“EG Tips” – 8 Time Sucking Tasks and How To Streamline Them

“EG Tips” – 8 Time Sucking Tasks and How To Streamline Them

Are you finding yourself spending too much time on certain jobs? If so, take a step back and see if you can streamline and speed up your daily tasks!

“Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted, the leader must be doubly vigilant.” – Colin Powell

An eventprofs day is stacked full of appointments, meetings, tasks, projects, reminders, checklists, and lots and lots of details! While this may seem crazy, we are event professionals and we love details! But, with all of the details that go into creating an amazing event, even ninjas can sometimes find themselves out of time. If you find yourself constantly out of time, leaving out the details is not the answer. Take a step back and see if you can streamline your day, speeding up your activities and creating more time in your day to do more.

Here are a few areas that are huge time-suckers:

1. Emails
While emails are wonderful and convenient, it can become overwhelming. Ideally we should check email less often. Try to be more strategic in your email communication. Part of being more strategic is considering it may be quicker to meet face to face or pick up the phone. If you find yourself staring at your inbox all day long, and have only responded to one conversation (20 times!), pick up the phone and call them instead next time. In ten minutes, you can divert both parties attention to focus only this situation, discuss all of the details, and effectively solve the problem that would have taken all day through email.

2. Typing and Data Entry
If typing is not your strong suit, there are several different solutions that can help, depending on your situation. If you are creating a new document yourself, and your typing can’t seem to keep up with the ideas coming to you, look into a speech to text software. As you talk, the software automatically converts it to text. We use this all the time on our phones. The actual software programs that are available to purchase are even better, and are getting better each day!
Despite being in the age of wonderfully integrated technology, sometimes it’s impossible to get away from data entry tasks. Before doing these types of tasks yourself, think of the other tasks you could focus on. Sometimes it’s more cost effective to hire outside help.
If you simply have a need for data entry or written note transcription, consider hiring some temporary help. While a temp agency can find you someone qualified, you can also be more creative with finding additional help. Reach out through your local meeting planner organizations or college programs. This would be a great way to bring in a student or apprentice planner to work with and mentor.

3. Bidding, Contracts, & Invoicing
Being self-employed, getting signed contracts is always a wonderful feeling! The hard part is finding the time to do the research for them, create beautiful proposals, edit them, submit them, and everything else that comes in between! Sometimes, you are too busy to create new proposals to bid on new projects. Other times, it feels like all you are doing is bidding on projects and customizing contracts. If you find bidding and contracting is taking up too much of your time, consider technology. With specific proposal and contract software, you are able to create templates that can be reused and quickly modified and customized. These tools can help streamline your financial process and help you look more professional.

4. Repetitive Tasks
As Event Professionals, you may have one or more of these time sucking repetitive tasks: separating name badges, stuffing name badges, labeling envelopes, stuffing envelopes, collating delegate folders. Should I go on? Sometimes I do like to stuff name badges. Being able to zone out a bit and still feel productive. That must be an EventProf Zen thing. However, more often than not, I just don’t have the time.

When faced with these repetitive tasks, try to think of a more effective way to accomplish them. What is the cost of having the printer complete the name badges or the mailing? There may also be some great resources in your community to provide work for individuals with disabilities. These organizations offer business services like bulk mailing, package assembly and all the while providing education, training and employment opportunities. It’s a great way to fulfill the needs of your business and help serve the community as well.

5. Delegating
Do you find yourself spending more time to explain the task being delegated than it would take to actually do it yourself? It takes some practice, needs clear communication, and the right people involved, but delegating can free up a tremendous amount of time in your day. By using a software program you can easily and efficiently delegate, communicate, and oversee different projects. For this to run smoothly, though, the software must be consistently used to its fullest potential by everyone involved! Be sure to also set clear expectations and visions with everyone involved.
Working with a team and delegating tasks can be a tricky situation. Be sure to take extra care to ensure that you do not become a micromanager! While it is never a manager’s goal to become a micromanager, sometimes it just happens without them realizing it.

6. Education
As eventprofs, we should always be learning new things and refining our skills. Taking a class or researching a new topic is very rewarding, but also very time consuming. If you find that you want to continue to learn, but can’t find the time, consider using an audio book program. I have found that listening to books while driving or exercising is a great way to get away from everything, while still being productive and checking something off of my list! Also look for online webinars that are shorter. Many industry resources are doing 30 minute sessions that get right to the core educational content.

