Categories
Business Events Life

Vision Casting for Your Business

In the name of vision casting, many coaching and self development programs ask you some variation of these questions:

“What will your life look like one year now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now? What would your perfect day be? Who do you want to become?”

I’m not knocking any them — in my own book, Stop Wasting Time and Burning Money, there’s literally a chapter devoted to considering your vision. It’s all about doing the work of future casting, practicing visualization, and all that good stuff.

Knowing where you’re headed is common sense, and I’m here for it!

But Is the Practice Still Powerful?

By asking these types of questions so often, however, there’s the reality that potency can be lost. Sometimes questions strike us powerfully because they are novel. Admittedly, there is something wonderful about an unexpected prompt that asks us to think in new and different ways.

But when every life coach, performance guru, and internet sales page is throwing the same tired questions in your face, the novelty disappears quickly. (Or is that just my opinion?)

If you’re like me, you find yourself asking:

  • Are these overdone questions?
  • Have we used and abused them for far too long?
  • Is there still value in the unknowing and curious state that question puts you in?

I say yes…and no.

What Impacts Our Question Receptivity?

When I’ve been asked to answer the question about what my life will look like in a year, I’ve noticed the answer perceptibly shifts along with my mental state and circumstances.

The reality is, when you’re in a place of struggle, it’s hard to see past the struggle. 

When you’re in the muck and the mire, it can be a challenge in and of itself to pull yourself up. We’ve all been there. Trying to “look into the future” and see something positive and good in those times can be a real shit show.

Like…yes Guru Gary, a few years from now I can see a magical world where I didn’t accidentally fuck myself over by not paying enough taxes.

Peering even further for Mentor Mallory, I can envision a world where my alarm clock causes me to spring out of bed so I can rush to my journal and start my gratitude meditations. Maybe, assuming I haven’t had a heart attack by then, I’ll be grateful that I’m not working 2.5 jobs PLUS a side hustle while I try to get this business off the ground!

And revealing it all for Coach Craig, I’ll share a vision of my glowing future, filled with many miles run, crunches crunched, and downward dogs. (Thankfully I’m responding to him via Zoom, so it’s not immediately apparent that I’m rolling my eyes and eating Oreos in the same sweatpants I’ve been wearing for three days.)

Our circumstances and mindset absolutely impact how we envision our futures.

Being in a Good Place Makes Us More Likely to See (And Believe) in Good Things

When we’re in a good place in life, it’s much easier to look forward and see MORE good coming. From personal experience, I know that when I’m already practicing feel-good habits (like gratitude, movement, and setting aside money for taxes) and feeling grounded and positive, I tend to vision cast in a way that is, shockingly, much more grounded and positive.

Rather than responding grudgingly, or with cynicism or defeatism, I’m able to vision cast with a great deal of intention and a belief that my outcomes will be amazing. In fact, I would take it one step further and say I’m also more likely to believe in the vision I’m casting. I think, say, and believe more good things are possible when I’m coming from a position of strength.

That being said, I’m not saying to not do vision casting, or implying things need to be perfect in your life before you start creating a future vision. However, I am noting that I’m all about doing it while in the right frame of mind.

A few small steps that can help you get there?

Practice positive habits. Drinking enough water, being in the habit of gentle movement, building a journaling or gratitude practice: these aren’t things you wait to do in some perfect future. No! These are things that you can start doing now, in order to cultivate the mindset and sense of wellbeing that will help lay a stronger foundation for your desired future.

Believe In the Vision You Cast

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but….

none – not a single one – of my past life vision casting practices ever came to fruition. (Is it too late to ask Guru Gary for a refund?!)

Sometimes better came. Sometimes different showed up. Other times, I simply struggled to believe.

The future I cast for myself didn’t feel like something that could ever be a reality for me.

Even though I know how powerful the practice of vision casting is, I also think that we’ve probably all had the experience of not believing in the vision that we cast, of not believing in ourselves.

We do this future-focused practice because our coach encouraged us to do it, or someone from stage said it was a great idea, or some book or influencer said it was what changed their life.

But when it comes down to it, it feels a little bit like trying on Aunt Thelma’s hundred year old girdle set. There’s way too much going on, nothing fits like it should, and you’re left feeling like it was too much, or too hard, or too complicated, or too obscure to work for you.

The Fly in the Ointment

And that’s the fatal flaw (or the fly in the ointment, if you will).

We try to jump into vision casting without making any effort to prepare ourselves for it in the present. In many ways, we treat it like buying a lottery ticket. We throw in our lucky numbers, we imagine how fun it would be if we were to win it all….and then we buy some cheap wine and go back to whatever we normally do.

Along with that comes the sneaky little idea that we’ll start making changes if the vision begins to unfold.

This is a problem because it lets us have the fun of vision casting (even if we do it ironically or cynically or from a dark, Cheeto encrusted part of our souls), without calling us into any form of work connected to vision creation.

Doing the Work

Before you begin vision casting and planning for what your life will look like in a year, or five, or ten….

Work on your mindset.

Your inner self.

Your habits and ways of being.

Find the deep work that needs to be done and lean into doing it.

Because that, right there, is where the change happens. That is where the magic is – in the present life that you’re literally living right now.

When I consider all of the years of goal setting and vision casting that I have participated in throughout my journey, the most powerful and impactful practices have occurred within the last 5 years. Not coincidentally, that’s also when I had actively started doing the deep work.

When I decided to dig in and change my life, that is when my life changed.

I stopped waiting for the big future win that was going to make everything in my life so different, and I started cultivating the soil and planting the seeds that would enable me to actually be part of co-creating the life I desired.

Change is Calling

The reality is, you’ve got to be willing to change if you want something different. 

