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#50Tips to Hosting Badass Events by Karen Hartline, Reinventing Events #INBOUND15

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#50Tips to Hosting Badass Events by Karen Hartline, Reinventing Events #INBOUND15

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Are your events badass? Are they unforgettable experiences delivering ROI, creative brand awareness and community cultivation? Karen Hartline, CEO of Reinventing Events will share her top 50 tips she has gained over the past 13 years of event production experience covering pre-planning, speakers, onsite, sponsors, food & beverage, post-production, and even some insider tips. The tips will help planners design events where the clients’ brands and personalities shine through the entire production, as well give the attendees a one-of-a-kind event experience.

Are your events badass? Are they unforgettable experiences delivering ROI, creative brand awareness and community cultivation? Karen Hartline, CEO of Reinventing Events will share her top 50 tips she has gained over the past 13 years of event production experience covering pre-planning, speakers, onsite, sponsors, food & beverage, post-production, and even some insider tips. The tips will help planners design events where the clients’ brands and personalities shine through the entire production, as well give the attendees a one-of-a-kind event experience.


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#50Tips to Hosting Badass Events by Karen Hartline, Reinventing Events #INBOUND15

  1. INBOUND15 Behind the Curtain — 50 Tips for Hosting Badass Events Karen Hartline CEO, Reinventing Events #50tips @khartline
  2. --13 years of event production experience --Orchestrate events in U.S. and U.K. --Produce variety of events including: conferences, dinners, launch parties and road shows --Accommodate budgets of all sizes Karen Hartline | @khartline
  3. --Questions? --Share presentation via email --Learn at least 1 new thing AGREEMENT
  5. INBOUND15 1 Set goals from the beginning #50tips @khartline
  6. INBOUND15 Plan for unexpected fees 2 #50tips @khartline
  7. INBOUND15 3 Give attendees an opportunity to meet BEFORE the event #50tips @khartline
  8. INBOUND15 Speed networking may be cheesy, but it works 4 #50tips @khartline
  9. INBOUND15 5 Absorb the fees #50tips @khartline
  10. INBOUND15 Customize your order form 6 #50tips @khartline
  11. INBOUND15 7 Don’t expect your community to come to you—go to them! #50tips @khartline
  12. #INBOUND15 Mashable Road Tour
  13. #INBOUND15 Twilio Roadshow
  14. #INBOUND15 Whuffaoke
  15. #INBOUND15 Whuffaoke
  16. INBOUND15 8 Turn a negative into a positive #50tips @khartline
  17. INBOUND15 Add personal touches 9 #50tips @khartline
  18. INBOUND15 10 Create templates and checklists! #50tips @khartline
  19. INBOUND15 Be ready for last minute ideas 11 #50tips @khartline
  20. #INBOUND15 TwilioCon 2012
  21. INBOUND15 12 Use a hashtag, not a new Twitter profile #50tips @khartline
  23. INBOUND15 13 Ask speakers to attend the event, not just speak #50tips @khartline
  24. INBOUND15 14 Include more Q&A time #50tips @khartline
  25. #INBOUND15 Tech Cocktail Celebrate
  26. INBOUND15 15 Prep your speakers #50tips @khartline
  27. INBOUND15 Question your speakers 16 #50tips @khartline
  28. INBOUND15 17 Don’t make your panel facilitator do all the work #50tips @khartline
  29. INBOUND15 Don’t ask everyone to speak 18 #50tips @khartline
  30. INBOUND15 19 Make a clear ask #50tips @khartline
  31. INBOUND15 Host VIP reception instead of dinner 20 #50tips @khartline
  33. INBOUND15 Start your event outside the venue 21 #50tips @khartline
  34. INBOUND15 22 Music in between sessions helps keep energy up #50tips @khartline
  35. INBOUND15 23 Have your playlist offline #50tips @khartline
  36. INBOUND15 Have employees staff the event 24 #50tips @khartline
  37. INBOUND15 25 Get your sales team involved #50tips @khartline
  38. INBOUND15 Include a WOW factor26 #50tips @khartline
  39. INBOUND15 Provide a coat check 27 #50tips @khartline
  40. INBOUND15 28 Offer stress relief at your event #50tips @khartline
  41. #INBOUND15
  42. INBOUND15 29 WiFi is a must #50tips @khartline
  43. INBOUND15 Power it up! 30 #50tips @khartline
  45. INBOUND15 31 Don’t sell attendee list to sponsors #50tips @khartline
  46. INBOUND15 Offer creative sponsor activations 32 #50tips @khartline
  47. INBOUND15 33 No pay-to-play #50tips @khartline
  48. INBOUND15 Get your swag on!34 #50tips @khartline
  49. INBOUND15 F&B
  50. INBOUND15 35 Help facilitate lunch discussions with table topics #50tips @khartline
  51. INBOUND15 36 Provide a variety of options for food #50tips @khartline
  52. INBOUND15 Limited catering budgets means getting creative 37 #50tips @khartline
  53. #INBOUND15 Engine Yard Distill
  54. INBOUND15 38 Make your water fancy #50tips @khartline
  55. INBOUND15 Offer healthy snack options 39 #50tips @khartline
  56. INBOUND15 40 EAT! #50tips @khartline
  58. INBOUND15 Say Thank You!41 #50tips @khartline
  59. INBOUND15 42 Prep post-event emails BEFORE the event starts #50tips @khartline
  60. INBOUND15 43 Have content ready to go #50tips @khartline
  61. INBOUND15 Do your own debrief44 #50tips @khartline
  62. INBOUND15 45 Announce your next event #50tips @khartline
  64. INBOUND15 Have an event emergency kit 46 #50tips @khartline
  65. INBOUND15 47 Use a Safe Word #50tips @khartline
  66. INBOUND15 Keep details straight with Boomerang 48 #50tips @khartline
  67. INBOUND15 49 Have work/life balance #50tips @khartline
  69. INBOUND15 Think about it from the attendees perspective 50 #50tips @khartline
  70. INBOUND15 Karen Hartline CEO, Reinventing Events @khartline #50tips reinventingevents.com karen@reinventingevents. com

