Ten Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

If you’re like every other event planner in the world right now, you’re scrambling to think of more and better virtual event ideas every day. Online event hosting has become the new normal, whether you were ready for it or not—COVID-19 has turned the events industry (along with pretty much every other industry in the world) on its head. So where have you landed?

Event planning is a competitive business. And every busy event planner knows, you have to stay ahead of the curve to keep landing those contracts. You are expected to knock every event out of the park with innovative new ideas and impressive results. And to do it all with lower and lower budgets.

Online events are no different. With COVID-19, the whole industry was shifted online. Live events will see their day again. But in the meantime, virtual events are on the rise and planners are upping their online game with every one.

Virtual events have less overhead, lower travel costs, and less personnel involved. This leaves a lot of room for over-the-top marketing and investment in stellar speakers and quality content. 

To help you keep ahead of the game, here are some innovative virtual event ideas to keep in your toolbox. You never know when you might need them.

10 virtual event ideas to keep you ahead of the curve

1. Go 3D

Utilize immersive environment technology to create virtual meeting rooms, stages, and other creative locations. It may not be exactly virtual reality, but this alternative presentation will give your attendees a break from the usual format of flat-screen after flat-screen.

2. Get united

Choose a common goal for your event, such as a certain dollar amount raised for a cause. Use this goal in your marketing and keep the message going throughout the event, getting people excited about reaching the goal. Track the progress and shout the results from the mountaintops. This will contribute to a feeling of community and cohesion among your attendants and strengthen the experience of your event, making it more memorable. 

3. Don’t forget to entertain

Live events usually feature entertainment of some sort, such as a musical act, a comedian, or a keynote speaker. So why shouldn’t your virtual event? Schedule live streaming entertainment and promote it as part of your marketing plan.

Speaker: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

4. Use music

Instead of dead air, liven up your waiting rooms with energetic music, and use it during your presentations as well. 

5. Activity breaks

Don’t forget that your participants are spending a large chunk of time in their homes staring at their computer screens so they can attend your event. Break up the event and add some movement by incorporating some health and wellness breaks, such as a scheduled yoga class or guided meditation session. This will keep your attendees from drifting off to get some exercise elsewhere, will lighten the mood and create camaraderie as they share a healthy experience together.

Meditation: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve
A guided meditation session could refresh your attendees during a long event.

Click here for some more virtual event ideas.

6. Get competitive

Shake things up and get people interacting by incorporating some friendly competition into your event. Lead a game that goes on throughout the event, or puzzles or trivia questions that your attendees can respond to in order to earn prizes or rewards. 

7. Live illustrations

There have been some really cool things done with live illustrations at events. You can hire a graphic artist to create illustrations in real-time during presentations or webinars so that your attendees can watch as it evolves and highlights different aspects of your content. At the end of your event, these completed sketches can be used as marketing material or as giveaways or prizes.

8. Use unusual backgrounds

By this time, most people are used to watching webinars hosted in conference rooms, offices, or on stages. Do something a little more unusual such as shooting outdoors or another unpredictable space. Do keep in mind that you should be able to control your audio, so do a soundcheck first to ensure there won’t be any surprises (think wind and passersby). 

9. Go glossy instead of live streaming

Livestreaming is the main mode of presentation for virtual events. But why not invest the time to create pre-recorded sessions instead? While livestreaming is more immediate and can be more interactive by nature, they can also risk being boring and flat if it’s just one person speaking for tens of minutes. A pre-recorded video, on the other hand, can benefit from editing, cutting, and styling which can make for much more interesting, engaging content. If you don’t want your whole event to be pre-recorded, think about incorporating a few shorter elements into your schedule, interspersed with livestreaming. 

Prerecording: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

10. Get creative with your speakers

Sometimes the best choice isn’t the most obvious choice, which is why one of our favorite virtual event ideas is to hire surprising speakers. Search eSpeakers’ virtual speakers’ roster to find a talented online event-savvy speaker for your event.

Online events are here to stay. And just like the live event industry before it, the playing field is going to get ever more competitive and innovative. With these and other virtual event ideas, you can work to keep yourself one step ahead of the pack. 

Happy planning!

Are you a speaker wanting to expand your portfolio to include online training? Being certified is a great way to let customers know you’re a great virtual speaker. We offer certification at eSpeakers….check it out here.

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6 Steps For Putting On A Virtual Event That Works

You’ve been thinking about putting on a virtual event for a while now, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. 

Putting on a virtual event can seem really daunting if you’ve never done it before. The technology to learn, the different platforms, how to advertise to an online audience…there are a lot of questions and new things to learn that surround a virtual event. Even if you’re an experienced event planner, putting on a 100 percent virtual event presents a whole new set of issues and problems to troubleshoot and solve.