We want different, we want better, we want that 7 figures, that fancy car, that travel lifestyle… yet we’re not willing to do the work to grow, learn, and improve who we are, how we live, the decisions we make and the words we speak in the present.

We’re not preparing ourselves for the future we’re casting, which means it’s going to come into being.

When I look back over the last 5-6 years of my life, I feel like I’m a different woman now. Don’t get me wrong….I was amazing then! But I’m definitely a better version of my amazing self today.

When I vision cast now, it’s with a completely different mindset.

It’s something I do with clear intentions, massive awareness, and the knowledge that, in a year from now, I’ll be better off than I am today. It’s also knowing that it won’t be all rainbows and unicorns.

However, I’m empowered to visualize with a massive belief in who I am, how I show up, and who I want to be.  

Look Inward & Develop Your Own Self-Belief

The next time someone asks where you want to be a year from now, I challenge you to first do the inner work to lay a foundation for your future self.

If you can’t stand strong in believing in yourself, consider working with a coach or mentor to help you get there. For myself, working with a coach saved my life (and my business!).

No, I wasn’t technically dying (it was all on the inside). But, I felt hopeless to create change, and couldn’t seem to see the forest for the trees. I was buried in my own self doubt, and working with a coach helped me shift so many things in my life, my thinking, my language and so much more.

I realized that, with all my previous vision casting and attempts at creating change, I was doing a lot of pretending.

Pretending to be ok.

Pretending to be happy.

Pretenidng I wasn’t fucking miserable and doing my best to hide it from the world.

Because honestly, I was NOT okay.

I couldn’t see beyond my face and my current circumstances, much less try to visualize life a year in the future. Doing some actual work around that was what allowed me to finally begin the process.

It’s also what allowed me to finally develop the business I had been dreaming of for so long.

Being Present Today to Build Your Business’s Tomorrow

Now, I help businesses create workflows, systems & processes, and optimal tech stacks.

Some people may think that sounds….

boring.

Honestly, it’s anything but.

I think of it as teaching you how to do the tangible work of building a business that is prepared for the future you’re casting.

You want to make an impact?

Scale to the next level?

Build a legacy?

None of it is going to happen if you haven’t built a sustainable set of systems that will support that dream. In the same way that you get to dig deep and gain inner clarity for yourself around who you are and what vision you’re cultivating, you get to do the same for your business.

How powerful is that?

Take a Breath (Or Two)

If all this vision casting and inner work is resonating, take a breath.

Take another one.

If you look back and consider your previous attempts at goal setting, vision casting, or other visualization practices, can you recognize the limitations?

Can you see how preparing yourself for the vision is the work of right now, in both your personal life and your business?

You are amazing. You have a purpose. And you are absolutely here for a reason. Choose to believe that, then take that next step. Odds are, you already know exactly what to do.

————-

As the “get shit done” person who holds the answers to what stands between you and the crap that slows you down and takes up all your time, I’ve created an incredible online community so you can quickly and easily bring your ideas to life, get your business on track, and increase your profits, all while doing what YOU do best.

This community will provide you with support and accountability as you put all the moving parts of your business together. Join us, and share the ideas, questions, and projects that truly light you up and push your vision forward — join us!

Categories
Business Events Life

Life in 4500 Miles

Earlier this spring, I decided that I was going to do a road trip for 6 weeks or so. I had a client event that I needed to drive to, so I started planning out a journey around the event. It was going to be amazing. I knew I was going to move out of my apartment, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to feed my wanderlust and work. Plus, I planned to see friends and family along the way. Total win-win.

My intuition kicked in on a very specific piece of my journey, so I verified, double and triple checked that piece. Let’s just say my intuition was right like it always is.

EVERY.

DAMN.

TIME.

They say if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. 

This was no laughing matter.

My trip imploded from day 1, hour 2. 

It didn’t take long for my plans to go to hell in a hand basket.

So, what do you do when it feels like the whole world is falling around you?

You adapt.

At least that’s what I do.

I shifted and redirected.

I faced the storm head on…

And I lived to tell about.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, they say. 

I feel stronger.

I feel more powerful.

I feel more raw.

I’m more open.

The next 3 weeks were a tumultuous ride. 

Storm clouds and sunshine.

Ups and downs.

Peaks and valleys.

Physically, emotionally, mentally, financially.

I’ve been pulled and tried and tested at every turn.

I haven’t made it out unscathed, but I made it through.

Leaning into the depth of pain.

Learning my strengths.

Owning my power.

Honoring my loss.

Accepting that I will never know the whole truth.

Even in this moment, I am still processing.

I am still shedding the hurts, doubts and questions.

I’m seeing myself in another light.

I’m giving myself grace.

Loving myself instead of judging.

As I type this, I am 24 hours away from this road trip ending. Yesterday, I drove 8 hours across the vast Nevada desert. 

Area 51 is all quiet in case you were curious 

As I drove across the vastness, I experienced my entire journey throughout the day and I reflected on the journey in every aspect.

I’ve crested 9,000 foot mountains and been on top of the world.

I’ve driven below sea level and experienced the dry, arid landscape.

I’ve driven through Monsoons and come out the other side to glorious sunshine.

I’ve driven through Death Valley, literally.

I’ve made friends, lost what I though was love, explored new opportunities for intimacy, received an outpouring of love from family and friends along the way.

I cried tears of angst and pain.

Been pissed off as fuck.

Been rescued.

Shown up for myself and others.

Honored commitments.

Hid out and hibernated..

Recharged, rested and rejuvenated my heart, soul, mind and body.

Allowed creativity to come through.

Laughed so hard I cried.

Snuggled with all the fur babies.

Slept in and stayed up late.

Nourished every part of my life with goodness.

Forgave.

And forgave some more.

