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MPI-CAC Conversations + Connections

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Millennial-Friendly Meetings

Posted by: Kevin Dana, CORT Events on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Many aspects of traditional corporate meetings and conferences appear mundane and uninteresting to millennials in today’s workforce. Creating entertaining and inviting environments that challenge and excite them is the key to a successful event. Meeting and event attendees want to feel inspired, connected to fellow participants, and engaged in the overall event experience.

Millennials crave social and shareable experiences. By making every moment feel like a highlight, they will stay excited and engaged. This generation wants an authentic experience that fosters learning, yet contains elements of surprise. By blurring the lines between work and play, event planners can create an environment that is both productive and inspiring.

The key to creating an experiential meeting is a program that encourages participation and activity. Design and furnishings also play a pivotal role in providing the right environment for these shared experiences. Leveraging principles of design can help planners transition from run-of-the-mill meetings to immersive, impactful experiences.

  1. Get Together: If you want your attendees on their phones during presentations, stick with theater-style seating. If you want them to engage, then get creative. Go bold and surprise your attendees with unique seating arrangements, such as casual seating vignettes and small lounges to make your space feel comfortable and inviting. Create unusual lounges using Hexagon Ottomans or Island Sofas that encourage groups to sit informally, collaborate and help break down barriers of communication. Interesting spaces facilitate interesting conversations.

  2. Go with the Flow: Allow for exciting and unscripted collaboration by creating a space that is adaptable and flexible. Consider using curved or round seating, such as pieces from the CORT Endless Collection, that encourage a constant flow around the furnishings. Standing bar tables are a great way to increase energy in a session, and allow for easy movement around the space. The Marche Ottomans swivel and can be configured for impromptu campfire style gatherings, plus they add a shot of color to keep the room fresh. Wagner Chairs and Vibe Cubes are great ways to add texture and color to a space while still maintaining comfort and style.

  3. Plug In: Millennials are known for multitasking on multiple devices, so creating a space where they can plug in and connect is essential for young professionals. When attendees rush to find seating by wall outlets to charge their phones or other electronics, it’s disruptive to the overall experience. Utilize a variety of powered furniture to charge up your meeting rooms and create communal workspaces that foster a team environment and encourage collaborative strategic planning.

  4. Break Out: Breakout sessions are a unique opportunity to connect with your attendees in a more personal and engaging way. Creating intimate spaces that allows for in-depth conversation, collaboration and interaction maximizes productivity. Define large or small breakout areas with Miramar Dividers or Boxwood Hedges to allow for smaller conversation spaces within a large room and they provide opportunities for branding and signage. Comfortable and energetic places within your meeting encourage interactivity that creates memorable learning experiences.

Planners must continually update their vision for meetings and events and innovate to engage millennials. The evolving social workplace environment allows planners to create exciting combinations of technology and creativity and makes events more impactful than ever before. 

About Kevin Dana

Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development for CORT Trade Show and Event Furnishings. He handles national marketing strategy across all channels and developed CORT’s proprietary event furniture brands; including the Endless collection, Luna Lighting, Napoleon, and Elements decor collections. To learn more about CORT’s exhibit and event rental collections, visit www.cortevents.com.

Ask the Expert- Building Your Team

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: I hear many people talking about the need to “Build My Team” and I am not sure what they mean by it. Can you give me some idea what they mean?

Answer: There are two ways you can “Build Your Team” and the most important one is having a group of colleagues or coworkers where you feel comfortable and confident in your ability to work successfully with them. Your internal team should be people who look to you as a mentor or one that can add great value to any project or situation. Your external team are industry colleagues who value your opinion and look to you as an industry leader. These can be both clients and competitors.

Question: How should I work to build a team around me?

Answer: The team around you will develop naturally based on your business practices and ethics. People who know and trust you will become your team without you even needing to ask them. The point here is that the way you do business and handle your personal communications will make people gravitate toward you. Your reputation is always your strength and you need to stay consistent. As the saying goes “do the right thing even when no one else is looking.”

Question: Can an organization’s culture influence building a team?

Answer: The environment that people work within will either make them drive harder or cause the best people to leave. Where you see most of the division in an organization come from senior people who want to micro-manage the staff or are very out of touch with the staff and do not understand what has made the organization successful. To build a successful organizational team can only be done by people who not only understand what has built the organization but seek the knowledge from those who may not have a senior title but are the ones who have made the organization what it is today.

New Social Media Rules for Engaging Event Design

Posted by: Barbara Rozgonyi, CoryWestMedia on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

When you’re mapping out your event design strategy, think in 4D:

  • Digital – how your event looks and where it lives in social media
  • Direct – how you connect with your community via social media
  • Dynamic –how you will tell stories all across the event cycle
  • Data – how you will demonstrate event response and ROI

Let’s dive in to each of these four quadrants a little bit deeper.


Go where your people are. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter?

Each one of these platforms has a different look, sound, feel and experience.

As you develop your content, think about how it will appear visually. To be successful on social media, you’ll need a range of sizes and images. A social media graphic designer’s magic touch can stop scrollers and command attention in social media’s crowded and busy space.

Action Step: Map out where your people are most active online. Focus on how to integrate personality into your look and sound.


Next, plot out your event participant experience journey. How will social media connect you two?

Traditional event engagement points break up into before, during and after: save the date, speaker announcements, registration, event updates and recaps.

Connect the dots along the way and sprinkle in some creative surprises like a weekly Facebook live show, an AMA [ask me anything] podcast, or lead-up webinars with speakers or association member leaders using zoom.us.

Action Step: Merge social media strategy with your marketing plan. Use social media to support and propel interest and engagement all along the way.


Now that you know where to be active and when to check in, you’ll want to bring the event experience alive with a mix of creativity and innovation.

How can you get creative – on a budget?

One way is to lean in on your speakers. From the start, prioritize speakers who have not only social media reach, but an actively engaged audience on the platforms where your attendees hang out.

Action Step: Think about who will write your event story: staff, leadership, speakers, influencers, or members. What chapters and stories are grabbers?


Everyone loves data and numbers, right? If they’re useful and good, yes!

When you build in response measurement tools into your social media event design, you can look forward to insights about your industry, community and what works best, when.

For example, Facebook ads can start as low as $10 and can be targeted in a variety of ways by audience. You can also test ad creative to see what performs best before launching the best look.

But, you don’t have to invest anything to get results. A goofy 37 second video on LinkedIn promoted an association event and snagged over 5,000 views, which spread the news way, way out to infinity and beyond.

Action Step: Decide on the data you’re looking for, set it up and test, test, test! Then, analyze, adjust and report good news.

AUTHOR: An international speaker, Amazon author, and 4D marketing advisor, Barbara Rozgonyi leads CoryWest Media. Known for positioning its clients as highly visible, attractive, and influential thought leaders, the company’s client list covers a wide range of industries in sizes ranging from Fortune 500 to startups. An international speaker, enthusiastic event marketer and a spirited social influencer, Barbara founded Social Media Club Chicago. Need ideas? Schedule a complimentary discovery session at www.BarbaraRozgonyi.com.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

MPI Golf Classic The abbreviated version

Posted by: Jeff Durocher, US Poker & Casino Parties on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

The annual MPI-CAC Golf Classic was held on May 21, 2018 and was back at the popular The Grove Country Club in Long Grove, IL.  The event week started out with some unique opportunities for the committee as rain was in the forecast for most of the week.  The planning committee made the decision to move full steam ahead, not wanting to showcase the record breaking silent auction and sponsorship this year.  Unfortunately, the rain rolled in too. 

