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Keynote Speaker Selection

Let’s be honest — we’ve all attended events where the keynote speaker was disappointing, predictable, and to be frank, downright boring. An engaging speaker at your next conference can make all the difference! When you select someone to speak to your audience, you place your audience’s trust in you onto that speaker, and you don’t want to let them down.

Do They Tell A Story?

In today’s world of Instagram celebrities and big-name bloggers, everyone feels like they’re a storyteller, but that’s not always the case. Make sure you’ve chosen an experienced speaker who knows how to read a room! They should be engaging, charismatic, and flexible. Most importantly, they need to appeal to your audience, and they should know how to connect with them — from beginning to end.

Do They Add Unique Value?

While you may have found a great speaker — or even a speaker that you know personally — you have to ask yourself: do they bring something to this event that your attendees can’t find anywhere else? What about their knowledge or experience makes them unique? Why should your audience care to sacrifice their time and listen? If there aren’t easy answers to these questions, it might be time to resume your search.

Are They Authentic?

The best speakers have real-life examples of success and failure, and they know how to share those stories in authentic, genuine ways that speak to their audience. Evaluate their credibility. Is your speaker of choice determined to stand behind a podium and preach at the audience? Do they refuse to walk into the crowd and meet guests? Are they more concerned with their appearance than delivering superior content? And quite possibly most importantly: are they equipped to prove their expertise during a Q&A session? Every speaker can appear qualified with a well-practiced presentation, but it’s the unexpected Q&A questions that separate the good from the great.

Can They Draw A Crowd?

While you shouldn’t choose a speaker based on their celebrity title, it’s important to consider if your speaker is willing to help you attract attendees. Are they going to market alongside you? Will they tell their loyal followers to come and check out your event? Think about if they will be able to get other influencers involved.

Are They Going to Stick Around?

When a speaker sticks around to talk to the audience, they humanize themselves. Their keynote presentation may thrill attendees and shake the ground, but the best opportunity to connect and make a difference is during one-on-one conversations. Ask potential speakers if they are willing to stick around after their presentation.

As you dive into Orlando event planning for your next conference, don’t choose your keynote speaker without checking this list! Take the necessary time to review their qualifications. And if you need help with your event’s catering, audio equipment, or more, make sure to contact us at Fun Planners.

Need-to-Know Catering Terms

You’re not a chef, and you know that — it’s why you’ve hired a caterer to handle the food at your next event. However, because you’re not a chef, there are some catering terms that you might not understand, which could inhibit your ability to properly coordinate food and beverage. Take a minute to get to know the lingo!

A la Minute: Rather than ordering food that’s pre-assembled or pre-cooked, this food is prepared to order. It will come out fresh rather than stored in hot boxes! Some hotels offer this option for smaller VIP groups.

Dueling Menus: This is just a fancy way of saying that you’re serving multiple entrees. It’s a mixed-entree option! Rather than serving one 8 oz. steak, your guests could have 4 oz. of steak and 4 oz. of fish (AKA, surf and turf.) If your theme requires a more “exotic” menu, a dueling menu is a great option to introduce your guests to an item they’re unfamiliar with, or maybe would like to swap.

Dry Hire: If you rent a venue that offers nothing outside of the space itself, that would be called a “dry hire.” Make sure that your caterer can provide waiters for the evening; the venue will not have any labor available.

Ganging Menus: When two or more groups in-house receive the same menu, this is referred to as “ganging menus.” This can be great news because it means that chefs get quantity discounts when purchasing larger amounts of specific items, and there’s less labor required to have everyone preparing the same menu. Since the kitchen will be saving money, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to save money as well! Feel free to ask the venue’s caterer if they’ll already be serving a menu that you can serve as well.

Intermezzo: Meaning “between movements,” this is a palate cleanser that’s served just before the main course. Some popular palate cleansers include bread, sorbet, apple slices, or a sparkling wine like Prosecco.

Market Price: More often than not, you’ll see this listed next to seasonal items, such as strawberries or raspberries, or on imported items, like caviar. Indicated by supply and demand, this price will likely fluctuate, as opposed to AQ or “as quoted” prices.

Snake Service: Also referred to as “Ballet Service,” this serving style is as beautifully coordinated as a ballet. Waiters line up with plated food then walk together — like a snake — to the table, circling it, and laying the food down in front of guests simultaneously. Everything is in sync.

Silencer: This is a sneaky, brilliant way to prevent annoying clatter from dishes, cups, and flatware; a simple padding under the tablecloth will muffle extraneous noise.

