Tag Archives: #EventProfs

The Year of the Rooster!

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Photo by: Bobo Boom, Flickr.com

I know it might sound goofy to some people, but I find personal and professional inspiration in horoscopes. They tend to bring words of wisdom into your life at just the right time. Every year I celebrate the Chinese New Year in my own way by reading horoscopes and studying the attributes of the Chinese Zodiac signs to see how they might influence my life for that year. Since I’ve started this practice, the horoscopes have given me great insight and hope for the new year.

On January 28, 2017, we welcomed the Chinese New Year. This ancient system is thought be over 5000 years old. It is based upon a twelve-year lunar cycle. This year is the year of the Fire Rooster and most people are thrilled to see the 2016 year of the Monkey come to an end.

The best way to describe the Monkey Year is mischievous. People born in the year of the monkey are prone to be witty, intelligent, clever, curious, and practical jokers. The year of the Monkey is often challenging and prone to havoc and disorganization. I don’t think that anyone would argue that 2016 didn’t see its fair share of challenges. It was an all-around crazy year with many upsets and surprises.

Last year was a crazy year for so many people. The stories my friends in the event planning business have been telling me are hilarious, and sometimes down right insane. It was also a Leap Year, so it just seemed like an off-year for most. I know I had an off-year, but I ended up kicking-butt at the end by changing jobs and focusing more on the things that make me happy.

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Photo: pixabay.com

So, out with the old year, and in with the new as we welcome the Rooster Year. I have high hopes for the year of the Rooster. I think it will be a good year for event planners and public relations professionals all around. The Rooster Year will create a climate where people will enjoy unexpected successes and hard work will begin to pay off. Make sure to crow about your accomplishments like a Rooster, good news leads to more good news.

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Photo: pixabay.com

The traits of the Rooster Year are tremendously attractive. People born in the Rooster Year are very healthy people. They are usually polite, social, fun, popular with crowds, and enjoy the company of others. They also like to share good news and accomplishments, which makes this a great year for public relations professionals to share good news about their clients. The Rooster Year should also be a fantastic year for event planners because everyone will be feeling the social vibe of the Rooster. This should lead to a lot of successful special events.

I’m predicting that we will all start progressing and that the year will be full of positive events and good news. We will have to work hard, another trait of the Rooster, but we will reap the rewards. We are just dealing with the hangover from the Monkey year right now, and things will start flowing in a positive direction as we head into Spring.

It is time to go out and charge full steam ahead. Just embrace the Rooster traits of commitment, hard work, good manners, be social, and have some fun. It will be a great year!

Click here to discover what the year of the Rooster has in store for you!


Saying Goodbye to NuggLife

Resigning is never easy. And resigning from a job you love is heartbreaking.

After four-and-a-half years and five event seasons, I decided it was time to try something new and to leave behind my beloved NuggLife. I had reached a new level of burnout after Rib Cook-Off and I was constantly dealing with illness. I was working six to seven days a week and a lot of overtime hours. It was supposed to be my slow season, but when your company sells, life changes. In the last four-and-a-half years I’ve been through two back-to-back company sales, which is extremely challenging. There were so many signs, and I knew it was time to move on and find a job that would offer me a better life balance and normal working hours. So, with a heavy heart and just a smudge of anxiety, I decided it was time to try something new.

I hadn’t started seriously looking when my mother sent me the job listing for the Assistant Vice President of Community Relations at One Nevada Credit Union. I was honestly trying to resign and be unemployed over the holiday season, but this job listing was exactly what I was going to be looking for. It was a perfect opportunity! I applied and after several interviews, I received a great offer. I started working at One Nevada on December 5, 2016.

My new job duties at One Nevada include developing public relations programs, marketing, sponsorship development, and event planning to engage with members and build community awareness about One Nevada Credit Union.

Before leaving the Nugget, I gave four weeks’ notice. My last day was December 3, which was the night we held the inaugural Nugget Christmas Tree Lighting event and kicked off the 12 Nuggets of Christmas charity event. I gave the company a lot of notice because I wanted to make sure this event went well. I am a huge fan of the Nugget. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I received while working there, so I didn’t want to let them down and leave them right before a big event. I worked with a fantastic team and I will always be grateful to them for their support and friendship. It was hard to say goodbye to my coworkers that I absolutely loved and adored. We had so many great memories together!

