4 Things Millennials Expect From Conferences

Nothing compares to a great conference. Today, millions millennial workers are attending professional conferences, networking receptions, and business meetings. In fact, about 89% of adults aged 18 to 34 said that they have attended at least one event in the past year.

If you want this younger generation to interact with your brand or attend your event, you want to make sure that your conference is millennial-friendly.

Here are 4 things millennials expect from conferences.

Social Media Integration

Today, most people spend a lot of time on their smartphones. In fact, many of them check their phones right when they wake up and before they get out of bed.

Social media provides a great way to reach and interact with your audience. If you want to get the word out about your event, then you should consider incorporating social media into your marketing campaign. Also, consider creating your own unique hashtag and use it when posting content about your event. Given that millennials are the most populous part of the social media audience, you want to share as much information with your online community as you can to boost engagement.

It is also a good idea to post updates during the event itself and give offsite attendees a glimpse into what’s happening during the event. Millennials want to share their experiences with their online friends, too.

Networking opportunities

Conferences are usually where people within the same or similar industries gather to network. Most people attend conferences to meet new people.

Millennials want to expand their network and are looking for job opportunities or new connections. Many of them are expecting to meet people who can help them build their career. Event organizers should take this into account and create activities that would encourage attendees to go around and interact with each other. Plus, ice breakers provide a quick break from the monotony of the daily schedule.

Active participation

Millennials have a shorter attention span than baby boomers. For them, sitting all day, listening to lecture after lecture is less than ideal. Instead, this generation wants to take part of the conversation.

Instead of focusing on lectures and presentation, encourage your speaker to leave enough room for Q&A session or a panel discussion with audience questions.

Distinct Experience

Millennials are hungry to gain knowledge and learn from industry leaders. But that isn’t the only reason why they attend conferences. Many of them crave genuine, unique experiences.

Millennials value experiences over material things. Try to integrate tech trends and new innovations into your event. Offer new and exciting opportunities to attendees that other conferences don’t offer.

,

Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Corporate Event

Planning a corporate event is definitely not easy. There are a lot of things to do and a lot of people to talk to. And then there is the all-important budget.

If this is your first time organizing an event, chances are you may make a mistake or two along the way. These mistakes, no matter how small, may end up costing you a lot of money. This isn’t good considering how expensive it is to plan an event. To prevent this from happening, we have put together a list of the most common mistakes event managers commit while organizing a corporate event. Keep these things in mind to ensure that your event will be a success.

Here are 4 critical mistakes to avoid when planning a corporate event in Chicago.

Waiting Until the last minute

Planning a corporate event takes time. So make sure that you start working as soon as you know the date of the event.

Start by looking for venues. Hotels and other venues get booked fast, so it is important to start looking as early as possible. Failing to start the event process early will limit your venue choices and may even cause a host of other problems down the line.

Not finalizing the number of attendees

Before booking a venue, you need to have a good idea how many attendees you are expecting for the event. A small function room will be too cramped for 200 guests. A larger venue may look too big and empty if you only have 100 attendees.

Before committing to a venue, ask the advice of the staff to find out the capacity of the venue. Also, find a happy medium between the numbers you expect. A bigger space is a lot better than a small space, just don’t go overboard.

Doing everything on your own

Planning a corporate event can be exhausting and stress-inducing. It requires months of planning. The sooner you realize that you can’t do everything on your own, the better off both you and your event will be.

Seek help from your colleagues and try to delegate some tasks. This way, you can do things more efficiently and in a timely manner. Having enough staff on hand at the event itself is also of great importance. There should be enough staff to accommodate all the attendees and ensure that the registration process goes on smoothly.

Lack of Plan B

No matter how well organized or planned an event is, things can go awry on the Big Day. As such, it is important to have a Plan B in place just in case things go haywire.

We cannot predict the future, but it is a good idea to plan for the worst. Before the event, try to determine which areas where your event’s success could be jeopardized and have a contingency plan in place.

