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Archives for Organizers

Sponsors need to tell people face-to-face about their products and services. You, as an event organizer bring people together face-to-face. What could be more natural than getting together to create a productive event for sponsors, attendees and event organizers?

Easier said than done! Matching sponsors with the proper event sponsorship opportunity take a goal, yes, but it also take specific project management skills and emotional investment.

The project requires

  • knowing what language to use that captures sponsor attention,
  • what channels can be used to approach potential sponsors,
  • how to write a market-designed event sponsorship proposal,
  • and in the end, how to shape value for both the sponsors and the attendees

Roberta Vigilance has written a book entitled “How to Secure Sponsors Successfully” in which she provides strategies and tools to help event organizers attract and support event sponsors with successful events.

Roberta is an experienced event sponsorship consultant. She shares her tips for effective events supported by sponsors and shapes a marketing strategy, from the event organizer’s perspective — “Because of you, your sponsors are fully aware of who they are placing their brand in front of.”

Be Passionate:  Be the FIRST enthusiast who leads the way from strangers in the room to connections brought together because YOU know these people can benefit from knowing one another!

Know Your Audience:  Events are most often designed and implemented  for specialized groups of people who share common goals, problems and potential solutions.  When you know your audience’s haves and wants — their needs and strategies, you can broker a great sponsorship event that helps your attendees find solutions for their specific needs.

Help Sponsors Achieve their Goals:  First, you need to know what the sponsor’s goals ARE.  Then you need to creatively help them achieve their goals.  There is a difference in event design for a meet and greet, and a product introduction to a new market.

Be Honest and Knowledgeable:  Promise only what you can deliver. Know what you can deliver.  Know what the sponsor wants delivered.  And know what your Attendees want.  And plan accordingly.

Be Persistent, Helpful and Effective:  Pitching your proposal takes finding the right person or committee in the sponsor’s company, arranging a meeting far enough in advance of the event, helping design an experience for great results, and smoothing the way at the event itself.  Selling a sponsorship is just the first step.  Implementation is where you earn your stripes… and your ROI!

For more information about Roberta Vigilance’s services and book (How to Secure Sponsors Successfully), see http://www.eventsandsponsors.com.

 

People attend meeting and events over and over again because they feel they receive value from attending each time. Once they attend a few meetings and don’t feel that they benefited they quit attending.
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It’s no secret that we all act that way. What seems to be a secret to many groups and organizations is how to deliver the “value” that members and volunteers are seeking.

During her Lazy Leader Road Show, Cynthia D’Amour shared how to attract (and retain) members by appealing to their “hot buttons.” People who attend meetings are looking for some combination of these attributes:

  • Personal/professional development
  • Make a difference
  • Be part of a community

Every organization is different, so each organization’s members look for different combinations of these attributes.

Chapters of professional organizations rely more on professional development than a business networking mixer group. But, both types of organizations have the same challenge — to deliver the “value” that meets the needs of members in these three areas.

Here’s a summary of the series of posts on the Top 10 Business Networking Tips:

  1. Know Your Objectives
  2. Update Your Business Card
  3. Join Groups
  4. Turn Contacts Into a Network
  5. Make Notes About Each New Contact
  6. Follow-Up With New Contacts
  7. Managing Your Contacts
  8. Remembering To Keep In Contact With Your Contacts
  9. Give Speeches To Groups
  10. Host An Event

Start with #1 and work your way through the list. When you reach #9 and #10 you’ll find that networking has become much easier — and more valuable.

Keith Johnston of OnSite Events posted a reminder that every attendee can benefit from by spending time and money to attend meetings and events.

Events are no longer simply a conference, tradeshow, meeting or party. They are an investment with return expectations.

There are many ways to determine the return on investment, but eventually the cost of attending business meetings and events needs to translate into a financial benefit to the organizations that paid for their employees to attend.

One challenging part of estimating the ROI of sending people to big events is the time delay between expenditure and return. It can take months or years for new contacts to become customers. And, it’s hard to determine the benefit what was learned from the speakers.

One approach is to have employees write a “trip report” that details the contacts they saw and the things they learned. Over time, these trip reports can be compared to the benefits from building relationships with those contacts and implementing what was learned.

One of the benefits of the Internet is that it’s helped us become aware of how the large issues in the world affect us. At the same time, it’s become more frustrating when we try to take action and “make a difference” to improve things.

How many times have you sent a YouTube link about an important issue to your contact list — then wondered if the video made a difference in how they act? The same frustration happens when trying to use social networking sites like Facebook to made a difference.

So, how do you really make a difference on the key issues you’re concerned about? Face-to-face with the people you want to influence.

When you interact with people face-to-face you have an excellent opportunity to answer their questions immediately, as well as grow your relationships with them.

For example, if you’re concerned about the environment, help your friends and associates understand your concern. Annie Leonard has created a 20 minute video on the “Story of Stuff” that you can use to host a house party in your home or present at a local organization.

She also provides a complete set of communications tools, including a discussion guide, group activities, and a list of ways individuals can make a difference in advancing sustainability.

When your organization publicizes a public event, remember to select the category “Green/Sustainability” on the event description form. This helps publicize your event in three ways.

  1. It helps people find your event in calendars of local events.
  2. Your event can be included in a weekly newsletter that’s sent to people who want to know about sustainable and green events in their area.
  3. Your event will be automatically included on other Web sites that use the event registration database of sustainable and green events.

Using online websites to publicize events is just one of the ways you can use the Internet to make a difference in your community — and the world.

