down, commence eating before they realized they were at the wrong lecture! 2)      Understand that restaurant function space is not as user-friendly as hotels, but you have to work with what you get.  When you walk into the room, check the site lines for AV as well as traffic flow for servers and move tables accordingly making sure to work with restaurant staff as you do so.  Because of limited space, there are normally undesirable seats so do...

Great Storytelling to Grow Your Business

A steady stream of clients is the lifeblood of any event planner’s business. Most event professionals go to great pains to ensure they have a crisp website, strong SEO presence and a robust network of referrals that keep things flowing. But that’s only one part of the equation, and it often overlooks a critical component – clients buy you as much as your business. When you’re in front of people at a networking event, or during a face to face prospect meeting, one key above all others will ensure they’re hooked on the story of you and become personally invested in you as their event planner. Here are the best ways to ensure your origin story becomes a hit with your prospects: 1) Begin with the relatable story of your past life. No, not the past life when you were the 14th century Queen of England. The life you had before you started your event planning business. Most of your prospects have a similar job to this one and would love to follow their dreams as you have. Hook them on your journey. 2) Talk about the “A-Ha” Moment. That inspiration moment in time when you decided it was time to take the plunge – what inspired you to do it, how you knew it was the moment. People become attached to pure emotion, especially when it comes from a place of inspiration. 3) Reinforce your Decision. Talk about how it was the best decision of your life, and how you wouldn’t change a thing if given the opportunity. When people know you love what you do, they know...

African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program

I was recently given the honor of speaking at the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda.  AWEP is a U.S. Department of State initiative started in 2010 to help support women entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa.  In front of an audience of 17 women business owners, I spoke of how, despite coming from vastly different perspectives, we each face similar challenges when it comes to being a woman in business. Although my words needed to be translated, our unspoken language penetrated the room.  As each woman stood to introduce themselves and share a bit about their business, it was evident to me how passionate they were about their products and how eager they were to learn.  These talented artisans showed off their handmade jewelry, clothing, accessories and home décor items with pride. I was a bit concerned after seeing their talent that I may not have much to teach these women who had obviously already come so far.  But it was my goal to inspire and encourage them and with such an ambitious and enthusiastic audience, this was easy to do. With a room full of smart, entrepreneurial-minded women, the question and answer session provided a time to share information.  I must say though, that I believe I was the one in the room with the most to learn.  I gained so much from the experience and left with a much greater understanding of what the women of Rwanda face in starting and growing their own businesses. I wish to thank the U.S. Department of State for the invitation to speak at such a worthwhile...

Medical Meetings: Compliance and Transparency, and NPIs, Oh My!

By now, most of us on the planning side are aware of the sweeping changes that took place in the management of medical meetings since the passage of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA), aka “The Sunshine Act.” Since 2009, small steps have been taken to put guidelines in place for enforcement, but as of August 2013, it got serious. That was the start date for the first reporting period of all gifts and payments greater than $10 made to physicians and hospitals by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. What does this mean to planners? Well, for starters, now we’ve all become compliance monitors, right? But do you even know what that means? Because there are so many terms thrown around at each medical meeting we manage, I thought it might be beneficial to provide a brief cheat sheet of frequently used terminology that we are now seeing on our paperwork. Think of this as your “Cliff’s Notes” version of compliance communications! So here goes: Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA). The PPSA officially began in August 2013. In its simplest form, PPSA is meant to discourage improper influences by the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industry over research activities that could compromise the integrity of patient health care. Think of this as the pharmaceutical industry policing themselves in lieu of the government taking over this job. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As the repository for all the medical reports that are now being generated, CMS is responsible for public postings. Compliance and Compliance Officers. In its simplest form, compliance means obeying the guidelines set forth by the PPSA. Compliance...