The event committee, led by Michelle Castady, Ryan Campbell and Bill Feldgreber went into ‘rain plan mode’ before the event even happened.  The rain plan included a late start, to shortening the day to bringing everything inside.  Bill phoned a professional friend, Jeff Durocher at US Poker & Casino Parties, the night before and ask him to bring a few gaming tables in case the day was rained out.  Sponsors were told that they may have to have a sponsor table in the re-envisioned exhibit hall instead of at a particular hole.  Everyone was still on board and hopeful that the rain would pass, but even with the rain, members, guests and sponsors still came out for a good time.

The golf outing included no golf for the first time in the events history.  A full on rain out!  Once the announcement was made that there would be no golf, most of the attendees stayed around.  Guests mingled in the clubhouse.  The bar opened at 9am during the ‘breakfast hour’.  Sponsor tables were set up for guests to interact.  Blackjack tables were set up and a 3 round tournament took place with winners receiving a gift card to Texas de Brazil.  Dinner was moved up to a luncheon.  The Grove kindly offered everyone a free round of golf as a concession and a wonderful lunch buffet.  The annual helicopter ball drop was improvised by pulling a ball out of a bucket and sponsor raffles were held to give everyone as high a profile as possible given the circumstances. 

While it was abbreviated, the outing was considered a success and it would not have been possible without the event committee, the quick response from The Grove, US Poker and Casino Parties, the Sponsors and the agility of the guests. While no one will remember golf at the 2018 outing, they will remember the creative thinking of turning the Golf Classic into an indoor event.   

Ask the Expert How to change your meeting

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: We have been running quarterly operations meetings and I am finding it difficult to keep staff focused on the agenda. Do you have a suggestion on how I can get the people more engaged?

Answer: Standing meetings typically have a set agenda that has not been changed in some time. The best way to get your people more engaged in the process is to change the format of the meeting. Consider making a group activity part of the agenda. I.e. a Hotel Sales Director needed to have his staff develop creative ideas relating to building maintenance issues. The Director took the team to a park and had them make paper airplanes. They each had to explain how different designs changed how the planes flew. As the group created their planes, they discussed the issues. What the Director found was when his team was relaxed, it allowed them to be more creative in how they solved their problems.

Question: We have been tasked with running what is known as a road show going to a different city each day for two weeks. We need space for 200 people and are having a hard time getting space confirmed three months in advance since we require very few sleeping rooms. Do you have a solution to our problem of securing the meeting space we require?

Answer: There are three possibilities for venues that should be able to confirm your space early.

Movie Theaters – They are “dark” during the day running a meeting during business hours does not interfere with their normal business. If you book multiple locations with the same operator, you can negotiate better pricing. Also, if an audio visual presentation is part of your agenda, you can create a unique experience showing it on the big screen.

Libraries – I personally attended a presentation at the Pritzker Military Library using the auditorium where their weekly television show is filmed. A facility such as this does get the attention of your audience.

Also try convention centers or Universities for space.

Question: We do an evening client event and need some ideas of how to make it more interactive. How can I find a fun way of getting everyone engaged and also have fun?

Answer: The best case study for a unique event is MPI Trivia Night. The engagement from the audience is some of the best. Attendees also show great pride for the table. Creating pride, a community and an experience is what can set you apart.   

WEC 2018 promotes designing experiences

Posted by: Heather Warthen, 22nd Century Media on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

With a stronger focus on designing experiences, MPI World Education Congress 2018 unveiled a completely new layout June 2-5 in Indianapolis. Divided into four villages – Experiential, Innovation, Leadership and Social – education sessions, offered in 30-, 60- and 90-minute segments, took place in an open floorplan inside each village. Session topics included everything from customer retention, social media and tech tools to conversations on hot topics such as sexual harassment, ethics and crisis communication. The open layout offered ample opportunities to network with sponsors and fellow attendees as well.

The new layout was created by using the #EventCanvas template created by Event Design Collective which first launched at the 2014 WEC. Sessions were offered during WEC to introduce people to #EventCanvas by showing them how to put it into practice by helping design an event for WEC 22 and also additional sessions to show the process of how WEC 18 came together using it.

Each day started and ended with a pep rally, led by emcee Deena Blizzard, and a set of speakers who fit with the theme of the day. Inspiration was the theme of Day 1 and speaker Dustin Garis of LifeProfit set the tone, encouraging attendees to “revolt against routine.”

Day 2’s theme was Ideation with Duncan Wardle, a former vice president of innovation and creativity for Disney, kicking off the day encouraging people to tap into their creativity.

The day also featured the popular Michael Cerebelli’s “The Hot List” with the latest in performers, tech gadgets and ideas to really create a memorable experience for attendees.

Day 3 wrapped up with Activation as the theme, with speaker Mel Robbins highlighting her 5-Second Rule and the power of 5-second decisions.

Many attendees lived out their childhood fantasy of playing professional football as Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, played host for a networking lunch during one day of the conference. Punt, pass and kick games took place on half of the field while a smorgasbord of tailgate food - nachos, burgers and more – filled the other half of the field.

While the days were filled with education sessions, the nights were just as busy, too. The opening night party offered a variety of hands-on activations including creating fresh flower crowns and customizing your own essential oils before a concert by Straight No Chaser. MPI Foundation’s Rendezvous party featured plenty of drinks and dancing with music by DJ Warren Peace.

The closing ceremony took place at one of the most notable sports venues - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which is home to the Indy 500. Attendees created lasting memories by buckling up for an exhilarating ride around the world famous track at speeds of 120 mph.

For MPI-CAC, the highlight of the event was the MPI RISE (Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence) Award win for Industry Advocate for its Industry Xchange 2017 event. The event, which drew more than 1,000 attendees, included Choose Chicago and eight other industry partners to create Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) education and networking event. MPI-CAC Past President Tina Reedy and 2017-2018 President Cory Fransway created a video message that was shared with attendees while co-chairs Amanda Jackson and Justine Radies accepted the award.

WEC19 is scheduled for June 15-19, 2019, in Toronto.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Erin Leary: Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
Kaiser had been members for about a year before I really had the change to get involved.  We hosted Fall Leadership Day for MPI-CAC and I connected with the co-chairs that day and asked how I could be more involved!


What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
It was at one of the Signature Luncheons.  There was a AWESOME spoken word artist- I can't remember his name but his references to the event industry were spot on!


How did you become part of the event industry?
I actually majored in Italian and International Studies in college!  I was working on the financial sector about 5 years ago when I made the transition to restaurant sales!


How has MPI impacted your career?
I am a relatively new member so I am still getting my bearings within MPI.  I can say for certain that I have learned so much about teamwork, management, and networking from the short time I have been on the Leadership Committee.


Tell us something unique about you?
I own a jewelry company!  It's called BeBuddhaJewelry and I spend most of my free time in the metals studio creating!  http://www.bebuddhajewelry.com/

Tips of the Road, Adapting to being a Road Warrior

Posted by: Amanda Masters, White Lodging on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Living life in the fast lane, or on the road for that matter, can be a lucrative way to make a living.  Consultants, outside sale managers, or implementation managers may find themselves logging many miles, either in the car or the air, resulting in many nights away from the comforts of their own home.  What are some best practices or tricks of the trade to maintain a somewhat normal lifestyle, and maybe enjoy some added perks along the way?

Pre-Trip Planning

  • To check your bag, or not to check your bag, that is the question.  Checking a bag is often associated with consuming more time, but if you are a true Road Warrior, you have probably reached the highest level of status and checking your bag is probably free.  Checking your bag saves you from the hassle of abiding by the 3-3-3 rule and frees up a little more leg room on your flight.   

