events

Patrick Lencioni: Changing how we do “Business” during crisis. COVID-19 special

In this earth shattering episode, best selling author, speaker and world class leader, Patrick Lencioni teaches us that this is not business as usual, but a completely different world. With COVID-19 in the midst of all of us, this global pandemic is reshaping how business is done, and how we treat each other. The worlds leaders are in the spotlight during crisis and its time to shine.

It’s a time for us to look at how we are leading and how we can grow for the future.

One of the things I like to say is that people are going to emerge from this and this will pass. It’s so difficult and we pray for the people who are affected physically. Organizations are going to emerge from this either stronger, because of the way they dealt with this, or weaker. It really is about figuring out how to use this time to improve ourselves. Sometimes we can do this with our customers, sometimes we need to do it internally. There are going to be some people who are going to try to survive and there are others that are going to thrive through this, grow and improve. You can improve during times like this. Find whatever ways you can do to get better. Work on the health of your organization.

A lot of what you talk about is organizational health. Help us to understand what organizational health is.

The health of the organization, we like to explain it as, there’s the smarts of an organization, the health of the organization is how functional it is. Does it avoid and mitigate politics, disfunction, do they lose people because it’s toxic? Are they productive and is moral high? None of this is touchy feely, it’s very tangible and real. We are convinced it is the greatest competitive advantage. The world today, people are pretty smart. None of the organizations I go to, do I find are too dumb to be successful. Are they able to tap into that intelligence by creating a culture, and environment where it’s used, or do they waste their time. It’s why Southwest Airlines has always been better, not because they know more, they created a culture that is their biggest competitive advantage.

There are assessments for health. It’s a qualitative process but can be informed by quantitative items. Here are 4 things a healthy organization does well.
1. Make the leadership team behaviorally cohesive.
2. You have to create clarity.
3. Over communicate
4. Put in place just enough structure.

The most important system is meetings, it holds everything together. There are different kinds of meetings for different purposes.

1. Daily/Regular checkin 10 or 15 meeting (what are you working on, how are you doing?)
2. Happy Hour socialize
3. Disciplined tactical meeting – Let’s go through our goals (60-90 min) twice a week during this time
4. Hangout meeting – you might have a strategic topic and just talk about it (60-90 min)

3 + 4 are very important right now.

The rally cry, explain that.

In the midst of a crisis you need to create a new clarity. People in organizations when things are uncertain they want their leaders to create for them and with them a new sense of temporary clarity for this time. We talk about this thing called the Rallying Cry. Its that one thing that rallies everybody. What’s the one thing that will be different when we emerge from this time?

There’s so many different leadership styles. How should a leader navigate informing a team without causing panic or swinging back and forth?

We are seeing the best in a lot of people. If leaders do the right thing: being vulnerable, human, persistent, and creative: we are pulling out the best in people.

This is a critical time, tell me more about that.

People are going to remember what we do during this time for years. People are going to remember that for years. During the pre crisis time, what you said in a meeting and did it was important but it gets lost in the wash. How we handle this, people will look back ten years from now and remember. It will be a badge of honor and a source of good pride and a good memory, or it’s going to be bad.

How do we stay optimistic?

Isolation makes people fearful. When we isolate it’s hard to be optimistic. Be around other positive people, reach out to them, let them reach out to you. For me personally, I am a follower of Jesus, I know theres a reason for everything. I cannot be afraid, my faith says that.

Pet Peeve: A speaker with a boring talk or a serious conference and nightclub music
Super Power: Stopping the 2 on 1 defense in basketball

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Embrace Change & Change Your Life Ft. Ryan Estis

Is change really possible? Or are we the way we are permanently? Ryan Estis shares with us how to actually change your life! Listen as an expert shares practical ways to enact change!

Tell us your story.