And had to forgive even more.

Life is this incredible journey and we get to choose how we show up to it. 

It’s full of crazy storms that come flying across our path

It’s also full of sunny, calm, lay on the beach kind of days.

It’s perfectly imperfect.

And we get to choose how we move through each moment. 

We get to recognize how and why everything comes shows up in our lives.

What we are attracting and calling in.

I don’t know if I have failed or passed this test.

Is this even a pass or fail moment? 

Maybe.

Maybe not.

What I know is that I faced the challenges. 

I see me.

I honor me.

I love me.

I forgive me.

And now, no one’s gonna fuck with me. 

While this journey may be ending, the lessons are still being integrated.

The moments and experiences will continue to teach me about how to BE.

About how to show up.

I want to learn these lessons this one time please. 

A repeat is not necessary. 

I want to encourage you to travel. 

To journey beyond your borders and limits. 

Get outside your comfort zone.

Challenge your own status quo.

Face the storms of life.

Embrace the journey in all of it’s peaks and valleys. 

Be seen. 

Be vulnerable.

Be transparent.

It’s scary as fuck.

It’s empowering as fuck too.

Categories
Business Events

Business Development: Top Down vs. Bottom Up

Would you describe your business development as being top down, or bottom up? Because the thing is, it’s literally one or the other. If I’m being honest, I seriously hope that your answer is top down, and not bottom up. But I also know that, at the end of the day, what you say doesn’t matter. Your business will tell the truth for you.

What Your Business Tells Me

When I look at a business’ proclivities and strategies, I can tell very quickly if they have a top down or bottom up approach. Before I take that line of thought any further…

I can hear you screaming through the screen wondering: 

Lany, what do you mean by top down and bottom up?

I am SO glad you asked.

Top down means you have a vision, backed by a strategy that you’ve put thought into.

Bottom up means you’re fucking winging it. (If this hits some kind of way…then I’m 99% sure that this is you, boo.)

 

Signs You’re Developing Your Business From the Top Down

If you are working from the top down, you’ve actually sat down with yourself (or with your team) and created a strategy. 

You have a BIG picture vision of what you want to create, and you can communicate your purpose, your goals, your mission. You’ve taken the time required to think deeply about your business, and to create long-term plans for its success. 

You created a strategy and a plan. The pieces needed to move forward are in place.

Now, this doesn’t mean everything is perfect and you’ll never make changes. You can be in full strategy mode and still need additional clarification, or be planning to make changes. Honestly, you can still be throwing shit at the wall just to see if it sticks every so often. 

That’s ok. A top down approach isn’t about being perfect, or knowing everything all the time.

The main priority here is that you are keeping your vision top of mind. 

You’re still testing it to see if all of your products, programs, offerings, and events are still in alignment, but you’re able to accurately assess alignment because you have a vision to measure progress and growth against.

Signs You’re Developing Your Business From the Bottom Up

If you are working in your business from the bottom up, that means you are trying everything under the sun. (Also, you’re probably exhausted and over caffeinated. Consider pausing here for a second to drink a big ol’ glass of water.)

You’re in the phase I fondly refer to as throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks. This is not something you periodically do just to test something super innovative. This is literally how you operate at all times.

P.S.  It’s not working. (In case you were wondering.)

I’m not trying to be a hater, I don’t want you to throw in the towel, and I’m not putting your business down. As entrepreneurs, I know that we often feel we have to battle against other people’s limiting beliefs or judgments, and that’s not what I’m here for.

I see you making it harder than it has to be. I see you running yourself ragged, getting discouraged, and desperately hoping for light at the end of the tunnel. And I see the potential you have to make an impact.

So if you find yourself sitting in the position of not having a big picture strategy, or from having gotten super disconnected from that strategy, don’t worry. You can shift without feeling like you are starting all the way over. (And without feeling like you’re trapped on a staircase with an increasingly irate brunette screaming “PIVOT!” in your face.)

If you don’t have the BIG vision that will allow you to develop your business from the top down, I’ve got a few steps for you to start with.

Step 1. Visualization

Years ago I went through a training with David Byrd that focused on vision casting. 

It was truly profound, and has helped me with my business (and personal life) through the years. Although I’ve since adapted my own version of how I visualize my future, I still credit his methods with having given me a great starting point.

What I loved about his process is that when you initially write your vision, you pick a date/day in the future. It can be any future time: 1 year from now, 3 years from now, 5 years from now. It can be your birthday. Your anniversary. A holiday. The day doesn’t matter to anyone but you.

Feel into it.

Once you have selected your big day, I want you to take some time to think about and feel into what your future looks like in these areas: 

  • Financial 
  • Emotional 
  • Physical
  • Business
  • Mental
  • Relationships

(Not every topic may be relevant for your actual business, but I encourage you to still do this for all areas of your personal life. Your actual day-to-day reality, beyond your business, will still impact your work.)

Once you have spent some time here (Journal! Meditate! Get a massage! Take a walk!), I want you to write out your visualization for that day in your future, as if it is currently happening.

Write out your day from beginning to end, covering all of the areas mentioned above. Make sure you tap into your feelings and write them down too.

Once you have that complete, we’ll take a closer look at your actual business vision. Then we’ll dive deeper and break it down into strategic goals and action steps.

Having a vision is fantastic, but it won’t come to pass by itself.

Step 2. Take Action

This next part is something you can work through in whatever way works for you. You might put aside 45-90 minutes a day for the next week or two. You might block out an entire day, or even gift yourself a solo-retreat for a weekend to really sit with some of these aspects of shifting towards top down business development.

 

  1. Define Your Business Vision

Who do you serve? How do you impact them? What is your impact within the world we live in? Why is your work meaningful? How does this impact move beyond a single sale, service, or experience — why does it matter in the next 5, 10, 20 years? What part of this work will be your legacy?

