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by Elizabeth Busch Wiese When we founded our event company in 2008, of all the business planning scenarios we imagined, nothing could have prepared us for the seismic shift our industry, our lives and our business have undergone over the last year. Early this year, we were lucky enough to meet—in person—for a weekend of strategy and planning. It was just the three partners—Anne Frey-Mott, Beckie Jankiewicz, and myself. We were at a critical time for our business and had been for over a year since we’d last been able to meet in person. We have been heads-down focused on the twists and turns thrown our way by a global pandemic. We had a lot to accomplish, but one thing was ...

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Let’s Be Honest: COVID Hit our Industry Hard.

By Elizabeth Busch Wiese Our mission has always been to connect people. Being face to face is our preferred method, but amid the pandemic and a shut down of just about all meetings, we’ve found new ways to continue doing just that. When it comes to the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, live events ranks right near the top, along with restaurants, hotels, and airlines.  As the fear of COVID-19 raced across the globe in March 2020—what seems like a lifetime ago—companies were forced to cancel scheduled in-person events and rethink how to gather their communities. That hit us and our clients hard, especially since we’ve built our business around the mission that “being face-to-face moves business forward.”  As the cancellation ...

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9 Questions to Ask During Your Next Site Visit

By Anne Frey-Mott AIGA's 2019 Design Conference at the Pasadena Convention Center Choosing the right location for an event is among a planner’s most important responsibilities. For those not in the industry, it can be easy to think site selection comes down to a quick Google search, signing a contract with a hotel or convention center, and a few calls to a catering company. Oh, if only it were that easy! The truth is, site selection is an in-depth process that involves hours of homework, location visits, and dozens of phone calls to make sure everything is in order. I’ve been doing site selections for more than two decades, and find the process both challenging and fun. There is so much creativity that ...

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Building Your Event Program: 4 Questions That Will Bring Your Content to Life

Attendees enjoying a session at a recent event By Elizabeth Busch Wiese Ask any attendee to list the top highlights of his or her most recent event experience, and you are likely to hear about sessions specific to their industry or job. Maybe they learned a new skill in a workshop or gleaned advice from a keynote speaker that will increase their productivity or boost their selling game. At the core of every meeting or event, it is the content that must shine Yes, splashy locations, big-name speakers, and tasty food can (and do) help, but if the content falls flat, attendees are likely to be pretty grumpy when filling out post-event surveys. Planning events for more than 20 years has taught me that ...

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5 Site-Selection Questions to Ask Every Potential Client

New event planners are often astonished to learn just how much goes into site selection. Choosing the right city and the right venue can serve as a powerful instrument in setting the tone for any gathering. Certain cities can be more attractive to attendees than others for a variety of reasons, as can types of hotels, conference centers, outdoor venues, and other locations once you’re on the ground. Then, of course, there’s the budget conversation. As someone who has been in the events business for more than 20 years—and in 2008 launched The Event Studio with Elizabeth and Beckie—I’ve learned countless valuable lessons in how to match a client with the perfect site. Whether you’re finding something new for ...

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3 Secrets to Staffing Your Events Company

So you’ve decided to start an events company. Congrats! This is an incredibly exciting time—not to mention daunting, harried, and overwhelming. But if you’re anything like most event planners I know, you are making this career choice because you love bringing people together, enjoy the challenge of content creation, and thrive in fast-paced environments. Launching and running an events company is no doubt stressful, but almost always rewarding too. Elizabeth, Anne, and I founded The Event Studio back in 2008, and while we’ve learned many things about how to put on memorable gatherings for companies big and small, we’ve also gained insights into how to build out the best possible team. After all, it’s the right team that helps bring life to any successful event.

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How to Make Attendees Feel Welcome – and Spark Connections – at Your Next Event

Depending on your personality, meetings and events can serve as either super exciting opportunities to socialize professionally—or anxiety-inducing experiences. Even the best events, those with celebrity speakers and open-bar receptions, can bring panic attacks for people who get nervous in groups. An attendee’s initial interaction with event staff—be it at the airport or in the lobby of a hotel or conference center—is incredibly important. And it’s the job of an event planner to ensure that all attendees feel comfortable and welcome. (As if we don’t already have enough on our plates!) I’ve been planning events for decades now, and have seen attendees that revel in the experience, and others who hide in corners, reluctant to socialize.

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How to Turn Small Budgets into Big-Time Events

Every event planner has a little magician in their blood. Ask anyone who’s been in the industry for more than a few years and they will happily tell you how, with impressive creativity and mad improv skills, they’ve managed to pull off splashy events on not-so-splashy budgets. This is incredibly common, and in my opinion, one of the most dynamic parts of the job. I love going into a kickoff meeting with a client, hearing their vision for an event, and getting super excited about all the ways to pull it off.

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