I started my professional career in advertising and communications on the sale side. I worked my way up through that business. The company was acquired, and the last job I had there was chief sales and strategy officer. In that role, I started doing a little speaking. I looked forward to it, those days became my favorite days. I learned about the training and education industry. In 2009 in the height of the recession I decided to make my move. When the world was falling apart I quit and there I was trying to figure out the next chapter of my life. Probably not the best time to do it, but in hindsight looking back, I call it the single best professional decision I’ve ever made.

Tell me about the passion to share messaging and using your platform to change lives.

Some of that was probably innate. Both my parents were school teachers. I have always been passionate about my own education, personal and professional development and growth. The sales background, presenting came natural. I got to a point where I realized, I lost my passion for what I was doing. I would lay awake at night and think, “Is this what I am going to do with the sweet spot of my professional career?” I would get anxiety about that, I knew there was something else and I wanted to take a shot. This is the time and if it does’t work out, I’ll be able to go back and reinvent myself in that world. I wanted to experiment and see if I can turn this into something. It’s evolved but that was how it began.

Now you’re speaking all over the world. How did you come up with your process and what do you teach on?

The curriculum is focused on 2 core things: leading an organization into the future, the other side is we talk about sales growth. My background is in sales. I am a student of selling. I was a pretty good sales person that’s how I worked my way up. I am pretty evenly split between sales and leadership conferences.

Change, you’re either a part of it or you’re against it. Share with us some of your philosophies on how you navigate change.

Some of it’s a mindset. Change is the new normal, it’s not going to stop. I tell people, at the individual level you want to have a foot in two worlds.
The drive to execute and preform.
Maintaining the discipline to continue to invest time in re educating yourself.

That balance you have to invest time in getting better each and everyday.

How do you take initiative everyday to make effective change?

What gets scheduled gets done. If you want to make effective change you need to block time for it. The things the best professionals in the world do, if you’re a meeting planner embrace that type of process.

The five hour rule:
Schedule five hours a week for self improvement. It’ll become a habit.

Is true change possible?

It is possible, there are great examples of people that have made instrumental changes in their lives. They have quit smoking, they are sober. There’s documented evidence that people have changed. You can grow and evolve or expand the best part of who you are. That to me is the idea. It’s easy in life to get overwhelmed or in a rut. Change is useful if people are in an elevated emotion.

How do you make sure you’re not numbing?

Being honest with yourself helps. If you have a container you can document, keep a journal, that’s so important. You can hold yourself accountable. Find a group of people to hold you accountable.

Tell us about a mastermind, that you mentioned before we started recording.

I understand the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Go on the internet and find people, they are out there. I promise you. They are there and they are hungry just like you. Part of this realization and awakening for me… My life looked good on the outside but on the inside I was falling apart. I ended up navigating that journey and ended up at a personal growth retreat.

If someone wants effective change, how do they make it happen?

Decide what you want, and decide what you don’t want. Take the time to think through that and have the discipline to write it down. You get to decide who you want to be and the things you think about. Then put tactics in place. Take it a level deeper if you want it to work and why. How are you going to feel in the future state? Who else is going to benefit if this change is realized? And the consequences of not changing? That’s powerful. What if nothing changes. Progress is success. A lot of reasons people quit, change is hard.

https://ryanestis.com/innovation/blow-up-what-isnt-working/

A lot of people deal with a negative cycle. What is something someone can do if they are falling in the negative cycle?

It’s part of the process. Setbacks are, it’s how you respond to the setback that’s critical. The setback is the setup for the comeback and the break through. Anticipate the fact you’re going to have a setback. Elevate your self awareness. Know yourself then confront yourself.

Super power: Hardwork

Cause: The Inner City Ducks innercityducks.org


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Crazy How Things Have Changed in Two Weeks

He’s back! This week we share an episode recorded two weeks ago when things were starting to move in the events industry.  Micheal Cerbelli shares his take on the current virus as well as the last time the industry was hit. 

What have you been up to since you were last with us on our podcast?