,

How to Host a Successful Corporate Event on a Budget

Corporate events provide several benefits to your organization. Hosting symposiums, conferences, business meetings or company dinners reinforces your image as an industry leader and creates networking opportunities. It helps foster and strengthen relationships with customers, clients, and employees. It also builds loyalty and can help you close sales.

Corporate events can be stressful and time consuming. They require careful planning and budgeting. The planning process becomes even more challenging when you’re working on a limited budget. Your brainstorming ideas can be put on hold once you realize that you may not have enough money for your next event.

Here are some great tips for corporate event planners who are looking to use their budget wisely.

Search for guest speakers early

Advance planning is beneficial to land the best speaker for your event. The earlier you contact the person, the better. Other speakers bump up their rates as their calendar fills up. To avoid this, we suggest that you contact a professional speaker at least 6 months prior to the event.

It is also a good idea to book a speaker who already has an appearance booked in your area. This secrect can help reduce your expenses since you will no longer need to spring for transportation and lodging.

Think through food arrangements

Food and snacks is one area where you can really make the most of your budget. Instead of a sit down meal, consider offering buffet. Buffets eliminate the need for a large wait staff, and they take up less time in the schedule, too.

Another added bonus is that buffets provide attendees an opportunity to interact with one another in a more comfortable mealtime environment.

Find the right venue

Finding a venue is one of the most challenging parts of planning an event. There are a lot of things to consider when looking for one. Of course, you need to consider your budget, the attendees, and the accessibility of the venue.

You want to make sure that the venue fits your budget. Also, find one that will be able to accommodate all the attendees. There is no point in booking a big venue if you are only catering to a small group.

Use sponsors

Some of the savvier companies have gotten really creative when they’re putting on events. One way to make the most out of your budget is to seek sponsorships for your event.

Find a budding company that is looking to get their name out in the public. Often, they don’t charge much for their services. Others would even offer their services for free. Take advantage of that.

4 Ideas to Add Fun and Excitement to Your Conference

People attend conferences for a variety of reasons. Some want to learn something new while others use it as an opportunity to grow their professional network.

Conferences usually last for several hours. Attendees are glued to their seats for nearly the entire day. No matter how interesting the topic, people get bored towards the end. How do you make your conference fun and engaging?

Here are some ideas to add fun and excitement to your next conference.

Entertainment

Conferences don’t have to be boring. To keep attendees’ energy level up, consider booking some form of entertainment like a comedian, magician, or a band. These professionals will help energize and refresh the audience for the closing sessions.

Group activities

Most participants come to the conference individually. Many of them don’t know anyone in the venue. They may feel awkward and lost in a crowd of strangers. Plan activities that are designed to get the audience out of their seats and interacting with one another. You can divide them into small groups and implement activities like problem solving scenarios, group discussions, or group projects.

Get a great host

Emcees are the ones that will spend the most time with the audience. Since most executives don’t have the charisma or stage presence to host a conference, we highly recommend that you hire a professional emcee. They know how to keep the program lively. Plus, they have the biggest influence on how your audience feels, so it is important to get a great host.

Interactive food stations

Since the typical conference will last at least a few hours, feeding the attendees is never a bad idea. An interactive food station is a great option for these types of events. Here, food stations will be placed in different parts of the room. Attendees are encouraged to get up and make their way across the room to get a bite. Not only will they be able to munch on great tasting foods, it also provides an opportunity to network.

If you are looking for a photographer to capture your corporate event in Chicago, please contact me today for availability!

, , ,

The Importance of Entertainment in Corporate Events

A corporate event plays an important role in strengthening your relationship with your clients, staff members, and customers. Whether you’re planning a conference, awards dinner, exhibition, or convention, corporate events can promote your business internally and externally.

A successful event is one that attendees will never forget. Enthusiasm and fun is the key to creating an unforgettable event. Hiring entertainers can help you achieve that goal.

Here are 3 reasons why you should find good entertainment for your next corporate event.

Keep attendees entertained

Conferences and seminars are can be boring. People will be sitting through hours of presentations and lectures. No matter how stimulating the content is, many of them will look exhausted, bored, or disengaged by the end of the day.

