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Staying Relevant

in a Changing World

By Barry Siskind

1. Know your customer. Your customer isn’t a corporation but the individuals it employs. Who are the individuals that are most interested in your offerings? What are their likes and dislikes? How do they connect with their world? What sites are they most active in? How do they define the community to which they belong? These are the type of questions you should be asking. 2. Embrace technology. If you don’t have a social media presence, develop one. The longer you procrastinate, the greater the tendency to become irrelevant in the eyes of those you are trying to communicate with.

One of the great benefits of attending an exhibition is the opportunity to network with industry colleagues, suppliers and buyers. Yet, we see people with their eyes cast downward, mesmerized as their fingers fling across a miniature keyboard at lightening speed.


as face-to-face interactions faded into the ether, never to be seen again? Have we turned a corner on human interaction and lost our way? The answer may not be as simple as yes or no. The real culprit in the mix is demographics. The baby-boom generation (ages 40-63) were comfortable meeting people face-to-face. It was how they developed trust and confidence in the people they chose to do business with. They developed a keen sense of what was acceptable behaviour and what wasn’t. If a stranger was friendly, professional and offered a genuine handshake and a smile, this group was more apt to deal with them as opposed to those who looked like sharks stalking their next meal. Then came the World Wide Web and the personal computers which grew from an interesting machine on our desk to a necessary tool in our pocket. The Generation X (ages 28-39) and the

Millennials (ages 18-27) grew up in this age of technology where modern advances seemed to take them further away from human contact. The older generation shook their heads in disbelief, the younger generations, opened doors of opportunities their parents never thought possible. Now those organizations who hope to achieve above average results from their exhibit investment need to change. Those companies who have moved away from displays that simply showcase a product or service to one that offers the attendee an opportunity to engage in the solution are seeing unbelievable results. Those who are stuck in the dark ages are being left behind. How do you embrace change and create an exhibit plan that is relevant, measurable and meaningful? Here are a few suggestions that will point you in the right direction.

3. Know your products/services. Go beyond features, benefits and advantages which were selling tools used with the baby-boomers to the new world where customers decide on what elements of a product or service are most relevant and meaningful. 4. Create a display that quickly captures their imagination. You can’t tell this generation of visitors that you understand their perspective, you need to show them. This requires careful thought to everything that is visible including your signs, graphics, demonstrations and product displays to ensure that your audience connects instantly. 5. Engage..engage…engage. Ensure that each step in your exhibit plan opens an opportunity to engage the visitor. This will include everything from the shows you select, the display and how your staff interacts with the audience. The trick is to focus your exhibit plans around the question, “What is most relevant to my customers?” If you are not sure then you need to do the research. We are entering a new era where many of the rules and techniques that worked so well in the past are no longer producing results. If you take the time to understand how the demographic of your attendees is changing and take the appropriate steps, you can’t go wrong. Barry Siskind is North America’s foremost trade and consumer show expert. Visit his Web site: or e-mail him at: | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 3

The Canadian

in publication

for meeting and event planners



6 Who Are The Planners Of Tomorrow?

Four students tell us what their future objectives are and why they chose this field.

* A Mari Usque Ad Mare

8 What Communication May Bring in 2012

Stacey Hanke shares her views on critical elements to building relationships, winning business and achieving personal development in 2012.

Publisher’s Note

The past meets the future The future in event planning is represented by the four students we have featured in this month’s Planner. We have also asked Audrey Asar, a 20 year industry veteran,

16 Destination Quebec City

A detailed look into the growth, attractions, and destinations in this booming city.

22 Survey “Planner Tool Box” Following

our survey, “Planner Tool Box”, where we had asked you to help our intern Amber find a name for her multipurpose tool box and its contents.

to give us an overview (following page) of the past as the end of one year meets the beginning of a new one. The past meets the future. Once again this year we wish to thank you for your support and welcome your ideas, suggestions and comments.

26 Moving Beyond Notes on the Back of Business Cards Barry Siskind explains how to properly

save your contact information and make better use of technology.



Happy New Year from all of us at The Planner!

