One of the advantages to operating in both capacities has been learning to look at an event from two different but complementary angles. When an inevitable challenge arises, I now find myself considering potential solutions with an expanded base of knowledge. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see things from the opposite side of the fence, I strongly suggest shadowing a speaker or entertainer for some perspective.
Contacting other planners who’ve worked with speakers and entertainment you’re considering may seem like an unnecessary step, but it may save you some brutal troubleshooting.
True Story 1 - The music group that was hired to perform arrives on time and is given a tour of the venue. On the way to move their vehicle to the load-in area they called out “meet you ‘round back”…and this was the last time they were seen. As unbelievable as it seems, this nightmare actually happened. The lesson here is to know who you’re hiring.
How Many Cheerios are in Your Bowl?
Aren’t all meeting planners a little bit control freak? I know I am and it’s served me well…mostly. We do a great job because we know how to work with the venue, source the speakers and entertainment, draft killer agenda’s, and watch over every detail. But it’s equally important to recognize that those we hire have exceptional expertise and they want us to shine.
True Story 2 - A large cereal company hired a well respected music group to perform at two corporate events. The client took control…rearranging the song list, insisting on a walk through (and making changes) to the intro’s and banter, even critiquing the wardrobe. The show bombed. Shortly before the start of the second show the group chose to ignore the instructions and do the show they knew from experience would work. This time the show went perfectly and ended with two standing ovations. Of course the client took credit for the success but the group didn’t care. The most important thing was to do the best show for the client.
$100 for Louis Vuitton?
When considering entertainment for your event, are you focusing on price more than value? Watching the budget is important, but so is getting the most for your money. Don’t hesitate to explain your goals to the entertainers and ask for their suggestions. They can bring a lot of experience and creativity to your efforts.
Aside from a stellar performance, what else can your speaker or entertainment provide? Will they do publicity interviews or promote the event to their fan base? If it’s a private event, can they provide additional value by building key messages into their show, speaking in a breakout session, or providing products for attendee gifts or prizes?
Connect Your Dots
One of my favorite things to do is play connect the dots and over the years I’ve collected a lot of dots (clients, colleagues, vendors, journalists, consultants, etc.). All event producers know the advantage to having the right people on your speed dial. This combined with an ability to find new ways to make connections makes you an invaluable resource.
True Story 3 - In the past few years we’ve developed partnerships between Tonic Sol-fa and outstanding companies like Blue Bunny Ice Cream and Tastefully Simple that have allowed each of the brands to leverage performances, products, events and brand awareness to engage new customers and fans.
Michelle Massman functions as a key component in a dizzying array of entrepreneurial ventures. For over twenty years, Massman & Associates has guided, launched, directed and overhauled everything from small start up ventures to multi-million dollar private companies. Currently Michelle serves as CEO of both Massman & Associates and Women's Showcase Inc., Principal of MyVP, Inc., and Vice President of Tonic Sol-fa.