Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Your 2013 Holiday Party

It's all about the food......and how it's served. 

I'm in a foodie town (BTW I am not a fan of that term), and it is all about the food.  Where it comes from, the quality and how cool you can make it look is all the rage.  But, the hipster side of Portland would tell you to make it look like you didn't try to hard.  Thanks in part to TV programing, which I happen to watch almost religiously (thank you Food and Cooking Channel), food is no longer allowed to be run of the mill.  We are finding more and more the majority of budgets are being dedicated to it.  Custom menus, locally sourced and seasonal fare is where it's at.  Stations, bars and unique displays are how to serve it.  Small bites so people can try a little bit of everything are very trendy right now.

Make it comfortable.

To go along with the "mingling reception" feel with food stations, people want comfortable places to hang out.  The standard round banquet table with hotel chairs has been done...and done.  Seating areas with comfy couches and coffee tables mixed with tall boys lend to keeping people moving around the room.

Give them something to do.

Rather than spending thousands on an eight piece cover band, put your entertainment budget to activities.  Caricature artists, tarot card readers, casino tables, for dessert do a cupcake decorating station and photo booths WITH props are all the rage!

Be flexible with your date and time.

There are only so many Friday and Saturday nights in December.  Not only will you find yourself competing to find a location, you will be competing with other events to get your invitees to attend.  Can you do it on a weekday evening or even better in November or January.  You might even be able to save yourself a bit of money as a lot of places with offer off-season pricing.

Do a team building activity.

Instead of a party, invite your employees and even their guests to go do something.  Scavenger hunts, cooking classes, pottery painting, or volunteering at a local charity are just a few ideas.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Catching Up With Life

Jack's first soccer game!  Little man scored two goals!

I wrote a blog post a few weeks back about maintaining that balance between life and work.  I am currently at one of those rebalancing points in life.  I have noticed about every three years or so, my family goes through somewhat of a transition.  Last one, we added Hailey to our family, my husband got a new job and started school full time all in the same week.  This one, I am covering for someone who left at work until they can find someone new (essentially doing 2.5 peoples job), Jack started Kindergarden and his first season of soccer and Hailey started at a new daycare.

I kept trying to keep up with everything.  And quickly realized I was forgetting about the most important thing in life.  My sanity!  I was literally making myself sick and have the stress rash to prove it.  So, priorities had to be set.  First comes my family and getting them through this latest transition.  Then comes my full time job - well because it pays the bills for now.  Then comes my current clients with Crafty.  We have a couple of big projects that are coming to a head here in the next month.

I had grandios plans to write about special events and promotions all month.  Currently those are taking a back seat to life, but you can bet I will pick it up again when things get back on routine!  So, until October I hope you have a fantastic September during our respite.



Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Perfect Meeting Agenda

My biggest complaints about meetings I attend, and I attend a lot, is that they are not organized.  Being the planner that I am, I want to know why I am there, what we are going to accomplish and then leave with a task list for myself and for others so we can all hold each other accountable.  A perfect example for why every meeting should have a killer agenda.  I am firm believer in this, even for the smallest of meetings.  

So, what should be in your agenda?  It should answer for attendees what they need to do to prepare for the meeting and what you hope to accomplish in getting everyone together.  Key here - is to prepare and send it out to all attendees well in advance of the scheduled meeting.

Meeting Logistics

I usually put this in a header at the top of the agenda.  The name of the meeting, when and where it will take place, and how you will meet, if not in a physical location then list the web address or conference call line.  If it is on the phone or online, you may want to add a line there for people to get logged in or call in a few minutes early.

Attendees and Their Roles

Who is going to be there and what are they going to be doing there?  Or what is there role?  You may even want to include contact information for each, to facilitate follow up that may need to take place post meeting.  

Purpose of the Meeting/Desired Outcomes

If the name of the meaning in the heading does not clearly spell it out - get more specific here.  Tell them exactly what will come from this meeting, key decisions that will need to be made, etc.  

What They Need to Do or Prepare Prior the the Meeting

Some information may need to be brought to or organized for all to share prior to the meeting.  If you are not the one responsible for doing so, list who is responsible for what.

Action Items

List out all of the topics that need to be discussed.  Bullet points work great here for others to follow along and take notes. 

Next Steps

If there is a follow up meeting, deadlines for specific action items, etc. list them here so people know what will happen after they leave.  



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On-Site vs. Off-Site Meetings

Getting people together for a meeting can be a great way to share information, make decisions and create group cohesion. But should you plan those meetings to take place within your physical business location or take them off-site?  Here are some pro's and cons to both options.