It’s been an incredible year. I’ve had 155,000 miles of travel in 2019. We’re seeing some challenges with the Coronavirus affecting events, but other than that, I’m very excited to announce that we are officially signing with a brand new collaborative building in the event industry in New York City. The fourth floor will be myself and a great company called Elegant Affairs Caterers.


Who is your Demographic/Audience?

We’re looking at it as a spot to help promote all our businesses with our clients. What we wanted to do was create a space that anybody and everybody in the event industry could come to. We wanted to bring a space together so that our clients could be there, have their meeting, a get together with their clients, and be around creative people all under one roof and share their ideas with each other. From there, the client knows that there is a closer relationship there instead of jumping on a phone call for twenty minutes. We want to have collaborative experiences.


How long has this been in the works? Tell us what the journey has been like.


I’d been looking for a new space because our lease was almost up in NYC. About a year ago I said, “Let’s start planning.”  We live in a beautiful area of New York City; it’s called Hudson Yards. It’s the newest hotspot in NYC; it’s booming. I think 40 office buildings have been built in this area throughout the past five years. There were four firehouses back from the 1800s that put out their own fires before the fire department was around, and there are two of these firehouses left. We have one now, and the other one is owned by Anderson Cooper as his home. It’s fantastic, I have a fire pole in my office, I’m so excited! It’s going to be officially called “24030.” That’s our address, 240 30th St. Manhattan. We don’t want to have one name on the banner outside; it’s a collaborative building, so why does it have to be one company? It’s all of us.


How are you dealing with the Coronavirus and how it affects you in the event industry?


It’s there. If you look at the news today, Facebook and Microsoft cancelled events that they had coming up. I had a name talent, and I’ve worked with this guy four times. His camp had started to question about two weeks earlier, and when we came to them and said “it’s official, we’re postponing it, we’re going to pick a new date,” they understood. “You got it, safety first. Let’s work out these dates and see what we can do.” We’re flexible, we’ve got it, everybody is working together as a team on this one event that I’m seeing, and I’m seeing that in other areas too. I think people are starting to understand that in the world we live in, stuff happens. You know what I actually want to say, but “stuff” happens, and that’s what we all understand. My client is actually having more pullback from the actual attendees; they’re more upset than us in the event industry, so I think it will affect events. If everybody can work together, and those clients can work with us to help manage some of the losses(maybe airplane fees, paying someone for their time because they lost it). We work together as a team, and I think that’ll be great for all of us.


Has this sort of situation been something you’ve seen previously in your career?


Yeah, I can definitely 100% go back to the financial crash of 2008 when people were cancelling like crazy. I had a client cancel, and there was no reason for them to cancel, but they didn’t want to be perceived as a company spending money during that time. This was going to be my first event ever in Dubai. Huge spend, monster spend, and they just cancelled the whole program. Back then, there was a panic. “We all lost, what are we going to do? How are we going to recoup?” I think now we understand this. We don’t want you to hurt. We don’t want to hurt. How can we all work together? That’s the difference I see immediately from everybody. In 2008, people panicked. I think that’s why it hurt harder. I think we’ll know in about a month from now if it’s going to affect us hard. Macro, not micro; let’s look at the big picture right now. Let’s keep calm and cool heads.


What’s been going on with you aside from everything else?


A corporate client let us create a magical circus theme; it was called Under the Big Top. I’ve done this event for seventeen straight years, and every year has a different theme, and this one really stood out. There were people flying through the air, tightrope walkers, we used their colors instead of the red and white stripes. It had a very “NYC Circus” theme to it, from the video invitation to leaving there with a bag of popcorn and Crackerjacks for the kids. It was probably one of my favorite events of last year. This summer was an incredible 50th birthday party at one of the most beautiful homes that you could imagine. We took them through a musical journey through 50 years of music festivals. It went from Woodstock in the 60’s, the 80’s and 90’s Lollapalooza, today’s Coachella, and to a big concert onstage in their backyard.


