Relationships

S.3 Episode 12: Stop. Collaborate and Listen!

This week is all about collaboration to tell the story and create the best event. Lenny joins Charles and Paige at ILEA live and explains how he has used the relationships he has made in the events industry!

You have to tell us about you.

I’m in Las Vegas, an experimental architect, aka event producer. I have lived there for most of my adult life. I started out in the entertainment industry.  I moved for what was supposed to have been a 2 week job singing and dancing. I preformed for shows on the strip for many many years, once you get to a job and you start looking to your left and looking to the right you’re now old enough to be the father of the person you sing and dance next to, move into production. That’s how my career evolved. 

You’re a speaker here at ILEA Live, what are you talking about?

I partnered with a close friend and associate, he works as the current VP for Top Rink Boxing, together we partnered for many many years. We produced everything from hotel openings, to show openings, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, what we were speaking about was those entertainment activations and how you partner with sponsors and suppliers to deliver and get the messaging out there. It’s always in the story, depending what the story is. It’s a marketing effort to get it out there, you want to sell tickets, at the same time its a public relations activity, you want to stay on point with messaging for that particular hotel or producer. That’s what our conversation was about today.

When you put these things together and producing an event, tell me about the essential elements.

Money. A lot of elements are involved. Budgets are always nice to have. Take best practices and ideas and partner with the people you meet. 

Tell me about when you are looking for great partners. 

You have to have the basis of a relationship.  Whether you met them somewhere before, been an admirer of their work, you reach out and begin to have those conversations and see if it’s going to be the correct fit. Not everyone is going to be the correct or right fit for a project, it’s the scaleability for that particular supplier. There are a number of great A/V providers, but they may not be scalable, you have to make a judgement call. 

How would a young professional start a successful career in the events industry?

I work for a school in Las Vegas International school of Hospitality, specializing in certificate programs. Our students are not ready or they are not cut out for a 4 year degree program, yet they still want to be in the hospitality industry. They can come or do it online and learn about those particular disciplines. The certificate then gives them those baseline skills to prepare them to go out for interviews. The challenge for some of the young folks is having some applicable skills that they can enter with. Everybody wants to do it and has the passion, but you have to have something that’s actionable. Looking at those types of opportunities. Or come to a special event conference and taking those educational classes and core curriculum where you can learn from professionals working in the industry. 

Take someone starting out who doesn’t know what part they want to be involved in, what should they do?

Stay off my turf. For someone to figure out what their calling is, they have to get engaged.  There are not any hard and fast rules, it’s a matter of going out there and doing it, and saying it’s a fit I enjoy, or going a different direction. 

Enlighten us on how you do great storytelling at an event?

It’s important to understand the project, what’s the story there. Who is the customer, who is the client? There are certain types of stories, The Who am I story. There’s the why am I here stories. The other types of stories are what I call the teaching stories. You’re always going to fit in a certain type of story and based on that you are going to use whatever tools are at your disposal. 

Lenny Talarico

Insta: Charlesevaneide

EideComCreative

meetingmindspodcast

Twitter:The Meeting Minds

S.3 Episode 10: Getting Real with an Events Planner Part 2

What are you up to?

This spring I took a few months off to be with my kiddos. I was doing the whole mom thing and doing all the activities and cooking, and in the interim I did my first show calling gig. It was terrifying. It’s super scary. I loved the control of it.  I had zero experience show calling so I called a friend of mine to prep.  I sent her gift cards and we practiced multiple times. It ended up being ok, but the thing I learned is its not what on the paper its about what you don’t know is going to happen and how you are going to keep that calm voice and directing people. 

I’m apart of this non profit, she climbs mountains that supports motherless daughters.  We are now doing a new program called girls drive up, youth motherless daughters ages 8-18.  We’re doing a launch party Nov 16th. It’s a fundraiser/launch event.  Sheclimbsmountians.org

What are your pet peeves?

I do not like getting gas, I like going down to 0 miles on my dashboard and my husband wants to kill me. 

Another one is people who are not accountable. If you sign yourself up for a project you need to be accountable and communicate if you can’t do something.

Not starting on time. 

What are you working on right now?

Target’s fall national meeting. It happens September 11th, I’ve done it for 5 years now. I’ve been an element producer, for the last 3 or 4 years I’ve been the presentation lead, the lead for all the executive speaker presentations. Which includes the power point and the video. I meet with them and work with the communications team who writes scripts and outlines, work with the decor, video team. Schedule all the rehearsals. There are 20 people on the core team, and there are 100’s of staff once we get on site. 12-14,000 attend this event. 