At the Airport

  • If you classify yourself as a Road Warrior and you don’t already have TSA Pre-Check, get it, now.  For a nominal fee of $75, that your employer could cover, you can skip the long security lines, keep your shoes on, and keep your laptop in your bag, saving you a few precious moments you can spend at home with your loved ones, or Fido the dog. Being a Road Warrior is tough on pets too, they miss you! 

At the Hotel

  • Ask and you may receive; an upgrade that is.  Unless a hotel is sold out, there is no reason why you, the Road Warrior, shouldn’t receive a nicer hotel room for the week.  As long as the hotel has one available, most front desk associates are happy to oblige and treat you like the true VIP you are.     

  • Sign up for loyalty programs.  You are traveling a lot for work; wouldn’t it be nice to travel, even if it is just a little bit, for pleasure?  With the competitive loyalty programs that hotel brands offer, it is easy to rack up free nights stays or complimentary drink vouchers that can be redeemed for personal travel.  This applies to airline and rental car companies as well.  Just make sure you check with your company’s policies to be sure you aren’t breaking any rules.

  • Leave a tip on your pillow for the guest room attendant.  You’ll be surprised the nice things you will receive in return when you get to know the staff and show them your appreciation for keeping your “house” clean while you are at work.    

Bonus Tip

  • Embrace the travel, instead of ordering takeout food into your lonely hotel room at night, get out there and explore!  Ask your Uber Driver or the front desk associate where they go to grab a drink with friends or pick up some food when they get off work.  Sit at the bar, talk to the locals, not many people have the opportunity to explore new cities or towns every week.  Try not to think about what you may be missing out on at home, rater think about the great possibilities and experiences that lie ahead.      

How to Balance Your Personal Summer Schedule with Work

Posted by: Kristina Tarantino, CMP, American Express GBT Meetings & Events on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Early morning sweat sessions squeezed in before a hectic work day, then it’s off to the beach, summer vacation, family reunion…..Does this sound like your summer schedule? Amidst all of our summer plans, vacations, and family responsibilities it can be a challenge to find time to get it all done.

We all know that maintaining a healthy life balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; it can be a tremendous boost to your productivity and career or business success as well. A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in a meaningful way.

Here are 10 ideas to balance your summer schedule like a pro!

#1 Venture Out - Get outside as much as you can! Schedule out door lunches with colleagues and friends, accept invitations to outdoor events, walk or bike to work, etc…Break up your indoor activities with outdoor options. The outdoors offers you much needed light exposure, giving you a mood boost and allowing you to maximize the summer season.

#2 Work a compressed week or take PTO - Give yourself a long weekend all summer. Instead of taking the traditional one week vacation, opt for taking (5) Friday’s off in a row. This will maximize your weekends and provide a four day work week. Make sure to fully utilize your vacation time as it drives performance, productivity, boosts morale and contributes to employee wellness and retention.

#3 Conference Calls and Meetings - Take your conference calls & meetings outside, looking at scenery and getting fresh air and sun. Schedule an outdoor walking meeting. There are many benefits! Research finds that the act of walking leads to increases in creative thinking. Plenty of evidence also suggests that walking meetings are more productive than traditional sit-down meetings, better for your health and increase engagement.

#4 Project Management - Schedule demanding projects in the fall and winter and complete all your major commitments by June. This will alleviate some stress and allow for a slower summer work pace.

#5 Create a Daily Schedule - Build downtime into your schedule. Check out Michael Hyatt’s “My Ideal Week" schedule to the minute, which allocates time for friends, family, work and personal time.  Create one for yourself and make sure to stick to it. https://michaelhyatt.com/myresources/my-ideal-week.pdf. Take stock of activities that don't enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them.

#6 Adjust your Work Hours - Talk with your employer to adjust summer work expectations. Mention that your adjusted schedule will ultimately help you add value at the office so that your manager and colleagues are motivated to accommodate your new schedule. Inquire about flextime, delegating responsibilities, or working from home.

#7 Spend time alone - Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical busy meeting professional, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, read a book, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. Giving everyone 24/7 access to you is not beneficial. Create boundaries & stick to them. There should be certain times each day that you cease doing for everyone else & focus on recharging.

#8 Focus on nutrition - Meeting professionals go non-stop! Food is the fuel that allows us to have energy and be productive. The summer season is a great time to go to farmer’s markets, grow a garden, try new recipes and feed your body in season produce! Try this new muddler https://amzn.to/2rOaG8X which is designed to intensify the essence of ingredients like mint, lime, berries and cucumbers to make flavorful water or try infused water recipes.Your water intake will naturally increase. Studies show you are 25% more productive when hydrated.

#9 Commit to Fitness - Summer is the perfect time to try a new outdoor activity. Tennis, walking, swimming or join a running group. It's hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.

#10 Trim and Prioritize - It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Say “Yes” to what inspires you and “No” to the things that no longer serve you.

You may love your new summer routine and once you start seeing positive results you’ll be better equipped to maintain that new found equilibrium all year long. The key is not to try to change everything at once, but to make small adjustments over time to determine what works for you. Eventually you will have a whole new set of positive life habits that can benefit you all year long. Start this summer!

Follow me on linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristinatarantino/  twitter @katarantino for more tips on balance, health & wellness.

Ask the Expert Get Involved and Get Known

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

A deep thinker once said “People Buy from People they Know and Trust” which has been the basis of all relationship buying decisions. The extended version also includes “and are known.” You must be known in order to be effective in any business relationship. People need to understand who you are and how important you are to their success.

The Chicago Area Chapter of Meeting Professionals International has stood out as the premier organization to build and create business relationships with people who are actively seeking new business partnerships. But to be effective, you must be known to your potential audience by being very visible and approachable and being involved with committees and events through MPI is a great way.

Get Involved: There are two levels of involvement you should consider when joining an organization, personal and business enhancement. Your personal interest of growing your resume or professional friend list generally involves becoming part of a committee which offers an area of personal interest to you.  This allows you to identify people you want to know and gives you the opportunity to make a personal connection.

You can expand your involvement and further discover the organization by adding your business commitment. This can be done through either a direct cash sponsorship so you further focus your efforts or through “In Kind” sponsorship which is also a very valuable tool for business development. The more you can keep your organization in front of the membership the more business opportunities will become available to you.

Get Known: It is as simple as being consistently active within the organization. This is where you use your personal and business commitments to grow your personal brand within the organization to generate a return on your time and sponsorship. For people who have been a consistent sponsor, they get the opportunity to speak directly to the membership on a regular basis which gives them a distinct advantage when it comes to growing their business opportunities. Remember people buy from people they know and trust.  

Where you can further leverage your involvement and sponsorship is using membership endorsements of your business from members who have become your business partners. This is probably the best way of growing your business within the chapter. It also allows you to be known in other organizations where an existing member also has relationships.

You may not immediately recognize your contributions or even the people you are meeting, but it will become evident to you as your grow within the orgnaization. Based on your level of consistent involvement, you may find people who know who you are, but are people you may not have personally met yet. This is all part of building your personal and business brands within the organization. This also is how future business relationships can develop from people who are familiar with you from your involvement and can actively seek you out or be very willing to talk to you about creating a new business partnership. Get Involved, Get Known and Grow Your Business!

Video: Looking Beyond Squares and Rectangles

Posted by: Amy Current, Frost Chicago on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

We all know that content is king. But until recently, little attention was made to how content was shared. The advent of affordable high brightness projection and modular LED walls in recent years makes cutting edge video more exciting and attainable than ever. Consider the following applications to enhance video at an event:

  • Directly map projection onto existing architectural elements.   Blank walls become a canvas and obstructions like doorways and windows become part of the show.   Projectors in the 14k-20k ranges are a sweet spot for walls that are 15’ tall and as wide as 80’!

