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How Green is Your Meeting? 20 Simple Ways to Make it Ecofriendly
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May 31, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

earthWith a growing world population, increased concern about global warming and landfill limitations, it is in the best interest of the meeting industry to limit all resources used at any event. One of the ways to get everyone on board and involved is to announce that from now on, all of your meetings and events will be "green". If you have already adapted green policies, great! But if you are looking for ways to improve the ecofriendliness of your event, here are 20 simple ideas that will make a difference.

RECYCLE

  1. Ask the venue to put recycling stations everywhere a trash container is located. Encourage attendees to recycle their plastic, glass and aluminum containers.
  2. Recycle plastic badge holders for future use. 
  3. Donate meeting banners to organizations that will recycle them into message bags, file folders, wallets or attendee goody bags. 

REDUCE

  1. Eliminate all paper by using interactive technology tool rentals such as iPads, computer kiosks, touch screens, and wireless Audience Response Systems.
  2. Drop print advertising.  Shift those dollars to a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign for your event. 
  3. Eliminate paper registration. Manage attendee registration process through online booking engines, such as Cvent, Eventbrite or Constant Contact. 
  4. Provide session video recordings online. If attendees want to review a speaker after the session, provide a URL link to YouTube. No jump drives or DVDs mean no shipping costs, no materials to be purchased and most importantly, no hassle. 
  5. Eliminate bottled water and replace with pitchers of water. 
  6. Obtain an accurate meeting count. This will allow you to have the right amount of food and beverage.  
  7. Turn off all the light switches when you leave the meeting rooms. 
  8. Understand all the transportation options attendees have to get to your meeting and promote those ways on your website.
  9. Utilize bus shuttle service to get attendees to and from the airport.
  10. If they must rent a car, let them know where to rent hybrid or electric cars.
  11. If your destination has a high walkability score, use that information in your marketing efforts.
  12. Encourage attendees to walk to local restaurants and attractions or share a cab.
  13. Go local for everything. Sourcing everything local from the food to renting audio visual equipment  saves money on transportation and shipping. 

REUSE

  1. Replaced paper and plastic serving items with glass, china, and cloth napkins. 
  2. Arrange for all leftover food and beverages to be transported to a local food kitchen.
  3. Replace one-time use posters and signage with digital signage rental units.
  4. Renting audio visual equipment provides you with all your meeting technology needs at a fraction of the cost it would be to purchase, maintain and store that equipment at your company site. 

AV Event Solutions, now part of SmartSource Rentals, is available to help you make your next meeting green! Give them a call today at 888.249.4903  to learn more about their total technology solutions.   

Pearls of Wisdom about Presentation Preparedness from TED’s Curator Chris Anderson
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May 29, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

presenter

Every speaker wants to accomplish three things by the end of their talk:

  1. Have great stage presence
  2. Be well liked and accepted by their audience and
  3. Obtain additional speaking gigs or be asked back to speak the following year

Chris Anderson, Curator of TED (Technology, Entertain and Design) stated in the latest edition of Harvard Business Review that most speakers miss the boat because they are uncomfortable giving presentations. His mission is to help inexperienced presenters to become polished speakers. Anderson said his tips can be used for any presentation — whether it be a CEO addressing stakeholders at an annual meeting, a brand manager organizing a product launching event, or a start-up pitching their idea to a venue capitalist. 

His suggestions may seem common sense in nature but it is always good to review what works and what doesn't when it comes to delivering an effective presentation. 

FRAME THE STORY

Anderson stated the audience wants to listen to the presenter's story and be taken on a journey, so it is extremely important to know where to start and end the presentation. With TED, each speaker is given 18 precious minutes to tell their story.

First, start by asking two basic questions about the audience members:

  1. What do they already know about your subject matter?
  2. How much do they care about it? 

Anderson stated once you know the answer to these two questions, the goal of any speaker's presentation is to: 

  • Introduce the topic, 
  • Explain why they care so deeply about it by presenting in-depth, vivid details and
  • Convince the audience they should do the same. 

BOTTOM LINE: Your speakers need to tell a deep-dive story they can effectively deliver in 18 minutes. 


PLAN THE DELIVERY

Anderson stated there are 3 ways to deliver a talk:

  1. Read it from a script or teleprompter
  2. Develop a set of bullet points and show it on PowerPoint presentation equipment or
  3. Memorize it.