Insta: shadiaevents

Shadia@tobkin.com

Insta: Charlesevaneide

EideComCreative

Twitter:The Meeting Minds

S.3 Episode 1: Engage your Audience Better!

Today we are joined by Kitty H and Justin D at STAR.

Tell us about STAR and your career…

Kitty: We are an experiential marketing agency. Brands we work with come to us because they are looking for new and impactful ways for their brand to be face to face with people. We live in an uber digital world where people are on their devices and we are streaming our content, the whole advertising industry has been turned upside down, so it’s all about events and experiences. People want to have a physical experience with the brand. Our work shows up in all different types of environments, in retail, corporate interior, trade show floor and more. 

I have been at STAR for a little more than a year and half. My career was in business development. Everything I know is from selling and sitting in meetings with clients and asking them how they are going to sell to people and market their product. I worked at a variety of different agencies. The last one I was working at focused on brand design. I became increasingly interested in the discipline of experience design. I walked into STAR one day for a random reason, and I was like this isn’t exhibits,  this is experience design. I knew that’s where I wanted to be.

Justin: I started 22 years ago with STAR as an intern. I have seen a lot of change and growth, it has been super fun and exciting. We are getting into all sorts of cool and unique projects. 

How do you still give the digital what it needs while providing a physical experience for their audience?

Justin: We do one touch point. There are a lot of ways to interact with the brand, digital, socially, we are the more physical space.  What are your objectives and how do we help you get there?  What are the results you are looking to receive?

What are common outcomes?

Justin: Startups may be brand awareness, giving exposure to your product.

Kitty: Right down to impressions, they are incredibly valuable. Sometimes it’s not always easy to put an ROI on things but we know that the more impressions out there the more people are sharing, word of mouth is incredibly powerful.

Let’s say I’m a planner in a company and really want to redo our brand experience, what kind of money are we talking?

Justin: There isn’t a starting point, it depends what are you trying to do, what are your needs and we will help find a solution for your budget.  

How do you start the conversation with brands?

Kitty: We typically love to get people into our space.  It’s important to get outside of your environment and into a creative space. We bring creative people to the table and really experienced project managers. We talk about what are the goals? What needs to happen? The fun part of the project is to sit and brainstorm and go far. You have to be able to dream really big for us to land where the client will be able to go. 

Tell me the difference between being a vendor and a partner.

Kitty: You hear a lot of companies talk about this because everyone wants to be a partner but following through and being that is another thing. Trust is a big part of it. When you have established a level of trust where they know you will always come through, you become a partner. Partnerships will not be the cheapest. 

Causes we love: Minnesota Zoo, Feed My Starving Children, Mentoring: EPA

Engagestar.com

khart@engagestar.com

Instagram: charlesevaneide

eidecomcreative

Twitter: TheMeetingMinds

S.2 Episode 16: Don’t screw this up. Communication skills that will change your life!

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.

 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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?
  3. 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. 
  4. Share your knowledge: Share information that will help the client understand what you do which will build trust and confidence in the process. 
  5. Be transparent: Be open with communication and really set expectations. 
  6. 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

 

Instagram: charlesevaneide

eidecomcreative

 

 

Twitter: TheMeetingMinds

 

S.2 Episode 13: Explosive Entertainment Featuring Event Legend Michael Cerbelli

Michael Cerbelli from Cerbelli creative joins us to share his experience and tips!

 

Tell us your story.

 

It all started back in 1977 as a DJ in Brooklyn, New York. I got my first paid gig on my 13th birthday, on September 10th, 1977. I had a half of a mill crate of records and I played for 8 straight hours at a block party. And the reason I know the dates so well because Labor Day weekend was September 3rd, it rained that weekend, they canceled they moved it to the next weekend and they gave me 25 bucks for Djing this party. 25 bucks. I didn’t have enough music for eight hours. So I probably played the same record six times during the course of that eight hours. And the career started from there. And then in the 80s, we met a gentleman from long island, and it may sound cocky, but we revolutionized what the MC Dj perform a market was. We were doing everybody’s events on long island. There was a company EJM entertainment that was us. And there was another company, heart to heart and some smaller companies out there. Either you had EJM or heart to heart. We were blue vest. They would red vests. It was kind of a gang back in the day.