One of the best reasons to hire entertainment at corporate events is to keep attendees entertained.
Have bands or comedians perform during breaks in the action. When planned and executed well, this helps attendees relax, laugh, and creates a good vibe at the event. This will also stimulate the audience and energize them for the next sessions.

Generate interest

Entertainment is crucial if you are trying to launch new products. This is especially important if you choose to do so in at a large exhibition. Since different businesses will be vying for people’s attention and show off their products, you need something that would grab people’s attention. Entertainment such as live music will help generate interest and entice attendees over to your booth.

Motivate employees

Hosting a corporate event is a great way to train your staff and familiarize themselves with new products. It is also a great way show your appreciation and reward them for their hard work. By incorporating some entertainment into your event, you’re giving them a chance to have fun and let loose. A well-planned corporate event can motivate employees, which in turn will help increase productivity.

,

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Corporate Event

A lot of hard work and preparation goes into making your event a success. As an event organizer, there is no better feeling than walking into your event and seeing it jam-packed with people. Social media is an invaluable tool that can help drive people to attend your event.

Here are 4 ways to use social media to promote your corporate event.

Create Facebook Event

Creating a Facebook event will take a lot of the work of advertising your event off your hands. It makes it easier for you to spread the word about your event. More importantly, it also helps you expand your overall reach since people are notified when their friends confirm their attendance to your event. This added exposure is as good as a direct invitation. Since viewers and attendees can also allowed to invite their friends to the event on Facebook, provided that it is set to public, you reach another audience that may not have ever known about your event otherwise.

Furthermore, it allows you to make mass announcements to all attendees. Using the embedded commenting features of Facebook Events, attendees can begin to connect and network with one another before and after your event.

Share Behind-the-Scenes visual content

This is one of the best ways to generate buzz for your event! Give your fans and followers a glimpse into your event by posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Simply snap a photo of your preparations and share it on your company’s business page. You may also share stories of how you’re pulling everything together. Don’t be afraid to make them fun! Everyone knows things come up when planning an event…have fun with it!

This gets people excited for the event because they feel like they’re in on the action. It also serves as a reminder that the event is coming up, so they can Save the Date.

Feature event speakers

More often than not, people attend events to listen to and meet the speakers. What better way to highlight the caliber of talent at your event than creating a blog post featuring your speakers and sharing it on social media? Better yet, reach out to your speakers and encourage them to promote the event. After all, they benefit from positive buzz just as much as you do. Not to mention that your speakers probably have a loyal audience of their own, too. When they promote their participation in your event to their followers, your event gets exposed to another subset of possible attendees!

Use hashtags

Having a unique hashtag for your event is important when promoting your event. Use it for online conversations and in every piece of marketing content to deliver. Encourage people to use your hashtag to take the conversation to a larger, more engaged audience.

,

DEDON and Designer Stephen Burks Event Photography

I was contacted by Emily Levin at BDE about photographing a presentation by Designer Stephen Burks, an amazing artist who designs furniture for DEDON. The presentation was in the morning, followed by a reception and cocktail party in the evening.

I was selected by Emily based on my ability to capture engaging photos that tell the story of an event without being intrusive and for my ability to work indoors in lower light situations without using flash. Emily’s goal in hiring a photographer was to capture photos that gave the feeling that you were there…without being overly posed or harshly lit with a camera flash.

Once the clients saw my event work, they asked me if I was available to shoot more architectural-style images (with a particular goal of capturing the details) of the interior of the showroom with Stephen Burks’ furniture. I enthusiastically accepted! When they viewed the finished images, I was told, “The photos are beautiful!”

The people I teamed up with at BDE and DEDON were wonderful to work with. I made sure to get them the images that they wanted and needed. Whenever a client tells me that the photos I’ve taken for them are “beautiful,” the feeling is something akin to what an actor must feel when they receive a standing ovation. It’s nice hear the appreciation in their voices and see their faces light up when they see a particularly striking photo. I also love being able to help clients achieve their goals in marketing and PR and knowing that in some small way, I helped move their business forward.

