This week Charles and Lisa sit down with Kelli who has worked with many big brands; Facebook, Redbull, Universal Studios to name a few. With big brands and big events comes big stories! Hear how these big brands approach their events.
No beige food at your event!? Tahira is the guest this week and she shares all things she’s learned during her time in the events industry. Grab your notebook, you will definitely want to write some of this down!
The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence
How did you end up in the events business?
I was a hairstylist and I loved doing that job. I started working at salons when I was 13, at 26 I had crazy surgery on both of my arms and I couldn’t cut hair again.
I saw a tiny ad about an event diploma. I entered the industry the way no one does, which is getting a diploma in event management Then I got a great job with PCO (professional convention organization company).
Then I was a creative director and I was tired and got really interested in event technology and did that for a bit with quick mobile. Through all of this I wrote a book. I had been blogging and writing for quite some time. I thought I should collect what I think is important about in events in one place. I called it Intentional Event Design, I think we need to be purposeful and thoughtful and people centric. It’s about how do we rethink seating and food and beverage and build it into our events from the beginning.
If you create meaningful interactions between people those are the things people remember and take away. Where do you start in all of that?
I start by figuring out the purpose of the event. Theres a thing around starting with why, and it does matter. Create an empathy map and think about the people attending. Both in our case, we do programs that are hosted, and we are really reliant on our sponsors.
You said people centric and purpose driven is how you do events, tell me about your approach.
It starts with empathy mapping, dig into the different people that will come. Who is your audience? It’s looking at it from different perspectives, if I come as a participant, a sponsor, an exhibitor, a supplier partner, and extrovert, introvert: how can I create spaces that tie into the emotional needs of the people attending. And how do I create the education and topics that are relevant for this group of participants at this time. You start to build out your events in that way. Allow them to connect and be comfortable.
We think of typical networking events at a bar, a room music is too loud to talk over so you’re yelling at people. It’s impossible to be in if you have hearing issues. You don’t get food that nourishes you and its primarily alcoholic offerings and those aren’t good for everybody. My thing around food is no beige food. You start off your day with a bagel and an hour and half later you have crashed and want more food. You are looking for that energy. You go to lunch and get pasta and a bun. Now you’re weighted down, no one wants to be the after lunch speaker. We just started to give people color.
What other things do you do that are purpose driven and people centric?
I try to create quiet spaces for people. Think about nursing mothers, prayer, things that you will want to set aside a room for.
Use technology smartly. We are past the age of paper things and into mobile apps. Get things to people in a timely fashion.
How do you work with a venue that only has union run snacks that are not good?
We have to start it in the beginning. It has to be a part of our RFP. You have to have healthy menus.
Contact Tahira: intentionaleventdesign.ca
Is photography at your event worth the investment? Amy Coppersmith from Coppersmith photography shares why you should have a photographer at your event. We hear how to vet a photographer to make sure they capture images you will use for years to come!
Tell us how you got your start.
I started a long time ago, I will jump forward a few years. About 1999, I started out in families and kids. I actually fell into an internship with Best Buy corporate studios. It was all their Sunday inserts: pictures of blenders microwaves. I met my husband there. I was only in an internship, after 6 weeks I was done. I fell into another studio that did weddings, ended up becoming one of their lead assistant shooters. When she moved I decided to do photography on my own. My husband had opened up Coppersmith Photography in 99. When I first met him he was a commercial photographer, after Best Buy he wanted to start his own. I kind of pulled him into weddings. If I asked him today he wouldn’t want to do them, but back then we had a really good time and he learned a lot of things he didn’t know.
What brought you back into the corporate world, corporate events?
Brides are insane! I lost the love for it. It wasn’t fair to brides and grooms, and wasn’t” doing justice to what they wanted covered. I was already doing corporate work and loved it, I had three children so it kinda made sense. Corporate is take out the emotion it’s all business. I understand all business and made my life more calm. I liked the clients a lot more. Every event was a little bit different.
When it comes to events, why would I need a professional photographer?
Photo and video are vastly different. When it comes to photo vs video I know photo. I don’t know video, people assume they are one in the same, they can be, but it is not. The editing software is completely different, everything is different. The quality and knowledge of a pro is important. When i go into a room I see things that would be great to have a photo of, things others wouldn’t think of. It’s an outside perspective. It’s the small details people don’t think about: taking a picture of someone taking notes. I approach it as creating a stock inventory as well as documenting their event. It’s more versatile that way. Coming from weddings, it helped because they are so heavily detail oriented. Finding those details were a fun scavenger hunt and its the same in corporate.