  • Use high definition modular video walls to create the set.  The stunning results - an immersive environment designed to delight and captivates attendees while showcasing content in the most engaging way possible. LED walls can be used in any brightness room or in situations that compete with direct sunlight where projection is not an option

  • Imagine video designed around the event’s aesthetic, logo or branding. Secure a non-traditional screen size and add an element of surprise. Ovals, rounds and curved screens are readily accessible. The days of squares and rectangles are over!

  • Program a screen to morph from décor to presentation to branding and back again, literally with the push of a button. Video switchers easily create visual effects (mixes, wipes) between scenes.  If seamless transition is the challenge, then switchers provide an easy answer.

If content is truly king, then the video screen supporting the message has evolved into a golden chariot!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Quick Tips Anyone Can Use to Host a Green Meeting

Posted by: Corinne Como, Loyola University Chicago on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)








Loyola University Chicago is a leading destination for green meetings and events in the Midwest.  Check out this checklist to green your events anywhere!  Even if just a couple strategies are implemented, a measureable impact can be made by each event. 


Venue Selection

  • Select a LEED certified or energy efficient building/ venue
  • Choose a convenient venue that is centrally located for all attendees
  • Turn off lights when not in venue
  • Turn off audio/visual when not in venue


  • Choose a LEED certified building with a green roof
  • Select a housing facility that measures energy usage
  • Encourage guests to turn off lights when not in room
  • Opt for a housing location that is close to event venue
  • Ask if energy efficient light bulbs are used
  • Request that guests reuse linens/ towels for the duration of their stay
  • Ask if organic toiletries are available


  • Select a conference destination that is easily accessible by all attendees
  • Use public transportation
  • Offer shuttle or bus service for conference guests
  • Encourage carpooling or taxi sharing
  • Provide guests with walking/ bike maps

Food & Beverage

  • Prohibit the usage of bottled water; give guests a reusable water bottle upon arrival
  • Request reusable plates, glassware, cutlery, tablecloths, and napkins
  • Ensure all staff are trained on separating recyclables
  • Request that attendees RSVP to get accurate guest count and only order that amount of food
  • Reduce meat items and serve vegan, vegetarian, or seafood items
  • Consider serving local produce and organic menu items
  • Avoid ordering items that are individually packaged (i.e., individual packets of cream, sugar)
  • Have leftover food donated to food shelter


  • Send all conference correspondence to attendees electronically
  • Use electronic documents/ file sharing
  • Offer an event application for conference attendees to access during event
  • Use double-sided printing on 100% recycled paper, when necessary
  • Promote using laptops/ iPads for note taking
  • Reuse signage
  • Have attendees bring their own name badges
  • If using bags, purchase organic reusable cotton or bags made from 100% recycled materials


For any tips or advice feel free to reach out to us at conferences@luc.edu or 773-508-8090.

Linda Whitlock: January Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)












How did you become involved in MPI?

 Val Braun. Val has always 'encouraged' me to get involved in the industry -- then, set me up to be her successor on committees and in leadership roles.  ILEA Chicago VP Programs, ILEP Chicago President, MPI Golf Committee, MPI Membership Committee.


What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?

I won the beer stein holding contest at the New Member Mixer in November at Kaiser Tiger! A great welcome back into our MPI community :)


How did you become part of the event industry? 

I kind of stumbled into it. I visited Chicago for the first time when I was in college and fell in love with the Windy City! After graduating from MSU, I returned to Chicago and knocked on doors. Kenneth Brown at The Hyatt Regency Chicago offered me a job to manage the midnight shift of Scampi's -- 24 hour restaurant. I jumped at the chance and then was here to stay!


How has MPI impacted your career?

MPI helps keep me stay in tune with the pulse of the industry and popular trends. As a business owner, I want stay ahead of the curve to design new programs that enhance my client's meetings and events. 

Also, MPI has also connected me with great people -- both clients and vendors -- that are forward thinkers and passionate about the industry.


Tell us something unique about you?

Whenever I book a new program (or someone on our team), we gather together and blow the Wiener Whistle. It's a tradition!  

What to know about cancellation and attrition?

Posted by: Amanda Masters, White Lodging on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

As a sales manager, getting a signed agreement is probably one of the best feelings in the world.  On the other hand, as a sales manager, getting a cancellation, right before month end, quarter end, or year end, depending how you are evaluated, is the worst feeling in the world.  Now don’t get me wrong, we get it, things happen, plans change, and cancellations are inevitable, but let’s make sure we know the basics to avoid any confusion down the road.

Let’s start by defining what cancellation and attrition is.  Put yourself in the shoes of a meeting planner: you are booking a sales meeting at a hotel and you need 50 rooms for 2 nights for a total of 100 room nights.  You also require 1,000 square feet of meeting space for the one day meeting.  The guest room rate is $289, the meeting space has a room rental of $500, and a food and beverage minimum of $2,000.  Therefore, the total value of the program is $31,400.00. ($289 x 100 room nights = $28,900 + room rental $500 + food and beverage minimum $2,000).  The contract carries 90% cancellation and 90% daily attrition.

Situation A, Cancellation: Two months before your event is to take place, your boss tells you that he needs you to cancel the sales meeting. Since the contract was written with a 90% cancellation clause, your company owes the hotel $28,260.00 as a cancellation penalty for breaching the agreed upon contract.     

Situation B, Attrition:  Your cutoff date is approaching and the event manager from the hotel lets you know that you have only picked up 35 rooms per night.  It turns out many of your sale managers are attending a nationwide sales summit that was scheduled for the same week as your meeting.  You tell the hotel event manager that your group will not need any additional rooms past the 35 rooms booked; enter the attrition clause.  Since the contract was written with 90% daily attrition, your company is responsible for actualizing 45 rooms per night (50 room x 90%).  Since your group has only picked up 35 rooms per night, you are responsible for the difference between 45 and 35, or 10 rooms per night, 20 room nights total.  The attrition dollar amount is figured on the contracted guest room rate, so in this case, $289.  $289 x 20 room nights, means your company owes the hotel $5,780.00 as an attrition penalty for not fulfilling your end of the contract. 

Just one important thing to note, taxes will be charged on your cancellation and attrition fees. It isn’t up to the hotel, the law makes hotels pay it.

From the sales managers prospective, they never like someone to pay for guest rooms that go unused.  On the flip side, they do have to report up as to why anticipated revenue has changed.  If a contract is signed 9 months or a year in advance, the hotel is turning away other potential groups and making other business decisions based upon the anticipated revenue your group contracted to bring in.       

We all know things happen and cancellation and attrition is inevitable.  What can we do to make bad situation into a win-win situation?


As the Planner

  • Keep your sales manager in the loop. If you have even the smallest inkling that your group might cancel, let your sales manager know so they can prepare the hotel team.
  • When breaking the news to your sales manager, offer a solution instead of just saying your group is cancelling and you don’t want to pay the cancellation fee.

As the Hotelier

  • Reduce the cancellation fee if the planner is willing to sign a new agreement for a future booking.
  • Offer payment plans to ease the financial burden to planners.
  • Take a look at the total hotel; if the hotel is able to recoup or rebook a new group in the place of the cancelling group, maybe look at reducing the penalty.

“Life isn’t always perfect.  Life isn’t always easy.  Life doesn’t always make sense, but that’s the beauty of life.”

Event Design - The Design Process

Posted by: Kim Bakota, Kehoe Designs on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Kehoe Designs just took event design to the next level at The Geraghty. After successfully executing a global firm’s 37th annual holiday party, Kehoe Designs took the design process to a case study and provided a little insight on the design process.