He stated the most effective talks were memorized, but he also realizes not everyone has the time to rehearse and remember. So the next best option above is #2 as long as your speaker doesn't read the slides. 

BOTTOM LINE: Choose a presentation platform that can aid in the delivery of your speaker's story, not detract from it. 

 

DEVELOP STAGE PRESENCE

There are many ways to keep the audience focused on the speaker. Here are four ways he said that can help any presenter increase their presence:

  1. Keep their lower body motionless (many speakers move their body from side to side or shift their weight while on stage)
  2. Make eye contact as often as possible with different parts of the room
  3. Breathe deeply before going on stage to combat nervousness and
  4. Be authentic. 

BOTTOM LINE: Speakers need to find ways to continually connect with their audience. 

 

PLAN FOR EFFECTIVE MULTIMEDIA

Here are Anderson's presentation services audio visual equipment tips: 

  • Don't use a slide deck as a substitute for notes
  • Don't read the slides
  • Use photographs, graphics and illustrations
  • Explore alternatives to PowerPoint, such as Prezi
  • Automatically advance your slides after so many seconds or minutes so the speaker doesn't hurry through the ending slides
  • Use silence to your benefit
  • Videos are effective especially if they are 60 seconds or less in length
  • Don't self-promote

BOTTOM LINE: Use visually orientated slides that help resonate your message with your audience. 

 

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

For TED, speakers need to prepare their talk for delivery 6 months before the TED conference and practice it in front of others for constructive feedback and criticism.

BOTTOM LINE: Practice before friends, family and smaller organizations. Take their criticism seriously and tailor the presentation to be more effective. 

 

Are you event planning in California? Call AV Event Solutions for a complete quote on PowerPoint equipment including LCD projectors and screen rentals. 

Memorial Day Remembrance
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May 27, 2013 by Melissa Bailey

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

-Joseph Campbell

Flag at Memorial Wall

Thank you to the brave men and women, past and present. 

AV Event Solutions

Is Technology STILL Missing from Your Meetings? Look at the Seven Ways it can Help Your Meeting Grow
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May 24, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

messyTechnology — if used correctly — should provide positive impact to every area of your event from registration to feedback. It is meant to save time, resources and amplify content. Yet, many planners still are not using it because they don't want to change the status quo, are uncomfortable with technology or are unsure of what they need. 

Let's take a look at some of the old and new ways of running a typical meeting and the benefits the right technology can offer to you. 

OLD WAY: Gather testimonials from paper surveys about your meeting and post them on your website several days or weeks later. 

NEW WAY: Rent iPads for attendees — preloaded with social media — that allows attendees to amplify the content, speakers and post testimonials on a real time basis.

BENEFITS: Rather than waiting on your webmaster to post "old" data, attendees are providing fresh, conversational postings themselves which lend to more credibility for your event. 


OLD WAY: Print paper conference binders that attendees have to lug around —  in addition to their laptop and smartphone. 

NEW WAY: Utilize meeting apps that allow attendees to BYOD to the meeting or rent Tablet PCs that are light and easy for attendees to carry around at the conference. 

BENEFITS: Major savings on printing, assembling, shipping and storing binders. In addition, content can be updated and changed instantaneously. 


OLD WAY: Complete paper surveys and have staff members enter them into an Excel spreadsheet. 

NEW WAY: Secure Audience Response System rental units where attendees can answer questions instantly, anonymously and the data can be retained for further analysis. 

BENEFITS: Your staff is freed up to do other event related tasks, participation is greatly improved and it is very easy for attendees to complete the survey. 

 

OLD WAY: Gather leads by collecting business cards at your booth. 

NEW WAY: Rent a lead retrieval system that can capture accurate data about the attendee in a few seconds. 

BENEFIT: More qualified and accurate leads will be collected because you will know exactly what product information each attendee wants.  

 

OLD WAY: Rely on the venue's Wi-Fi system, even if it doesn't have enough bandwidth. 

NEW WAY: Understand the apps, uses and devices for your meeting and plan Wi-Fi use accordingly including the possibility of renting a network array

BENEFIT: Before the meeting starts, you will have a good handle on bandwidth needs and have the right solution implemented. 

 

OLD WAY: Let the presenter do all the talking and keep your sessions long. 