Hinweis der Redaktion

  • --Former life I was the director of events at Mashable, worked at Porter Novelli PR agency, Blurb, Intervarsity, before starting my own company
  • --I’ll hang out after to take questions!
    --I’ll email the presentation out if you leave your business card
    --I hope you learn at least 1 new thing. If you don’t, I’ll buy you a drink!
  • Let’s start at the beginning---
  • End result—work backwards!
    What will make the event a complete failure? Avoid that
  • Not just last minute things, but also things like CC fees or printing
  • Facebook event page
    Private social network
    Mobile app
  • 2011—started with speed networking and a bar
    People sat together at dinner and for the next few days
  • Build the ticket fees INTO the ticket cost so it’s not an additional line item.
    Better attendee experience to pay one price, not a price PLUS fees
  • Use custom questions to define topics for speakers
    Gauge attendee expectation
    Upcoming client, we’re asking the question “What are you excited about at the event” and we’re using those responses for marketing as well as integrating into the design of the event—quotes throughout
  • Hit the road!
    Instead of hosting 1 BIG event and expecting everyone to come to you, do smaller events and go to them
    May not be less expensive than a big show
  • Great opportunity for local communities to meet Mashable
    Also brought the local communities together. Austin told us our event was the first to bring all of the tech/social communities together.
  • Twilio made a big partnership announcement with Google. The idea of the tour was to show how people can use cloud-based services to run customer service for their company.
    Each participant got a Google Chromebook.
    We reused the stage setup in each city.
  • Road shows can be FUN!
    Book tour/karaoke road show—team of 6—5 on the road, and one as ground control!
    locally organized within the communities
    13 cities in 2.5 weeks
  • There were actually people who came out in each city to rock with us!
  • Client wanted to do a summer event with a “Camp” theme, but wasn’t sure about timing as families vacation. We found a location that ran a kids program and fit with the camp theme and suggested making it a family vacation trip instead.
    local attendee—cowork at the conference
  • Wooden name badges
    Attendee quotes throughout the venue
    Recreated the client’s kitchen at their event—picnic tables, snack containers with M&Ms, goldfish, and a grab-and-go beverage fridge.
  • Cuts down on missed items from event to event
    Easier to jump into planning, especially with short turn around.
    Master production template—plug in event date, BOOM—sets other dates automagically
  • CEO came to us 2 weeks before conference as he was working on keynote presentation.
    Share stories—faces on banners—spotlights on each banner.
    Busted ass to create the WOW moment.
    Customers didn’t know their faces were on the banners.
  • WOW factor at TwilioCon 2012
  • Event specific twitter profiles go dark after the event and can lose followers due to inactivity.
    If you’re going to create profile—have a year-long strategy in place for it.
    Otherwise, hashtag it up.
  • Speakers can make or break your event
  • Attendees want to meet speakers.
    Set the expectation from the beginning—ask them to attend the event and SPEAK at a specific time.
  • Attendees want to ask questions!
    Startup competition—18 judges
    Schedule had 90 open minutes.
    Pitched an idea that I’d wanted to do for a long time.
    Invited all judges to be on an ‘ask the expert’ panel. 13 said yes
  • 90 minutes of Q&A conversation—
    Broke down the barrier of speaker/audience member—more of a conversation
    Judges asked each other questions
    Jermaine Dupri joined us too
  • Don’t’ allow anyone on stage without knowing what they’ll be sharing