What advice do you have for people who are brand new to events?


I could be sitting for hours and nothing’s coming to me, and I’ll wake up at 3:00 in the morning and I’ve got to write it down. That’s how my head works, but although it’s in my head, I can’t do it without a team. I’m very lucky, and there may be newbies that don’t have a team. Take what you see, look around you, think about these moments. It doesn’t always have to be black and white. How can you change it? How can you come together as a team? I may be a producer, but I don’t own anything. Reach out to your vendors too, maybe they have something creative. Partner with the right people. My whole thing is collaboration. When you’re going to work with someone, does it all have to be you? If you take advice from your creative partners, that’s what leads to a great event. So many people are like, “It’s my event, I own it, this is what I want to do.” Ok, that’s great, that’s good for you, that’s not good for me. I love my team, I love my partners, I love their ideas. We all like working together because we feel we’re part of one.


What are your pet peeves?


My biggest pet peeve is the person that doesn’t plan properly; the people that panic onsite. When someone says “I’ve thrown a party before,” that’s great, but have you thrown an event where you have to know how people get on the loading dock? If you think about every step along the way, how everybody has to come together to manage this one event, that’s the strength on an event planner. The person that doesn’t know that is the person running around panicking at an event. Don’t tell me you’re an event planner if you’re not an event planner. It comes with years of experience, learning, getting dirty, working 40 hours in one day to get everything done for what you need. Notes, contracts, insurance. If you don’t have that, you’re the one panicking. I can point them out at any event.


Any last thoughts for our audience?


In two weeks from today, it’s the official 19th anniversary of Michael Cerbelli’s “The Hotlist!” If any listeners want, please reach out to me, I promise I’ll try to get them seats for the show. It’s going to be an amazing show this year.

Reach me at michael@cerbellicreative.com and visit our website, cerbellicreative.com

How to Standout in the Events Industry

Tell us about you. 

Growing up, my dad was a business owner, so I always kind of pictured myself owning a business or something that way. I started my first business out of my college dorm room in 2003. I had a bad t-shirt order and my roommate, Ryan looked at me, “Hey, we should start a business so nobody else has to go through what you just went through.” I was naive enough as a 19 year old, I was like, “how would we do it?” He goes over to our dorm room door, shuts it, and he pitches me the idea and I’m like, I’m in. That summer we worked hard. Thew next fall we started business, from there, by the time I sold that we had done about 500,000 pieces of apparel. 

It opened so many doors. What I liked about running an online custom apparel business was, I built it from the dorm room where people had no idea that I was in 19 or 20 year old kid. They thought I was like a 40 or 50 year old man. What I liked about it was I practiced my skill of customer service or customer care in a way that, I built it so I would never have to meet my customers. I learned the soft skills of phone and email just as it was getting going in 2003, 2004, or 2005. I fit a ton of experience into those few years in college and then just grew. 

I love Co-Ed Monkey, still buy shirts now. They have great customer service. 

I’ll step back quick and say in 2008, when the economy tanked, every business really struggled. I stepped back and I went into debt. It was bad, and I looked at my business and I hated life. I was a probably 20, $30,000 in debt and had no idea how I was going to pay it back. And I looked at the business and I hated it. I hated waking up in the morning. I hated answering emails. I hated every single thing about my business. I remember I sat at Starbucks, I kinda hit this low point and I call it my Starbucks experience. 

In business you’re always told like dream about, you know where you’re going to be someday. I pictured a corner office and all these things and what we would be building. And I realized that amidst all the busy-ness of business in the dreaming, the one thing I forgot to dream about was my customers and what they should expect out of my business. I thought about how much money I would make, everything and I forgot about the customer. So I call it my Starbucks experience because back then the internet at Starbucks was very bad. So I couldn’t answer my email, I couldn’t do anything. And I sat there with a white piece of paper and I just go, if I could build a company for my customer, what should they expect? That changed everything. I started dreaming and before I knew it then that changed everything about my business. I looked at it, there’s either customer service or there’s customer care. Services is reactive, cares is proactive. Once you find the thing that you do different. Once you find thing though, you’re one, two, maybe three things different than your competition. You double down, double down, double down. 