All of these are questions you might consider answering on your way towards developing your business vision.

  1. Align Your Purpose, Goals and Mission with the Vision

Your starting point here is to determine what’s already happening in your business so you can intentionally create change where necessary and understand where you are lacking alignment. Determine where you (and/or your team) currently are spending time, money, and energy.

I often recommend you take at least one week to track all of your time (including the 20 minutes you spent trying to find your passwords for the new social media manager, the 3 hours you spent “fixing” your website because you hadn’t been clear about what you were looking for in the first place, and the 7 hours you spent doing things any decent VA could have cranked out for you in 5, like responding to customer requests via email, or making graphics in Canva).

It’s also helpful to review the last 3 months of your expense statements. Where is the money going? Are you spending thousands of dollars on subscriptions, tech stacks, and tools you hardly use? Are you frequently throwing money at programs or new hires that just “don’t work out”?

When you created your ideal day, you thought deeply about how you wanted your time and money being used to both support your own personal wellness AND to build your business.

Then, you created a vision that helped you communicate your desired long-term vision.

Now, you get to take your awareness about what’s NOT aligned to consider what things you want to remove, what things you want to uplevel, and what things you want to add that are actually aligned with what you are creating.

What is your vision?

What is your purpose?

What are your major goals/objectives?

Once you have those, head to step three!

  1. Create a Strategic Plan with Clear Objectives

Using your vision, purpose, and list of major goals, you can start to break things down strategically. Often, business owners think in terms of quarters. If you break the next 12 months into four quarters, I would recommend planning to achieve 1-2 major goals in each quarter, then breaking them down into actual steps.

For example, if one of my major goals is to start a podcast, I would first ensure that I have deep clarity around how that fits into my vision and purpose, and what the goal for the show is. 

As I understand that, then I’ll move on to tackling the actual actions that I need to take to make it a reality, like:

Watch a podcast webinar on getting started / Choose podcast equipment for recording / Work with my designer on making cover art / Write the description / Write a pitch for guests / Pitch my first 15 guests / Determine interview scheduling methods and open my calendar up / Create a disclosure or right to use form that guests need to sign / Get an audio editor / Work with my social media manager on how we want to publish and distribute and share about the show / Create content for a podcast page on my website / Find a designer to brand the site page and update it on the site / Develop pitch – pre interview – interview – post interview – publication flow for guest communication / Develop workflows for VA, social media manager, and audio editor to work through each show seamlessly / Create promo emails for the show for existing list

The foresight I’m putting into what it actually takes, in reality, to create a podcast that will both be successful and be fully aligned with my vision and purpose is the result of taking a top down approach. 

It also ensures I’m not going to be up till 3am the night before my show is supposed to launch while I scramble to put the pieces together. And, it will make it less likely that I’ll publish two episodes then get too busy and quit.

You can also see why I encourage you to focus on 1-2 major goals per objective. Pacing yourself and truly grasping the full scope of a project makes you so much more likely to be successful in the long term!

  1. Prioritize Actions Steps

If you just brain dumped a whole paragraph of things that need to happen, you then need to go back and actually prioritize them. 

  • What do you, personally, need to handle?
  • What could an existing team member do?
  • What could be most easily achieved with pre-made templates?
  • What positions could you get referrals for?
  • What needs to be done first, second, third, etc?
  • What things would you like to talk through with an expert?

Having clarity around what needs to happen, and in what order, takes a huge weight off your brain. You’ve gone from ALL.THE.THINGS. to specific priorities that are aligned with the goal, which is aligned with the vision.

You are nailing this top down business development thing!

  1. Take Inventory of Current Projects

You already identified the places you’re spending your time. Now, make a list of actual, ongoing projects that you are currently knee deep in.

During this step, you may realize you have 20 projects halfway done…or that you’re working 80 hours a week but can’t actually identify clear projects that are occurring.

Whatever the case for you, make a list! Once you have that, I would recommend sorting it into three smaller lists: 

  1. Projects that are fully aligned with your vision.
  2. Projects that are partially aligned, and worth revising.
  3. Projects that are not aligned. (Imagine an entrepreneur’s version of Gordon Ramsey looking over your shoulder and shouting “encouragement” — even if you like a project, be honest with yourself about how aligned it really is with your vision.)
  1. Assign Financial Investment

People often cringe here. Creating the vision is fun, getting real about the dollars and sense can feel….less so.

However, we are business owners. We know we have to roll up sleeves and handle money like the bosses we are.

You know where you’re spending money now, and you may have already identified areas that you could decrease wasteful spending. (Hint: Constantly hiring team members to fix issues is not helping you. Investing in courses that you never actually finish is doing you no favors. Paying premium prices for tech that you basically never use is no bueno.)

Taking a look at these areas can also help you understand where you might have additional funds to cover the tools or new hires you need to make your newly defined goals and projects a reality. Figure out where your most aligned investments are going to be, and get serious about making those happen!

  1. Set Manageable Deadlines and Timelines for all Deliverables

Manageability is key! When you did your big picture vision exercise, you weren’t just focused on your business. You thought about the life you are creating.

I’m guessing that it didn’t involve pulling your hair out at 1am, running yourself ragged, or spiraling into total overwhelm every other week. (Should I have been an oracle? I might be in for a career change!)

Consider using all four quarters of the year to distribute your major goals, create margin where possible, and consider life constraints as you plan. For instance, if your family always goes to the ocean for a month in August, don’t plan to start your new podcast launch and schedule 10 interviews for that week. This is your life, and you get to create alignment with the way you manage your deadlines and deliverables!