, ,

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Conference

There is no better place to increase your awareness of new trends in your field than an industry conference.  Some people use industry conferences as an opportunity to expand their existing network.  These new connections can turbocharge your career and the presentations and seminars can teach you things you can’t pick up elsewhere.

But with so many speakers to hear and so many panels to attend, conferences may seem a little overwhelming.  This sentiment rings especially true for those who are new to the professional conference scene.

If that describes you, here are 5 ways to get the most out of a conference.

get most out of a business conference

  1. Have a goal
    What are you hoping to learn from this conference?  Determine what you hope to gain from the conference before you get there.  Going to a conference without any goals can be a waste of time and money.  Your goals don’t have to be very specific.  They can be as simple as meeting new people, gaining awareness about a particular topic, or to better yourself and bring new knowledge back to your team.  If there is a particular person you’d like to meet, carve out time to accomplish that goal.  If that person is a speaker or a presenter, send an email prior to the event and introduce yourself.  Let the person know that you’re coming to his/her session and that you’re eager to meet them.  Whenever possible, let them know how you can help them; they may be more inclined to spend some extra time talking with you!
  2. Find out who the speakers are
    Before you make the decision to go, we recommend that you determine who the speakers are.  Then, do some research on Youtube or Google and watch their videos online.  By doing so, you’ll get a sense for their style and substance.  Plus, it will give you an idea how much value they’ll bring to their upcoming presentations.  This is also a great opportunity to think of questions you may want to ask during or after their presentation.
  3. Register early
    We get it.  You decided to attend the conference to gain new ideas or insights about your industry.  However, the most interesting moments often occur in between or after the sessions themselves.  The conversations and interactions you have with the other attendees are often the most memorable and valuable you will have at a conference. On the day of the conference, make sure you register early.  This allows you to maximize your time meeting new people before the sessions begin.
  4. Take notes
    With days full of speakers and sessions, it can be difficult to remember everything you have learned during the conference.  To help you remember what you have learned, we recommend that you take down notes.  Also, don’t forget to write down 3 key takeaways at the end of each session.
  5. Follow up
    Make sure you follow up with everyone you met after the event.  Reach out to them. Email is a completely reasonable way to follow up with someone.  Don’t wait too long, either: you’ll want to make sure they still remember you while the event is still fresh in their mind! It’s important to keep those contacts handy, even if you don’t work together immediately.
, ,

Tips to Increase Attendee Engagement at Your Events

After spending countless hours planning an event, there is nothing more satisfying than witnessing its success. In a perfect world, every attendee would connect with other attendees and participate in activities.

There is an endless amount of proactive, easy-to-implement steps you can take to increase attendee engagement at your events. Here are some of them.

Build anticipation

Attendee engagement doesn’t necessarily start at the event itself. In fact, you should engage your audience before they even step foot in your venue. This will not only guarantee more attendees, but people will be more excited to attend.

Social media is one of the best avenues to promote your event. Create a unique hashtag and use it every time you post an update about your event. With the right strategy, you’ll have people talking about your event and your engagement will skyrocket. Publishing a blog post is also a great way to create pre-event buzz or stream a video from last year’s event.

Games

Games are a great way to entertain and energize attendees who are bored and drained from listening to lectures and presentations. With the right execution and an interesting prize, you’ll get people to interact and participate in activities.

Make time for networking

A lot of people tend to feel overwhelmed or intimidated when attending a large event, especially when they don’t know anyone. Encourage your guests to meet someone new and network by dividing them into smaller groups. This can help break the initial awkwardness that tends to happen at large gatherings.

It is also a good idea to have breaks between speakers or a cocktail hour after the event to give people an opportunity to network and engage with one another.

Allow for Q&A opportunities

Provide attendees an opportunity to address their questions. You can gather questions from attendees and have the speaker answer these questions at the end of the presentation. Attendees will be able to learn more from the Q&A session. Plus, they’ll feel more appreciated and part of the event.