Planning A Meeting? Assess Risks Now

From the:

Beauty logo smallMany issues in the event business are unique to our industry and, even more so, unique to each type of event we produce. Regardless of the size or nature, your event can be challenged by anything from security, safety, and financial and legal issues, to unforeseen disasters of the man-made or Mother Nature variety. To ensure your event’s success, you must manage all of these possibilities properly and nip any problem in the bud.

Not all risks are as obvious as foul weather, medical emergencies, delayed flights, terror threats or power failures. Sometimes unknown risks lay dormant and unseen — until they strike.

One of your best risk-management weapons is the ability to think quickly on your feet, always keeping the safety of guests and staff a top priority. After all, what will impact your attendees more, the pyrotechnic show starting five minutes late or that fire broke out because you were rushing?

When managing risks don’t try to do it all on your own; the more eyes the better. Teach your staff to observe their surroundings and to report anything that is a possible threat to the safety of any attendee or the event itself.

Finally, you and your staff should follow all regulations and practices in your best attempt to eliminate or lessen any associated risks.

From the:

Brain Logo smallIdentifying risk starts the moment you confirm you’re planning a meeting and must
remain top of mind until the final bill is paid. Here’s a checklist of things to consider:

  • What is the weather at your destination typically like on your program dates?
  • What is the airlift pattern? Can you avoid putting all your executives on one flight?
  • Are you confirming what competitive or incompatible groups are in-house on your dates?
  • What kind of attrition have you negotiated? Did you build in a resell clause?
  • Do you have a travel-advisory threat built into your force majeure so that if the threat level goes to a certain color you don’t have to host your program?
  • Have you confirmed with your banquet manager that all food will be clearly labeled no matter how basic? Food allergies can be deadly and many people don’t pay attention to what they’re eating.
  • Do you have event insurance?
  • Are you paying attention to Americans With Disabilities Act codes when doing you room sets?
  • Are your stage sets fire retardant or fireproof?
  • Do you have your speakers make multiple copies of their presentations and designate someone to carry all the backup files?
  • Are you taking time to go over all the important details with your audience/speaker/executives/talent? Assume nothing.
  • Are you scheduling daily meetings with your team to discuss the next day in detail so they can be ready for whatever is thrown at them?

Bottom line, it’s up to us to think of it all and be alert on-site. Risks are only a challenge if they get ahead of our preparedness.

If you’d like more suggestions on how to identify and prepare for risks, email me at:
*protected email*

And until next time, remember, smart is beautiful.

The Crew Eats, Too

A guide to the proper care and feeding of your production team
By CHRISTY LAMAGNA, CMP, CMM, CTSM, AND JAMES S. ROTA

Have you heard people say they’re a right-brain or left-brain thinker? Right-brainers tend to be creative and instinctual, left-brainers more analytical and logical. That’s how Beauty & the Brain was born. James Rota’s creativity meshes with Christy Lamagna’s strategic thinking to bring a well-rounded approach to events. These columns are designed to highlight both sides of the planning process.
From the:

Beauty logo smallRegardless of what you’re planning, it’s key to know your audience. Today we put a spotlight on the backbone of almost all productions: the production crew. These are the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs seamlessly from a production standpoint. Their hours are long, usually starting before the sun rises and finishing long after it sets. They often go unnoticed, but they should not be forgotten.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Have a food allergy list for your crew as well as your attendees.
  • Set up a beverage station with hot and cold beverages that are refreshed throughout the day.
  • Offer food selections that can be eaten hot or at room temperature. The crew may eat in shifts.
  • Offer healthy options that keep energy levels consistent.
  • Treat your crew as you would any valued attendee or staff member.

Properly feeding the crew creates solid morale, which translates into more motivation to work hard.
From the:

Brain Logo smallThe production team is in the spotlight if a projector fails, sound quality is poor or if any number of other technical snafus occur, so you want the best of the best at the helm.
Dedicated crews arrive earlier than most and are often last to leave. Installation and tear down requires physical and mental energy and, while the show is running, these folks are the nerve center of your operation.

It’s ironic that people who are critical to successful content delivery are often overlooked, if not ignored. Here are a few ways to correct that while improving your show quality:

  • Contract enough time for load-in and strike and avoid overnight load-ins. If something goes wrong during setup, there are few options for replacement equipment. Speakers likely won’t have time to rehearse and your program is at risk of starting late. Additionally, your cue-to-cue rehearsal may be cut, which means you have no dry run for your program.
  • Overnight load-ins have the crew up all day, loading in overnight and likely working the next morning.
  • Depriving the people responsible for key timing and execution of sleep is bad for everyone.
  • If you have a 15-minute break, the crew has about eight minutes to hit the bathrooms and return.
  • They rarely eat as they have neither the time nor the opportunity. Have catering bring food to the crew during breaks. It should be able to be eaten without a fork and only drinks with lids should be offered for equipment safety.
  • Strongly encourage speakers to submit slides at least 24 hours before the event. Put them in a PowerPoint deck in presentation order and put them on a jump drive. Include title slides and walk-in/walk-out slides or still stores. Hand the drive to the production team so they can load the presentations into show computers. Make time to sit with the graphics op to make sure there are no unseen glitches. If you want walk-in/walk-out, play-on/play-off music, let them know that as well as what type of music you prefer.
  • Provide the names and titles of speakers and a pronunciation guide for anyone who requires a VOG (voice of God) introduction to the stage.

Production teams work tirelessly to make your event run smoothly. Treat them with the kindness they deserve.

Want more tips on the proper care of your production partners? Email me at:
*protected email*.
Until next time, remember that smart is beautiful!

Meet Beauty and the Brain on November 14th in NYC

James and I have worked together for years. We laugh, teach and inspire each other and truly enjoy being together. As my professional plans and goals for the next ten years evolves, James is an integral part of all of them.

I know how lucky I am to have James as a part of my professional circle. The moment people meet him they like him. He’s funny, smart and just makes everyone around him happy. And although he’s the ‘Beauty’ part of this duo, there is no mistaking how smart he is and how good he is at his craft.

So why the build up? Because if you are fortunate enough to be able to attend PYM’s Event on November 14th at the Renaissance in New York City, you’ll get to meet James. He and I will be hosting an open conversation about whatever is on your mind as it relates to work. Have a problem you need help brainstorming? Need a creative solution for an event or a tip on budgeting or office politics? Come ready to explore, discuss and learn with us.

Here’s the link for more info. http://planyourmeetings.com/2012/09/26/new-york/#.UH2zOLQj6pM.

Four hours and $30 is a small investment. Your return will be tenfold.

Hope to see you there.

Want to start the converstion now? Email us at: moc.E1571175481MSelz1571175481zaD@s1571175481niarB1571175481dnayt1571175481uaeB1571175481.