We’re all looking for better ways to connect with other people so we can have great experiences.
The options for electronic connections has grown tremendously from the telephone and e-mail to include instant messaging, SMS text messaging on our cell phones, and social networking Web sites like MySpace and Match.com. Let’s not forget about blogs, where comments can be a conversation. And, the newest way to share everything about your life, Twitter.

While most of these services can help grow online relationships, their most valuable uses are to share information and arrange face-to-face encounters with another person or group.

Tony Karrer links to a post by Kathy Sierra (Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video…) on attending the SXSW conference that covers online communicating. She said:

Bottom line: Face-to-Face matters, and the more people we meet online, the more people we now want to connect with offline.

She points out that one of the reasons people attend face-to-face events is the emotional energy of being around others who believe as you do. SXSW attendees believe in the power and benefits of online communication and media. And they came together face-to-face to learn from each other and support each other.

Face-to-Face meetings versus online meetings - reasons for each
Another powerful motivation for attending face-to-face events is physical touch. Whether it’s a hardy handshake at business events or a friendly hug or kiss at social events, physical touch is key to great relationships.

By the way, she also listed 10 great ways to get people together face-to-face.

The chart highlights how to choose whether to hold an online event or a face-to-face event. If it’s only for information sharing, especially among people who already know each other, hold the meeting online. However, if the attendees need to build relationships and become motivated, face-to-face is still the best way to meet.

So, when you’re deciding whether to have an online meeting or a face-to-face meeting, consider whether the relationships everyone will form are more valuable than everyone’s cost of traveling to the meeting.

It seems that after attending a meeting or event, we come away feeling that there was more benefit in the networking than the presentations.

Every conference organizer tries their best to make every speaker relevant and beneficial for the audience, but frequently it just doesn’t turn out that way. I’ve been on plenty of conference planning committees – and have presented at lots of conferences and monthly meetings – so I’ve experienced the frustration from both sides.

The authors of We Have Always Done It That Way feel the same way:

Ask any conference attendee where the value is and you will most likely here, “in the hallways” or “at the social functions”. Why? Because this is the place where real-time business issues can be addressed.

They have some good ideas for helping attendees solve current problems by using the Web to improve networking before, during, and after a conference or event. They also have some good ideas on how to learn about attendee needs so speakers can present more of what the audience is looking for.

For us in event promotion, improving the benefits of an event gives us more to tell prospective attendees – and improves the likelihood that those who attend will come again in the future.

A networking technique that isn’t talked about very often is holding “house parties” to share with people how you feel about a non-profit organization or political candidate.

Many of the changes in our community we would like to see require raising awareness of a problem or need before people will become involved. This is true whether you are supporting a cause, non-profit organization, or political candidate. A house party is a gathering of people at a home so you can influence several people at once face-to-face. Hosting a house party is a great way to bring together friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers in a comfortable environment to talk about an important cause or political candidate that you support.

In addition to promoting a cause or candidate, house parties are a great way to connect with likeminded people and grow your network.

Meeting people face-to-face at networking events provides quality conversation time, but it can be a slow process to build a network of contacts.

Many networkers have found that public speaking can attract quality contacts much faster than one-to-one networking.

Many civic groups and business groups are eager to have speakers present informative, educational, and inspirational speeches and presentations to their members.

While practically all local groups expect speakers to volunteer to speak for free, it’s an opportunity to highlight what you know and what you do.
Look through the calendar in your local business newspaper, daily newspaper, or various online calendars, such as SureToMeet, to find groups that have speakers at monthly meetings. Then, send them a brief proposal offering to speak to their group.

Be specific and talk about the things you know best. Don’t try to teach people everything you do. Focus on no more than two or three areas of what you want them to learn about. Most importantly, cover the topics you feel you understand the best. This will reduce some of your stress.

Use handouts, visuals, or PowerPoint slides to support your presentation. For people who are worried about stage fright, these props can help carry them through the talk. These tools help communicate to your audience — and serve as an outline to remind you of what to say.

Here are a few types of organizations that use speakers at events:

You are probably a member of at least one of these groups (see Tip #4), so you may already know the person in that group who schedules speakers.

One of the benefits of networking through public speaking is that after your speech, people who are especially interested in your topic will come up and introduce themselves, and give you their business card. Others in the audience will write down your contact information (from your last slide or from the host organization’s event materials).

It takes time and effort to work this process, but the benefits of public speaking are tremendous.

You can network at practically any event or activity, but a few types of events produce the best business networking results.

Events that are promoted as “networking” generally make it easy to meet a large number of people quickly, but they don’t necessarily have the structure to help you create ongoing relationships.

This means that in addition to attending pure business networking events, consider joining organizations and groups compatible with your networking objectives.
Here are a few types of organizations that have events where you can meet other like-minded members:

To find these organizations in your area check out these resources:

Here are organizations that are focused on business networking as their main activity and have networking events throughout the country:

Once you find a few local groups and organizations to join, be sure to volunteer for committees that can use your skills. Working with key committees within an organization gives you an opportunity to develop ongoing relationships. It also gives other members an opportunity to see the quality of your work, which can lead to them including you in business-related projects and activities.

While networking at business-related groups produces great results, also be open to networking opportunities at your more casual and fun groups. In addition, it’s great to volunteer at civic and social services organizations.

Here are Web sites that can help you find volunteer opportunities at non-profit organizations:

Whether you join business, civic, social services groups – or a casual group of people who share your interests – you’ll find that getting involved in groups will give you plenty of good networking opportunities.