Blog

02 Jun 2014

Why Breaks Can Make Your Meetings a Success or Failure

Posted By Lea Cerdido

While meeting planners often concentrate on helping put together a top-notch agenda, many times a meeting's success can hinge on the downtime -- the breaks.

It is not unusual to encounter clients who want to pack an agenda as much as possible, and that is understandable. After all, whether it is an internal meeting, training, conference or trade show, bringing people together can be a significant investment that you want to maximize.

However, the best value will only come if participants are able to bring their maximum energy and focus into the time they have together. As the phrase implies, "drinking from the firehose" will result in a lot of lost resource. Studies show that after 90 minutes focused on one task, the average human needs to take a breather. Some argue that number should be lower as we are constantly multitasking.

Meeting participants should have the opportunity to have both mental and physical shifts throughout the course of the day. Mental shifts could be alternating between passive keynote type presentations and interactive workshops. Physical shifts include moving people around and having their environment change. We recommend sessions to last no more than 50 minutes, with 5 to 10 minutes of a recharging activity and another 5-10 minutes to re-engage in work activity (call the office, etc). Knowing that they have this available will allow them to focus more on the sessions themselves.

Of course we cannot forget nutrition. People need fuel to keep going both mentally and physically. Though some may desperately need sugar to keep them going, make sure that healthy options are available, those tend to flatten out the metabolic highs and lows. 

Breaks can literally make or break your meeting. If you or your organization need help in successfully managing your next meeting, contact us at Cor-Events for a free initial consultation. 

   Lea Cerdido is a Certified Meeting Professional with more than 20 years of experience in corporate meeting services and negotiating hotel and vendor contracts nationwide. You can contact her at lea@cor-events.com.

11 Feb 2013

Three Ways Technology is Changing Corporate Meetings

Posted By Lea Cerdido

If you have been around corporate event planning long enough, you will remember the days of overhead projectors, voluminous training manuals, and other images of the pre-digital age. More common nowadays are event-based hashtags for following meeting commentaries on Twitter and iPads being used to take notes and multi task while listening to presentations.

But technology keeps evolving, and changing the way we conduct -- and plan -- corporate meetings. Here are the top three ways I see technology is changing corporate meetings:

Rise of the App. Mobile Apps for Conferences will begin to take center stage. Say goodbye to the welcome packet and hello to the digital agenda which attendees will interact with throughout their meeting. This is already proving to be a great method for organizers -- and sponsors -- to engage meeting attendees.

Cost Reduction. If planning and execution is all automated, that means it can all be trackable and measurable. As certain processes and even functions can be compressed, so can costs. 

Data Collection. Like some modern-day theme parks that track guests through smart cards and other devices, meeting organizers will be able to track which seminars attendees went to, what exhibitor booths they visited, which presenter created the most buzz on Twitter, and any other type of data you can possibly imagine. 

Though most of these might sound a bit like Big Brother is watching, if implemented correctly, they should result in a better attendee experience and efficient and more cost-effective event for organizers and sponsors. What do you think?

Need help with integrating technology into your next event? Contact Cor Events today.

Lea Cerdido is a Certified Meeting Professional with more than 20 years of experience in corporate meeting services and negotiating hotel and vendor contracts nationwide. You can contact her at lea@cor-events.com.

12 Jan 2013

Tips on How to Plan a Sales Kickoff Meeting

Posted By Lea Cerdido

In the corporate world, the new year usually brings with it the annual sales kickoff meeting where the company's sales team gathers to plan, train and get jazzed up for hitting the road and selling product. Often, these meetings can set the tone for the year, so companies take them very seriously. 