7.Normal Business Tasks (a.k.a. – doing everything yourself!)
Running a small business is very rewarding, but it does come with its challenges, especially when you are the one doing everything. You fill many roles, and are responsible for representing your marketing department, financial and accounting department, legal department, sales department, customer service department, human resources department, custodial department, research and strategy department, and many others!

As an entrepreneur, we are generally skilled at many facets of business, and are able to be successful wearing most of these hats. However, if you find yourself struggling with a particular “department,” consider contracting out that area to a professional. Contact your local chamber of commerce for recommendations or look for a virtual assistant. Though there is a cost involved in outsourcing, the time you save yourself may end up being more valuable, since you are then free to do something else you had to put off from before (maybe researching that new client or catching up on emails).

8. Technology
Today’s technology-based world has turned its focus recently to the event arena. Every week, it seems like a new technology is introduced that can help make our events even more remarkable! With new products coming out so quickly, it is harder and harder to find the time to research, explore, and become proficient in them all.

If technology is slowing you down, look outside of your company for a contractor that focuses simply on finding and integrating the best technology for your needs. By hiring a professional that has the dedicated time and skills to finish a project that may take you twice as long, you are then able to focus on other things, effectively speeding up your activities by allowing doing so more each day.

In Conclusion

As an eventprof, we are not just professional event planners. We are next level ninjas – we can do it all! While we know we can handle and master anything given to us, time is the only thing that holds us back. If time seems to be constantly winning, take a step back and look to see where you could use help. Look at your daily processes to see if you can streamline them. If not, look at bringing an expert into your ninja dojo to help you defeat time.TAGGED

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 7 Ways To Deal With An Awkward Venue Manager

“EG Tips” – 7 Ways To Deal With An Awkward Venue Manager

I’d imagine I’m safe in saying that, as event professionals, we’ve all dealt with awkward venue managers. It’s a constant tightrope walk.

Here are my 7 tips for dealing with them.

1. See Things from Their Point of View
Remember that the venue manager is there ALL the time. YOU are the blow-in. You’re the one coming in and changing things and looking to make things suit you and your client.

2. Involve Them in Decision Making
Consult them and talk to them about decisions you’re making in relation to the event. Remember that they may have material impacts on them and the venue and, indeed, they may have valuable input. Perhaps, for example, they’ve run an entry system that way before and encountered issues. They may save you some heartbreak.

3. Give Them a Win
I don’t mean this to sound facetious, so I hope it doesn’t. Again, it’s THEIR venue. They know more about it and how it works best than you do. If you’re going to consult them and ask for their input, then be prepared to take it on board and use it. This may mean doing things differently to how you had planned to them .Both your relationship with the venue manager and, indeed, your event may well be the better for it.

4. Put Them to Work
Involve them in the ‘doing’. Have them participate in the build or the moving of furniture or something else requiring willing bodies but probably not much technical knowhow. This should hopefully help get them bought into the event and making it a success.

5. Show Them You’re a Pro
To be fair, they may well have seen loads of ‘event managers’ in their time, probably some good and some bad. Show them you’re one of the good ones. Put their mind at ease.

6. Introduce Them to People
In my experience venue managers love to be introduced to acts and high-profile clients and the likes. Get them in for some photos and be sure to get them a copy of them.

7. Say Thanks
This one doesn’t apply just to venue managers. It seems like a lost art these days. Say thanks. It’s common courtesy and will stand to you.

In Conclusion

For me, it really boils down to being considerate, somewhat intelligent and clever as well as being polite. There will always be venue managers who need some ‘managing’. They DO have the potential to make your life awkward to learn to deal with them effectively. It’ll help you avoid the whole stress thing too.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 15 Successful Ways to Get Event Feedback

“EG Tips” – 15 Successful Ways to Get Event Feedback

Most event surveys haven’t changed since copiers came out. They’re boring and feel more like an obligation than something an attendee wants to do. Plus, everyone is on the survey bandwagon now. You can’t walk into a business without someone asking how they did. And, honestly, aren’t we all a little tired of surveys? Keep your event surveys from becoming annoying with these 15 fun and engaging ways to get feedback.

Are you struggling to get feedback from attendees? Do you dislike traditional surveys? Maybe you’re looking for ways to make feedback collection more organic and less forced? If so, you’re not alone.

1. Beacons. Beacons can be used to push a quick survey onto a phone at the time when your guest is leaving the area. This can be done for specific exhibits, attractions, or even movies. Since the beacon uses technology to know where someone is, it can match the message accordingly, like when someone is exiting a room.