With current events keeping almost everyone at home to do most of their work and leisure activities online, now is the time to put on your first virtual event.

So, how does one actually put on a virtual event? If you go step by step, it’s not as complicated as you think. 

We’ve broken it down into steps for you, to help you put on your first virtual event without a hitch. 

6 Steps For Putting On A Virtual Event That Works

1. Assess your audience. 

Before you can do anything else you need to know who your audience is. Your audience will decide all the components of your event, from which platform to use, to what topics to focus on, to how to market most effectively. It all comes down to what your audience is so make sure you ask yourself a few questions about who they are, such as what are they interested in? How tech-savvy are they? And how do they interact online? This will help you figure out how to market to them and keep them interested once you have them at your event.

2. Figure out your format.

Just like live events, there are several different configurations to any virtual event so use your now defined audience to decide which one would be best for them. Are they a more passive audience or do they like to interact? Are they skills-based or experience-based? How much time do they have? Based on these and other questions, you can design your event’s format accordingly. Maybe your virtual event will be a single simple seminar with a question-and-answer session at the end. Maybe it will be a complicated multi-event format with plenty of real-time interaction, polling, and audience participation. Use your audience research to decide on what will keep them engaged.

As a professional in the event planning industry, you’re in the perfect position to help your colleagues find the right speakers to make their meetings great! Connect with our SpeakerShare program to learn how you can make a commission from referring speakers!

3. Pick a platform.

Based on your format, now is the time to research your platform options and decide on the one that will best optimize your virtual event, for yourself, your presenter(s) and your audience. Make a list of what you need to make your event a success, find the ones that meet those criteria, and utilize their free trial packages (most online platforms will offer this) to test them out and find which one fits best for you. Don’t forget to keep your audience in mind—will they adapt easily to a new platform, or would a familiar streaming service such as Facebook or Youtube be best for them?

4. Pick your presenters.

As in a live event, having a host and speakers who are engaging, knowledgeable, and quick-on-their-feet is essential. In the case of virtual events, it is also important that your speaker can adapt to an online audience and is tech-savvy enough to troubleshoot tech issues on the spot and engage seamlessly with a virtual audience. 

Are you a speaker? Read this post to learn how to let the world know you can present virtually.

5. Choose your “when and where”.

Just because your event won’t be with a live audience, doesn’t mean you don’t have to commit to a time and place—don’t think that these particulars don’t matter. You can have the most interesting virtual event in the world but it won’t do much good if half of your audience is asleep because you’ve scheduled it in the wrong time zone. So pay attention to your audience and what their needs are, time-wise. You can even poll them to figure out what their optimal time is to commit to an online event. And venue matters, as well. You might be tempted to host in your living room, but keep in mind that your background can make your event look cheaper than it is. Consider renting an office space or boardroom for a more professional presentation.

6. Let the world know!

Okay! You’ve finally got the basics of your virtual event figured out. Time to let the world know! Maximize social media and your mailing list to get the word out in as many ways as possible. Promote as many aspects of your event as you can, including your presenters, your venue and your themes/topics. Don’t forget to use hashtags to maximum effect, and if you’re using a social media platform to stream your event, use that platform for leverage as well.

Good luck with your virtual event! And happy planning.

Looking for the perfect speakers for your virtual event? Search our speaker marketplace here—we’ve even added a new “Virtual Presentation” filter to our search criteria.

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Ten Event Planning Tips for Absolute Beginners

Special Announcement:  
With all of the unrest and uncertainty in the world because of Covid-19, we chose to publish this article on event planning burnout to help you. Event planners and speakers alike, are facing a huge downturn because of canceled or postponed events, and here at eSpeakers we are no different. If you are struggling with how to approach the coming months, you should also read our article about how to move your speaking career to the virtual sphere.

New to planning? Read on for some event planning tips for planning newbies!

So you’ve decided to be an event planner. Congratulations, you’ve chosen to work in a vital, diverse, exciting field. And as an event planner, you’ll be at the center of all the action, thinking fast, making decisions, and putting all of your amazing communication and organizing skills to the test. Planning an event is an adventure! But it can also be incredibly stressful. 

There are a million moving parts to an event, and as the planner, you have to be in control of all of them. Your decisions and anticipation of issues affect the experiences of everyone involved, from the speakers and hosts to the vendors and attendees.

If you’re brand new to planning, you could use some event planning tips. We think that there are some things on the list that you haven’t thought of before! Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Don’t cancel that event! Move it online.

Event planning tips for the absolute beginner. 