  1. Hire a Team to Execute the Vision

You don’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) doing everything alone. Yes, it happens sometimes, especially in the early stages. But it’s not really a long-term strategy for success. 

Eventually, you need to hire! That’s an entire post / course / process / deal in itself, so I’m not going to try and shoehorn it into this post. I will say, however, that I have some amazing templates that can help you onboard your new hires right here.

  1. Face Your Fears

I know this is a hard one. 

We all have fears, myself included. We tend to either let our fears hold us back, OR we learn how to move through them and past them to create magic in our world. As you move through your vision creation process and start laying out the action steps above, you will definitely have moments where you will question everything.

And the reality is, if you don’t believe in your vision, then it’s going to fall apart. 

You are the glue that holds your vision together, for both yourself and your team. Ideally, you need to be working with your own accountability partner or mentor to keep you on point as the powerful leader and visionary that you are. It also helps to have team members who strongly support you.

If your vision is as big and impactful as I believe that it is, then it’s imperative that you do the inner work that is required to hold this massive vision and move through any fear that steps in to  block you. 

If we’re going to change the world, we have to be in alignment with ourselves first.

What Position Are You In?

These are my tips for how you work from the top of your business rather than the bottom. 

What position are you working your business from? Are you ready to work from the top down and create a business that is efficient AND impactful?

 

If so, I’d love to invite you to join the Ops Community here. From live Q&As to powerful templates, real-life advice and the occasional tough love we all need — we’ve got it all.

—————-

As the “get shit done” person who holds the answers to what stands between you and the crap that slows you down and takes up all your time, I’ve created an exclusive group coaching offer –  if you’re ready to develop the systems you need to get your business on track and increase your profits, all while doing what YOU do best –

THIS IS FOR YOU.

This 12-month group coaching experience will provide you with support and accountability as you put all the moving parts of your business together. We kick off Feb. 22 – learn more about joining today!

———-

As the “get shit done” person who holds the answers to what stands between you and the crap that slows you down and takes up all your time, I’ve created an incredible online community so you can quickly and easily bring your ideas to life, get your business on track, and increase your profits, all while doing what YOU do best.

This community will provide you with support and accountability as you put all the moving parts of your business together. Join us, and share the ideas, questions, and projects that truly light you up and push your vision forward — join us!

 

Categories
Events

Events: Power of Communication

Communication can sometimes be the hardest part of an event. The details are manageable, but sometimes the people involved are not. You will deal with a wealth of personalities, opinions and experiences that you may not enjoy engaging with. Put your ego aside and listen first. Digest what is being said to you and then make sure that you clearly and concisely craft a response that does not incite drama.
Communication can be a challenge no matter what you are doing in life or business, but let’s focus on the event application of it.
Why is communication important for an event creator, planner, founder or host?

  1. It leaves no room for questions
  2. It eliminate worry and concerns
  3. It creates an open dialogue
  4. It creates clarity

Communication these days comes in many forms; email, calls, text messages, Facebook messages, Google Hangouts, Skype, Twitter Direct Messages and even public posts on social. It’s a wonder we can even keep our communication clear these days. As an event planner, I work hard to keep my communication with my clients down to just a couple of vices when it comes to communicating about an event. Typically, email is the first form of communication, then calls, text messages and somehow Facebook messages get thrown into the mix (even though I still hate Facebook). The more complex an event, the simpler your form of communication should be. There are so many elements to manage and execute on during an event, you want to make sure that your communication is clear for all parties involved.
Clear communication really helps to eliminate the stress, burden and annoyance of someone saying “I didn’t know”. Trust me on that one. Usually I am running more than one event at a time, so I am dealing with different personalities, opinions, expectations, etc, etc and I have to be able to navigate them without getting myself into trouble. We’re all human, but sometimes we forget and take our frustration out on the person delivering the message not thinking about the ramifications of our form of communication, tone or words.
Let’s talk about events that I have run in the past. When confirming event details with speakers, I prefer a very clear and detailed form of email that lays out all their needs, deadlines, expectations, reservations, etc. Sometimes these emails can be long, but I make sure that they are extremely clear. I even have it proof read by someone not on my team (who would know all of the details) to make sure that it makes sense to them (as someone not in the know). I make adjustments on clarity where necessary and then shoot the email out to the speakers.
Would it shock you to know that more often than not 20-30% of the responses ask questions regarding items that I clearly laid out in my email?
Probably not. It doesn’t surprise me either.
We move through our days too quickly. We skim emails. We scan for what we recognize and then we shoot from the hip. We’re all guilty of it. I’ve done it myself. Now, what if we as event planners, event creators, speakers, vendors and all other active participants slowed down for a hot minute and read through the email before jumping all over the messenger? That would be quite a novel idea.
Let’s flip the script a bit. I was invited to speak at an online conference. I spoke with the host about the details and said I was definitely interested. That was the last I heard about it until about 15 days before the conference when I reached back out again to the host. I was getting ready to finalize my content and I wanted to make sure that my presentation and delivery was what they were looking for. After about 45 minutes on the phone and 20 questions from me to the host, I felt I had a good understanding of what they wanted. A week later I received a message from the host asking me when I could record. I was confused because nowhere in our previous conversations had they mentioned me recording my presentation with them. At this point I was already pre-recording my content and informed them so. They agreed to let me move forward with the pre-recorded presentation. My team finished compiling the presentation and I delivered it via email to the host. Wouldn’t you know, I received an email in response that informed me that I did not use the event branded template.
Hhhmmmm…….
Again, nowhere in our conversations did a branded template ever come up. Might I remind you as well, that up until that point I had still not received any details about the event, expectations, deliverables, timing, etc. NOTHING. I even had to ask for an affiliate link after the host complained that no speakers had been promoting the event. I informed the host that I would be happy to promote it, but I never received an affiliate link as verbally promised.
I promoted the heck out the event, but I never saw the host promote the event until 4-5 days prior to it going live. Now, the day before the event I received an email geared toward participants informing them about all the good stuff happening during the live conference. It said that the speakers would be showing up live during their sessions. Guess who never received an email from the host letting her know when her session was going to be live so that she could show up and serve the audience properly. You guessed it… This girl.
Needless to say, the communication on that event is a prime example of what not to do as a host/event creator. Please take care of your speakers and communicate with them actively and often. They want to show up and do their best for you and your tribe.
I was recently chatting with another event planner and we were swapping stories as we all do about specific scenarios that we run into with clients. She shared with me that she resigned from a client because one of the major issues was communication. The client doesn’t like to repeat herself and gets upset when she has too. Understandable. Here’s the glitch. The client doesn’t give clear instructions in the first place. She’s all over the board and so when her team returns to her to get said clarification she loses it.
Events are hard enough as it is, so the client who doesn’t communicate wants, needs and desires clearly throws a monkey wrench into the whole thing.
Here’s the thing, to create something amazing and to keep the entire team, vendors and venue on task and on the same page this communication thing has to be worked out.
If someone from your team comes to you and doesn’t understand your instructions or the vendor is not clear or g-d forbid the venue is not clear; DO NOT BITE THEIR HEAD OFF. Pause. Breathe. Take responsibility. Ask them what they did not understand. Repeat what they said to you, so they know that you heard them (and didn’t lose your shit). State your instructions as clearly as you can and then ask if they understand or have any questions that you can clarify.
This is common sense, but we are not taking the time to communicate.
Let’s review….
Why is communication important for an event creator, planner, founder or host?