2. Maps. A popular interactive way to get feedback is to invite people to place a pin or sticky note on a map of where they’re from. While they’re leaving a note about themselves, ask them to write something on the note about their experience.

3. Tie it in. Ask people leaving your venue to provide a pictorial representation of what they thought and then tie it into the type of event you’re hosting. For instance, for an art gala, you can place canvases around the exit and encourage people to sketch or paint what the event made them feel. Simple smiley faces can suffice.

4. Selfie emoji option. Ask attendees if they want to be part of a selfie expression art piece. Have photo props that exhibit emotions or use large versions of emojis. Ask them to choose the one that best fits their event experience. Take a picture of them and ask if they wouldn’t mind if you upload it to social media.

5. Conversation starters. Take a tip from the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. They used conversation starters as a way to get feedback. They invited guests to finish one of the following sentences about the event:
• I made ___________
• I loved ___________
• I met ____________
• I learned _________

They then took pictures of guests with their written answers and asked if they could post them to social media. 90% said yes! An added bonus to this type of input is that it requires people to think about the value they got out of your event.

6. Go straight for the review. While it is a little risky, because online reviews shape decision making and search results, if it fits your venue you could create a campaign that concentrates on getting online reviews and not feedback surveys. Place QR codes in areas that attendees congregate. The codes should lead directly to a popular review site or a contact form for testimonials. You could also use a push notification to provide a direct link and ask them to share their experience online or on social media. Most people just need to be asked and a review may be far more effective than a simple survey. Plus, most people enjoy seeing their names online so they will get more value from reviewing you this way than they would from a survey.

7. Recycling. If your event gives out paper agendas, programs, or other paper toss-outs to attendees, and you have exit recycling bins, turn them into experience barometers for a very unofficial straw poll. Cover a few bins with emojis and encourage attendees to drop their recycling in the one that fits their event experience.

8. Text message. Shortly after attendees have left your event (or an individual session), send them a text thanking them for attending and ask them to text you back with 1-3 words that describe their experience. This is best left to an opt-in program because some people do not enjoy getting texts and there are other concerns like data overages that you don’t want to contend with.

9. Facebook check-in. Invite attendees to check in on Facebook (if you have a page for your event) and ask them to leave a comment or give you a star rating in order to be entered into a prize draw of your choosing.

10. Fun images. Hang several pictures in your exit area or an area where people congregate. The pictures should be large enough to serve as a backdrop for a selfie and each of them should convey an emotion. Tie the image into your event or your theme. For instance, a zoological conference might have a picture of an angry rhino, a chimp with his head buried in his hands, and a smiling polar bear. Ask guests to take a selfie with the one that best describes their time at your event. Give them a hashtag and encourage them to share it. You may not be able to run deep analytics on this but it’s a fun, engaging way to get attendees to participate and give feedback. The one downside is that if that angry rhino is too cute, people may select getting their picture taken with it just for fun.

11. Slow-motion video. As people are exiting your venue, ask them to go into a video booth and give a 2-10 second physical depiction of their event experience. Then put together several of the videos you recorded, slow them down and set them to a catchy song. Results are hysterical.

12. Ask. Post staff near the exits and ask each person leaving (or as many as they can get to) to use one word to describe what they thought of the event experience. Record responses.

13. iPad stations. Conduct a quick 1-3 question survey on iPads throughout the public space. Just make sure they’re secured well. You don’t want someone walking off with one of those the way they do pens.

14. Use mobile. Make a survey available in a mobile version through your app and alert people to fill it out as they’re leaving (through the beacon technology mentioned earlier).

15. Show instantaneous results on the first question. If you’re surveying people electronically, let them see an instantaneous list of how others answered in graph form. This sparks a natural curiosity and will get them to complete the other questions as well. If you’re using other indicators of sentiment, find a way to post those either to a monitor or by updating a poster with results. People are naturally curious and it builds community. Plus, attendees are more apt to agree to provide their opinions if they know others are doing it as well.

In Conclusion

Surveys are so boring. It’s time to spice up your event analysis with these ideas. While the less than scientific approach may have some analysts shaking their heads, most of these ways are so fun, they continue the enjoyment of your event outside of it instead of providing a disruption. After all, you want attendees to feel the magic of your event as they leave not be bogged down with surveys in their in-box.

(Social Coup LLC)