If I’m producing an event, at what point do I want to have my photographer booked and whats the cost?
Timeline depends on the season, summer you need to call at least 4-5 months in advance. Winter dates you could call me the day before. I’ve had that happen multiple times in the winter, sometimes that works just fine. If you want your pick of photographers at least 4 months 5 would be fantastic. I create a contract the client signs, it has stipulations of when their payment is due. Every company is different depending on their financial department. Most of the time I have a signed contract and that is enough for corporations to follow through on. I would look at half day vs full day rates. Do you need an entire day covered, or only half a day? Can you condense things down? There are some events where Monday and Tuesday are exactly the same, do you need a photographer for both days, probably not. That will tell me how many hours I need to be on site. I have half day, full day, and hourly rates. I will help walk them through what they need. A lot of photographers are $100-250 per hour. Full day rates can be $1500-3000 for a full day (10 hours). For me that does include post production. *This differs for each photographer if post is included or not.
How do I vet a photographer?
Communication is so important. The visitors bureau is a great place to start, you can google search corporate photographer. Check out their websites once you have a list, get recommendations or referrals from them. Then you can see if they are legit or not. Another thing, when you look at their website, what type of website is it? If you are corporate you don’t want to go to a website that is all weddings. There are so many of us out there, find the one you can work well with. When it comes down to it there are events we want to do and love and others we don’t. It’s not that different an event from a wedding. But it is a business event versus a personal event.
Ask them about past events, what have they done? If you have a dignitary coming on stage and need a specific shot ask, How would you handle this? They should be able to answer that pretty quickly or verify that they are qualified to do it.
If I have you come and shoot who owns the photos, and who can use them?
With me you get to use them, they are your companies to use within the company. A lot of companies want to share their images with other companies, that is where it gets gray. You’ve payed for them for your marketing, the other company didn’t pay for it for their marketing. You are basically paying for their marketing, why would you do that? In my contract it states who is able to use what and where and why.
Contact Amy Coppersmith:Instagram – CoppersmithPhotographywww.coppersmithphoto.com
This week Charles and Lisa sit down with EideCom’s very own Paige Dorman. She shares her 6 live by communication skills that have gotten her here today! Whether you are in the events world or not, you will want to hear these!
Tell us about you.
About 12 years ago, I got my start in the events world. I had been around lots of stage productions, I had an opportunity to travel the country with an organization doing key note speeches. Then had an opportunity in college to work at a few different venues, doing the whole event planning side and executing the events. Then I worked for a bridal show production company, knowing my heart was always in the larger scale events. I got connected with Lisa at and ILEA meeting and asked her out for coffee.
You put together some great tips for customer relationships what are they?
The things that are the same through all events are relationships and maintaining relationships.
- Exceptional communication: We come in contact with that time and time again in any job I’ve had. It’s all about communication in any relationship. As we were talking about how I started it was the communication, you guys being open and honest in what you were looking for.
- Maintain a positive attitude in all experiences of the event: Whether it be the communication pre planning post planning meetings, really exude that energy and confidence you want your client to feel about your work. I find removing myself from a stressful area helps me to maintain calm, as well as maintaining the perspective, what is the other person feeling? How do you put yourself in their shoes and see what they are seeing?
- Acknowledge your client as an individual, not just a piece of business: Really acknowledge the person and not just the project. You acknowledge them as not just a paycheck. I’ve been in enough meetings with Charles to know you’re truly passionate about it not being transactional, but about it being a relationship. It’s part of our sales process, helping people and acknowledging your not a one time show and checking our check box, you are important to us.
- Share your knowledge: Share information that will help the client understand what you do which will build trust and confidence in the process.
- Be transparent: Be open with communication and really set expectations.
- Exceed expectations: As we are being transparent and honest that sets us up to exceed our clients expectations. All the things above is how you do it. Be confident in what you say, focus on exceptional communication and make sure they know what is within your wheel house. Make sure they know every step along the way and the process. Make it so when we execute an event we can exceed their expectations. We need to do everything above and beyond and blow it out of the park.
Connect with Paige: Paige@eidecom.com
Does having a professional Emcee make a difference for your event? Is it worth the cost of hiring one? Charles and Lisa sit down with professional Emcee, Amy McWhirter. Hear the ways emcee’s make a difference for your event and the tricks they have learned to create engagement!
Tell us about you.