Whisper Call: Rather than yelling “Ladies and gentleman! Take your seats,” at your guests, the Maître De will indicate that dinner is beginning by walking amongst guests and asking them to relocate to their seat.

If you’re looking for catering services for your next event, make sure you give us a call at 407-955-4949! And if you’re interested in more Orlando event planning tips on choosing a venue or a caterer — or if you just enjoy event planning personality quizzes — then keep an eye on our blog.

Don’t Have a Boo-ring Halloween Event

It’s tempting to celebrate Halloween at work by just putting out a bowl of candy. But why do that when you can plan an exciting and spooky Florida corporate event that gets your employees in the holiday mood? Get inspired by the ideas below!

Pumpkin Carving Party

Ask each guest to bring their own pumpkin, and tell them that you’ll be providing all of the pumpkin cutting tools. While it’s tempting to break out larger steak knives, your best options are the little knives that come in pumpkin carving kits. You can also offer some more unusual carving options, such as keyhole saws, hole cutters, power drills, melon ballers, chisels, awls, and cookie cutters.

When it’s time to set up, make sure you purchase several carving kits, lay down newspaper for guests to carve on, and have printed design templates. Set out bowls to place “pumpkin guts” and seeds into, and offer hand sanitizer to wipe off gooey hands. It’s also smart to provide markers and pencils for your artsy guests to sketch out their designs before carving. Plan to host this party outdoors for easy cleanup, and don’t forget to serve warm cups of cider!

Murder Mystery Dinner

Don’t worry, you don’t have to come up with the murder mystery — that’s why you buy a kit! After researching and finding the story that’s perfect for your business, send out invitations that include costume suggestions, character descriptions, and character backgrounds. This is a great choice for a company who enjoys being theatrical, or whose employees are especially comfortable with one another. The key to a great murder mystery is great actors! Encourage your guests to get dramatic, dress outrageously, and interact with each other throughout the evening. It’s crucial that each one of your guests RSVPs; all characters must be played, and it will be a challenging dinner if the murderer is a no-show.

Ghost Tours

Do some research, and find out what ghost tours are available near you! Tours are available in a variety of themes and price points. If you have employees who are squeamish about participating in a ghost tour, encourage them by explaining that the tours are not just a thrilling way to spend the Halloween season, but they’re also an excellent way to learn about your town! You get to tour buildings you may have otherwise never stepped foot in, and you’ll learn things that won’t come up in a history book. It’s an exciting way to discover your city!

Fun Planners can help you plan the perfect Florida corporate event this Halloween. To find out how, give us a call at 407-955-4949.

Get to the Subject

For months, you’ve completely thrown yourself into planning an elaborate, time-consuming event. You’ve spent hours negotiating prices, invested days into researching the perfect catering company, and got put on hold more times than you care to count. Now that you’ve put so much time into planning your Florida corporate event, make sure that your email marketing campaign is up to snuff. Get inspired with some of our favorite email campaigns!

charity: water: Progress Emails

Most of the time, we donate to charities without a real knowledge of where exactly our money goes, and we’re never given specifics. However, once someone donates to a charity: water project, they’re put on a list where they receive automated emails about the journey their money has taken, how it’s being used, and the impact it’s made. They’re given a progress update, a project timeline, and updated pictures. This is great to keep in mind, particularly when you’re working with a nonprofit! If attendees made donations at the event, consider keeping them up-to-date on where their money goes.

Cook Smarts: Easy CTA

Cook Smarts makes the CTA of each email easy to find! In the upper right-hand corner, subscribers can always find a “Forward to a Friend” button. As you publicize your event, make it easy for potential guests to tell their friends about it!

HireVue: Unsubscribe, It’s Okay — Seriously

It’s smart to purge your subscription list of people who don’t open your emails — low open rates can affect email deliverability. Take a look at how HireVue opened the door for subscribers to go away.

“You haven’t been opening our emails in the last few months, and the last thing we want is to come across clingy. If you still want to stay connected, then just press ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ below, and we promise we won’t let you. Otherwise, we’ll take you off our business list in three days. No hard feelings.”

This is simple, humorous, and guilt-free messaging! If you have a list of subscribers interested in future events who don’t open their emails, consider approaching them this way.

Loft: Happy Inbox, Happy Life

Ann Taylor Loft acknowledged the cluttered, overwhelming feeling of the common inbox, suggesting to all of their subscribers they should embrace the “Happy Inbox, Happy Life” approach to email. This is a customer-focused email that asks recipients to update their email preferences because they’re going to be sending content they won’t want to miss. As your event gets closer, send out an email asking attendees to update their email preferences! They won’t want to miss out on any important updates.

