Since TED talks first launched, the free to stream “Ideas worth spreading” platform now boasts over 2000 informative, inspiring talks on some of the biggest issues facing humanity today. A veritable smorgasbord of ideas, TED talks owe their popularity to the ease with which one can tap into the minds of some of the greatest thinkers of the 21st century.

We’ve listed our top five TED talks that address some of the biggest challenges event planners grapple with.

 

How to Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal

As we mentioned in our previous blog, event planners have one of the most stressful jobs in the modern workforce. But just because high stress levels are a given doesn’t mean that they have to be detrimental. In this short TED talk, Stanford University psychologist McGonigal argues that stress is only bad for you if you think it is. Her mission is to help professionals who work in highly-stressful environments to thrive by changing their mindset about stress, and as a result, changing the way their bodies respond to stressful stimuli. Find it here.

 

Why We Do What We Do by Tony Robbins

One of the world’s most recognised self-help gurus, Robbins’ popular talk (at last count, it had garnered over 3 million views), addresses the inherent driving forces behind passion and motivation. Robbins argues that once we better understand the core reasons behind why we do what we do, we can use this self-awareness to consistently improve both our professional and personal lives. Watch it here.

 

Connected, but alone? By Sherry Turkle

The director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, Turkle explores the impact of technology on human connection. As events become ever-more saturated with and reliant on technology, this is a timely and notable lecture to ponder. Turkle talks about the way in which technology has seemingly created inter-connectivity but how the reality is that we feel more alienated from our peers than ever before. A thought-provoking talk that reminds us why face-to-face communication and authentic connection are needed more than ever before. Find it here.

 

How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings by David Grady

Who hasn’t sat through a yawn-inducing meeting and silently bemoaned the fact that this was a mammoth waste of your time? Grady’s talk takes on the truth about our love-hate relationship with meetings, urging viewers to rethink the way we approach them. Grady argues that meetings can be productive, but only if all involved get clear about the desired outcome before hitting “accept”. Food for thought to help you get the most out of time in the boardroom. Watch it here.

 

Design for all five senses by Jinsop Lee

Industrial designer Lee explains his theory of “five sense design”, and argues that event planners need to move away from the one-dimensional emphasis on visual aesthetics. If we are to truly engage our guests and create an experience that builds a connection between the event and attendees, Lee advises that each of the five senses must be catered to. Lee’s talk is a refreshing flip on the tired script of creative execution. We advise that you gather your team around to watch his talk and brainstorm after watching. Find it here.

In the mood for some more event planning brain food? Download our ebook, “Event Technology 101: The Then and Now of Event Tech”.

 



We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, corporate event management is not for the faint of heart. What it is though, is a vocation that’s shrouded in misconception. If you’ve ever been taken for a wedding planner or fielded responses of “How glamorous” when asked what it is that you do for a living, this blog is for you.

 

 

Myth # 1: Corporate event management is a non-stop party

Contrary to outsider opinion, the job of a corporate event planner is up there with the most stressful jobs in the world. Super-tight deadlines, demanding clients and the balancing of big budgets can see even the most level-headed individuals cope with irregularly high stress levels. In fact, the job was ranked as the fifth most stressful occupation in 2016 by Career Cast, coming in just behind police officers and firefighters.

Event planners may orchestrate the world’s most glamorous affairs, but we very seldom get a chance to enjoy the fruit of our labour. While travelling around the country and audiences with VIPs are part of the job, we very rarely (if ever) have a moment to soak it all in.

Myth # 2: Corporate event planners are glorified wedding planners

Planning a wedding and orchestrating a corporate event are two very different tasks. While both require a degree of creativity and organisational skills, that’s where the similarities end. Corporate event planners are required to possess superior marketing and PR skills, financial acumen, an in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour and human resource management skills –  to name but a few. What’s more, we have to deal with super-short turnaround times and feedback from multiple stakeholders.

Myth # 3: Event planners like to spend money like there’s no tomorrow

We’re not too sure where this myth originated from, although we suspect Hollywood is to blame. The reality is that corporate event planners are masters at stretching budgets. In fact, we’re most often the ones reigning in extravagant spending. While we can’t grow money on trees, we can wrangle with vendors and orchestrate an event for far less than our clients could if they had to go it alone.

Myth # 4: Anyone can do it

At the risk of sounding obnoxious, very few people are born to work in the corporate event management industry. This vocation is the intersection of multiple skills. The job demands unlimited patience, a spirit of resilience, heaps of confidence, an analytical and razor-sharp analytical mind, convincing communication skills, an ability to multitask, persuasive negotiating skills and more. What’s more, event planners have to be able to think on their feet, act quickly and provide clients with a stellar end product – all without breaking a sweat or uttering a complaint.