  1. It leaves no room for questions
  2. It eliminate worry and concerns
  3. It creates an open dialogue
  4. It creates clarity

It’s time we all learned to communicate better.

Original version of post: http://www.rcuwomen.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=654

Categories
Events

Events: B2B versus B2C

I was recently asked about B2B and B2C events and my simple statement was, there is inherently very little difference between the two. The tactics and logistics are nearly identical. The biggest difference is your audience, hence the B and the C.
Your business and consumer clients will be attracted by different marketing and messaging, but when you work with your marketing team… it still is all the same.
No matter who your audience is, you will always target your messaging and branding TO THAT AUDIENCE.
You are not going to go after a business with a sexy Carl’s Jr. ad and you won’t go after your consumer with an ad from Oracle.
So the question really becomes null and void about the differences in the actual event. The difference is in the marketing. When it comes down to it, you are still marketing to people but with a different purpose and focus.
Businesses are realizing that they need to be more relevant, more human and more attractive to their buyer. Which means that when we are creating an event, we are still catering to the human need to experience something.
Whether we are creating a very structured business event or a very loosey goosey festival, we are still focused on the experience that the “people” are going to have.
The foundation of creating an event will always be the same. We as event planners don’t care who the audience is in a general sense. We care about the experience that we are creating and how we need to create it. I was going to tell you that the other difference is the content, but it’s really not. You can educate, teach, lecture and train in both a B2B or a B2C event. I’ve seen, done and attended both.
Overly simplified, a B2B or a B2C event looks like this:

  • Research and secure venue, F&B, all meeting spaces and room blocks – Event Team
  • Research and secure A/V – Event Team
  • Research and secure all staging/lighting needs – Event Team
  • Research and secure all event tech – Event Team
  • Create all marketing messaging – Marketing Team
  • Create all marketing collateral (digital and onsite) – Graphics and Event Team
  • Market/Promote Event – Marketing Team
  • Develop content – Event Creator
  • Research and secure Photographer and Videographer – Event Team
  • Registration Page (Ticket Sales) – Digital Tea,
  • Onsite Registration – Event Team
  • Agenda Creation – Event Creator and Event Team
  • Design and Decor – Event Team
  • Event Management – Event Team
  • Secure Sponsors – Sponsorship Team
  • Secure Vendors – Event Creator
  • Set up, Tear Down – Event Team & Venue Staff

Oops! I think I just made event planning look super easy to some. Let me be clear, within that list is a 1,001 details that need to be handled and managed, but the point of this is to show you that we as event planners do not change how we plan and run an events, regardless of the B or the C.
Now with all that being said, let me go back to the experience. The experience will be very specific based on the B or the C, but remember we are still catering to the ‘HUMAN” experience. With the B experience, you may do more high end networking or cocktail parties. You will provide opportunities for your B’s to connect with each other in a very professional atmosphere. While your C experience may be all about the excursions and play.
What I would like to really emphasize and remind you is that no matter what, there are people involved in both. I think the B2B world gets SO stuck in business that they forget to play. You can and might want to consider adding in play and excursions to the B2B events. The depth of the experience will change and you create opportunities for your audience to build a relationship beyond the cocktail party, business card exchange.
What if you created more team building exercises that required your B’s to work together and collaborate more. You allow them to showcase their brilliance and to see each other in action. You allow them to build trust and rapport more quickly than they will by just having a conversation over an alcoholic beverage.
Remember, whether you are in a B2B or a B2C environment, your focus needs to be the people and the experience.
Are you ready to plan your next event? Or events? Book a 30 minute call here to discuss your vision.

Categories
Events

How to Plan and Run Multiple Events at One Time

I was chatting with Joe Gugino the other day about his Why Knot Fishing events. He and his team are expanding from a local experience to regional and national.
It’s one thing to be local, but it’s another level when you decide to expand on a national scale. The risk is greater, the cost is higher and you need to tip the scales in your favor.
Working with some of the most well known Fortune 500 & Fortune 1000 brands in the world taught me how to effectively run 30-40 events at the same time in multiple cities.
It can feel chaotic, overwhelming and impossible when you look at the big picture, but if you break it down into these few steps it becomes more plausible very quickly.