    20min calls with speakers—first 10 w/ client, last 10 with my team for logistics
    Speakers thank us all the time for this!
  • Think of a few questions to ask your speakers to use to create content for promo purposes.
    Also gets attendees to know the speakers better and tease about what they might talk about
  • Panels don’t usually chat until backstage
    Organize and make sure they’re on same page
    Ask entire group what topics they would like to discuss
    Share what you’d like them to cover
  • Wish list—divide into tiers
    Set a deadline for response
    Turned down or no response—ask next on list!
  • WHY do you want them to speak?
    Suggest a topic
  • Let guests mingle and meet others
    Easier for come and go vs. someone not coming at all because they can’t commit to dinner
    Invite speakers, top-level sponsors, people from your company, community supporters, future speakers, past speakers
  • Make a first impression!
    We had employees stand outside and give high 5’s to attendees coming in
  • We have a standard playlist we suggest to clients
    Or collect song suggestions from employees and make a playlist.
    Easy to do with online music services
  • Connected to wifi—can disconnect or worse—BUFFER!
  • This is YOUR event.
    Event staff are first point of contact for attendees.
    Why not have your company as those first touches?
  • Strategize for the event
    Give them list of attendees/companies in advance—meetings
    Plan for space for them to have meetings—rooms or café tables
    Don’t let the sales team walk into the event without a plan. Make their plan part of YOUR plan.
    The more they know about the event, the easier it is for them to sell before the event too.
  • New Relic—developers
    Badges were mini computers—wifi and NFC—tap badge, trade contact info, vote on sessions
    Wired even covered the geeky badges
    Mashable Connect at Walt Disney World-milk/cookies/ears room drop
  • Give your attendees a better reason to stay a while—
    From producer standpoint, backpacks mean 1 person takes up space for 2
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to have a 5-min chair massage to relieve some stress?
    How about holding a puppy or kitten?
  • We worked with Collision on their Vegas event and their sponsor Wemo had a setup where you could ‘play’ with the puppies via their hardware switches.
    The puppies were up for adoption and all went to new homes!
    Went to an event this summer, YxYY, where someone hosted a Kitten Café. I’m allergic and I held a kitten…
  • We suggest planning on 2.5-3 devices per person
    Wifi is pricey—budget high
    Don’t depend on ‘free wifi’. It will bog down.
    If speakers need wifi, definitely go with hard wires at the stage if you can afford it.
  • Charging stations…standalone, tables, in furniture, as giveaways
    Great sponsorship opportunity…which leads us into SPONSORS
  • Pet peeve
    Sponsors want contacts, yes—but be strategic
    What are their goals? Who do they want to meet?
    Share list of companies/titles—no names/contact info. Let them pick specific people you’ll send an email to on their behalf before the event.
    Send special invite to join a table for lunch for a conversation.
    Be a connector for sponsors.
  • Think about fun things that sponsors can do to engage with attendees
    CMX Summit—an event for community professionals—had a sponsor who wanted to do something fun.
    Yearbook photo booth—props, created Yearbook—mailed to attendees
  • Sponsors want stage time.
    Highly suggest not offering sponsors presentation time.
    Introduce speakers—they get to schmooze with speaker backstage,
    2 min to introduce themselves & why they’re at the event (sales pitch for you!), then intro speaker
    Scripted and approved!
  • Give sponsors option to include APPROVED item in swag bag
    Give suggestions for cool swag on price point.
