Tips & Tricks for a Successful TSE Experience

TSE

As a one-year veteran of The Special Event, I’m going to start off and let you know that I’m just that – a one-year veteran. But even so, I believe my first experience in Chicago last year was a successful one. I was able to come back with 11 pages of typed notes from the educational sessions, 13 trends, and many new connections throughout the nation. Whether you’re a #newbie or not, here are some tips to guide you through your TSE experience with things to do before, during and after.

TSE2

  1. Create a Strategy
    The same way that a football team won’t win the #SuperBowl by simply showing up – neither will you. Take time to look through the agenda prior to the conference. (PS: That’s kind of the reason it’s posted up on the website ahead of time.) Create a game plan for your time at TSE. Be sure to include down-time for lunch or catching up on some emails, if need be. Familiarize yourself with all of the classes, exhibit times and showcasing events. This way you’ll be the herder – not a sheep.

    TSE3

  2. Download the App
    You have a smartphone, right? Use it! This year’s app can be found by searching for “TSE 2014” in your app store. The app is the best tool to use in navigating your way at the conference. Having the app will not only give you the full list of exhibitors, an interactive floor plan and daily news coverage, but you’ll also receive alerts on any updates throughout the conference.

    TSE4

  3. Take the Bus
    It’s been said time and time again by long-time TSE veterans that the best networking (for meeting new people) comes from the transportation provided at the conference. Whether it’s from the host hotel to an off-site showcasing event or any other off-site activities, always, always, always take advantage of the transportation. Yes, this is referring to those of you who live in Nashville as well – leave your cars at the hotel. You have no idea who you’ll be able to strike up a conversation with by just taking the bus.

    TSE5

  4. Be Social Media Active
    You might have seen me drop a hashtag here or there in this blog post already. The truth is, hashtags are becoming a part of the everyday vernacular (thanks millenials.) TSE actually has their own hashtag: #TSE2014 (you go, TSE!) I didn’t mention it in the “download the app” section, but the app actually has access to the TSE Twitter feed and Facebook page there as well.

    TSE6

  5. Follow Up
    I hope you’ve heard this tip before. But if I didn’t add it in here then how are you supposed to remember? Following up is definitely important, even if you don’t see a professional relationship happening between the two of you in the near future. There’s no telling who that person can introduce you to or where you’ll be in 5 years. Follow up… and you’ll have some friends to go to TSE 2015 with. :)

Digg Syndication Del.icio.us Syndication Google Syndication MyYahoo Syndication Reddit Syndication

Tips for Students & Newcomers in the Event Industry

Brittany here, a student member of the ISES Dallas chapter and one year veteran of The Special Event Show! Before I get into sharing my tips with you, I’d like to first shed some light on my background.

follow that dream

From 2006 through 2011, my college years were full of soul searching and experimenting with different career avenues. Following in my father’s footsteps, I went with the business route, earning a Bachelors degree in General Management from the University of Oklahoma and a Masters in International Business and Emerging Markets at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. With two fairly generic business degrees and no definitive direction for my future, I landed in the telecom industry as a Business Operations Manager. This role has turned out to be a “catch all” of sorts full of everything from reporting, analysis, and target and KPI tracking to corporate retreat and meeting planning. Thus in late 2012, I finally began to see a career path forming for myself in corporate event planning. Event planning feels right for me – it is a perfect blend of my passion for entertaining, my desire to have a creative outlet and my strength in business skills.

This TSE blog post will share with you what I have learned over the past year in my journey toward becoming a certified Event Planner. It is the culmination of much research, personal experience, and first-hand interviews. I don’t suggest you do all of these things all at once – do what makes sense for you but also try to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. I should also add that these tips are in no particular order!

Start a blog.

