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June 2nd, 2009

Here is a roundup of some helpful tips, practical insights and valuable resources for the event planning professional. CRE is your headquarters for projectors, displays, computers and all your event production rentals and service needs, as well as your trusted source for good advice. Consider today’s blog a buffet and take just what you want. Let us know if you like “the food,” and we can make the buffet a regular feature.

Two computers are better than one

If you are making a presentation at a meeting, conference or tradeshow, take a lesson from the military and use the “redundant system” approach. All that really means is, whether you are using a laptop or a  computer rental, make sure to bring a second unit with the same videos, PowerPoint presentations or other materials on it.

Any computer can malfunction at just about any time, for any (or seemingly no) reason. A backup is cheap insurance. You should have someone working with you so that as the main computer makes its way through the programmed material, your helper is keeping pace with you. (The backup, ideally, should be a laptop, regardless of what the main computer is, as the laptop will be easier to move and set up if needed.)

If the main computer crashes, you will be able to switch to a backup that is right in sync. You are then faced with a manageable 10- or 20-second fix – disconnect the main computer, connect the backup – rather than a show-stopping tragedy.

Make the speaker comfortable Speaker_Corporate Event

There are plenty of professional speakers who make presentations over 200 times annually, and are poised and relaxed at all times.  Others like to rehearse, sometimes for hours, and tend to fret. You should do your best to make them all comfortable, and here’s how you can do that:

  • Even if you’ve sent it six times already, give the speaker a copy of the agenda when they arrive.
  • Send a small, thoughtful gift to the speaker’s room the night before the event, and include a handwritten note with your sincere thanks.
  • Show your speaker the stage after it is set up. Most speakers like being able to visualize the room where they will speak when they are practicing their presentations beforehand.
  • Inform the speaker about the specs of the room  (i.e., podium position, lighting, camera location, seating arrangements).
  • Provide bottles of the speaker’s preferred beverage within easy reach of the podium – and napkins or tissue, too.

New networking resource

An internationally known event professional, Italian veteran Julius Solaris, has a blog especially for event planners where he shares his many experiences and insights. The Event Manager Blog is written with an international readership in mind, and Solaris offers suggestions for reading and study, interviews a number of industry experts and asks tough questions of the virtual “event pro” community.

Solaris, a strong supporter of “open source” software, is presently working on an open source software solution for event planners. While that is being finished, Solaris debuted another terrific resource, a LinkedIn group called, appropriately, the Event Planning & Management Group. With more than 1,000 members worldwide, it is definitely worth a look!

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