  • Attendees want to meet like-minded people and talk shop.
    List table topics or interests so people can sit together and chat.
    Can be business related ( B2B, B2C) or fun (I binge on Netflix)
  • Very important to offer multiple food options to ensure everyone is comfortable and well-fed throughout the event.
    As of 2012, ADA covers food related allergies and gluten related diseases
    Vegan, glutton free, kosher,
    Ask for food restrictions on registration or list contact to send requests to on FAQ page
    Also LABEL FOOD accordingly
    Stay away from nuts in food, if possible
  • Default is boxed lunch, but a goal of the event was to have a community feel.
    We deconstructed the box lunch and put items into boxes—for 6 people.
    Grab a box and grab some people—eat away!
    For another client who had a fall event—we hosted a make your won Potato Bar with chili—could do soup and/or potato
  • Water is much better than soda—and less expensive!
    No sugar crash
    Add cucumber, strawberry, mint, lemon, to make it fancy
  • Fruit, yogurt parfaits, crudité, trail mix, granola bars, smoothies, greenies, popcorn
    Try to avoid sugary snacks so you don’t have attendees sugar crash!
  • Schedule time during the event—add a meeting request to your calendar, set an alarm, add it to production schedule
    Take shifts so the entire team not only eats, but can take a break
    Don’t get HANGRY
    Plan meals for your vendors too—they greatly appreciate it!
    We hold meals for clients as well in case they don’t get to eat.
  • People think the event is over when the last attendee leaves the venue, but there’s still work to do!
  • Cards and Gifts for speakers
    Cards for venue/vendors—goes a long way when you have another event to do with them.
  • Trust me—once the event is over, you’re going to want to sleep for 3 days, but there’s work to do!
    Have your survey ready to go!
  • Have posts drafted for after the event—as much as you can.
    Make a plan for uploading content—videos, photos, etc.
    We ask photographers for 1-3 day turnaround (depending on when event is)
    Videos within a week—roll them out to get most important/keynotes first!
  • Take notes during the event on venue, vendors, speakers, registration, flow—everything
    What worked, what didn’t work
    Review notes as you’re planning the next event
  • If you know you’re doing the next event, plan ahead to secure venue/date so you can announce.
    If you don’t have venue/date, sell super early tickets with a full refund policy to get people onboard early.
  • What are those things you tend to need onsite?
    Snack bars, breath mints, safety pins, zip ties, pain meds, clipboards and energy strips
    Ours now includes a bullhorn as we had a fire alarm go off at a 1,000 person event and needed to address the crowd outside.
  • Event planning listed as one of top 5 most stressful jobs by Careercast
    Have a plan for stressful times—we use “Starbucks run” to let others know we’re at our limit and need a break or we can send someone on a Starbucks run if we think they need to take a break.
    No arguing or questioning—everyone covers needs.
  • This is our secret weapon—the only way we keep all details straight.
    Boomerang emails back if no response
    Schedule to send at a later time in Gmail…I don’t allow my team to reply to emails after hours or on weekends because I truly believe in (NEXT SLIDE)
  • Go offline and take care of themselves.
    We have to in order to be ready for the stressful work we do.
    We set the expectation that we’ll reply within 24 business hours—relieves stress of replying to emails at night or on weekends
  • This next slide is the point that really drives everything we do at Reinventing Events…
  • Attendee is spending money AND time.
    What do they want to walk away with?
  • If anyone didn’t learn at least 1 new thing, let me know…drink’s on me!