The Planner is distributed to professional meeting and event planners across Canada with the goal of providing reliable and timely information to make better decisions. P ublisher Michel Geoffroy, CMM E ditor Don Murray, CMP A ssociate E ditor Alice Dawlat B usiness D evelopment M anager

Valerie Petit

G raphic A rtist Matthew Riopel S ales C irculation Patricia Lemus C ontributors Marilyn Bali, Audrey Esar, Stacey Hanke,

A ddress

Amber Jackson, Marilyn Lazar, Barry Siskind 2105, de la Montagne, suite 100, Montreal, Québec H3G 1Z8 Telephone: (514) 849-6841 poste 315 Fax: (514) 284-2282 Your comments are appreciated:

The Planner is published ten times a year. Poste-publication No. 40934013 The Planner uses FSC certified paper, made from responsible sources.

*Canadian Coat of Arms motto “From sea to sea” We acknowledge the financial support of the

Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) for our publishing activities.


PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |



Planning to be a Planner….


By Audrey Esar

There are not many of us who started out by specifically wanting to be a meeting or event planner. Often, the route to this career came through a long and winding road that passed through many different avenues, and ultimately ended up in this crazy, detailed filled, chaotic and satisfying profession we call planning. Funny considering often, we never “planned” for it at all!


or myself, as an example, I was working in accounting, then sales, before venturing into the world of meeting planning and incentive travel. Having organized conferences for previous companies, I quickly realized that the energy and the excitement of the constant changes and unordinary days were exactly what I needed to keep my interest peaked and move me to keep progressing within the industry. Self taught, I mastered each hurdle as they arose, and learned something from every client and experience. Since customer service was and has always been a number one priority for me, it wasn’t difficult to translate that strength into fulfilling the needs and requirements of my clients. One planner I know began her career as an administrative assistant in the pharmaceutical business before incorporating meeting planning into her daily work life, eventually excelling and becoming the “go to” person in her company. Another planner started her career in the hotel industry, moved very successfully into planning incentives to ultimately being responsible for a 5,000 person global conference in IT - very different methods of reaching the same vocation. Now there are numerous courses that are offered at different educational levels that can be taken to learn the in’s and out’s of what it takes to thrive and succeed in this profession. However, there are some basic requirements that must be instinctive for someone to flourish. Detail oriented, ability to manage change, personable, and the capability to be quick and precise, even on three hours sleep! Many

people call themselves event planners because they have organized a friends wedding or a dinner party, however, we all know that there is an inordinate amount of knowledge, experience and expertise that is required before that title can be bestowed upon anyone. Planning to be a planner encompasses many factors, and any experience that can be acquired, whether it be in accounting, sales, purchasing, negotiating, or customer service, to name a few, are all welcome additions to the make-up of the professional organizer. That is because each element independently can add valuable “know how” to a team and to a client. The key is to try and work for a company with a strong mentoring ability, with highly knowledgeable and experienced people who can guide you in the right direction with patience and compassion - not always easy. All too often planners are left on their own to figure it out. Frequently it is better to connect with an experienced and respected planner who can discuss challenges and help you to navigate through the process. Planning is a high stress and demanding career, and only those whom are industrious and diligent are successful at it. But with the right mixture of education, experience, tenacity, energy and sheer gumption, it is a rewarding and satisfying profession that is worth all the effort! With over 20 years experience, Audrey Esar is a Solutions Consultant specializing in event management, customer service, training and coaching as well as site selection. Audrey can be contacted via e-mail at AudreyEsar@ or connect with her via Linkedin.


French Fact: When is it considered evening... in French? Have you ever wondered when to use “Bonsoir” rather than”Bonjour” when greeting a French Canadian? Well, the salutation officially changes when the clock strikes 6:00 p.m. The term “bonjour” means both ‘’good morning’’ and ‘’good afternoon’’. Bonsoir means ‘’good evening’’

ETIQUETTE 101 Is it Miss or Ms.? Ever wonder whether to use ‘’Miss” or “Ms.’’ when corresponding with a young woman? Well, the appropriate term to use with a twenty-year-old is ‘’Miss.’’ The term, ‘’Miss’’ should be used for young women from the time they become teenagers through the age of twenty. At the age of twenty-one, the term ‘’Ms.’’ should be adopted, unless the woman is married and has chosen to take her husband’s name. In that case of course, Mrs. would be correct. | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 5


Who Are The Planners Of Tomorrow? Recently at The Planner, we met with four students, or post-students and asked each of them to tell us what their future objectives were and why they had chosen this field of study. Amber, Ixchelle, John and Stephanie are the planners of tomorrow!