1. Find the right team.

If you’re new to planning, you might not yet have a team that you work with regularly who know each other and work as a well-oiled machine. So it’s vital at this stage to hire your team carefully. Don’t only focus on the individuals you are interviewing, but think about how they will interact with each other. A team that works well together is invaluable to a planner, which is why this is one of our most important event planning tips.

2. Do your research.

Before beginning work on any event, you have to make sure that you are an expert in the event’s theme or industry so you can make decisions accordingly. It is also very important to familiarize yourself with the audience who will be attending because they are the ones who your marketing will be directed towards. 

3. Delegate intelligently.

You can’t be thoughtless when you are delegating tasks to your team. If you aren’t careful about what tasks you’re giving to whom, you risk overloading key team members with too many tasks or getting the wrong person to do something vital. Make sure you know your team and are familiar with their particular skills and strengths.

4. Start marketing early.

Marketing by itself is a huge, complicated machine, and marketing today involves several layers of advertising that must all interact with each other. Not only do you have to coordinate social media posts, but you also need to think about mail-outs, brochures, newspaper inserts, and radio spots. There are so many components and kinks to work out of your marketing plan, that it is best to start working on it early; from several months to a year prior to the event.

Are you a speaker? Now is the time to let the world know that you can present virtually

5. Budget thoroughly.

Your budget needs to be exhaustive, including all particulars, contingencies, and overruns. No matter how great your event goes on the floor, going way over budget is never a good look.

6. Deal in detailed contracts.

When you are creating and signing contracts with vendors, guests, and speakers, you need to make sure they include any and all details that account for all situations. If you pay attention to the details at the contract stage of an agreement and get them in writing, you are protecting yourself from costly and awkward mishaps.

7. Keep a comprehensive list.

One of our favorite event planning tips is to keep a comprehensive list that lets you keep track of where you are on your timeline and what needs to get done when. Check out this post for our ultimate event planning checklist!

8. Plan contingencies for everything.

No amount of planning can account for everything. When you are dealing with a many-pronged event with a million different moving parts, it is best that you accept that not everything is going to go according to plan. So a smart, experienced event planner knows that times spent planning for “what could go wrong” is time well spent and will save you huge headaches when you have all your Plan Bs in place.

9. Automate, automate, automate.

One of the benefits of our digital age is that there is a lot that can be automated, from social media updates to data tracking and ticketing. Find out what your options are to make as many repetitive tasks automated as possible, for example using a platform such as Hootsuite to coordinate and track your social media marketing. This will relieve your team to focus on other important responsibilities. 

10. Get feedback.

The event is over. Time to celebrate, right? Nope! Time to mine your attendees for valuable feedback on everything from the keynote speech to the food. After-the-event feedback is invaluable data for your next event, so make sure you reach out to attendees promptly, before they forget about their experiences at your event, and record your important learnings.

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Five Tips to Prevent Burnout for You and Your Event Planning Team

Special Announcement:  
With all of the unrest and uncertainty in the world because of Covid-19, we chose to publish this article on event planning burnout to help you. Event planners and speakers alike, are facing a huge downturn because of canceled or postponed events, and here at eSpeakers we are no different. Preventing Burnout during these times will be important as you work to keep yourself afloat. If you are struggling with how to approach the coming months, you should also read our article about how to move your speaking career to the virtual sphere.

How do you prevent burnout as an event planner?

Did you know that event planning is one of the most stressful jobs there is? That’s right; right after firefighters, police officers, and airplane pilots come the unsung heroes of the event industry—the planners!  

Those of you who are planners yourselves know exactly why that is the case. Demanding clients, finicky speakers, thousands of guests, deal-making vendors, and all the logistics that go along with the million moving parts involved in pulling off a major event or convention, it all falls on the shoulders of the hard-working event planner. Not to mention mastering marketing and figuring out food!

All the facts and science are in and we’ve known this for a while: stress is a killer. Especially in these times when the economy is uncertain and competition can be fierce, planners are working harder than ever and taking on more work and more responsibility, and often at lower rates than they had in the past. This all adds up to some stressed out, overworked event coordinators.  

So how do event planners keep healthy and prevent burnout? We’ve compiled some tips to help you take care of yourself when the stress-meter is turned up to max.

Five tips to prevent burnout for you and your event planning team:

1. Self-care, self-care, self-care.

The first and essential way to prevent burnout is to have a strong, calm body and mind before you even get started. This means making taking care of yourself your top priority at all times. This includes before, during and after an event; working shouldn’t mean that you put your own health on the back burner, ever.

We know it’s hard when you have a million different demands that you need to get to, yesterday, to just stop and meditate or go for a yoga class. Yeah, right! You’re thinking. We hear you! But self-care can be much more simple and mean just a few conscious choices per day. 

