Summer 2013 Issue of Midwest Meetings magazine...
A Handful of Helpers
by Beth Blair
Managing volunteers for sporting events.
Most sporting events rely heavily on volunteers’ generous donation of time and labor. Whether juggling a handful of helpers or hundreds of volunteers the truth is the situation can be tricky since volunteers aren’t technically employees. Volunteers cherish their time on the job, want to feel appreciated and know their efforts are helpful. Plus, many volunteers are frontrunners when it comes to donations for fundraisers and ambassadors for the event. That’s why the key to successful management of volunteers is three-fold: what is done before, during and after the event.
Planning non-traditional sporting events
Not all sporting events are played on the field and when it comes to planning non-traditional sporting events (i.e. darts, pool, archery tournaments, etc.), new considerations come into play. Financial needs and expectations are required to achieve success for both the groups and venues and finding things for the attendees to do during downtime is also important.
by Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP
How to incorporate celebrities into sporting events.
Let’s face it - having an athlete or celebrity at your event adds a touch of sizzle that can go a long way in making your function remembered. All ideas start out sounding fabulous, but there are plenty of things to consider when discussing the pros and cons of reaching out to the ‘sports gods’ or even Hollywood for some participation in your one-of-a-kind event. Here are just a few thoughts to ponder on this topic:
A glimpse at a full-service sports commission.
In the world of sporting events, the rules are much different than a traditional conference or event. Beginning with the unique factors of the initial bid details to the specific venue requirements, there is a variety of services that sporting groups require.
Both Sports Commissions and CVBs are key components to help make these events happen successfully in cities across the US. However, these organizations vary by city in terms of funding, services provided, overall abilities and staffing. These variations play a factor in determining what types of events can be accommodated. Each organization has its own specialties and niches to fulfill from state and regional to international sporting events.
by Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP
Six tips for good sportsmanship between planners and sports facilities.
First time at the ballpark? You’re not alone. Most planners, while meticulous at searching and selecting the perfect hotels for their meetings, have little or no experience in dealing with sports venues. And rest assured that there are as many types to choose from as there were hotels that received your last RFP; and just like those hotels, venues hosting sporting events come in all different shapes and sizes. So, if you’re new to this ‘playing field’ (excuse the pun - we just couldn’t resist), here’s a primer of tips to get you started:
Inspire, unite and energize through teambuilding
"Teambuilding is a broad spectrum, it can go from BBQ, bowling and beach Olympics, to a five day offsite event focusing on trust and accountability accompanied by a follow-up coaching session," says Todd Demorest of Odyssey Teams.
Midwest Meetings spoke to Demorest, as well as David Goldstein (TeamBonding™), Heidi Edinger (MileNorth™, A Chicago Hotel) and Thomas Hyslop (Lake Lawn Resort). They shared with us some of their insights on teambuilding including: why meeting/event planners might choose teambuilding, challenges encountered and popular teambuilding activities.
by Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP
When and when not to use it.
They say there’s a time and place for everything, and as meeting planners, we need to know when to say “YES-let’s do it!” or “no-not this time” to the question that will inevitably come up at some point in our careers regarding the need (or not) to include a teambuilding activity at this year’s annual conference.
by Beth Blair
Teambuilding through volunteerism.
Teambuilding activities can help break up an event while also delighting meeting attendees. This time, why not put a new spin on groupbonding events by including a help-others angle? Volunteerism has been around for ages, as has the pay it forward mentality. When volunteerism is used as a teambuilding opportunity attendees will walk away with a deeper sense of community, appreciation for their own lives and the inspiration to keep on giving.
By Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP
What’s that, you say, you didn’t even know that temporary planners existed? Welcome to the new order of meetings management. This may be news to some of our readers, but there is a whole world of temporary, or to use the more common language, contract meeting planners ‘out there’ just ready and waiting for that next phone call to help some soon-to-be-named client with the pre-planning or onsite management of their upcoming conferences or events.