A global firm hosted their 37th annual holiday party at The Geraghty, which is a venue with 25,000 sq. ft. of open space that is located less than four miles from McCormick Place and about five miles from the Magnificent Mile.

This was the client’s 3rd consecutive year celebrating in the space, and surprisingly, the only venue they had visited more than once. To continue providing experiences unique from previous events, the Kehoe Designs’ team blended deep sea and cosmic aesthetics with 360-degree immersive technology to create a dramatic and comprehensive, “Under The Cosmic Sea” environment for the client’s 700+ guest.


  • The open floorplan was utilized in-the-round, anchored by a 55’ x 55’ x12’ “Cosmic Curve” circular structure framing the dance floor.
  • Vast, flexible space allowed for a cocktail reception to flow into a buffet station dinner with dancing.
  • Large, themed neon-colored sculptures were suspended from the towering 22’ ceiling.
  • Lighting patterns scaled the perimeter of the floor-to-ceiling draping to create celestial effects.
  • Polished concrete floors reflected the décor and dynamic lights.
  • Each aspect was tailored to capitalize on the venue’s character and amplify the design.


Over 100 animated and programmable lights were used during the event, the most ever to be used in this space by the Kehoe Designs Technical Production team. These lights worked seamlessly with the décor elements to generate kinetic energy. Small moving and wash fixtures in the Cosmic Curve complimented a full-perimeter wash, which danced against the draping and changed colors and textures throughout the evening. Extensive use of haze accented light beams and connected the room with beams of light. 2,000 ft. of hand-crafted LED tubing cascaded from the central ceiling focal and embraced the radiant structure. A stylized high-end audio system focused sound within the Cosmic Curve, creating a booming dance environment while keeping a comfortable volume to allow conversation throughout the space.


The Kehoe Designs created a cohesive blend of technical production and décor to produce a surreal experience tailored to the open space. The Geraghty’s reflective, polished floor emphasized the textured lighting and gave the illusion that the acrylic chairs were floating. The above collage was brought to life by The Geraghty’s soaring ceiling, which allowed color-changing LED tubing to cascade downward to give the room life-like pulsing energy. Mirrored bars and tabletops strategically doubled the impact of the lighting and décor, providing glimpses of our galactic creatures from all angles. Every engaging detail, down to the iridescent accents in each centerpiece, was designed to immerse guests in their fascinating new world of bioluminescence.

Venue: The Geraghty | Event Design, Technical Production, & Photography: Kehoe Designs | Planning By: Meetings & Incentives World Wide | Catering By: Paramount Events

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ask the Expert Social Responsibility

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Friday, June 22, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question:  We hear a lot about Corporate Social Responsibility and wonder how a small company be involved in such a practice.

Answer: Corporate Social Responsibility is not something you just start, it must be part of the nature of the company or organization. It also does not require mass amounts of money or time. as the object is to accomplish something positive and not to make a PR Splash.  Consider starting with your hiring practices, are you actively seeking to hire a recent veteran? Their training and disciple translate into outstanding staff. This may not seem like a big step, but it makes a big impact on someone who has already served you.

Question: I see signs along the road with company and organization names as the ones who “Adopted” that part of the highway. How big of a commitment is such an undertaking and how should we pick the area?

Answer: If you are willing to make a commitment, such as adopting a highway, it can have a positive impact on those who see it, especially for your potential business partners or corporate neighbors. Plan to spend at least one day a week for one hour to pick up the debris that has collected and tend any landscaping you may have added. It does not have to be the same people every week, so you can rotate it to spread out the work. It can also be used as an evaluation of your staff, based on how much effort they put in when it was their turn. A project such as this can show the true commitment of your staff to the firm and also their ability to consistently follow through on an assignment.

Question: Everyday when I walk to the train I see homeless or unemployed people with signs asking for a handout. I do not feel comfortable giving money. Is there an acceptable alternative way to help them?

Answer: My daughter started seeing a homeless man in front of Northwestern Hospital every day when she came to work. The man was very well dressed and clean but he does not have a job and keeps trying to find work. That gave her a great idea and she convinced her brother to go with her once a month and distribute bags that have personal hygiene items such as a tooth brush, soap and deodorant.  She then also gets me to cook a whole turkey and carve it up and she makes about 40 sandwiches. She gives a bag, sandwich and a bottle of water to people who she thinks need it the most. She always gives one to the man in front of Northwestern, which is where she starts each month. She would not feel comfortable doing this on her own, which is why she has her brother with her. Now this makes a difference giving those with less something they really need.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Buying Power of Multi-Year Contracts

Posted by: Michelle Olewinski, Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

What is the benefit of a multiyear contract? Multiyear contracts present convenience for a group hosting a conference in the same city year after year and can save planners and organization time, reduce required negotiation, create cost savings, increase data collection and build great relationships.

Time: Securing 2 or more years will save an organization time, money and peace of mind. By doing this, you eliminate the need to do site visits and RFP gathering again next year.

Negotiation: Planners can gather information on the facility once and focus on strategic negotiating, which translates to consistent concessions and commissions with minimal increases in rates/pricing annually. 

Cost Savings: Event budgets can be determined early, giving the planner more time to focus on the important things like planning for the success of the event. And, if you have done all of this well in the beginning, you will have the peace of mind to know that you are well prepared for those unexpected surprises that inevitably come along with every meeting.

Data: Multiyear contracts are also important in data collecting. You can partner with a hotel/conference center and truly learn about the attendee experience. You can watch the behavior of attendees in regards to sleeping rooms, food and beverage, registration etc. and use these for future negotiations.

Relationships: Most importantly, multiyear contracts require a partnership. Planners and venues can create a strategic plan to build the event and their services. Entering into a contract is a major decision in the ever changing marketplace and with the ever-changing world of hospitality, a high level of service and convenience remain constant.   Hotels are sought after for hosting conferences and special events for these specific reasons. It’s convenient to have guestrooms, meeting space and meals under one roof, complimented by an eager staff that is equipped to handle any request that comes their way.

Next time you have concern on the risk of multiyear contracts, remember with risk comes great reward.

Whitney Taylor: Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
My involvement with other great live event industry organizations, such as NACE and ILEA led me to MPI. For Drape Kings, MPI is a great mix of our clients, prospective clients, and our clients' clients.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
Being a part of various committees! It is SO true that just showing up to meetings won't provide the full value of MPI. When you get to plan events together, learn, create and challenge one another, strong bonds are formed that you can't get anywhere else. THAT is what makes MPI most memorable.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I've always fallen under the arts & entertainment umbrella. I love every component that goes into the production of an event; how a cavernous space can transform into a rock concert, large conference, ANYTHING imaginable. Road cases, truss, motors, drape, everything rolling in to a show floor is fascinating and exciting!

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has been a very powerful connector to help open doors. As a member, I'm a peer of everyone else in the room; C-Suite to entry level event professionals. MPI allows me the opportunity to engage with clients in a meaningful, personable way, while getting to understand the nature of each of our businesses.

Tell us something unique about you?
I grew up on a farm in WI, and plan to get on the tractor this spring. I'm also a painter, and hope to get back to figure painting soon. Growing up with a dad who's a metal sculptor, and stepdad who's a farmer has been a dynamic combination which has cemented my love for nature and the arts.

Healthy Eating for the Attendee

Posted by: Mallory Mondloch, Pinstripes on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Business travel is hard on the body, mind and spirit. The traveler/attendee is sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, exposed to a lot of new germs on the airplane, dehydrated and exhausted. Help battle these travel symptoms and improve retention by providing healthy meal options.