Like making a commitment to shut your phone every night is enough time to get to bed and get a proper night’s sleep. Or eating a decent breakfast, or bringing healthy snacks with you in your bag instead of grabbing muffins and chocolate bars all day. And yes, you can find time to meditate if you really try—try five minutes in your car each morning before you run into your first appointment.

2. Love your job.

If you don’t love your job, you’re fighting a losing battle from the beginning, and we hate to tell you, but there really isn’t any way to prevent burnout in this situation. 

The truth is, in order to deal with such a high-stress job without completely breaking down, you need to have a passion for it. It’s the fuel that keeps you going. Do some research before you begin a career as a planner and find out what it’s really like being in those trenches.

There are so many things to think about when you’re planning an event…and choosing and hiring the right speakers is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Working with eSpeakers can take all the guesswork out of it; we work with you to find the perfect speaker at the right price. Check out our marketplace of top-tier speakers and get started here.

3. Delegate!

A lot of control-happy and over-organizing planners find this difficult! But a sure way to prevent burnout and decision fatigue is to offload some of your responsibilities to other members of your team. Even if you’re an independent planner, invest in a few staff members to help you with setups, to liaise with clients, or attend to registration and other tasks so you’re freer to deal with putting out fires and problem-solving. 

Letting go of control, even just a little, can make a big difference and help prevent burnout.

4. Set your limits.

Boundaries are non-negotiable. As a planner, you are in high demand from multiple parties, often for months at a time. Setting limits and learning how to say “no” are skills that every planner should practice. 

Setting limits takes a lot of different forms. It can include things like deciding you will not respond to work emails between set hours every night, to not accepting back-to-back contracts, to letting another team member deal exclusively with a certain vendor who has a knack for stressing you out.

Setting limits, even if they are small, can help prevent burnout by chipping away at your building stress levels. Let your team members help you create boundaries that will keep you from reaching your limit.

5. Recovery is key.

We all need downtime, especially after enduring months of high-stress situations, day after day. That’s why in order to prevent burnout it’s important to let your mind and body decompress as much as you can. 

Ideally, this means taking a break between contracts. But we know that many of you can’t do that, often for financial reasons. So try to at least bookend each job with a few days of downtime, even if it means just flying into a location early so you can spend a day preparing yourself and getting a good night’s rest in before you jump into the fray. Or, after a show wraps, spending an extra night in your hotel just to have a moment to breathe and regroup before hitting the road again.

We know it can seem impossible to lessen stress as an event planner or an event planning team. But with these suggestions and a few adjustments to your professional routine, you can turn down the anxiety and prevent burnout for you and your team.

Are you a planner? What do you do to prevent burnout? Let us know in the comments!

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45 Event Industry Terms That Every Planner Should Know

The event industry is growing fast. That’s great for planners! But can make it hard to keep up with all the new industry terms and trends that are constantly popping up all over the internet and social media.

With new trends come lots of new industry terms and lingo to go with them! Add to that the tried and true terminology that every experienced planner knows, and someone new to the field can be left scrambling to keep themselves informed.

With so much competition in this field and so much new technology and standards of practice coming into play, it’s vitally important to sound professional and relevant. Especially when you’re pitching to new clients and meeting with colleagues.

With all this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of all the planning industry terms you should know to sound as professional and knowledgeable as you can. We know how challenging planning can be, and having these terms at your fingertips will help you feel confident at your next meeting or networking event.

Event industry terms that every planner should know: 

Airwalls

These are portable panels that are used to divide up large meeting rooms or halls into smaller areas.

Aspect Ratio

A screen’s width in proportion to its height. This might seem like A/V stuff, but it’s important for a planner to know what a screen’s aspect ratio is. If the aspect ratio doesn’t match the speaker’s media, the picture won’t show properly. 

Attrition Rate

This is important to planners as often an “attrition clause” is included in rental contracts for space or hotel rooms. The attrition rate is calculated by dividing the number of no-shows with the number of registrants of the event.

Back of house

The operations of an event that occur behind-the-scenes.

B2B

Business to Business.

B2C

Business to Consumer/Customer

Blackout Dates

During high-traffic times such as holidays or during large events, venues and hotels can employ blackout dates. This means certain rates, space or tickets are unavailable for a set period of time.

Breakdown / Load Out / Strike

Breaking down and packing up equipment and all other aspects of the event.

Cancellation Clause

In a contract, the cancellation clause outlines the terms and conditions that allow a company to terminate their agreement. 

Change Order

A document a planner provides to a venue or vendor that outlines any changes to an existing agreement or order.

Colloquium

An informal meeting or seminar.