My Last Week at the Nugget and the Last Supper

My last week of work was crazy. You would never even know I was leaving. I was taking care of business as normal and making sure that we were ready for the tree lighting and the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.  Even though we were busy, my team found time to have a going away lunch for me, Tim and Adam, who were also leaving at the end of the week. The Marketing Department tradition is that we walk down to Great Basin Brewery together for lunch and we take a group photo. This isn’t just any group photo, it is the Last Supper picture. The people leaving have plates held behind their heads just like halos. We all make a funny pose. I was so bummed to be leaving my coworkers, but I was glad we were able to celebrate together one last time. Below is the picture from our Last Supper of NuggLife.
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My Last Day Working at the Nugget

Like any good workaholic, I made sure to put in a whole day for my last day. I started at 9:00 a.m. and I didn’t finish that night until nearly 11:00 p.m.

It was an exciting day because it was event day. I love event day! The excitement, the butterflies, the burst of weird event energy, it is always a good time. I started the day off by going through all the event details. I was responsible for the tree lighting ceremony and also for making sure the 12 Nuggets of Christmas was planned. Everything looked to be in order. The checks were printed for the charities, and everyone knew when and where they were supposed to be each night of the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.

The tree was magnificent! It was a towering 105 foot tall White Fir from Klamath Falls, Oregon. The tree was a gift from the Marnell Family and the Nugget to the community of Sparks. After a whole week of a sign company using cranes to decorate the tree, we were ready for the lighting. The ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. It started with Reno High School students singing Christmas carols. Mrs. Clause and Engine 39, the 39 North Downtown community train, delivered almost 300 unwrapped toys for local children in need. Then our general manager gave a welcome message, presented Toys for Tots with a $2,000 check, and we had the crowd countdown to light the tree. When the crowd gave the sign, my coworker’s two sons hit the big switch for show, and our Elf Greg hit the power box for real, and with a big pop the tree lit up. It was gorgeous!

The event went well, but if I was planning it again, I would add a big stage and have the general manager and an MC host the event. I would also add a DJ spinning high energy Christmas tunes and a few portable heaters. It was freezing out there!
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After the ceremony and a lot of photos were taken, it was time to have a celebratory drink and then head back to my office to pack up. After I was gone, my coworkers told me that was the cleanest that office had ever been, even in the decade before I worked there.

I’m officially a recovering workaholic. It is a bit odd to go from working so much and in such an intense environment to working a normal schedule in a calm work place. I love my new job, but it is definitely different. I’m adjusting, but sometimes I miss my old coworkers and the high energy felt working in a casino. I’ve been going through files and old pictures trying to get organized and get my life back together at home. I’ve been finding a lot of souvenirs that bring back memories of NuggLife.

In my new role at One Nevada, I will continue to blog about event management, public relations, marketing, customer service, sponsorship relations, and community relations. I will also tell a few stories and share some memories of my crazy days at the Nugget. Now I can tell the really good stories! Stay tuned!


The 5am Challenge

Welcome to Special Events Season…don’t be Grumpy Cat!

Today is Memorial Day, so that means tomorrow is officially the first day of my busy season at work. I feel like I am busier this year than I ever have been. I realize I need to make some changes to adapt to all the additional work and responsibilities.

To do this, I’ve decided to take the 5:00 am challenge where I wake up at 5:00 am every work day until special event season is over. I’m not really a morning person. I know this challenge may sound ridiculous to some people because being a morning person might come easy to them. It doesn’t come easy for me. I am a night owl. Mornings have always been a challenge. I don’t drink coffee, never have. I struggle to wake up. I am a cross between grumpy cat and a dragon depending on what time I wake up, so this is going to be a big challenge for me.

I was inspired to start waking up extra early because I recently read a blog by a guy that started waking up at 4:30 am every day. He was amazed by the improvements and benefits of waking up early. He really sold me on the idea of becoming a morning person. It sounded so wonderful, all of it except waking up at 4:30 am.

Several studies have shown that waking up early has many benefits. I hope to experience all of these benefits until September 6, when Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is over.  Some of the benefits from waking up early include being more proactive, better at anticipating problems, better at planning ahead and better at getting more exercise.

To do this challenge I will need to go to bed earlier. I will also need to find a way to listen to my alarm and not negotiate my way into more sweet dreams. I’m really good at negotiating with myself when it comes to more sleep. I’m going to have to work on my willpower to make sure I get up and get going every morning at 5:00 am. They say habits are developed in about 30 days so hopefully by the end of June it will all be smooth sailing.

Tomorrow is the first day of living the 5:00 am challenge. I’m looking forward to more quiet time in the morning, less stress, a nice commute, and seeing the sunrise. Now let’s just hope I can tame the dragon, be a little less grumpy cat, and become a real morning person.