We’d love to hear the most outlandish misconceptions about corporate event management you’ve ever heard – fill us in on Twitter or Facebook!

 


Corporate events, when done properly, can spark a conversation between your guests and your brand, kindle what’s hopefully a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship and ultimately, deliver ROI. Yet few manage to achieve this.

I’ve seen countless corporate events fail to elicit the desired response, despite spending eye-watering sums on world class events, yet when you look beyond the impressive keynote speak, bespoke menu, and breathtaking venue, attendees remain miles away from becoming brand advocates.

A recent experience I had with one of SA’s premier car brands illustrates this industry-wide issue:

This luxury motor vehicle company had spent millions on an exclusive event where hand-picked guests got to test drive their latest model. I was invited the day before the event in question, and (like most of their target market) need at least a month’s notice before an event if I’m to attend. This was a pity, as had they had some foresight, they could have gained a customer.

An associate who attended the event was also in the market for a new car, yet his experience also left much to be desired. The reason? After attending the event, test-driving their new model, and being impressed with what the brand had to offer, he hasn’t been contacted since. The unfortunate reality is that he was ready to buy, and had car brand X followed up with him, he very most likely would have.

Why go to all the trouble of organising an event of this calibre, only to let guests who were ripe for buying slip through their fingers?

Here’s where brands big and small are getting it wrong:

Failure to use data to its full potential
Had the team at the luxury car brand X done their research using the proper client engagement solution, they would have known that I already drive one of their cars and upgrade every few years. If they’d made use of this valuable information and sent out an email invitation targeted specifically to my history with the brand, I might be driving their newest model today. (And telling all of my colleagues and associates just how great an experience I had with brand X.) Alas, this isn’t the case.

Failure to get their event timeline right
As well as giving me only a day’s notice, (which is one of the most major event etiquette faux pas out there), this brand made the very costly mistake of not following up with their guests – the very guests they’d spent thousands on. Putting a stop to all marketing activities immediately after the event ended essentially rendered the entire operation futile. Had they put half of the effort into following up with attendees as they did into orchestrating the event itself, they’d have met their sales targets and realised event ROI. Failing to follow up with guests is the industry equivalent of spending hours slaving over a gourmet meal, serving it to your dinner guests, and then clearing their plates halfway through the meal and asking everyone to leave.

Failure to prioritise customer engagement before and after the event
As mentioned above, your event is far from over once the venue has been emptied. Your brand is competing with a deluge of other marketing messages on a daily basis, so if you want guests to keep your brand top of mind, you have to use an end-to-end guest engagement platform. It’s pivotal to actively demonstrate that your guests’ attendance is valued, and then – here’s the important bit – give them a reason to carry on interacting with your brand. Whether this is done via a post-event survey and thank you email, a personal follow-up call or the like, this is a crucial step that can make the difference between an event that falls flat, and an event that culminates in ROI.

A full-service Event Relationship Management (ERM™) tool exists, and the brands who’re using it successfully convert guests into customers, solidify their relationships with guests and strengthen their brand equity.

Our RSVP software is so much more than an invitation management system. It’s a full customer engagement solution that provides you with all the tools and data you need to form authentic relationships with your guests.


1. Always deliver on your promises.

There’s nothing more disappointing than waking up on Easter morning only to find that the Easter Bunny was frugal with his gifts. A lone Easter egg makes for a dismal discovery if you’ve been expecting a garden bursting with chocolate goodies.

The same can be said for your corporate events. After building expectation around a corporate event, make sure that the actual experience lives up to its promise. If you’ve promised a world-class, exclusive event but aren’t able to deliver this to your guests, you’ll end up with not only disappointed guests, but cast your brand in a negative light too.

2. Everyone wants to find unexpected gems of delight.

Part of the excitement of Easter morning is collecting a basket full of different Easter eggs, especially if they’ve been hidden in surprising places.

By incorporating a variety of touch points that surprise and delight guests, you’re able to facilitate an experience that doesn’t merely meet expectations, but exceeds them. Make sure that you’re constantly upping the bar so that by the time an event has ended, your guests are left with a long-lasting, positive impression and appreciation of your brand.

3. Give your guests what they want, not what you think they should want.

If the Easter Bunny hid lumps of coal, or plates of brussel sprouts, his popularity would have waned a long time ago. Because he knows that the way to a child’s heart is to gift them with rainbow-coloured, shiny gems of chocolate, that’s exactly what he gives them.

Don’t create an event that your guests don’t want to attend. Remember that the objective of running a corporate event is to create an enjoyable, memorable experience that will hopefully result in ROI and increased brand advocacy. Make sure that you’re giving your guests an experience that caters to their specific tastes.

4. An experience that engages all five senses is one that’s memorable.

If there’s one thing that the Easter Bunny knows about, it’s how to create an experience that engages all five senses. Exploring a dew-covered garden in the cool of the early morning, uncovering foil-wrapped sugary treats is an all-encompassing sensory experience.