Comp Rooms

Extra spaces or rooms provided free of charge by a venue if a planner books a larger group of rooms.

Conference Pack

A package of materials containing information about the conference, such as schedules, venue details, and maps. Many conferences now offer event apps as well as or instead of conference packs. Also often include gifts and freebies, because of this are often referred to as “swag bags”.

Consumer Show

Usually part of a B2C event; products, packages, and other deals are offered to consumers exclusively at a consumer show.

Critical Time Plan/Critical Path

It’s the play-by-play of the day. This document details the tasks of the event when they must be completed and by whom. 

Day Delegate Rate (DDR)

A venue’s rate, calculated by the number of attendees per day at full capacity. This cost can include equipment use, meals, and refreshments, among other things.

Early Bird Registration

Tickets purchased early for an event are often offered at a reduced cost.

Emcee/MC

Master of Ceremonies. This is the individual, often someone high-profile or a professional speaker, who presides over the whole event. Essentially the “face” of the event.

EMS (Event Management Software)

A range of software products that a planner uses to manage their events and conferences. These can be sold in packages or curated personally by each planner.

Force majeure clause

One of the biggest concerns of event planners and one of the industry terms that you shouldn’t forget! This clause is written into most contracts and states that a vendor is not responsible if the unforeseen happens.

Occasionally a speaker will have to cancel last minute for personal, travel or health reasons. If this happens to you eSpeakers marketplace has you covered. Our experienced team and deep pool of top-level speakers will have you back on track in no time. Contact us to get started!

Green Room

A private room for event VIPs and other guests and speakers to use for relaxing or entertaining their own guests.

Honorarium   

Payment given to a speaker or participant who is working on an official volunteer basis.

Hybrid event

An event that combines a live audience with a virtual audience.

I & D 

Installation and dismantle. In reference to a person or persons who will be performing this function.

Incentive Travel

A new way for employers to motivate staff, and an indicator of evolving event industry trends. Employers offer their team travel packages as performance incentives.

Keynote

The keynote address generally occurs at the very start, to set the stage and get the audience pumped up and excited about the event. A keynote speaker is often a well-known person in a certain field relevant to the event. They double as advertising and a draw to the event.

Lavalier

A microphone typically used by speakers on stage who are moving about freely. They are wireless and attach to the clothing of the wearer.

Load-In

The period before the event dedicated to hauling in and installation/set up of the equipment and items involved with the event.

Master Account

This is an account, often set up by the planner or host, to which all costs for a specified group will be charged.

M.O.D 

Manager on duty.

No-show

A no-show is anyone, including attendees, speakers, and delegates, who do not arrive at the event without informing the organizers beforehand.

Plenary

A meeting at a conference attended by all the attendees.

Plus Plus (++)

Seen as ++ on the planner’s orders. Symbolizes the levels of gratuities and taxes that are being charged by a vendor.

Post Event Report

A detailed document that lists all the particulars of an event after it is over. It includes the total number of attendees, profits made, incidents, no-shows, etc.

Post Event Feedback

An opportunity for attendees and other participants to offer suggestions, notes, and advice around the event, both positive and negative.

Pre-con

Pre-convention meeting.

Pro Forma Invoice

An invoice that a service provider issues prior to delivery.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

In the early planning stages, a meeting organizer will send out RFPs to potential service and product providers, including all the particulars of the event. This allows vendors to submit proposals to fit those needs.

Rider

Speakers will often have stipulations about specific backstage requests in regards to refreshments and other particulars. 

Shell Scheme

A system in which exhibitors showcase their products or services.

SMERF 

Acronym for: Social, Military, Educational, Religious, and Fraternal.

Space only

If an exhibitor opts to rent only a blank space on the exhibition floor.

Traffic Flow

The flow of participants through the convention space as they move between different rooms and areas of the event. 

Workshop, seminar, breakout, concurrent sessions

Sessions that occur concurrently with the main events and sessions.

Venue

Where your event is held. It can be anything from a hotel to a community center to a large conference center. 

We hope these industry terms will help you to be the most well-informed, professional events planner you can be, and to kill it in your next pitch meeting!

Good luck!

At espeakers we handle the most important part of any event planning—the people on stage. We learn about your event, its audience and your ideal outcomes, and make it our goal to make your experience with us an easy, seamless one. Contact us to get started.

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What’s Your Plan B? What to Do If Your Keynote Speaker Canceled Last Minute

So you’ve spent months and months planning an event. It’s the biggest ever, you’ve pulled out all the stops and covered all your bases. You’ve planned for every single possible contingency. Especially the biggest one. Your keynote speaker canceled at the last minute.