  1. Research locations. Where is your target audience? With major brands we have it easy because they have all the market research to tell them where their consumer base is buying. If you don’t have all the tools to pull that data, then it’s important to hire an expert to help you pull that data from your social media. Once you understand where your market is, you can start narrowing down your event locations.
  2. Hire a competent team. You need to have boots on the ground to manage everything onsite because you won’t be able to be in 5,10,20 or 40 places at one time. Your team on the ground is your eyes and ears. They have your express authority during the entire event activation.
  3. Create consistency throughout all of your events. Your branding, messaging, staff training, event logistics, everything needs to be the same across the board. Discrepancies can cause issues with your brand messaging and your overall results.
  4. Set up your SOP’s. Your standard operating procedures can be as simple as a training manual for your staff. It needs to be a guide of “What happens if” or “If this happens, do that”. You need to be prepared for any variety of issues.
  5. Track everything. Create a system that tracks each location, shipper/receiver details, team/staff details, and any other relevant information to help you manage everything smoothly.
  6. Have contingency plans. Always have a backup. No matter how well prepared you are and no matter how good of a planner or organizer you are, something always goes wrong. So, if you know that going in, you can think about what could possibly go wrong and plan your backup plans accordingly.

These are your foundational functions of planning multiple events at the same time and will help you create successful events that can be repeated and replicated from location to location. 
Are you ready to plan your next event? Or events? Book a 30 minute call here to discuss your vision.

Categories
Events

Events: Maximize Your Connection

People want to connect and network at your event.
There are literally thousand of conferences and events globally each year. The options are endless it seems and attendees carefully select what events they are going to attend and why.
As an attendee myself to many events I look at the following when choosing to select an event:

  1. Location – Do I like the location? Have I ever been in that city or country? Can I build a trip around this event?
  2. Time of Year/Weather – Is it going to be in Arizona in July? Or in Boston in December. You get the drift…is it going to be pleasant or not? My preference is locations with decent weather, preferably sunshine, but not blazing hot where I can’t get out and enjoy the local scene.
  3. Topics/Content/Speakers – Who is speaking and what are they talking about? Is this something I need to learn to grow my life or business? Do I generally like the speakers? Are there speakers that I’d love to connect with?
  4. Overall audience demographic – Based on the topics and speakers, I look to see what kind of audience will show up. Are they my target market or one I am interesting in breaking into?

You may notice that price didn’t show up in my list. Money is the LAST thing I look at because if these 4 are a yes for me, then buying a ticket is a NO-BRAINER.
With that being said, if one of these 4 points is off I really sit down with myself and have to determine if it’s really something that I want or need to attend. If it’s not a Fuck Yes, then it’s automatically a NO.
I can gain from any event that I attend as it helps me create better content for you, my audience. I look at events through a different lense than you do as being an attendee only.
I really want to focus on one point here today though that many event creators miss.
One of the TOP reasons that people attend events is this:
People want to connect with people at events.
Your location may be awesome. Your content may be off the charts incredible and it is expected to be good. It’s the audience and speakers you bring in that is attractive to most attendees.
I have attended events globally and paid thousands of dollars to attend while I’ve not attended local events that cost $20 bucks. What they are creating with their mix of content, speakers and target audience is what induces me to go or pass it up.
Who and what you attract lends to the experience of the event for everyone. Are you creating opportunities for people to connect? Matt Heinz recently shared a post on LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6368871746904432640 about how he maximizes his time at events. If you read through the comments you will see similar responses to what Matt offers up.
Event Creators have this mindset that everyone is going to LOVE every session and all the sessions will be full. I’ve heard event creators promise and guarantee speakers that they will have full sessions and then have it not happen for a multitude of reasons.
A large majority of your attendees are going to be entrepreneurs or employees of companies who still have to show up for conference calls, sales calls, and other various virtual meetings or engagements while at your event.
Based on your audience and how Matt and many others maximize their time at events, you can make better choices when building out your agenda.

  1. Pay attention to WHO is in your audience or WHO you are trying to attract. When you are really clear on the audience, you can create an experience that they will want to attend, participate and fully engage in. Remember, they are coming for the experience and to meet other people. Your content is expected to be good. There is no forgiveness for shitty content in this day and age. Build your event around your audience not around your ego.
  2. Create space in your agenda. You don’t have to overload your event with content. The overwhelm factor is very real and we can only retain so much after a while. Let me be clear, your content needs to be top notch, but you don’t need to overdo it on quantity. When I say create space, I mean, create more breaks, more networking opportunities, more down time, more opportunities for people to gather. You can create activities that get people to engage and connect with each other as a session rather than load them down with another 30 minutes or an hour of content.
  3. Don’t change your agenda midstream. I’ve seen clients and other events decide to change up their agenda in the middle of the event or basically just throw the agenda out. Please for the love of your event planner’s sanity, DO NOT DO THIS. There is a time for things to just flow, but if your event is set with a pretty firm agenda and you have business owners attending your event you need to understand you just blew their own agenda out of the water. As I stated above, many of your attendees will schedule calls and meetings around the breaks in your event. If you decide to throw caution to the wind and wing your agenda, you’ve officially lost those people. While they definitely want to attend your event, they may have money on the line with client calls and meetings. You took them out of the game and you changed the energy of the event. This causes frustration and angst, FOMO and irritation.

These points may seem obvious to most, but when you are building out your event they can be easily forgotten. Many event creators build their event on their own personal agenda and the results that THEY want to achieve, but they forget that the people attending have their own agenda. If you can find that sweet spot when creating your event everyone wins.
Are you ready to create your next live event experience? Book a call with me to discuss your ideas.