I am the founder and editor of the event planning blog, Beaux and Belles: An Event Planning Blog. (If you’re wondering how to pronounce that, it’s French for “boys and girls” and sounds like “bows and bells” – see how clever I was there?!) My blog is an inspiration and reference site for all things related to event management and entertaining. On this site I cover everything from tabletop settings for the home to stunning layouts and visual displays for the weddings and corporate events. I started this blog with the hope of opening up doors for myself – and I can honestly say that it has. My blog has afforded me the chance to go to conferences, interview premier event planners, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends. If you are a new event planner, start a blog to grow your potential client list by offering great, quality content to your readers. If you don’t want to go public with your blog, start a personal blog or diary of sorts that focuses your thoughts on industry topics. By constantly searching for new content for my own site, I have become a very knowledgeable consumer of information for the events industry. I would definitely say that starting a blog has made me a better event planner in its own right.

Get educated.

Whether you want to be certified or not, taking college classes provides you with formal training, legitimate resume building, and an instant community of classmates that you can get connected with. Research the different programs and pick something that works for you – some are for credit while others are not, some are all online while others are all in a classroom. Online classes offer the benefit of flexibility to you however you will not have the benefit of connecting with a professor or classmates. Personally, I chose to go with a Certificate in Event Planning & Management from my local community college.

You can still continue to learn more about the event industry without going back to school too. The Event Leadership Institute is a great resource for event planners no matter how junior or senior you are. The Institute offers subscribers access to video courses, e-books, white papers, and interviews. You can choose to purchase content on an individual basis or purchase a monthly or annual subscription. Although I am not currently subscribing to this resource, it comes highly recommended by BizBash and most classes do count as Continuing Education credits toward a CMP (certified meeting planner) certification.

A final way to “get educated” is to attend conferences and conventions like The Special Event. Large-scale conferences of notable caliber offer series of educational sessions. TSE even provides attendees with different course tracks to help you specialize in sessions that are best for you. The networking that you can do at conferences is also invaluable whether it’s on the trade show floor, at after-hour events, or in the educational sessions. This year, I attended TSE 2013 and IMEX 2013 – both conferences were on the pricy side however the learning and networking opportunities that I received were totally worth it!

Get plugged in.

There are plenty of great online resources for event planners to access without paying a dime. Join a LinkedIn group where you can have active dialogs about topics in the industry and connect with real industry professionals. Not all event planner LinkedIn groups are stellar, but I do recommend checking out the following: Event Planning & Event Management Group, Event Managers, and Event Planning Professionals. I have my email preferences set to one email per week from each of these groups – the daily setting was flooding my inbox!

Check out your local chapters and networking groups. For free options, check out what local groups are on Meetup.com. If you are a student, many associations have great, low-price membership options so that you can try out several chapters your first year, then choose your favorite or most relevant one or two groups to get involved with in the following years. I am most involved with the International Special Events Society (ISES). It is a strong, connected organization with 5,500 members active in over 50 chapters throughout the world. ISES offers meeting and event planners the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) certification, one of the top accreditations available. Once you have at least 3 years of full-time professional employment in the special events industry, I highly recommend taking the CSEP exam. It is the first certification I plan to earn as soon as I am eligible.

Some other notable associations include:

As I said earlier, don’t go and join all these organizations at once – do you research, sit in on a local chapter event, and then choose what makes sense for you and your job role.

These are the top 3 things that have helped me as a newcomer to the event industry. If you take anything away from this, it’s that you need to have the drive and passion to constantly keep learning. Learn from you experiences, learn from professionals and subject matter experts, and learn from what technology can offer you. If you have more questions or would like more advice on how to break into thbrittany ryan event planner bloggere event industry, I would be happy to share more with you – please email me at BeauxandBellesBlog@gmail.com.

About the Author: Brittany Ryan is an event planner and blogger who caters to the DFW community. With every event, Brittany’s aim is to plan something that is meaningful, memorable, classy, and fun! In her spare time, Brittany enjoys fine dining, traveling, a glass of red wine, and creating fond memories with loved ones.