Florida corporate events can greatly benefit from a solid email campaign. If you’re looking to strengthen your team or put on an amazing business event, make sure to reach out to us online or at 407-955-4949.

The AV Glossary

The jargon and fine details of the AV industry can be overwhelming, especially as you’re planning your next event and realize — you don’t know what anything means! Don’t struggle through your AV quote without grabbing this handy cheat sheet!

The Gear

Rigging Points: These are specific spots in the ceiling where things can be safely hung.

Rig Plot: This diagram shows where the rigging points are located. Ask your venue for this if it was not provided!

Truss: This is the framework of the structure. Motors are connected to the rigging points and the truss, as are the lighting, projectors, and speakers.

Motors: Attached to the rigging point and truss, the motor allows the truss to be brought down so you can attach any equipment.

The Microphones

Handheld: These are great for speeches, Q&A sessions, or presentations. Opt for a handheld mic when your entertainment is stationary and won’t get tangled in a cord!

Wireless: Wireless mics are popular with public speakers, interviewers, and stage performances. You’ll also see these referred to as lav mics, lavalier, or lapel mics.

DPA — Headset: Choose these when you prioritize superior voice reproduction, comfort, and easy setup over concealment.

Combo Kit: Your AV company might allow you to utilize both handheld and wireless mics!

The Lighting

Gobo: A pattern you can insert into a light to project that pattern through the light. These can be used to add texture effects on walls and scenery, or projected through haze as an aerial effect.

Spot Fixtures: These hard-edged lighting fixtures are versatile and flexible. They can project color, spinning lights, or gobos, and are great for spotlighting people or objects while leaving the rest of the stage in darkness.

LED: LEDs are significantly more energy efficient than other bulbs. They can transform a space by color washing walls or decorative elements with multi-colored light, and since they don’t require any warm-up time, they can be quickly turned on and off for different effects.

Beam: While these moving lights may look like lasers, they are actually just very tight beams of light! You often see this kind of light at big concerts.

The Projectors

Rear Projection: While this is a great option because there are no rigging costs — since the projector is on the ground — you need to make sure you’ll have enough space for the equipment and projectors behind the screen.

Front Projection: Placed in front of the audience, these take up floor space unless you choose to have it rigged (although it will cost you to do so). Consider if any people or objects will obstruct the projector at any time.

It’s vital that you sit down with your AV company and ask them to walk you through the contract, explaining each piece and answering all your questions. For more information on Orlando event management, give us a call at 407-955-4949.

Tips to Choose a Caterer

Delectable dishes, outstanding service, and an awesome cancellation plan are only a few components of an ideal caterer. But there’s more than that when it comes to choosing the perfect company! Take a look at what you should know before signing the dotted line.

Event Experience and Specialities: Different companies are built to serve different markets. Some caterers specialize in large events, while others are “boutique” and designed to only handle small parties. Make sure you’ve chosen a caterer who can work with your event’s size.

Menu Flexibility: If you will be serving a group with a particular dietary need, such as a gluten allergy or lactose intolerance — or even if the majority of your guests are vegan or vegetarian — make sure the caterer is equipped to meet those needs while still serving delicious food. It’s also important to verify that they have menu options that fit into the theme of your event.

Compare and Contrast: Talk to the caterer about your event’s specific needs, and compare proposals from multiple companies before selecting one.

Ask For References: Online reviews are not always reliable, so ask the caterer to provide references, reviews, and testimonials. Feel free to contact previous clients to ask them about their experience.

Verify License: Check with your local health department to verify your caterer’s license. Ask to confirm that the company has no bad records, violations, or complaints.

Taste Test: It’s not a hassle to ask for a taste test! Attend at least three testings with separate caterers, and make sure that you can taste what you ask for, not a generic sampling — and be prepared to pay for the testing is necessary.

Venue Familiarity: While this isn’t make-or-break, there are benefits to working with a caterer who is familiar with your venue; they know the rules and the available equipment and space. If you’re leaning toward a caterer who hasn’t worked at the venue before, ask them to come for a walk-through. 

Review the Contract: Every detail should be included in the contract, even small no-brainers, to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about what will be provided. Consider having an attorney look it over before you sign.

More Than Food: While a caterer is obviously supplying food and beverage, it’s important to remember that they’re supplying service as well. Inquire as to the number of servers, their experience, and the number of staff in supervisory roles.