No travel time, so it may cut the total time of your meeting down.
If you forget something, or need anything additional for the meeting you still have easy access.
Save money.
Can probably utilize more audio visual aides and with your own equipment.

May be difficult to get people to step away from their daily duties and focus on the meeting.
It is easier for others within the company, who are not involved in the meeting, to interupt.


Sometimes leaving the office and getting away for a bit can inspire creativity and team bonding.
Can allow you to double the meeting as an employee appreciation as well!
If you don't have great audio/visual equipment, choose an off-site location that does.

Travel time to the location may add time to the length of the meeting
If you forget something - too bad!
Be careful when choosing a location - external factors such as noise or lots of activity not associated with your group can be distracting.



Monday, September 2, 2013

September is Event Planning Month!

Happy Labor Day everyone!  Labor day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  So, I am going to spend all month talking about a passion of mine.  Event planning!  I have always done it as a part of my job function for almost my entire career and really have been doing it full time for the last 6 years.  I love getting people together, doing something special, and getting "ish" done.  Whether it being sharing information so everyone is all on the same page, weighing options to make a decision or showing off your company and/or product, for a lack of better words at the moment, I love every part of it!

So to start our meeting today here is my agenda for the month!

Week 1 - Meetings

We will delve into on-site vs. off-site meetings, how to put together the perfect agenda, adding those special touches and even share with you my top 10 places to go to or order in from for your next meeting.

Week 2 - Client Appreciation

I'll share some great ideas for the Fall here in the Northwest to show your thanks to the people that help pay your bills as well as some tips on how to get people to attend and even some ways to reach out to them on a personal level.

Week 3 - Employee Appreciation

Some fun ways to celebrate employees without even leaving the office and a couple to get out from behind the desks, and why it is important to allow people to escape for a bit and bond!

Week 4 - Promotional Events

I give you my must have tips for putting together that perfect tradeshow booth, how to get the most out of your sponsorship and even how to bring the business right to your front door.

I am excited for the Fall weather, scarves and chunky sweaters, pumpkin patches and butternut squash, but even more to share with you my passion for event planning all September long!



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Groups on LinkedIn

I could say just one simple sentence here and get my point across.  So, here you go and then I will expand a bit.

Join groups and be active in them. 

Seems simple right?  It is.  LinkedIn is a "social networking" site just like all the others we have discussed this month.  On LinkedIn, the way to be social and network is to join groups.  The more the better as it help improve your exposure on the site.

They are really the best way to get in touch with other users who are there for the same thing, have your same interests or work in the same industry.  Start by joining other's groups, to watch and interact with others to see what works and what doesn't work.  Then start your own group.  Start discussions to build your network and build relationships.  I have gotten some great ideas just by following other conversations.

Add value - be a resource to any group you are a part of or start.  Showcase your expertise and past experiences or add a different point of view.  We all come from different backgrounds and each have a different perspective, which includes ideas for improvements or new ideas.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Completed Profile on LinkedIn

Social media experts all over the web will tell you that the first step to getting anywhere with LinkedIn is to have a complete profile yourself.  There is much more to it that having your name, a great headshot, your job history and some links to where people might be able to see your work.  Here are some suggestions to take your profile to the next level.


This is the line under your name.  If you have it as the default it will pull your most current title and use that.  But, that is not enough.  It's your headline!  Just like in a newspaper it should grab the readers attention and make them want to read more!

Your Summary

All about you and you should focus on two things in this section.  Make it keyword heavy!  If someone is searching for something you do this is where it will pull from.  The other is to tell people why you are here.  Do you want a job?  Do you want people to connect with your for potential partnerships or business deals?  Tell them here.

Your Work History

For the most part this is your resume, however there are a couple of key differences.  Only positions related to what you are currently doing or seeking to do should be listed.  You don't have to go so many years back, like what they recommend on a typical resume.  But do, describe in details what you do/did for any positions you do list!


There are two ways people can give you kudos on your profile page.  The first is endorsements; LinkedIn will often prompt people to endorse you based on interactions within the site.  It shows on your profile as a line item with a number of people who have endorsed your for that line item and their pictures lined up next to it.  The second is a recommendation and I recommend you request these from key people.  You can send requests to specific people, for a specific position.  These people can then leave a comment on your profile with a glowing review of their experience working with you.  These have a lot more clout that endorsements in my opinion as there is a bit more effort put into it!

Add Apps

You can now add apps to your profile that can allow you to put rich content on your profile.  For example, you can link it to your WordPress activity or your current reading list.