A nightmare, right? You’ve printed all the programs and posters with that person’s face all over them. Attendees have bought tickets with the promise of hearing an awesome keynote speech from this particular speaker. And the—admittedly, rare—unthinkable has happened. One of the worst things that could happen, really.

But! 

Being the professional planner that you are, you’re prepared with your Plan B, right?

I hope so! 

Here is a list of some Plan Bs for when your keynote speaker cancels at the last minute (I know it seems unlikely, but it does happen!).

Five Plan B tips for when your keynote speaker cancels last minute.

1. Crowdsource your crowd for a networking opportunity. 

Be upfront with your audience that your keynote speaker canceled, then turn that negative into a positive. Turn the empty time slot into an opportunity to have a group think tank. Have some talking points ready, ask your attendees to form groups and discuss the points on a timer with a buzzer. Invite them to reform new groups every time the buzzer rings and assign a new talking point. The points can be anything from current social issues to favorite kitchen hacks. Keep things moving at a fast pace and your audience will be laughing and forming new connections in no time. When time is up, have audience members share their favorite thoughts from the session for a larger group discussion. This lively interaction will quickly distract your audience from the missing keynote.

Corporate event planning has its own unique challenges…for some useful advice check out this post: Ten tips to make your corporate event unforgettable!

2. Appoint another guest as your substitute.

Many larger events feature many talented people. Well before the event, approach one of them and ask if they would like to be your substitute keynote speaker. Most speakers will jump at that opportunity. You will have to compensate them for their additional responsibility, but as your keynote will have forfeited their compensation, (unless their contract states otherwise) you will have space in your budget. If this happens, you can advertise their original session as an extension of their keynote.

3. Mine your past speakers.

Your past speakers can be a great resource in a pinch because you already have a positive working relationship with them; they trust you and you trust them. If your keynote speaker cancels, run through your list of past speakers and call any who are in your area and might be able to help you out with a last-minute favor. They already know that you’re good for your word, so will be more likely to stick their neck out for you. 

4. Create a panel session.

Choose five or six big players from your audience or list of other presenters. Have a strong moderator appointed, and line your panel up in chairs on the stage for a group discussion around a current topic that is pertinent to the industry. Field questions from the audience and keep the discussion moving and interesting.

5. Work with a speakers bureau.

When your speaker cancels last minute, your best Plan B is to have a speakers bureau in your back pocket ready to be dispatched. As professionals who have years of experience in the industry, a speakers bureau has countless speakers at their fingertips and the ability to pull in favors to get you a great backup speaker fast. A speakers bureau does all the legwork and paperwork for you so all you have to do is make the call and wait for your speaker to arrive.

There is a lot to think about when planning an event, and your speakers are arguably the most important part. Ready to start taking the guesswork and legwork out of booking a speaker and leave the particulars to the professionals? Don’t hesitate to contact us to get started.  

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7 Tips to Save Money When You’re Planning an Event

Event planning has always been a tough industry. And now with our ever more competitive economy and smaller and smaller budgets, planning an event is more challenging than ever. 

Gone are the days of sky’s the limit budgets. Now, clients are expecting their planners to pull off the same events they always have but at greatly reduced budgets. 

Everyone is trying to save money. And if you want to succeed in today’s planning industry, this means you, too.

Here are seven helpful ways that you can trim costs off of your next event.

7 Tips to Save Money When You’re Planning an Event

1. Know your budget.

This one seems simple but when you’re planning an event it is vitally important to know your budget. 

A million little costs you didn’t anticipate can pile up mighty fast and blow your budget before you know it, especially if you never had a handle on your budget in the first place.

So the first thing you need to do if you want to save money is to know your budget inside and out. No gray areas and no wiggle room. Before you start, solidify and confirm the final budget with your client. 

2. Use a sponsor.

Or better yet, sponsors. 

Our unforgiving economy means everyone is looking for ways to save money. So get out there and find them. There are many companies that would love to gain some exposure through sponsorship of your event. Sponsors can provide everything from banners to swag to free transportation. Take a look around.

New companies looking for exposure are perfect candidates for sponsorship. Approach some that are in fields related to your event and strike up a deal. This can potentially save a lot of money for your event.

3. Be selective with venues.

Think suburban! Don’t just go for the standard (and potentially expensive) conference halls and hotels in the center of town. When booking venues, you can save money just by thinking outside of the box and outside of the city limits, too. 

Next time you’re planning an event, instead of booking smack dab in the city center, think about booking slightly outside of town, in a suburb ideally reached by local transit. Or, book more creative (cheaper) venues such as local theaters, galleries, and smaller hotels. Even trendy “pop-up” restaurants and venues can be created for an event.