Digg Syndication Del.icio.us Syndication Google Syndication MyYahoo Syndication Reddit Syndication

Event Technology: 5 Requirements of Your Next Technology Investment

Trevor is an event technology enthusiast who focuses on evangelizing new products and curating technology in order to help guide hospitality professionals on their journey to embrace new tools. He has worked with various early stage technology companies. As the Marketing Manager for Social Tables, he focuses on growing the event community via original content, free technology consultations, and education at industry events.


You’re one of two types of people when it comes to event technology: Either you are doing more with less OR you’re doing less with more. This is the third post (see the first post or second post) in a series of three to helping you become an Innovator that does more with less.


According to the Event App Bible, there are at least 46 (and constantly growing) different companies that you could select from when making your decision on which event application provider is best for you and your events. With so many options to choose from, it’s important to know where the technology landscape is heading and what you should look for in your next investment.

5 Requirements of Your Next Technology Investment

1. Mobile

You’ve heard this a million times, but making sure your next technology upgrade is mobile friendly. Recent comScore reports show Smartphone growth is still 25% YoY and Tablet growth at 55% YoY which means everyone from your clients to your attendees to your staff is on a mobile device. Investing in a new technology that hasn’t yet adopted mobile, is a big step backward that could hurt your business in the long run.

2. Cloud-based

With distributed teams and a mobile workforce, your technology needs to live in the cloud. Your clients and attendees have high expectations for responsiveness and real-time information sharing from vendors which means you need the ability to communicate effectively. Cloud-based technology gives you the freedom to be anywhere in the world and still manage your events as if you were onsite.

3. Compatible

There still isn’t one complete end-to-end event platform available today. While evaluating your next investment, make sure to ask what other companies they integrate with. Look for partners with a large ecosystem of partners and additional technologies you can use to create the perfect technology mix for your budget and your attendees.

4. Usable

If you need 5 webinars, a personal training, and can’t live without the online tutorials, look for a new event technology partner immediately. Technology should never slow your process or add an extra step. Look for companies that place a high value on design; they tend to be the same companies that are customer centric and provide better support to go along with their superior products.

5. Customizable

Look for self-managed systems that allow you to edit, rearrange, and export any of the data you use. If you don’t have access to customize the technology, then you are not in control of what you purchased. You’ll spend hours on email and phone support working to get your Account Manager to fix the system for you. Being able to own your data and create a custom solution is a must if you’re going to invest in the technology for the long-run.

Every event has different audiences, needs, and budget so your event technology needs to set you up for success in every scenario. Improving your organization with an event technology upgrade, if done properly, can change the way you plan events and change the way your attendees experience those events for many years to come.

Digg Syndication Del.icio.us Syndication Google Syndication MyYahoo Syndication Reddit Syndication

Event Technology: Making the Right Decision

Trevor is an event technology enthusiast who focuses on evangelizing new products and curating technology in order to help guide hospitality professionals on their journey to embrace new tools. He has worked with various early stage technology companies. As the Marketing Manager for Social Tables, he focuses on growing the event community via original content, free technology consultations, and education at industry events.

You’re one of two types of people when it comes to event technology: Either you are doing more with less OR you’re doing less with more. This is the second post (first post here) in a series of three to helping you become an Innovator that does more with less.

You’ve seen all sorts of debt in your lifetime. From credit cards to student loans to car payments to mortgages, you’ve made decisions in multiple areas of your life that you decided are sound investments in your future. Making the investment in event technology for your business is no different.

When investing in event technology, you are setting your business up for success by managing the risk of technology failure, human error and staffing costs. The following is a quick guide you can use to prioritize and evaluate the implementation of a technology once you’ve selected a vendor in the area your business needs to improve.


Simple Debt Analysis


It might not always make sense to adopt a new technology. There are three general directions you can go when evaluating your vendor: do not adopt at all, adopt immediately, or delay adoption. To simplify your decision process, it’s helpful to know where you are carrying technology debt now, where you might incur debt later, and how quickly the solution can improve your business


Tradeoff

Each decision has it’s own type of debt.


By not adopting a technology, you’re holding on the older products which carry functionality debt (older products can’t do what new products do!).