Breakfast options can always include oatmeal, fruit and yogurt. Low sodium, low sugar, high protein snacks can be available throughout the day instead of candy or chips. For lunch and dinner, all salad dressings and cream based sauces can be served on the side.

Most people do not eat dessert on a regular basis, so why do all conferences have dessert on the table for lunch? It is extremely tempting to eat the brownie, cake or pie that is sitting right in front of you.

Baked potatoes and steamed vegetables can always be served in place of mashed potatoes, French fries and sautéed vegetables, all loaded in butter and salt. When possible, selections should be served dairy free or dairy optional.

Here is a great sample menu:


  • Oatmeal
  • Sliced Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Egg White Sandwiches

Am Break:

  • Whole Fruit
  • Trail Mix to include almonds, dried cranberries, dried mango’s, cashews and sunflower seeds
  • 4 ounce fruit smoothies


  • Create your Own Salad Bar with hot protein items such as grilled chicken and tofu
  • Composed Salads Mango and Sweet Potato or Quinoa
  • Hot Vegetable sides such as grilled asparagus
  • Soup
  • Sliced Fruit for Dessert

Taking some extra steps to create a healthier menu will promote higher levels of energy throughout the day for the weary traveler and attendee, which will ultimately generate higher information retention.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I was very fortunate to be introduced to MPI through my colleague Sasha Sook. She is so involved and always sharing such fun stories and experiences with me. I was lucky enough to attend the awards gala with her (and watch her win an award!!) and was able to meet so many inspiring people that I knew I wanted to be a part of the MPI community.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
I attended a leadership conference that introduced me to many of the board and committee members! While I did learn a lot and find my spot on the NEXT committee, I think squaring off against the male members in a beer stein holding contest was quite a rush.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I have always been a planner, I constantly was trying to put together fun new events for my friends and I to try that I decided to pursue it professionally. I started managing a restaurant in Minnesota and I jumped on the opportunity to help out with our booth at the Minnesota Bridal Convention! From there on, I was working on sales and operations for all of our catering and events and loved it. When the chance came to move to Chicago for a position at The Summit I knew it was the right step further my career.

How has MPI impacted your career?
In so many ways! I have attended leadership, educational and social events that have taught me so much and also really expanded my Network. Being new to the professional setting in Chicago, I have gained so much confidence in myself through networking and also attending events that I see a huge change in my personal and work life.

Tell us something unique about you?
I have a secret chocolate chip cookie recipe that is all the hype around my friends and family…so if you need some yummy treats, let me know!

The Stress of the Busy Season - How to Relax and Recharge

Posted by: Rachael Riggs, Tourism Vancouver on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

It is the busy conference season and you are taking care of everyone but you.   However, for you to take care of everyone else, you must make yourself a priority.   For you to produce a good meeting/event, you need to be the top of your game.  

I bring lots of experience in health and wellness.  Originally, I wanted to run corporate fitness centers and then I went to work for the Association for Fitness in Business.  It was the perfect place to meet the people I needed to know.   I had no idea it would change the path of my career.  I loved both the health and wellness side as well as the meeting side of working for AFB, which later came the Association for Worksite Health Promotion and then eventually was integrated into the American College of Sports Medicine.   Flash forward today, I have a unique opportunity to bring my 2 career “loves” together…health/wellness and meetings/events.   It is my belief that you must take care of yourself before you can take care of others.   In this Spring/Summer series on health and wellness, I will provide you with tips and tricks on how to take care of the best you and ways to help you stress less this season.

As a former planner, I get the time crunch and the deadlines and the stress it causes. You never want anyone to see you sweat. There is always the “buzz” you get from being in the thick of it all and the adrenaline rush is great, but it can take a toll on you.  Balance is key and we all need reminders of how to do this.   Over the years, I learned a few tools that I would like to share with you that really help me. Here are the top two:

Tip # 1 - First thing in the morning….even if it is 4am….give yourself  at least 5 – 10 minutes to get in the right “headspace” before you even get out of bed.   Meditation and breathing are the best ways to do this. I use an app called Headspace that walks you through a meditation. After a little stretching, I listen to Headspace.   Not only does this help me listen to my body, it prepares me mentally for the day.  Try it and I promise it will be a good way to start your day.

Tip #2 – Luckily, I attended a session on breathing by someone who studied under Deepak Chopra.   They taught us a breathing technique that really helps in stressful situations and I use it a lot on-site when everything is going 110mph or when I can not go to sleep.  It centers my mind and suggest you try it.   It is called the 478 Breathing Technique.   When you are stressed or can’t sleep, try the following:  

This is followed by the five-step procedure listed below:

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

478 will help you relax before you respond to a stressful situation or when the sheep are not working. 

I hope these questions spark some thought and inspires you to pay attention to you.   Being in great space mentally will help your stress level.   Any questions, feel free to reach out to me at rriggs@tourismvancouver.com or 847-853-1647 happy to help!

Help Wanted - The Marketing & Communications Committee needs YOU!

Posted by: MPI-CAC Marketing and Communication Committee on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Calling all project managers, social media stars, thought leaders and writers! The Marketing & Communications Committee needs YOU! 

If you’re thinking that this article is for someone with more marketing experience than you, think again.  With guidance from your fellow committee members, co-chairs, and the MPI-CAC executive office, taking a position on the committee allows you to explore the world of event marketing in a safe, organized environment.  Build your resume as you guide committees through creating a strategic marketing plan, employ metrics to measure the success of various social media posts and campaigns or create and manage a yearly editorial calendar.   Study best practices at the monthly meetings and take them back to your company to boost your own event exposure and attendance. Comprised of three subcommittees – Marketing Liaisons, Social Media, and Conversations + Connections – there’s a place for everyone to grow their career and build their business on the Marketing & Communications Committee. 

Are you intrigued? Good! Now let’s break down these subcommittees to find your perfect fit!

Marketing Liaison Subcommittee
You create and execute complex, large-scale events every day by breaking down a big picture into small, manageable pieces.  Put your project management skills to use as a Marketing Liaison.  Your role would be to guide a committee through a structured project plan to help them create and execute their event marketing initiatives.  Instead of generating the entire marketing plan from scratch, you provide expertise on deadlines, available platforms, and processes and procedures.  And if you’d like to help create content, your committee will surely welcome your contributions! 

Social Media Subcommittee
Do you always find the best memes? Have you #nailedit recently with a particularly witty #tbt post? Have you cultivated your personal brand across your social media platforms? If that sounds like you, the Social Media Subcommittee is the place to be!  Use your mad skills to create fun, interactive posts to increase awareness, promote chapter events, and inspire conversation. As you help manage the chapter’s social media platforms, you’ll learn Hootsuite and how to employ metrics to measure the impact of various posts on boosting awareness and attendance. 

C+C Subcommittee
We know you have some great tips and tricks up your sleeve from your years in the events industry.  Put your unique insight to great use on the C+C Subcommittee managing the content provided to the C&C bi-weekly newsletter.  This newsletter, tailored to our very own chapter, presents event ideas, discussions and topics throughout the year, providing thought leadership for your peers and colleagues.  Being engaged with this subcommittee will help you stay on the forefront of event professional topics to help educate the chapter.

See something you like? We thought you might.  The Marketing & Communications Committee has numerous opportunities for you to be creative, have fun, meet fellow chapter members and grow your event skill set. 

Want to learn more about joining the MarComm Committee? Click here to fill out the committee interest form.  We can’t wait to meet you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

December Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I was a part of MPI in South FL when I worked for the Renaissance Plantation Hotel. When I moved back to Chicago, I wanted to get involved in something so I decided to reach out and join.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
Too many good memories to only list one!