Are you a morning person? Please post tips and advice you have to help me with this challenge. How can I become a morning person like you? Comment below.


Six Tips to Inspire Customer Created Content

Incorporating customers in your event marketing is a great way to add creative content to your event marketing plan. When a customer snaps a picture at your event and shares it on social media it gives your special event credibility and social proof, which is essentially the customer’s stamp of approval.  Like earned media, this is incredibly valuable. Customers can influence leads and future interactions, so embrace the content they create. This is especially important for attracting millennial customers since they value social proof more than most generations.

Human nature makes us social beings. Naturally people like being recognized, it is a powerful motivator. You can use this as motivation to encourage customers to create content to promote your special event. Why would they create content to help you? Because people are inherently good and want to be helpful, but you need to make it easy for them.  Customers are a great resource! Embrace the pictures and video they share on social media and try to incorporate the material into your marketing strategy.

Tips to Inspire Customer Created Content:

  1. Invite fans to create content. Ask them to take and post photos on social media accounts using a specific hashtag. Then you can search that hashtag and find customer created content to reshare on your social media channels. Make sure to thank the customer and give shout outs for their content. Ask fans of your special event to contribute pictures and images to your event social media platforms.

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    Photo Credit: Instagram

  2. Share the best of the best. Share what makes customers proud. Look for entertaining, educational, fun, enlighten and engaging content posted by your fans. Share anything that you think will make your other fans laugh or smile.

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    Photo Credit: Twitter

  3. Tag them! Post customer content and then tag the customer with a thank you message. Encourage customers to tag themselves. Share content from influencers and make sure to show appreciation for their work. There are a few local photographers that have taken photos at the events I produce, I try to make sure to reshare their content and give them shout-outs for their work. They do a fabulous job capturing special moments at the event that should be shared.

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    Photo Credit: Facebook

  4. Produce contests that allow customers to pick their favorite posts from other customers. Offer prizes and keep the positive energy for your event flowing year-round. Encourage fans to enter contests by sharing their favorite features of the event and then see what kind of amazing content they come up with.
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  5. Offer fun onsite photo opportunities. Whether it is a photo booth or something people just can’t help take their picture in front of, try to find fun onsite photo opportunities. A few years ago we added a new welcome sign to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. I thought it was a great welcome sign, but I was shocked by how many people took their picture in front of it and posted it on social media.

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    Photo Credit: Instagram

  6. Share real time live content. If you have the manpower during your special event monitor social media and hashtags that relate to your event for customer content. Share customer content and engage customers in real time. It adds a fun element to special events, especially any event where there is a guest speaker.
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Photo Credit: Twitter

It is easy to include fans in content creation marketing if you make it a priority. The benefits of customer created content are enormous. Use customer content to engage with fans and listen to what excites them about your special event. Practice these tips to prove to fans that their opinions count and to embrace customer created content to promote your special event.

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Secret of Life…

In my humble opinion, being an event planner can drive you a little crazy sometimes. The long hours and pressure can take its toll and change your attitude. So can all the praise and misdirected appreciation when an event is a huge success.

Over the years I’ve seen ego and self-interest ruin several high caliber event executive directors. When they become bigger than the purpose they serve it is usually fatal to their careers. I understand what it is like, sometimes it is hard not to let it all go to your head. The good event planners that are capable of enjoying a long steady career in the special event industry don’t let it go to their head. They show appreciation for their team and know the importance of staying humble and kind.

You know in the movie City Slickers where Curly asks Mitch if he knows what the secret of life is?  That one thing. This is that one thing! Thank you Tim McGraw for so eloquently capturing the secret to life. If you live life this way being an event planner won’t drive you crazy.

 

Remember that scene…

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Photo Credit: Quotesgram.com

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [points index finger skyward] This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles and points his finger at Mitch] That’s what you have to find out.

 

If you believe that being humble and kind is the secret of life and enjoyed this blog post please use the handy buttons below to share with your friends and family. Hope everyone has a blessed Sunday!


The Business Cycle for Event Producers

Business Cycle - MadAboutEventsBlog.comThe business cycle is one of my boss’s favorite discussion topics. If you want to be successful in business or be a successful event producer you need to know about the business cycle. You better pay close attention to your performance and financial statements so you know your business cycle stage.

Business cycles are often described as periods of expansion and recession in the course of business. The cycle happens over and over. There are three main stages to the business cycle. The stages are growth, stability and decline.  It is important to have good accounting so you know what stage your business is in at all times. If your business slips into decline and you see the trend in your numbers it is important to find a way to grow, or you may just go out of business.