With adopting the newest technology, you’re paying to lift the debt of old products off your shoulders which can be expensive (you aren’t just paying the cost of new products, you’re paying to take away the risk of old products!).


By delaying adopting technology, you’re making a commitment to change when the time is right (you’ll risk improving your business to the fullest and slow down adopting technology for other areas that might need attention).


Forgiveness

A key conclusion that drives your Action Analysis should focus on the probability that your new technology tradeoff won’t impact your business regardless of your decision.


If you implement a new solution today, what changes tomorrow? What changes next week or next month? If the answer there is “not much” or “I’m not sure”, then it’s probably not a decision that will add (or take-away) much technology debt. These decisions aren’t critical to your business so a high price point or time consuming implementation isn’t worth it.


Keep in mind four key factors that weigh into how much the decision will impact your business.


Decision Criteria


If you read last week’s post, you’ve already evaluated the number of hours you spend on this particular business process. Multiple that by what your time is worth and you’ll have an idea what that is “costing” you currently. Does your new solution cost less than that number? If the cost of your solution is higher than what you are spending now, will the time you save turn into revenue elsewhere and offset more of the cost?


After evaluating where your business needs help and understanding your technology debt, in the next post we will identify the six critical elements your new technology must have in order to set you up for a quality long-term investment.

Digg Syndication Del.icio.us Syndication Google Syndication MyYahoo Syndication Reddit Syndication

Event Technology: Doing more with less

Trevor is an event technology enthusiast who focuses on evangelizing new products and curating technology in order to help guide hospitality professionals on their journey to embrace new tools. He has worked with various early stage technology companies. As the Marketing Manager for Social Tables, he focuses on growing the event community via original content, free technology consultations, and education at industry events.

You’re one of two types of people when it comes to event technology: Either you are doing more with less OR you’re doing less with more. This is the first post in a series of three to helping you become an Innovator that does more with less.

If you’re doing more with less, you’re probably beating your competition, your business is growing, and you have happy clients. If you’re doing less with more, you probably haven’t changed your planning approach in a while, you’ve got a solid “system” that gets the job done, and you don’t have time for additional clients. Below is a graph showing the well-known product adoption curve. Event professionals doing more with less are innovators, early adopters and the early majority. They are leveraging new technology to improve their business and stay competitive in our industry’s quickly changing landscape.

Hopefully you’re not one of the people that have written of new technology or decided “it can wait” because you don’t need to change anything right now (Laggards). You’re probably right and you probably don’t have a technology fire that needs put out today. But what keeps me up at night is knowing that if you aren’t constantly evaluating new options and your technology fire does happen (it will), you won’t know where to turn or what to do.

Staying ahead of the technology curve is simple if you make a conscious effort to constantly evaluate your own process and evaluate technology that can help your business. It’s a small commitment that pays of in the long-term. To help you get started today, take a look at how Social Tables approaches and evaluates new technology in our business:

Quick Guide: Doing More With Less in One Month.

1. Review (1 week)

Step back from your day to day activity and identify where you spend the majority of your day. Write down a daily log of how you spent the work day to see where your time is going. You’ll quickly notice how much of your day is consumed by operational tasks or processes.

2. Research (1 week)

Now that you know where your problems areas are, you can begin researching ways people just like you are solving these problems. Take a week or so to gather a list of products and services that might help automate and streamline your productivity problem areas.

3. Evaluate (2 weeks)

When evaluating a new business solution, you should evaluate both the company and the product or service. Always, always, always make sure to try before you buy. If you can’t test the solution with a free trial, you can’t truly know how it works with your process.

Technology is moving faster than ever (and it’s only going to move faster) so being cognizant of how technology can help your process is critical to staying competitive. A small investment of time every other few months can make have a large impact on the success of your business.

The next post in this series will outline how to realize the ROI of your investment. Once you find a solution, we will talk about simple cost-benefit analysis to make sure it’s the right investment for you!

-Trevor

Digg Syndication Del.icio.us Syndication Google Syndication MyYahoo Syndication Reddit Syndication