How did you become part of the event industry?
College Career Fair – totally random. I didn’t know the difference between a Ritz Carlton and Holiday Inn when I started.

How has MPI impacted your career?
It has allowed me to build some great relationships within the industry. Those relationships and friendships have helped me get to where I am.

Tell us something unique about you?
I have a 2 year old daughter named Danica.

3 Ultimate #SocialSelling Tips for Smart #EventProfs

Posted by: Barbara Rozgonyi, CoryWest Media on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Wondering how ​social selling really work​s and how it can work for you​?​​

Here’s a quick recap from my MPI-CAC NEXT presentation . . . .

In 2018, 70% of sales professionals plan to invest more time on social selling. Why is that?

According to LinkedIn, top social selling leaders realize these benefits:

  • 45% more opportunities
  • 51% more likely to achieve goals
  • 78% outsell peers who don’t use social media

Social selling is so successful that 70% of sales professionals plan to spend more time on social selling in 2018. But, what is it and how does it work? Let’s find out.


Step One: Get Your SSI Score

LinkedIn first coined the term “social selling” and they’ve even come up with a way for you to rate how well you do.

Your Social Selling Index score, or SSI for short, rates your performance on four quadrants: establish your professional brand, find the right people, engage with insights and build relationships.

You can get yours for free at https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/the-social-selling-index-ssi

Where do you need to spend more time?


Step Two: Realize Your PR [Personality + Reputation] Potential

PR is the missing ingredient in most content marketing, both for people and companies. Why is that? Because personality and reputation are often disconnected from values and virtues. When you are intentional about connecting, it shows.

How do you know what your values are? It’s easy. Think about three to five people, or for companies -brands, you admire.

Then answer this question, “When you think of __________, what positive qualities do you associate with them?”

Which attributes do you see more than once? These are your personal values. These values will drive your content marketing, decisions and work performance. For example, if one of your values is integrity, you will do best when you work with people and partners who have the same value.

Now, check your reputation and see how you show up on Google, LinkedIn – and even Siri. Do you like what you see? To track every mention of you, or your company, online sign up for free email alerts at https://www.google.com/alerts.

Pro tip: you can set up alerts for your competition, top clients and prospective companies. You’ll always be in the know, up to the minute – and ready to connect IRL and online.


Step Three: Show Up in the Right Places

According to 2018 Content Marketing Trends research, the top three social networks B2B companies use are, in order, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Top three types of content? Social media, case studies and videos.

Is your business more B2C? Your top social networks, in order, are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Your top types of content are social media, videos and photos. B2C is a much more visual space so have fun!

Now that you know where to invest your time, make sure your content is BRAVE: bold, relevant, authoritative, valuable and energizing.

This applies to content you create, curate and comment on. Follow the leaders and share their top content.

Remember to add your take as a comment and write a LinkedIn article or a blog post if you have more to say. Use a free tool like http://rightrelevance.com to track the hot topics in the meetings and events industry.

Yes, you and can and should spend more time on social selling. Make the most of it with these four steps for smart eventprofs.



The lifecycle of event planning - Part 4: Execution

Posted by: Sarah Wantz, Wantz Events on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

After each detail is finalized, all vendors confirmed, and every element carefully timed out in the run of show, we move into execution phase where planners go from ‘planning’ to project managing. Everything you have spent months booking and organizing comes together for a few (hopefully) perfect hours! Below, we discuss elements to consider and plan for, insuring a smooth and flawless event.

The number one thing to do onsite is simple, but often times people forget… treat EVERYONE kindly and with respect, regardless of how big or small their role in the event might be; the valet, load-in crew, the bussers, union staff, the kitchen staff. We are all in this together and the event success is dependent on one another so treat each other like teammates, as we all want to succeed!

Onto setup… in order to set yourself up for success, a few reminders we like to keep in mind:

  • Be overly detail oriented with a clear plan up front, shared with all involved parties
  • Follow up and document vendor notes, times, potential issues (example – loading dock only available 9a-10a, call security at 10a upon arrival)
  • Strong load-in plan, understanding any dock and/or venue restrictions
  • Check in with all vendors to confirm they have updated documents and know exactly where/what they are to be doing
  • Know who your onsite partners are – catering lead, setup and teardown crew, etc.
  • Have a pre-meeting with onsite event staff, confirming they know all event details and have answers to potential guest questions
  • Be positive! Remain calm when things go wrong and immediately look for a resolution

From a guest standpoint, their event perspective begins immediately with the arrival experience and check-in. This is the first element the guest will encounter and can set the tone for a positive or negative experience. We always recommend additional staff at check-in to insure this is smooth. Guests always seem to have an intrinsic concern they will not be found on the list, or can get easily agitated at the thought of waiting at check-in. 

As the event continues on, it is important to frequently check in with your vendors – does the band need water, are the photo booth props still organized and nice looking, is the photographer hitting everything on the requested photo list, are the food stations plentiful, are the bussers clearing as necessary? Checking in to make sure the client is happy is also always a good idea. While everything is up and running smoothly, begin to review the teardown plan and follow up with any vendors necessary for load-out.

Once the event concludes, everyone usually sprints into action on the teardown plan. Be readily available to answer questions and have a good understanding of moving items out of the venue. Once all items and vendors are out, walk the space to confirm everything is being left as it was when you arrived and thank your event partners for their support on a successful event!

After each guest has left and each vendor has loaded up, think about measuring the event’s success and considering wins, misses and learnings. Provide compliments and feedback to your event partners and also receive feedback from them, as well as the client, setting yourself up for continued success on future events. Learning from our mistakes and also realizing our successes helps us learn and continue to grow into better event partners so the next event can be even smoother.

As planners and event industry professionals, we all know unexpected issues can arise no matter how many times you followed up or conversations you had in advance. Events involve many moving pieces and parts so sometimes, things out of our control are bound to pop up. We are responsible for planning and considering every detail, so have your problem-solving hat on and remember to remain calm!/







Paradise Coast # 1 Golf Destination

Posted by: Debi DeBenedetto, Naples Marco Island Everglades CVB on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)




Welcome to Florida's Paradise Coast of Naples Marco Island Everglades.  Miles of white sand beaches, luxury resorts and Golf galore!  IAGTO voted Naples America's number 1 golf destination for 2016.  For meetings our Resorts will please every type of sporting or beach event with 4 & 5 star quality.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Rebecca DeLuca, December Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
When I was a meeting planner in Ohio (my first industry role) I was a planner-member and attended MPI PEC in 2007! When I moved to Chicago I became involved with MPI-CAC and when I was asked to chair the Holiday Party in 2013 I didn’t hesitate to accept. It’s been a very fun 5+ years of involvement!

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
Being recognized as the 2017 Chapter Leader of the Year for my service to the chapter was a true highlight within my MPI career, thus far. I am also very proud to have played a part in the creation of two chapter education events, the Signature Luncheon and NEXT, during my time as VP Education.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I had a marketing internship with Cardinal Health when I was attending The Ohio State University and part of my responsibilities involved working on the 4,000 person annual program. After a few long months leading up to the event and looong days working the program, I was hooked and knew this was the industry I wanted to grow my career within.

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has given me the opportunity to serve on a board, cultivate my strategic thinking skills and immensely grow my network. Within the safe environment of MPI-CAC I have learned how to make mistakes, ask for help and be appreciative of diverse perspectives. I am better at what I do and how much I contribute to my organization’s success because of MPI.

Tell us something unique about you?
My go-to unique fact is that I drove an ice cream truck as a summer job in college (yes, free ice cream all day, every day)! On a more personal note I have a beautiful 13-month-old baby boy and he’s been on 5 trips with us so far - starting him young!