We just owned long island, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, we were doing events for everybody in the eighties and nineties. And what always was my way of looking at things like who are we doing these events for? These are great clients, but I wanted to know more about them. And then I realized we were doing these events for captains of industry, major players in finance, major players in real estate. And they started to bring us into their corporate events too. And it was a gentlemen, that said, you’re going to do my incentive program in Puerto Rico. And I heard nothing about incentive program and heard him say Puerto Rico. And I was like, yeah, okay, let’s go. I think he gave us $5,000 to travel to Puerto Rico and we did an amazing event there and that got me into the corporate realm. Then in 2000 I took EJM, merged with another company in New Jersey, was with them 11 years and we built up another end of the business but really going more for the corporate market, understanding what that was, doing high end social look, high end corporate as well. And then in 2011 I merged with a creative agency in Los Angeles, we just parted our ways. And then in 2016 Cervelli creative started as an entity by itself. So it’s been been an incredible journey for me and I’m very lucky to say who the clients are and what we’ve done.

 

What kind of stuff are you doing these days?

 

Our business is based on high end social and corporate. So the bulk of our business is a true corporate end of the business where we’re doing an incentive program, we’re doing an opening general session. Sometimes we’re producing the whole meeting and sometimes we’re just a lane. And I think that’s something that people in our industry don’t understand. It’s okay to be a lane and that’s where we’re sort of an enigma that we are able to move into these different areas. So we were doing the social end, they brought us into the corporate end and now you’re doing both ends of it. So today, if I’m doing a corporate event for a client that I’ve had for maybe 15 years, 16 years, that were doing these events for, I may be doing the CEO’s 25th anniversary, I may be doing the son’s Bar Mitzvah, the daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. We may be doing their wedding. When you think about that, it’s amazing those bookends.

 

Let’s talk about collaboration and staying in your lane.

 

To what the latter that you just said. It’s staying there, staying there and saying, Oh, I can do it this way. It’s all right to share ideas. So if you look at this, and I think this is a big motto with me, share the wealth. So when that client calls you, let’s look at the corporate arena that may have an in house production company, maybe working with someone that’s doing their floral designs for many years, but now says, I have this incentive program. We need to entertain everybody at nighttime. We need to work together. We need to bring this wow into the event. You have this specialty so when you collaborate the right way, I could book the entertainment, I can bring in the wow, but all of a sudden I let others handle their stuff. Let’s work together with that production company. Let them handle on the back line, let them handle the riders, let them handle that stuff and we managed the process. You’re not taking away from someone that’s worked hard and maybe even been part of the program even longer than you have. Why do you have to step on toes? Let’s work together as a team. Sometimes that first experience may be, who moved my cheese because someone’s like, well, you’ve got someone new who’s over here, but if you prove to them that you want to work together collaboratively, you’ll will work a long time with those people and then what happens for them? They start recommending you.

 

Are you spending time offline with the vendors?

 

Absolutely. We do it all the time. We’ll sit here and then, get on the phone and talk to them about it because this backline rider that they need this special equipment and stuff like that. We didn’t have that last year that was in Italy. All this equipment had to be brought in that we needed for the event. So why does the client need to know all that? They’re handling that and the it, we’ll work directly with them, knew what it was. And then we wound up finding out that we were able to share some of the shipping cases that they were going to be bringing into Italy because they said can you just get it to our warehouse. We’ll put it in our case. Why do you have to pay for this too? So it’s talking, speaking together, working things out together. We all save money. Did it cost the client any more money cause that shipping container, whether it was $1,000 for one item or $1,000 for two items, it was the same cost. So we just shoved our stuff and they’re shipping container because there was room.

 

Speak to some common mistakes you’ve seen over the years.

