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

Top or Bottom?

Are you working from the top down or from the bottom up in your business?

It’s literally one or the other. I hope that your answer is top down and not bottom up. When I look at a business and their proclivities and strategies I can tell if they have a top down or bottom up approach.

I hear you saying, “Lany, what do you mean by top down and bottom up?”

I am SO glad you asked.

Top down means you have a strategy and you put thought into it.

Bottom up means you’re fucking winging it.

If you are working from the top down, that means you sat down with yourself or with your team and created a strategy; a BIG picture vision of what you want to create, your purpose, your goals, your mission. You took the time required to think about it. You created a strategy and a plan. You put the pieces in place to move forward.

Now you can be in full strategy and still need clarification. You can still be throwing shit at the wall to see if it sticks. That’s ok. The main thing is you are keeping your vision top of mind. You are testing to see if all of your products, programs, offerings and events are still in alignment.

If you are working from the bottom up, that means you are trying everything under the sun. You’re in the throw it at the wall and see if it sticks strategy. PS….it’s not working. In case you were wondering.

If you find yourself sitting in the position of not having a big picture strategy, don’t worry, you can shift without feeling like you are starting all the way over.

If you don’t have your BIG vision in place then I’ve got a few steps for you to start with.

1. Visualization

Years ago I went through a training with David Byrd about vision casting. It was profound and has helped me with my business and life through the years. I’ve adapted my own version of how I visualize my future, but his methods gave 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 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: Financially, Emotionally, Physically, Business, Mentally and Relationships.

(Not every topic may be relevant for your business, but I encourage you to still do this for all areas of your personal life as this will impact your business regardless of what you think at this moment.)

Once you are ready, 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.

Now that you have that complete, let’s take a closer look at your business vision You will dive deeper and break it down into strategic goals and actions steps.

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

2. Take Action

1. Define Your Vision
2. Align Your Purpose, Goals and Mission with Vision
3. Create a Strategic Plan with Clear Objectives
4. Prioritize Actions Steps
5. Take Inventory of Current Projects
6. Assign Financial Investment
7. Set Manageable Deadlines and Timelines for all Deliverables
8. Hire a Team to Execute the Vision

3. Face Your Fears

I know this is a hard one. We all have fears, myself included. We either let our fears hold us back OR we move through them and past them to create magic in our world. As you move through your Vision and start laying out the action steps above you will have moments where you will question everything.

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 you and your team. Ideally, you need to be working with your own accountability partner or mentor to keep you on point as the leader and visionary. You also need a leader on your team that will support you in your vision.

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

This is how you work from the Top of your business and not 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?

I work with conscious, global business owners, CEO’s and thought leaders who desire and are ready to make a positive impact on this world. It’s time we shift the trajectory on a global scale in our lives and our workplaces. If you’re ready to step into your next level, then send an email to lany@lanysullivan.com and we’ll set up a time to discuss your vision.

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.
Categories
Events

Top 8 Tips for International Events

Planning an international event is no easy task.
I live in the US, so planning an event in another state has its own challenges. International events come with a unique set of challenges based on the country you plan the event in.
When planning an event, there are a million and one things that need to be done and sometimes it feels like they all need to be down NOW or maybe even yesterday.
Most likely….yesterday.
When I work with clients, I go through an extremely thorough discovery process to get their event started off on the right foot, but what happens when you come into the event planning process in the middle?
Well, let’s be honest, more often than not, it’s a total disaster. The client has bitten off more than they can chew. They are trying to run their business AND create an event and they know nothing about the latter. Then they go hunting for “HELP” because they can’t make money at their business now because they are too focused on planning this event and they end up in an ugly downward spiral!
Events By Lany to the rescue!
This actually happened with an event I planned. This client decided to host an event in a foreign country with a year lead time. Props! 12 month lead time on an event is great! Event planners LOVE this.
However, by the time I was hired only 3 months prior to the event, it was a mess. Let me be extremely clear, this is not meant to reflect badly on these business owners it is merely to show you what happens ALL THE TIME.
Three months prior to an event you need to be in final confirmation stages with everything and making final decisions on decor, food, tightening up a/v, lighting and staging setups and the like.
Not this time.
Three months prior to this event was like starting at the very beginning of planning an event. Thank heavens I know what I am doing otherwise I don’t think I could have pulled it off. I’m sure you’re saying “So what Lany, what’s the big deal?”.

  • This event was in a foreign country that is known not to be friendly to foreigners who come for business. Essentially, you can get kicked out and banned. Bye bye event hopes and dreams.
  • There were immigration and police issues that had to be addressed and…um…paid off
  • There were over 100 women traveling from all over the globe to attend this event.
  • 45+ speakers had to be organized (travel logistics, speaker bios, headshots, workshop session details, tech riders and more)
  • Entertainment, Agenda, Catering, Transportation, Outings, Parties and Swag all needed to be planned and set

To be honest, that’s not even the complete list because you can never quantify the millions of minute details that have to be taken care of.
If you decide to plan an event in another country, I want to share with you my TOP 8 TIPS that you need to pay attention too, need to know or need to do before you sign ANY contracts.

  1. Do you know anyone in that country? If so, ask them questions about immigration, exchange rates, locales, excursions, transportation, security, etc.
  2. Do your own research! Now that you have some initial information, go do your own homework. Is this country safe to travel to? What are the hard costs going to be for your attendees? What are your estimated event hard costs? What kind of immigration and security issues do you need to handle from the beginning?
  3. Travel to that country and visit it. Meet the locals. Be a tourist. Look at the areas you want to hold the event. Connect with the venues and hotel management staff. DO NOT book your venue site unseen.
  4. Test your market. Will your audience travel to another country for your event? Is it attractive to them to fly across the world for 3, 5 or 7 days? Can they afford it? Can YOU afford it?
  5. HAVE MONEY! Yes, you cannot plan an event; ANY event, without cash on hand. Credit cards work too! Make sure that you can pay your bills. You cannot just leave a foreign country without paying the venue, hotels and any other bills off in full. They can literally put you in jail. Have money and pay your bills, in full and on time.
  6. Plan ahead of time. DO NOT plan an international event (or any event for that matter) with less than 6 months lead time. Preferably 12-18 months lead time internationally is the best. You need to make sure that you can sell all the tickets and fill that event and most people typically need more than 6 months to plan to travel internationally.
  7. Hire a professional. Having someone on your team that actually knows what they are doing, what to look out for and how to negotiate contracts is necessary. I spoke to a prospect the other day and she was going to have a friend of hers who lives in Paris help her plan a conference in Paris. My radar went up on that one. If your friend is not an event planner, don’t hire them to “HELP” you. That’s got trouble written all over it.
  8. Have an attorney review ALL contracts prior to signing. A client of mine signed a contract for their venue BEFORE I came on board in the event planning process. After reviewing the contract, my first question was, “How do we get you out of this contract?”. It was a strangle contract which means that no matter what happened they were obligated to pay the almost $90,000 USD to the venue. Meaning war, flood, acts of God or anything else under Force Majeure didn’t matter, they still had to pay. There was absolutely NO way for them to cancel the contract without payment in full. That contract would have been an illegal contract to be bound in the US, but because it was international anything goes.