Photo credit: Marcy Browe Photography
Categories
Events

More Than JUST an Event Planner

I had a chat recently with a friend that told me they didn’t understand what I do. I thought it was clear since my business is Events by Lany that I am an event planner, BUT he said something that was a lightbulb moment for me.
He said, “An event planner to me is someone who just calls the venue and caterer to get the basics set up for an event. It feels like you do more than that because of your skills, but I’m not really clear on what you do.”
He’s right. I do way more than call to secure the venue and catering (aka F&B – Food & Beverage).
Yes, I plan events, but there is SO much more that this truly entails. I live, eat and breathe a client’s event. See, you can hire an basic event planner for the basics. Yup, there are planners that do that. Let me just say that all of the event planners I know and work with, we all step into a space where we literally support your vision and dream on our shoulders. We carry this to the very last moments of your event and then we sleep for a week.
From the first moment I speak with a potential client about their event, my brain starts exploding with ideas. I get jazzed when anyone wants to do events because I LOVE events. I love what you can create from nothing and it brings me so much joy.
So what do I REALLY do if I don’t just plan events?
Plan and strategize.
Facilitate and manage every single detail of your event.
Hold your vision.
Carry out your vision.
Secure vendors and negotiate contracts on your behalf and for your best interest.
Manage your budget and keep your profits at top of mind.
Communicate with your speakers and attendees.
Create a container and hold space for your event.
Put out fires that you’ll never hear about.
Keep calm.
Remove your stress.
Diffuse situations.
Care for your attendees.
Care for you.
Care for your speakers.
Show up with grace, peace and joy.
Create efficient systems.
Hold hands.
Love on people.
Infuse joy into each person we interact with.
Stand firm in integrity, morals and ethics.
Keep your vision throughout the event.
Smile and smile some more.

I create impactful and life changing experiences using live events.

Categories
Business Events Life

Finding My Passion

Ten years ago I stumbled upon events.
I had spent the previous 10 years in the world of finance and lending. I managed portfolios of $5-10 million dollars. I prepped and passed corporate, state and federal audits that occurred on a regular basis.
I was REALLY excellent at what I did. Management, HR, staff training, sales, marketing, customer service, budgets, reconciliation, organization, and so much more. I was so good, that I became the manager that mentored all the new managers as they came up. The stress was indescribable.
I never realized my value and worth.
I hated my job. No matter how good I was, I was never good enough and it didn’t change my dislike of my work. Long story short, the market tanked and I happily jumped out of it.
For about a year I floated around looking for something different. Every opportunity that showed up was back in sales, finance, lending or insurance.
It was NOT what I wanted.
One day my chiropractor told me that the company next door to her office was hiring. It was an ad agency. They were looking for a marketing/event manager. I had no experience in events and was clueless about branding and advertising.
Still I wanted the job. I faked my way through the interview and became the new event manager. I learned very quickly.
I adapt like nobody’s business.
Within 60 days I was running $150,000 to $1million dollar events, working with VP’s and other marketing executives from brands like Pepsi, Disney, Jeep, Wal-Mart, Aveeno, HBO, John Frieda and so many more.
I carried my skills from my previous finance and management into this job. I loved the work. It was massively high stress which I knew how to handle from my previous career. I showed up in excellence, but I was never truly valued. I was another cog in the proverbial corporate wheel.
Today, I carry the depth of the past 20 years of experience into my strategy sessions and production for my clients. Events don’t stress me out. You can’t throw me anything I’ve never seen.
I LOVE events. We use over use the word love these days, so let me sum up this feeling. 
Creating events fills my soul. I’m at my happiest and most fulfilled when I am in creation mode. Being able to take a vision or dream and create if from nothing is pure magic. The impact and ripple effect of the human interaction is powerful on such a deep level that if you aren’t paying attention you might miss it. I look for it. That ripple is truly what events is about for me.
Are you ready to discuss your next event? Let’s set up a time to chat.

Categories
Events

Event Content: Keep It Current and Relevant

The room was full!
Something every Event Creator loves to have.
The cocktail party was great.
The opportunities for networking were decent.
But as we got into the content I wanted to bail.
It was low level.
Entry Level.
Beginner marketing and social media content.
And it was old news at that.
The content was below the intelligence of the audience.
Thankfully my ticket was free otherwise I would have been mad that I paid for the event.
The Event Creator missed the mark. They’ve been doing their event for so many years on auto pilot, that they forgot to infuse new life into it. You’ve got to keep it fresh and new and make sure that the content is in alignment with the experience level, intelligence and knowledge of your audience.
Here are some things I noticed while attending this event:

  • The content was subpar
  • The attendees were not well matched as far as business experience goes
  • It was great to meet new people, but it was hard to sift through who was relevant to your own business
  • It’s ok to fake it until you make it, but man there were lots of fakers there
  • The event creator was very self serving and self absorbed on and off stage (ego driven)
  • Unwilling to accept feedback
  • Panders to their clique or favorite people
  • Long, exhausting days filled with more content than time allowed
  • Long days are ok
  • Exhausting days are ok
  • Rushing through content, so to get it done is not ok
  • You stop being effective with your message when you are rushing through content

Here are a few ways to improve upon this type of situation:

  1. Uplevel your content! Make sure that your content is going to move your audience to the next level.
  2. Get super clear on your marketing and sales to attract your ideal client to your event, so that your audience is balanced and matched with each other
    1. This does not mean that everyone has to be on the exact same level, but they need to be on similar paths at least
  3. Make sure that your schedule matches the quantity of your content
  4. There is overwhelm and then there is OVERWHELM. It’s easy to bore your audience or leave them in the dust. Find that sweet spot.