The business cycle also applies to special events. Many long term events stay in the stability stage for a long period of time. Events are able to maintain the stability stage a lot longer than most businesses. I’m in that situation with one of the events I produce. The event saw rapid growth but then over the last three years the numbers have been very stable. They are great numbers, but we aren’t seeing much growth. I don’t want to see the event get in to the declining stage, so we are trying to add more value and new experiences for event attendees.

Another event I plan, Nugget Star Spangled Sparks, is in the decline stage. This year is the 17th annual event. The event saw nice growth the first ten years. Then the event became stable. Sponsorships weren’t growing, revenue from food and beverage wasn’t growing, it was all stable but no real growth. This was pretty good considering it was the great recession. Then over the last six years revenue has slipped and the event has been hit with rising expenses. Even though the economy has improved, the event’s financial statement has not. This has pushed the event into the decline stage. The event has lost a few sponsors and seen event production expenses rise. Now we are faced with the reality the event is in the decline stage.

The decline stage doesn’t have to last long. This is the time to come up with new ideas and adapt to the business climate. That is why we are adding more daytime activities to Star Spangled Sparks. For example, this year the event will have a Patriotic Bike Parade for kids of all ages. Right now we are looking for the perfect sponsor for the bike parade. Maybe I’ll call Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys “R” Us tomorrow to see if he is interested.

Star Spangled Sparks will also feature craft vendors for the first time. We are trying to find additional sponsors and accepting donations through a GoFundMe campaign. With any luck all of these efforts will bring the event back to the growth stage and we can continue to expand the event for future generations.

The business cycle is important to consider when you produce special events. Especially because analyzing the business cycled doesn’t leave room for denial. As long as you keep good records and accurate accounting you should be able to tell what stage your event is in the business cycle. Don’t ignore the cycle and you will be able to live through the decline stage and find new growth opportunities.

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Are Leap Years Unlucky for Special Event Producers?

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Meme courtesy of imgflip.com

I couldn’t help asking myself this question today as I read about Leap Year traditions and folklore from around the world. I usually think of leap years as exciting and unusual. I even joke it is great to have an extra day in February every four years to get my life together.

Over 2,000 years ago Julius Caesar first introduced the Leap Year. Since then there have been many traditions and folklore built up around leap years. Most of the traditions are based in Europe and involve marriage. In Greece it is considered especially unlucky to marry on a leap day, and marrying during a leap year in general is risky. If you are a special event planner that produces weddings, you might want to consider this today. Scotland folklore considers it unlucky to be born on a leap day. Russians associate the year with freak weather and higher risk of dying.

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Oxford University Press Translation

In Italy, leap years are thought to be gloomy years. The saying is “anno bisesto, anno funesto” which roughly translates to “leap year, gloomy year.” Lately, I’ve been feeling very Italian. This year has already been a bit of a rough year for me. I started off the New Year sick with that horrible respiratory bug that was going around. In late January someone tried to break into my house in the middle of the night while I was home alone, it was probably the scariest thing that ever happened to me.  At work, all the events I produce have big changes on the horizon and I already want to cry about parking problems. Then to top it all off, about two weeks ago the company I work for announced it sold. I think the sale is great for the company. I just see a lot of turmoil in my near future because the transaction occurs during event season, which is already crazy. It is only February… hopefully March and the rest of 2016 my luck turns around.

On the positive side, not everyone in the world has a negative superstition about Leap Year.  The Irish have a lovely tradition where women propose marriage to men.  Thanks to Amy Adams and the movie Leap Year, everyone that didn’t know before, is now aware of this fun old Irish legend. The story goes that back in the day St. Brigid made a deal with St. Patrick that every four years women were allowed to propose to men. This went against traditional roles in the culture, but similar to the idea of Leap Day making the calendar balance, this role reversal balanced the roles in many Irish relationships.

I’m going to embrace my Irish side and consider this a year of balance, not doom and gloom.  I’m going to focus more on balance in my personal life and professional life for the rest of the year and not let any of these superstitions make it a gloomy year. Instead of being afraid and superstitious, I’m going to embrace this leap year!

Want to know more about Leap Years? Check out these sites that inspired this blog post:

  1. Leap Day Customs & Traditions
  2. 9 Leap Year traditions – and superstitions – from around the world
  3. Leap Year 2016: Why does February have 29 days every four years?

Do you believe in Leap Year superstitions?  What do you think? Let us know in the comments.


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