NEW WAY: Keep your sessions short and let the attendees drive the meeting through their questions and comments generated from their mobile devices. 

BENEFIT: Attendees are driving content direction thus making them feel it is their meeting, not yours. 

 

OLD WAY: The meeting will either be face-to-face or a webinar. 

NEW WAY: Hybrid meetings allow the best of both worlds. 

BENEFIT: Attendees who really want to be at the meeting, but cannot be due to workload or budgetary demands, can view and participate in the event on a real-time basis. 

 

AV Event Solutions has state-of-the art interactive technology tool rentals and a full grasp of how technology benefits meeting organizers, attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. They are ready and willing to help you deliver better, technology driven events. 

3 Little Words That Can Kill Your Meeting and What to do About Them
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May 22, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

words

I don't think most meeting planners equate their words as power statements — but they are.

Because you often are the "go-to" person for attendees, sponsors, venues and exhibitors, it is important that the following words be banned and replaced with more positive statements in order to keep your meetings thriving and growing. 

Here are the words, what they mean to the recipient and the replacement statements that can work in your favor.

  1. "Never."  When you use the word never, it means final and there is no hope for change. It is an "all-or-nothing" phrase and should be taken out of your vocabulary for two reasons: First, the landscape of meetings and events is changing rapidly. Second, you might change your mind. Instead say the following when approached with a proposal or opportunity: 

    "I will look into it and get back to you." This opens you up to new possibilities and shows you are open to listening, compromise and creating good will. The important thing in this process is to keep the communication going and let them know where you are in the process. Even if the answer is no, you did your best and opened the door for change. 
     

  2. "Always". Using this word, shows rigidity and righteousness. You are saying to your sponsors, partners or exhibitors that you are right, they are wrong and you really don't care if things have changed for them or their business.  A better option would be:

    "What would you like to change? How can I help?" This shows understanding and the ability to learn. If your primary sponsor always paid $10,000 for your meeting and this year they can only afford $8,000, try to find out what has changed and how you can work with them. Don't discount their loyalty to your organization or meeting, it might be they are just having a very difficult financial year. 
     

  3. "But." This word shows a lack of integrity and insincerity. You negate whatever was said before. For example, an attendee comes to you and complains that the meeting room is too cold. Your response is, "I'm sorry that you are uncomfortable BUT the temperature is not something I can control." This simple little word does not lend itself to building trust or credibility. This is much better: 

    "I'm sorry. I will do everything in my power to fix it." Then fix it and follow up. Don't blame others for the problem — attendees don't want to hear it. They want to know that you understand what is bothering them and you are doing everything in your power to make things better. Communicating with them via mobile devices is one way to keep them up-to-date. 

Take the time to think about the impact of your words before you speak them to meeting participants. Find words that are conducive to creating trust. In the end, attendees and partners alike want to be heard and appreciated. Are you doing everything in your power to create this type of environment? 

AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, has interactive technology tools rentals such as iPads, computer kiosks and wireless Audience Response Systems. Give them a call at 888.249.4903 to get your AV process started and be assured they do not have the three words above in their vocabulary! 

The Millennial Generation: Four Things You Should Know to Attract Them to Your Meeting
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May 20, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

youngThe Millennial Generation, or commonly referred to as "Gen Y" consists of individuals born between 1980 – 1995 (ages 18 to 33 years old). This is the group of individuals most business organizations are focused on because they will be running our corporations, government entities and meetings in a few years. 

PwC, in conjunction with the University of Southern California and London Business School, conducted a global generational study of 1,000 Millennials from 18 global territories. Because 66% of PwC's workforce consists of Millennials, it was important for them to find out if the stereotypes were accurate. 

Here are the four major takeaways from their research and how I believe this information relates to the meeting industry. 
 
Research Nugget #1: Many Millennial employees are unconvinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life.

Meeting Speak Translation: Millennial meeting planners are not going to stay up all night and travel on weekends to work a meeting. In the same light, this class of attendee is not going to want to travel on Sundays or take late night flights. They want balance and in the evening they want to participate in fun, exciting activities that do not revolve around work or the conference. 
 
Research Nugget #2: Millennials say that a strong cohesive, team-oriented culture at work and opportunities for interesting work—including assignments around the world—are important. 
 