Learning to Love Technology
by Jay Ward
Embracing audiovisual technology for meetings and events.
Audiovisual (AV) technology can be a source of frustration and anxiety for many meeting and event professionals. Most understand that a certain amount of AV is necessary for their events, but many consider the technology a burden. I would suggest that implementing AV in the right way is not a burden, but something that should be embraced as one of the most critical elements of the event and possibly the simplest way to elevate the attendee experience.
Confront the Sponsorship Challenge
by Rachael Alford
Successfully execute an event sponsorship campaign.
Meeting and event planners are tasked with planning, designing and executing stellar events. But as development budgets get squeezed, planners are often being asked to spearhead the event fundraising efforts as well. Attaining sponsorships for events can be a challenging undertaking for anyone but it is particularly intimidating if you are an inexperienced fundraiser expected to raise funds that are vital to the financial health of the event.
by Beth Blair
Budgeting your meeting.
Meetings come in all sizes and, as we all know, so do budgets. Regardless of how many people will be attending your next meeting there’s always room to save a few bucks. We turned to some experts who have experience cutting costs and offer advice for staying under budget without skimping on the details.
Open Source Rocks
by Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP
Web development tools and apps to reduce the cost of meetings.
Open source is a computer software code that is open to the public for use and modification. This collaboratively-developed software tends to drive down costs dramatically as the base code is free. Software developers don’t have to start from scratch and instead can use these building blocks to create new applications in a much shorter time.
How Smart Are You?
by Rita McClain
Just the tip of the iceberg.
As I excitedly sat down to read my first article published in Midwest Meetings I realized that I had just touched the tip of the iceberg of knowledge and skills that meeting planners apply to every meeting. This iceberg includes knowledge of food and beverage, contracts, negotiating, concept and design, finances, coordinating suppliers, objectives, government regulations, economic changes, logistics, and meeting the needs of the organization and the attendees. Did I forget anything? Is your head spinning yet?
The View from 30,000 Feet
by Shawna Suckow, CMP
Meeting planners change lives.
I’ve spent a lot of time up in the air lately with our distant industry cousins, the flight attendants. I’ve had plenty of free time to be inside my head (if United offers Wi-Fi on board any of my flights, they’re doing a great job of hiding it from me). On one particularly long haul, I reflected on a parallel between flight attendants and meeting planners: lack of credibility. For those of you old enough to remember, flight attendants used to be called stewardesses, ‘sexy stews,’ ‘flying waitresses’ and probably worse.
How Did You Get Here?
Meet Brandi Davis, Education Director for WALA
Brandi Davis’ initial career path was becoming a registered nurse, but after realizing her passion and talents were a perfect fit for the meetings industry, Davis found a successful and rewarding career with the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association (WALA) in Madison, where she has been since 2009
A Day in the Life of Monica Wesley, Seminar & Event Consultant
Monica Wesley works as a Seminar & Event Consultant with the client acquisition group at Ameriprise Financial. As the Seminar & Event Consultant, she provides comprehensive calendar planning, event planning and invitation design services to financial advisors so they can stay focused on growing their practice. Like most corporate event planners, she wears many different hats throughout the day and there really is no typical day.
Make Your Meeting POP
Fresh new event dècor ideas.
In the world of meetings, creativity is a crucial factor for meeting professionals who are constantly under pressure to come up with fresh new ideas for their events. When it comes to décor, it can be challenging to surprise attendees and ensure a memorable experience. Fortunately, there are seasoned décor specialists who can help. Some of the staff with Event Lab, LLC based in Minneapolis, MN shared some ideas that will hopefully inspire you for your next event.
A Passion for Food
As a native of Minneapolis, MN, Steven P. Schuster attended Central Nebraska Technical College’s Culinary Arts Program and returned to his hometown. In 1989 he began working with Kelber Catering Inc. and has been their Executive Chef/Culinary Director at the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) for the past 24 years. To keep current, he has also been an active member of the American Culinary Federation Minneapolis Chef’s Chapter since 1993.