4. Think big? No, think small! 

There are so many amazing start-up companies out there that are chomping at the bit to get out there, get some experience, and get some exposure. So when you’re planning an event, from the transportation to the catering to the recycling, instead of defaulting to the big names, take a closer look at what the local entrepreneurs are offering. 

If you approach these vendors with an open mind and a willingness to negotiate, you can secure some great services for your event at great prices, and support small businesses as well. Not to mention the new relationships and alliances you will be forming. 

Planning an event? Browse eSpeakers’ comprehensive speaker directory, and reach out to us to get started getting the perfect speaker on your keynote stage!

5. Nothing is free…but social media is.

Save huge on your marketing budget by using free social media to its full effect. There are some amazing things being done with marketing on social media platforms these days, get online and look at some other events to see what they have done and to get inspiration. 

You can also use social media platforms in-event to get your attendees interacting with each other. Twitter is a great free platform to get people talking. Create a hashtag for your event and get posting.

If you can, dedicate a staff member or volunteer to be in charge of your social media campaigns. It will be worth it when you see the buzz and attention a little social media activity can create.

6. Trim food costs.

There are all kinds of ways to save money on your food budget. 

Going with a buffet instead of a sit-down table service is a great way to reduce costs, as is offering a simple drinks menu instead of a full bar, which can get very expensive.

Save money by eliminating afternoon sandwiches or cheese platters and keep it simpler and healthier with fruit and vegetable trays. 

Another option is finding a local caterer or restaurant that will offer a reduced rate in exchange for a high profile at your event.

7. Hire a speaker’s bureau.

Last but not least, hiring a speaker’s bureau is a great way to save money when you’re planning an event. 

A speaker’s bureau can eliminate all of the time-consuming legwork involved in securing a great speaker, and they have the experience and connections to negotiate the best deal possible for you. 

Consider eSpeakers when you’re planning your next event. 

Contact us to get started finding the perfect speakers who will make your events unforgettable!

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Your Ultimate Event Planning Checklist!

So you’ve done the hustle, you’ve sold your skills and pitched like crazy. And you did it—you landed that next big contract!

Well done…now what?

This one’s bigger than any event you’ve organized before and you’re feeling ever-so-slightly in over your head—you’re more nervous than excited! And you’re not sure where to start.

What you need is an event planning checklist that will ease your fears. 

With all the moving parts involved in planning an event, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t panic—you’re at the very start. The perfect place to be to plan an unforgettable event from the ground up.

But first, you need to get organized.

With this event planning checklist, you can keep track of all those little details and make sure you don’t forget anything.

eSpeakers Ultimate Event Planning Checklist

14 to 18 months prior to the event:

  • Write your event planning checklist!
  • Select and hire your planning committee
  • Delegate tasks and responsibilities
  • Create a preliminary budget
  • Establish objectives, goals, and theme of the event
  • Create a website 
  • Put together a mailing list
  • Create a marketing plan
  • Send an email blast: save the date
  • Venue search/site visits
  • Begin soliciting sponsorship
  • Outline event agenda
  • If you are using one, hire a decorator 
  • Establish satellite events 
  • Establish logistical parameters:
    • Space requirements
    • Number of attendees
  • Send out RFPs for ancillary services (transportation, equipment rentals)

Looking for the perfect speakers for your next event? Search our speaker marketplace here!

10 – 16 months before the event:

  • Contract ancillary services
  • Establish rates and pricing/early bird pricing
  • Begin promotion!
  • Launch social media campaign and platforms
  • Build registration platform on the website
  • Finalize contracts with venues and pay deposits
  • Seek out and secure speakers and facilitators
  • Arrange transportation and accommodation for speakers and guests
  • Be sure your website(s) can handle increasing traffic

6 – 10 months before the event:

  • Open registration 
  • Finalize sessions
  • Layout program
  • Plan event logistics with vendors (travel, menus, etc.)
  • Print and send out brochures

3 – 6 months before the event:

  • Confirm menus and ancillary venues
  • Review audio-visual requirements
  • Begin your “Event Day Master List”
  • Determine the final print date
  • Keep the website updated with new information
  • Finalize speakers and agenda

1 – 3 months before the event:

  • Hire and train event staff
  • Order attendee materials and swag (nametags, t-shirts, notebooks etc.)