If you’re looking for a caterer for your next event, make sure you check out services here at Fun Planners. For more Orlando event planning tips and information on how we can make your next event great, call us at 407-955-4949.

Pick the Best Tech For Your Event

Figuring out what technology to use for your event can be tricky. You have to consider your event and organization goals, your demographic, and your budget. No matter what your needs are, we can help find a solution to your make your event a success!

Monkey See, Monkey Do

If you’re thinking to yourself, “My competitor is using this technology, so we should too,” or “I read somewhere that VR is the next big thing, we should try it,”  then don’t do it. It’s more important that you implement the right technology for your event rather than just doing it because someone else is.

Know Your Goal

Before deciding on what technology to use, it’s important to know how exactly you’ll use it. There should be something about it that grabs your attention; it should be an asset to your event. How does the technology connect with your goals? How can it benefit the needs of your customers and the organization? Look for technology that offers a competitive price and consider how it relates to your end goal.

Types of Tech to Implement

  1. Smart wearables
  2. Facial recognition software
  3. Live streaming
  4. RFID technology
  5. Event app
  6. Collaborate app
  7. Audience response app
  8. Social media campaigns
  9. Virtual/augmented reality
  10. Artificial intelligence

Understand Your Audience

It’s important to understand your audience. Although we live in a world of technology, not everyone has the same technical abilities! If your audience includes people of all professions and backgrounds, consider how this can influence the technology’s effectiveness. Take the time to get to know your audience. Take into account things like their age, profession, and even gender, and examine potential social media platforms, opportunities in virtual reality, and phone apps based on these demographics.

Understand Your Event

Consider how technology can be accessible to your target audience and employees. Use different social media platforms to generate publicity and to encourage more people to register. Create social campaigns through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and post videos from previous events to improve brand awareness. Establish partnerships with other companies to help increase revenue and your return on investment.

Stick to a Budget

If you want something to be successful, investment is crucial to your success. Before planning your event, it’s important to have a set budget that prioritizes your goal.

The Four Questions

As you’re considering technology, ask yourself: Does this technology add value to my event? Does it make things simpler? Does it solve problems? Do the pros outweigh the cons? If you answer yes to these questions, you should likely move forward.

If you’re struggling to find technology that meets your needs, reach out to the Orlando event planning experts at Fun Planners. We can guide you to the best choice! For more information on how we can make your next event great, call us at 407-955-4949.

 

Post-Event Survey Questions

The leftover food is put away, the tables are wiped down, and the chairs are stacked; the event has come to an end. However, one of the most important parts of an event happens afterward — it’s time to get feedback from the attendees. Based on the type of event you planned, choose 5-10 relevant questions from the lists below, and you’re sure to get your guests coming back year after year!

Open-Ended Questions

  1. What did you like most about the event?
  2. What did you like least about the event?
  3. What were your favorite sessions?
  4. How did you hear about this event?
  5. How will this conference improve your skills and work?
  6. Do you have any topic or speaker suggestions for future events?
  7. Do you have any additional suggestions or comments to help us improve our future events?
  8. If you would like to provide a quote for promotional use, please include here with your title and occupation. (Name/company optional.)

Yes Or No Questions

  1. Was this the first time you attended one of our events?
  2. Was the staff polite and helpful?
  3. Was the speaker engaging?
  4. Did the conference meet your expectations?
  5. Did you feel prepared coming into this event?
  6. Was there enough time for discussion? (if applicable)
  7. Did you have enough time to get in between sessions? (if applicable)
  8. Did you have an opportunity to ask questions during the event? (if applicable)

Likert Questions

  1. Please rate the following: the date, the catering, the speakers, the location, and the vendors.
  2. How would you rate the value of this event/conference?
  3. How would you rate our communication leading up to this event?
  4. How would you rate the on-site arrival and registration process?
  5. Based on your experience, how likely are you to attend future events?
  6. How likely are you to recommend our events to a friend/colleague?
  7. How would you rate the quality of the keynote speaker? (if applicable)
  8. How would you rate the length of sessions versus the length of break sessions? (if applicable)
  9. In your opinion, did the event meet its objective?
  10. Overall, how would you rate the event?

It’s important to keep your survey short and sweet! This helps guarantee responses. Once you’ve discovered how to make your event even better next year, contact the Orlando event planning experts at Fun Planners to find out how we can help.