Ask the Expert Speaker Selection

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: In the past we have always used our senior executives to be the speakers at our conferences. While some can communicate quite well, we have several who are true experts in the field but do not have the presence to be a standalone speaker. How can we use their skills and put them into an environment where they can feel comfortable?

Answer: There are many people who have great knowledge, but are naturally not great speakers in a standalone environment. Where you can use people like this is to have them be part of a panel discussion where the moderator can direct specific questions to them to address. This format also allows you to invite pre-conference questions that can be directed to members of the panel. The best way to use this format is having someone develop the questions to be asked first and then assemble the panel members who are best able to address each question.

Question: We have attended many conferences where independent speakers have been booked to cover a topic or address certain issues that are the main theme of the conference. How do you select a speaker who is not only an expert but will be well received at our conference?

Answer: The list of independent speakers is quite large and you need an expert to help to narrow down your choices from a point of cost and abilities to address your audience. Use a speakers’ bureau to give you the options available and then request a video of each speaker to review each one that interests you. Once you have narrowed your list further, then make a point to speak to them and be very specific about the topic and the material you want them to present. Also make a point to advise them about people at your conference who might be offended by certain remarks and terms you want them to avoid. Doing as much pre-screening as possible will show in their reception by the audience.

Question: We recently booked a speaker for an event this Fall and just heard them speak at an event and were not impressed with them. How do we move to change the speaker and is there a cost to cancel their contract?

Answer: First, if you used a speakers’ bureau, have them help you replace the speaker with a more suitable choice. Be aware that in most speakers contracts, you will find that when you book them there is a usually a non-refundable deposit. When a speaker is booked for date they are no longer available to be booked by another organization and must decline other booking requests for that date. This is a normal business practice and one that should not surprise you. If you feel the speaker you booked is the wrong choice, pay the cancellation fee. It will be a small cost compared to the issues they could create at your event not being the appropriate choice.

Question: How should you prepare for the unforeseen situation of having a key speaker not show at your conference or cancel at the last minute?

Answer: When you plan a conference every great meeting professional will tell you that you must plan for the worst situations from the beginning. It would be difficult to have someone standing by, who is of the same caliber, as your original speaker. However, you can have alternate topics that can be presented using the other speakers in your program. Prior to your conference, make sure you have a meeting or a conference call to discuss such an event happening and have a specific plan in place ready to be used. If you plan ahead for problems, they can be handled with organization instead of panic.

The lifecycle of event planning - Part 3: Vendue and Vendor Sourcing

Posted by: Sarah Wantz, Wantz Events on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

We are now onto the phase where we know and understand our clients, we know the tools to accomplish their vision, and so the time begins to source vendors that can make it all happen. Dependent on the event format and client’s wish list, an event planner will be booking and managing everything from the venue to the DJ, catering, entertainment, sound, lighting, photography and interactive activations. With so many moving pieces, a quality team of vendors is absolutely crucial in putting on a high quality event.

The first booking, if possible, should be the venue as it sets the tone for the entire event. This also may determine your date (if flexible for the client) and may set a hard limit for guest count.

When searching for the perfect venue, there are a number of questions to ask to determine if the space works for the event. Venue type is an easy starting off point – does the client want a hotel, restaurant, or freestanding venue? From here, finding out what venues are available for the client’s event date, and then moving down the list of questions once you have determined the top venues of interest. Below we shared some recommended questions to ascertain if a venue will work for your event:

  • Location: Is the venue located in an area that makes sense for the client? Easy to get to, safe, enjoyable neighborhood or centrally located to their office or hotel? Is there parking or valet?
  • Inclusions: This is where a lot of venues win the business! Does the space come with any furniture, linens, in-house security, built-in AV? If the venue is priced right and also has inclusions that save your client potentially thousands of dollars, it may be a no-brainer. In the case of no inclusions, review their preferred vendor list and understand what outside vendors you can bring in, and if there is a fee associated.
  • Timeframe: How long can you utilize the space? If you have a lot of activations and require a full day setup, will the venue charge you per hour or does it include all day access?
  • Pricing: Often times, a client’s decision will come down to pricing, and additional costs they will incur on elements not included with the venue. Be sure they fully understand what is and is not included in the price. Dependent on what day of the week the event falls, you may be able to get a reduced fee.

Now we move onto all other event vendors!  Even though many planners have set vendors they prefer to work with, that vendor may not always be able to provide exactly what you need. You may also be working on an event outside of your home base and need to source vendors local to that market. Finding new vendors can sometimes be challenging as you don’t know their quality level, if pricing is fair based on the market, and if overall, they will be a good event partner. This is where a lot of research and references come in.

Do your due diligence and search for all vendors capable of providing the service you require. Reach out to the top three based on that research and see how they respond to you. Are their responses timely or are you repeatedly following up with them for quotes? Does their pricing seem reasonable according to the market? Ask to speak with previous clients to hear about how they work and/or if their product is high quality. Another helpful tip is to hone in as closely as possible on your exact needs, as early as possible. This will give the vendor a very clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish and provide more realistic cost estimates up front. We all know that can be wishful thinking as special events are ever-evolving through the planning process.

The venue and vendors you partner with are paramount in pulling off a successful event!. Insure you are all on the same page up front and communicate well throughout the planning process. Pick them wisely and treat them well as you are all in this together with the same end goal.

Unique Meeting Venues Just Outside of Philadelphia

Posted by: Rachel Riley, Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Valley Forge and Montgomery County are the ultimate meetings destination.

With more than 300 cutting-edge venues, planners can hold an event in the countryside and still have that city feel.

From beautiful estates to golf courses, Valley Forge and Montgomery County can revolutionize your meeting and forge the extraordinary with unique meeting venues that are located near major roadways, and minutes from Center City.

Montco is home to more than 20 venues with at least 2,000-square-feet of space, including two IACC-approved conference centers, and dozens of conference hotels.

Valley Forge is well-equipped to host even the largest event with a pair of expo and convention facilities: the 240,000-square-foot Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, and the newly renovated 100,000-square-foot Valley Forge Convention Center at the Valley Forge Casino Resort.

Plus, many of Montgomery County’s unique meeting venues offer historic elegance combined with modern amenities, like at the 1700s Philander Chase Knox Estate, which is surrounded by 3,500 beautiful acres of Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Or, the 44-acre and more than 200-year-old Georgian Highlands Mansion & Gardens features a two-acre formal garden enclosed by massive stone walls. An excellent example of early 20th-century historic architecture, this facility includes nine outbuildings, bright and spacious rooms with 15-foot ceilings, and 2,400 square-feet to accommodate 120 to 150 people.

People enjoy the natural lighting, customizable space, and great views of locations such as those and the Merk Conshy, the flagship location of the newly renamed WorkMerk.

Other properties that also provide great views include the 19th-century field stone barn at John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, a 4,000-square-foot space that sets the stage for an unforgettable event.  The first American home of John James Audubon celebrates his artistic and scientific legacy with a small museum housing all his major paper works, and original oil paintings.

Another barn facility, the fully-restored 18th-century dairy barn, Barn on Bridge provides the perfect canvas for you to paint the meeting of your dreams for up to 200 people.

Montgomery County is also home to 54 golf courses with 300,000 yards for meeting and playing! Some of the most historic, and top-ranked courses in the country are here. And, with 75 hotels, incredible attractions, and 1,600 restaurants, Montco is the ideal destination for your meeting.

For more information on meetings in Valley Forge and Montgomery County, visit www.valleyforge.org/meetings.


Visit This Valued MPI-CAC Partner

Visit This Valued MPI-CAC Partner

Visit This Valued MPI-CAC Partner


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