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6 weeks – 2 months before the event:

  • Finalize decorative details
  • Prepare post-event survey
  • Email and snail mail reminders to speakers

2 – 6 weeks before the event:

  • Print signage, programs, and other literature
  • Finalize attendance numbers
  • Troubleshoot digital/online apps and technologies

1 week before the event:

  • Review Master Plan
  • A/V run-throughs
  • Troubleshoot equipment
  • Event walk-throughs with key personnel
  • Email updates to speakers and other participants
  • Familiarize personnel with logistical details of venues
  • Collect all presentations on USB sticks
  • Prepare check-in materials
  • Close registration, provide final numbers to venues and hotels
  • Prepare gifts for speakers and participants
  • Train event support staff

Day of the event:

  • Meet and greet
  • Oversee smooth functioning, monitor safety and cleanliness put out fires

Week after the event:

  • Email post-event questionnaires
  • Send thank-you letters to VIPs and speakers
  • Post-event breakdown meeting with key personnel
  • Begin planning the next event!

An event planning checklist is essential to keeping organized whether you’re a veteran planner or are brand new to the industry. Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Now, get planning!

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Corporate Event Planning: Ten Tips to Make it Unforgettable!

As all event planners know, corporate events are not all created equally. This can make corporate event planning a tricky business. An art, even.

Corporate events all have the same goal in mind: to bring a group—large or small—together for the purpose of inspiring them to do better in their professional lives, one way or another.

They can be engaging, emotionally-charged power-events, leaving attendees feeling united in their common purpose to advance their industries for the greater good of society as a whole!

Or, they can be awkward, boring snooze-fests that have the participants checking their watches and plotting their escapes out a side door.

If your work is in corporate event planning, an event like this can be a career-killer.

But, have no fear! We’ve compiled a list of ten tips to make sure your next corporate event is unforgettable.

Ten tips to make your corporate event unforgettable!

Be inspiring!

This is the whole point of corporate event planning and can’t be overlooked. If your attendees don’t leave your event inspired in some way, then you haven’t done your job as an event planner.

This is where the speakers you choose can play a key role in making your event unforgettable. Choosing the right person to speak to the particular challenges and issues of your participants can make all the difference between an event with impact and one that fades into distant memory.

Be interactive.

The main purpose of corporate event planning is to help businesses break down divisions that exist between their employees and various departments. This is also true for larger events that can work to bring people together who inhabit different areas of the same industry.

Through interactive activities such as workshops and icebreaker events, your participants will enjoy opportunities to get to know each other in more casual situations, rather than just sitting passively side-by-side at presentations and talks.

Be inclusive.

People love to feel included, especially in this era when so much of our lives are dominated by digital interactions rather than face-to-face. 

Spend lots of time during the event talking to participants, asking them how the event is going for them and how it might improve. Take polls and post the results. Create social media platforms dedicated to letting participants interact with each other. 

Did you know we have an interactive database of fabulous speakers? Check out the marketplace here.

Make your invitation…inviting!

The invitation is the first introduction to your event. So make sure it isn’t impersonal and humdrum, so recipients stay away from that delete button. Make your invitations thoughtful, informative, and reflective of the theme and intent of the event. If potential participants can get a good idea of what’s in store if they attend, they will be more likely to consider registering.

Pick a theme.

An integral part of your corporate event planning may include choosing a theme. 

A theme creates a narrative that can anchor your participants firmly in the experience. Find ways for attendees to participate, such as dressing to the theme or creating playlists they can download on their devices. 

Get educational.

Studies have shown that experiential learning is far more effective than passive learning, such as sitting and listening to lectures.

So, at your next corporate event make sure to include some experiential learning opportunities. This can include specialized training sessions or pop-up workshops. When an educational aspect is included in an event, it is transformed from a potential waste of time to a productive chance to improve skills and knowledge.

Choose your venue carefully.

A venue isn’t just a space—if chosen carefully, it can be elevated to an important part of your event’s story. So, put some thought into your venue selection. Choose something that fits with the theme and feel of your event. Also, a venue that has an interesting focal point or feature will add character to the even. It will also give your attendees a cool spot to gather.

Don’t forget to follow up.

Corporate event planning also means planning for the future. Post-event is a valuable time to gather feedback to put towards your next event, as well as making sure attendants don’t forget the experience they’ve just had. 

Send fun, interesting questionnaires to all the participants, inviting them to share what their favorite and not-so-favorite parts of the event were. 

Food and drink.

You’ve put so much thought into the venue, theme, content and speakers of your event. Don’t cop out when it comes to the food! 

What’s on the buffet tables may seem inconsequential compared to what’s on stage. But the truth is if you offer refreshments that go beyond the usual mediocre event fare, people will remember. Food matters, so don’t treat it like an afterthought!

Choose the right speakers.

Last but not least, the right presenters and keynote speaker will make or break your event. Choosing speakers correctly is not optional when corporate event planning, as they have the power to lift an event from mundane to memorable.

If you’re looking for an amazing, inspiring speaker for an upcoming event, make sure to reach out to us so we can help you find the perfect fit.

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