 

If I’m working with somebody we see someone not sharing information, not coming back to us with detail and you sort of lost. I’m very honored when I hear my team came back from an event, maybe we weren’t that lane and we work with other people that may be on this event. They almost get excited when they see us. They’re like, are you managing this event? No, we’re just doing this today. Oh okay. Cause I don’t have this information. I wish I had more information. What does this event about? And the kind of lost in the process, but it’s because of where it’s coming from. If the head is able to talk to the arm and to the feet to the legs and hands, everybody will work together as a team. Don’t take off more than you could chew. A lot of times everybody’s working on this budget. They don’t have the money, well if they don’t have the money to do what they want to do properly, the process is different. You can’t just do everything, because the client doesn’t have the money. Then you have to be able to explain to your client, this is what we need. If you want this done properly and you want this done properly, we need a team. Lots of times the biggest mistake is someone’s not being a team player and just going into the event and thinking they can handle it by themselves and they’re frantic the day of the event. We have a motto in our office, don’t panic. Here is where we get the detail done and if we’re upset, be upset and say, I wish that was there, but the day of the event, that’s when you don’t panic. That’s where you get everything done correctly. The chandelier falls, go get a broom, sweep it up and go get a lamp. When you see the person that’s freaking out at the event, that means they didn’t plan properly, plan and have a good team. That’s the best way to get through.

 

How do you make an event exceptional?

 

The surprises, the moments make it exceptional. You could have great people, you can have great food and things like that, but that little moment of what everybody enjoyed together as one, is that exceptional moment. Something that they’ve experienced altogether. Not every event has entertainment and things like that, but thinking about that, if there’s something that’s gone on, something that brings it all together, that’s something that meshes it all together. A theme that works with the event, that’s when everybody’s sharing the same experience. You could go to an event and you have people in this corner, and that corner, but when they all come together, share something together, I think that’s what makes it exceptional.

 

How do you create that?

 

We can always go into an event and say, oh, this is great. This is what you should be doing and this is it. This is the easy booking. I can’t wait to book Bruno Mars one day I just want to work with in March, we’re born in Mars is not the answer for everybody, all right? Not Everybody has $1.5 million, $2 million to book Bruno Mars, but at the same time, is there a talent that you could bring in?

If you’re going into a meeting and there’s just a constant talking head on stage and going from meeting to meeting on a multi day event. We were rushed to get food. There wasn’t enough. If you give people these moments to spend time together enjoying each other’s company, then maybe they haven’t seen each other in a year, spend time, network, talk, not rush from meeting to meeting to meeting to food. Give them of those moments, those will be your most successful events out there.

 

Tell us more about the Hot List.

 

So there’s a little story. It was 2001,I was attending a conference and a gentleman got on stage, great speaker. He took out a vase, and he put the vase on the table and he clicked the little switch on it and he took out a remote control and started pressing it and the vase started changing colors. All of us in the audience went what’s that? And he goes, this is led technology. What’s led technology? We never heard such a thing. So at the end of this little conference, I walk up to him and I said, David, you’ve got to tell me I need this. I gotta bring it to New York. Where do I get this vase? He goes, call me. He wouldn’t give me the information. He wouldn’t not share where he got the vase from. Why can’t we share the wealth? Why can’t I say this is a good idea. Use it. Maybe we could share this information. So in 2002 I started something called Michael Cerbelli’s 101 hot event and entertainment ideas in 90 minutes. And I sent 101 ideas in 90 minutes and the audience went bananas. It’s 2002 I got bombarded by my industry almost beat up. How can you share this information? How dare you, you’re giving away all our trade secrets. I said, what am I giving away? I’m sharing the information. We just did the 18th annual and now it’s called the hot list in San Diego this past January. And I’ve done four speaking engagements since January 10 an, we had over 3000 people in the room wanting to get this list that I have front of me and all it is, is the 36 ideas I spoke about and their contact information. And we do this big show. The room is packed. It’s just fun entertainment, band playing on stage. And then the next hour and a half is me rambling and bringing act sound and bringing product out. But it’s sharing information, and I don’t care anymore and none of us should care anymore that we’re telling these people out there who the act is.

There’s not a dollar to me for doing this. There’s no kickback for getting booked. All we tell them, we can do two live shows a year. You got to come out in January and you’ve got to come out in June. January is the special event show and June is MPI, world education congress. I hear from people, I got a phone call three, four years later because they keep the list in their office.

 

Tell us a couple of tips for aspiring planners.

 

Start attending conferences. I was going to class. I believe that you should be networking. I believe that you should becoming part of organizations, know about all aspects. Am I the best technical director there is? Absolutely not. Do I understand most of it? Okay. I understand it. Get out there and network. Go to classes. Don’t just go to an event, a conference partying. Start learning. Attend a conference where maybe it’s not your forte. And when you go to these things, don’t think that someone’s going to just call you and say, Oh, I want to start working with you. I’m working with people that I want to work with and they’re working with people that they want to work with. We’re not working together every single day.