How do you stand out? How do you make your events stand out? How do you make your business stand out? 

Let’s break it right down to the event thing. I think today’s events, it’s not about putting on events, it’s about curating pieces that people will talk about. I think it’s about somebody that comes to your event. They go to how many events, how many galas, and they see how many MCs and MC is an MC. They’re all funny. The stage is now in the middle or it’s up front. You know like you can only do so many different things, but I think there are the little touches that make people go, how did they think of that? Like when the speaker says, I want you all at your table, I want you to stand up and shuffle around. Now I don’t want you to just to sit at your table anymore. And actually forces networking. It creates touch points, elbow rubbing moments where now you’re forced to meet people you didn’t come with. 

It’s like the flowers. You know how many events, especially if you’re talking about weddings, it’s like “who did those flowers? Who did that?” I think as an event planner, I would want people going “who did that?”. I’d want so many “who did that” moments coming out of my event because that’s what makes people go, I want to go back to their event. It’s not just coming up with something new, but it’s more thought and it makes that needle and thread through your brand and every event feel like it’s the same thing. 

It makes me start thinking about how do you create the standout moments in all of the elements of a show? 

A great thing that is totally under utilized the events space, cause I get to speak at a lot of events, and one thing I started offering to any place I speak at I say, “Hey, I love it coming into your event to do the keynote for you.” I go in there just like every other speaker. I do the speech for 45 or 50 minutes. And now what I like to say is, “Hey, I love the idea though of your people going back to their people and talking about what I talked about. So for you, I want to offer a webinar. You plan it, it’s going to be an hour long. They can invite anybody they want on it. We’re going to talk about what we talked about that day. And the event’s going to keep going.” Everybody gets pumped about that. 25% of them actually do it. These people already move on to the next thing and then they wonder why their event struggles later. 

It’s because they’re not doing the little things that separate them from every other brand. 

So the question is how do you set yourself apart from being lazy? I think one of the big things you talk about that I really enjoy and maybe you could go deeper on this is how do you make your yourself stand out as an individual? 

I think it’s holding yourself to a standard and going, when people hear my name, what do they think about me? Maybe it’s not all what you want, but I think we can strive for that. My team at CloseSimple, that’s my real estate software, we basically created like a pizza tracker for the home closing process. Before this there was nothing. What’s been really fun is we’re instilling culture now in our people and we’re having them read the Gary Keller book, the guy who founded Keller Williams One Thing. Now my entire team has their one thing. Each person has a different one, which is different than in traction, the rocks that they might be doing. This is my one thing for my job, not for company, but for my job that’s going to push the company forward. 

It’s clarifying what your one thing is. If you can only accomplish one thing this week that’s going to actually create momentum for you to do other things, what is that? If I’m going to do an event, what’s the one thing I can do leaving this event? Outside of the typical stuff, there should be a checklist. If I’m going to be exceptional and something that people actually want to be a part of, what’s something additional. 

What other books do you love? 

I think a great book, just one of the best books of all time. If you’re looking for that next idea, how do you stand out? Made to stick. It’s why do some ideas stick and some don’t. It’s unbelievable. Chip and Dan Heath, brilliant guys. If you want to get the book awesome. I love the book, but this is one of the rare audio books that you listen to and are like, it’s better audio than reading. 

Super power: I am amazing if I’m at a conference or business, looking what people wear, sizing them up exactly and knowing like where to shift the conversation based on like what they’re wearing. Often it’s going to start with what they’re wearing, it creates the conversation. 

Cause: Venture 

bill@billsvoboda.com 

closesimple.com 

Insta: Charlesevaneide

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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.