Don’t rely on one aspect of your event to delight your guests. Instead, make use of aspects that incorporate sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. Sensory experiences are the most effective way of creating an emotive experience. By satisfying all five of these, you’ll leave you guests with a memorable impression that casts your brand in a favourable light.

5. Remember that your guests are individuals, with different interests and preferences.

The Easter Bunny knows to leave only marshmallow eggs at the house of a teething two year old, and lactose-free candy eggs for a lactose intolerant toddler at another. Everyone has different tastes and requirements, and the Easter Bunny knows what has one child squealing with delight, will have another bursting into tears. Your event needs to cater to the individual preferences of your guests.

The more you know about what they like, the easier it is to create an event that resonates. While we can’t give you access to the Easter Bunny’s telepathic tools, we can offer you another useful way of collecting and storing information, in the form of our event management software. You’ll be able to collect a wide array of information about your guests, and use this to gift them with events that they want to attend. Find out more about our event management software, here.

Image credit – Rant Chic


Before any event can come to fruition, you need to be able to present yourself and your company to clients in a persuasive, professional manner. This is easier said than done.

Pitching to a client is nerve wracking – regardless of your event planning experience. After all, the stakes are high when it comes to corporate events and it’s up to you to make sure that these are in your favour. It’s no secret that, to make it as a successful event planner, you need to be confident in your abilities and have the confidence to demonstrate this to potential clients. Before you break out the Rescue Remedy, read through our top seven tips for pitching to a client, without the nerves.

Do your homework

If you’re not familiar with your client then there’s little chance that you’ll be able to convince them of your expertise. Just as you would prepare for a job interview, do your research. Familiarise yourself with the client in question, and equip yourself with the necessary information. Not only does this make it that much easier to plan a presentation that’s in line with their company ethos and identity but being aware of what to expect goes a long way in instilling confidence in your own abilities.

First impressions last

Before you’ve even opened your mouth, you’re making an impression. Make sure it’s a professional one. No matter how talented or experienced you are, the way you present yourself plays a huge part in the client’s decision to hire you. An event planner who’s meticulously groomed and well-dressed is far more likely to get the job than one who’s sloppily put together.

Always stick to the brief

Clients compile a brief for a reason. No matter how creative or exciting your diversion from a brief may be, your client wants to know two things: if you’re able to do what’s required, and your plan for going about the task.

While thinking laterally is a must as an event planner, when presenting to clients make sure that your presentation is matched to the brief. As excited as you may be by a sudden brainwave you have while presenting, resist the temptation to veer off track, keeping your pitch short, sharp and to the point.

Use a ‘pyramid’ shaped pitch

The best pitches are composed of layers – a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each stage is just as important as the next, and when seamlessly weaved together they form a convincing case.

Think of the start of your pitch as laying the foundation of what’s to come – this is where you can talk about your credentials and experience in the industry. The middle part of the presentation forms the ‘meat and potatoes’ of a pitch. This is where you talk about the actual brief, and the ways in which you’d go about planning and managing the event in question.

Once you’ve demonstrated your proposed plans, it’s vital that you end off with a (brief) recap of your presentation. This plays the important role of reinforcing what you’ve just said, and helps the client to fully grasp your presentation.

Just as crucial to the layout of your pitch, is the language you use. By talking in terms of ‘we’, instead of ‘you’ and ‘I’, you’re placing your client as part of your team. Speaking as a cooperative goes a long way in solidifying your position as an event planner who views teamwork as a crucial part of the event process.

Cover your bases

Always arrive early – it’s far better to have to wait for the client than have them wait for you. This will ensure that you have adequate time to set up your presentation, familiarise yourself with the equipment and make sure that your projector or laptop is working. In addition, always have your presentation on a memory stick as a back-up. As prepared as you may be, technical glitches can and will happen.

Practice makes perfect

As we emphasised earlier, being prepared can make or break the pitch. Rehearse your presentation before hand – practice the pronunciation of your client’s name and prepare answers to any questions they might have to avoid being put on the spot. Clients can easily pick up on someone who’s trying to ‘wing it’ – the aim is to get to the point where you don’t even have to look at the screen. This also allows you to make eye contact with your clients, turning your presentation into an interactive, personal pitch instead of a stilted lecture.

Don’t hog the limelight

As in life, an event planner can’t be all things to all people. Instead, position yourself within a team of capable people. Not only does this make you look more credible to the client, it also enforces your ability to deliver. Your team may consist of a creative director, a technical expert, a health and safety officer, etc – depending on the event in question.

If you’d like to ensure that you’re able to offer clients the most professional service, find out about our RSVP and event planning software here.

Image Credit: Pinoria