So when it comes to meeting planning, how can you make sure your event will be a success? Here are some of my insider tips on how to plan a sales kickoff meeting:

  • Collaborate with others.  I keep reminding planners they shouldn't try to tackle the entire agenda by themselves. Getting input and help from others, as well as approval from all stakeholders is critical.
  • Start with a bang. First impressions still count, and sales people want to get inspired right from the beginning. Music, a funny or fast-paced video, or an edgy surprise is the right way to get their hearts pumping.
  • Meat and potatoes need to taste good. By this, I mean that your keynote address, which is usually given by the leader of the organization, has to be very good. Once the music and flashing lights go down, the audience will want to hear very relevant information that matters to them and allows them to understand the future vision. Be very careful with trying any smoke and mirrors during this part, they will sniff it out and credibility will be lost.
  • Tell them three things they don't already know. Your team needs to come out of there feeling smarter than when they arrived.
  • Reward them. These men and women have demanding jobs. Don't ignore the fact they will need to feel pampered and that they will require an environment to unwind. And yes, that means (among other things) open bar with premium drinks. It could also mean an exclusive experience like a suite at a baseball or basketball game, a gourmet cooking class, or a spa treatment. This is not the time to penny-pinch, a small investment now could go a very long way in the future.
  • Award them. Without a doubt you need to recognize your top performers. Do it on the most luxurious night or setting of the meeting.
  • Pacing, pacing ... pacing. As I often remind my clients, humans are not robots. We laugh, we cry, we get pumped up, we get tired ... make sure you space out your meeting's high points and less demanding moments so that all participants can keep up.

These are some of my favorite insider tips on how to plan a sales kickoff meeting. If you are interested in more information, Contact Cor Events for additional insights on meeting planning

Lea Cerdido is a Certified Meeting Professional with more than 20 years of experience in corporate meeting services and negotiating hotel and vendor contracts nationwide. You can contact her at lea@cor-events.com.

23 Sep 2012

Top 5 Meeting Agenda Pitfalls to Avoid

Posted By Lea Cerdido

When planning the meeting agenda for your corporate event you want it to be as efficient as possible. Corporate meetings are an excellent way to bring everyone together in order to inform, discuss ideas, review progress and express concerns, but since you have a limited amount of time you want to be certain that your meeting agenda flows smoothly to provide for a productive meeting. 

At Cor-Events we have more than two decades of corporate events planning and corporate meeting planning and we specialize in assisting businesses streamline the processes of hosting events and meetings, making it as time-efficient and cost-efficient as possible. Over the years we’ve assisted in planning hundreds of meetings and we’ve come to know the top five things to avoid when planning a meeting agenda:

    Not setting definite goals and objectives for the meeting or event. We all know that time is money, and that applies to your attendees. When you have everyone’s attention, even if it’s for a limited time, you want to make the most efficient use of that time. Be certain that your meeting agenda clearly states the goals and objectives of the meeting or sessions  in order to guide the event in the most productive way possible.

    Not paying particular attention to pacing. When things happen, in what order and at what time of the day can make a huge difference. You should not schedule your least dynamic topic right after lunch for example. For longer events, always schedule an adequate amount of breaks so attendees can re-energize.

    Not doing your research ahead of time. If your boss or your manager asks you to create a meeting agenda, you’ll need to be certain you understand all of the topics  or areas that need to be discussed during the meeting. Don’t just assume by the title of the meeting or event that it’s the only item to be discussed.

    Not consulting with other stakeholders. If certain items on your agenda require input from a co-worker, speaker, sponsor or other stakeholder who may be more familiar with the issue, consult that person on how and when to best present the issue in the agenda.

    Not having a plan to keep the meeting on track. Presenters can run long, discussions are bound to get off topic and you don’t want too much time to be wasted. Be prepared to address off-topic discussions by politely asking that everyone stay on topic and follow the agenda.

    Distributing the agenda the day of the meeting. Sure, having the agenda on the day of the meeting is a must have, but that should never be the first time attendees are seeing it. Everyone participating should receive the meeting agenda at least one day ahead of time so they can read and understand the objectives and formulate any questions they might have. 

We hope these tips are helpful in planning your next meeting agenda. To learn more about the professional event planning services we provide at Cor-Events, contact us today!

Lea Cerdido is a Certified Meeting Professional with more than 20 years of experience in corporate meeting services and negotiating hotel and vendor contracts nationwide. You can contact her at lea@cor-events.com.