Meeting Speak Translation: Millennial meeting managers are going to be more comfortable working as a team rather than completing assignments alone. They want and welcome global meeting opportunities and many of them are fluent in a second language. This is true of attendees as well. Creating content that swirls around group exercises and interaction is right up their alley. If the organizational budget allows it, international meetings are very attractive to them. 
 
Research Nugget #3: Millennial attitudes about work/life balance are significantly common in the United States, Canada and Western Europe — but not necessarily in other parts of the world. 
 
Meeting Speak Translation: In the other regions of the world, cultural and traditional values will take precedent over the Gen Y attitudes about work/life balance. From a global perspective, you cannot assume that one size fits all for planners or attendees. 
 
Research Nugget #4: The drivers of retention and their importance varies between Millennials and Non-Millennials.
 
Millennials expectation to be supported, appreciated and to be part of a cohesive team. Flexibility in where they work and how much they work is also a key driver in their workplace satisfaction. The non-Millennial generation places greater importance on pay and development opportunities.
 
Meeting Speak Translation: Gen Y planners work well in a supportive team environment where they are appreciated. These attendees learn in an environment where they can discuss matters as a group. Flexibility in the meeting space, time and length of the meeting are key. 
 
PwC recommends the following when recruiting and retaining Gen Y employees. You can do the same with regards to your meetings. 
  • Create a flexible work culture — Don't have every minute planned at the conference. Give attendees choices and plenty of opportunity to network. 
  • Fully leverage technology — This generation is particularly savvy with mobile technology and their apps. Rent iPads, touch screens and computer kiosks. Put Gen Ys in charge of helping other attendees feel comfortable with this technology. 
  • Build a sense of community — Online and off, communities can help keep the group connected before, during and after the meeting. 
  • Consider introducing or accelerating your global mobility program — This group of attendees can help grow and develop international meetings. 

AV Event Solutions is here to help you attract and retain Millennial attendees by offering state-of-the-art total technology solutions for your next meeting or event! 

 

Want to Keep Your Employees Happy? Throw Them an Appreciation Event!
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May 17, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

employees

As the summer heats up, an employee appreciation event is a great way to get everyone together in a social, casual setting. Whether you host a company picnic on your grounds or you have a networking reception at a local restaurant, getting employees together in a non-work setting, shows them your organization cares and is willing to go the extra mile. 

Appreciation events have been shown to improve employee loyalty, reduce attrition and create or maintain a positive work environment. Knowing the benefits of this type of event are great, but what do you need to know in order to pull one off? Below is a planning checklist of things to consider: 

What is the goal of the event? 

Other than getting everyone together in a social setting, what is the goal? Here are a few examples of appreciation goals:

  • Hold an event where all employees, their spouses and children are invited to attend so everyone can get to know each other on a more social basis. 
     
  • Host an exclusive meeting for the top 10% sales performers. 
     
  • Put together a fun team building session for all employees. 
     
  • Hold a 1/2 day business meeting with employees and the remaining 1/2 day go to an amusement park with employees and their families. 

When will you hold it?

Holding it during the business day may be best for employees and they can view it as a paid day off from work. However, during the evening or on the weekend will allow spouses and family members to attend. Again, look at the culture of the company and the goal of the event to determine the day of the week and the time of the event. 

The summer months are particularly popular because the business climate is usually more casual, the weather is warmer and children are off from school. 

Where will you hold the event? 

If budget is a particular concern for your organization, holding the event on site will be the most cost effective. However, employees will feel more appreciated if they are taken off-site, especially to somewhere new and exciting. 

Whether you hold the event onsite or off, consider the age, gender and interests of your employees. Try to find somewhere that will work for everyone and has multiple things for individuals to do. 

If there is going to be recognition involved, consider renting audio visual equipment that includes LCD projector and screen rental and sound and lighting rental so everyone can see and hear what is being said. . 

What will the employees do? 

The size, ages and interests of the group, whether children and/or spouses are invited, whether it is held onsite or off and the event goal, will dictate what the group will do. 

In the end, you want employees to feel special and appreciated. Taking the time to put together a well thought out appreciation event will keep employees talking days and weeks after it is over. This type of event is money well spent! 

AV Event Solutions will partner with you to develop and execute a custom tailored appreciation program for your staff. They have experienced professionals to brainstorm and create innovative programs that can be enhanced with interactive technology tool rentals. Fill out their express quote form to get the process started! 

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