How To Pitch Event Ideas to Executives

Business executives can be intimidating, especially if you’re approaching them with a plan they need to approve — and finance. When it comes to Florida corporate events, follow these tips when pitching an event and you’re sure to have success.

Organizational Goals

An executive wants to hear one main thing: how does your plan align with the organization’s goals? Demonstrate that you have a knowledge of the company. Discuss how your plan relates to member acquisition and retention, increased donations and shareholder value, and brand recognition.

The Executive’s Priorities

Consider your audience. Depending on their position, each executive will have a slightly different set of goals that you need to properly address.

If you’re pitching to a:

  • Chief Executive Officer: Focus on revenue, new opportunities, and how you’ll be utilizing current trends to attract attendees.
  • Chief Operations Officer: Talk about how your event will improve the day-to-day operations of the organization.
  • Chief Financial Officer: Show the revenue that your event will bring to the organization and how you will work with potential investors. If possible, find data from a similar event to support your claims.
  • Chief Technology and Chief Information Officers: These executives are concerned with enhancing IT resources. Let them know that you value this as well, and explain how your event will help them reach their goals.
  • Chief Marketing Officer: Share how the community’s perception of the organization will better from this event. Talk about increased sales and your value propositions.
  • General Councils: Discuss how you will protect the organization from any legal issues. Highlight the qualified medical team that will be available on site, or quickly summarize the paperwork that vendors will sign.

Share Your Data

Provide as much hard data as possible. Do your homework, and avoid speculation statistics. Focus on key numbers like potential revenue, headcount, marketing reach, and costs.

Create a Handout

Nothing says “I came prepared” like a small handout with your value propositions, hard data, and how you intend to meet organizational goals. Make sure to include your contact information.

Stay Short and Sweet

This is important. Not only should your handout be short and brief, but your presentation should be that way as well. It’s not necessary to dive into small details like potential venues, speakers, or food options; this will only get your presentation stuck in a rut. Demonstrate that you respect their time by keeping your pitch under 10 minutes (and prepare for up to 20 minutes of Q&A), but don’t leave until you’ve discussed and settled on the “next steps” with the executive.

Pitching to executives can be daunting, but these Florida corporate event tips are sure to help you reach your goals. To find out how we can help your next event, contact us at 407-955-4949.

 

Prioritizing Security and Safety

When it comes to event planning, things like catering, venue location, and entertainment tend to take precedence over security. But safety is just as crucial to the attendee experience as anything else! By investing in quality security, your events and staff can be prepared for everything.

Document Everything

Everything needs to be properly documented in order to keep your insurance premium in check and keep your staff informed. This is especially true in the event of a medical emergency. Just remember, if something happens and you wonder, “Should I write this down?” — the answer is yes. It’s better to be safe than sorry!  

Enlist a Medical Team

Prepare for medical emergencies by hiring an approachable, knowledgeable medical team. It’s vital that you have professionals available on-site who can handle everything from providing a band-aid to administering CPR.

Lock Down Event WiFi

Your WiFi should always be password protected and only shared on a need-to-know basis. Make sure a venue’s network is secured by WPA and equipped with AP-isolation; this blocks other users from accessing devices logged into the network.

Create an Emergency Response Plan

Find out your venue’s procedures for active shooter situations and mass evacuations, and mark evacuation routes clearly on the day of the event. Map the closest route to the hospital. Decide what your security team will do with any unidentified bags or boxes, ensure the venue is equipped to handle all traffic, and know how to lock down the facility — just in case. It’s also crucial to establish a chain of command so that every staff member knows exactly what their role entails.

In addition, your emergency response should detail a crisis communications plan. While we can never be sure what the next crisis will look like, you can plan how you would communicate with attendees, employees, and the general public. Put together a crisis communications team and identify your communication channels ahead of time.

Get a Screening Strategy

It’s important to develop a screening strategy for both attendees and employees. Make sure to equally utilize technology and your security team! Metal detectors and magnetometers are great tools, but if they aren’t an option, don’t turn your nose up at a solid bag check.

Hire a credible security firm that’s supplemented with off-duty policemen, who are licensed to carry a firearm at events, and then meet together before the event kicks off. Communicate your layout and any areas of concern, and provide two-way radios and a detailed site map that shows emergency exits, bathrooms, stages, and concession stands. Many police departments post off-hours opportunities on their internal websites, so that’s a great place to start.

At Fun Planners, we believe that investing in high-quality security greatly benefits you, your staff, your attendees, and your event. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any Orlando event planning questions! For more information on how we can help you and your next event, give us a call at 407-955-4949.