Amber Jackson Student in the “Event Planning” program at Lasalle College, and intern at The Planner. Why do I want to be an event planner? At the risk of sounding like a cliché I’m in it for the love of it. For as long as recorded time people do and have done jobs that they hate and I know that that could never be me. I’m a terrible liar, and if I hate my job it will show in my work. I love the creativity that comes with being an event planner and the notion of bringing people together. Things that may stress others in event planning actually give me great pleasure, such as lists, decor and seating arrangements. As a teenager I attended a fine arts high school. I was involved in a lot of plays, choirs and orchestra performances and although the hardcopy memories of photos and videos are of the day of the event itself, my fondest memories are the behind the scenes planning, rehearsing and hard work that was put in months before the event. As a child I never minded spending hours choosing menus or arranging Christmas decorations. I appreciate people’s strengths and weaknesses something that is important in a planner, as delegating is a large part of the job. I understand my strengths and I know that event planning will highlight my punctuality, attention to detail and my love of meeting new people.

Ixchelle Guadarrama Concordia University Business Administration graduate, preparing for an internship in Mexico. My name is Ixchell Guadarrama and I am a 24 year old Mexican grad, currently residing in Montreal. When I was little, I loved to coordinate all sorts of amazing events and shows during family get-togethers. I would establish the time and place, assign seating, make entrance tickets and create a performance with whatever was available in my living room. Today, after my studies and experience, I am completely convinced to follow the path of event coordination, or more specifically: wedding planning. My favorite part of this career are the challenges the planner faces. Not only does it require a complete combination of skills: organization, communication, negotiation and leadership, but also a vast amount of time, not to mention the ability to satisfy the diversity and variety of my client’s requirements. I believe that one of my greatest strengths with regards to event planning is my ability to stay within budget and manage my time efficiently. I also have experience managing the stress that comes with the pressure of the job. After obtaining my Business Administration diploma and working for a catering company for 3 years, I have decided to go to Cancun to work as a wedding planner assistant for 3 months. My objective is to gain experience by creating weddings in different environments, for instance, by the sea. Hopefully in the future I will establish my own destination wedding company that will allow me to organize Canadian couples to wed on the beautiful beaches of Mexico.


PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |



John Ouellette Student in “Event Planning” Program at Lasalle College. Since I was young , I have always been interested in corporate, private and artistic events. What I found most interesting in this milieu, is the constant evolution. Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to participate in organizing several events and this led to my interest in working in the field of “event planning”. To assist in an event is an experience in itself, but to be part of the team that actually puts the plan into action, is an extremely gratifying experience.I chose to pursue my career as a corporate planner at Lasalle College in Montreal specifically because compared to other cities, Montreal is internationally renowned for its vibrancy and excitement. My courses will allow me to be organized, prepared and aware of any new trends in a market that is constantly changing and evolving at a rapid pace. My goal in this field is to be as innovative as possible while honing and perfecting my skills as an event planner. To have the chance to share my ideas , experiences and interests with my “event planner” colleagues, further fuels my passion. Overall, I see it as an incredible opportunity to work for months on a project and finally reap the rewards of watching as it all unfolds in the final stages where all the details fall into place to produce that “sought after” successful event!

Stéphanie Cuillerier Diploma in Cultural Research & Animation at UQAM and Coordinator, Sales & Communications at VDM Global. Do you remember the exact day that you chose your field of study? I remember the precise moment that I made one of the most important decisions of my life! When it came time for me to decide which path I would follow, I decided to trust my intuition and register for a degree that included “culture” as a priority. I studied all the fundamentals of “event planning” and acquired the necessary tools to incorporate into the fields of marketing, communications and project management within the job market . It was only towards the end of my studies that my personal profile began to reveal itself. I took a long series of theoretical courses including one called “Gourmet Tourism” , and had no idea then, that I would actually end up working for the company(presently an employee) that gave the series of lectures. When I first started CEGEP, I never imagined that I would become an “event planner” but soon realized with the link between creativity and rationality I would be perfectly suited to this type of milieu. I am very happy that I chose this career path as it has enabled me to explore different options that I might never have tried otherwise. After I graduated from Lasalle college as a qualified “planner”, I was hired by VDM Global and have been working in this position for the past six months. My versatile and comprehensive education has been a key element towards my success today as a “planner” and to think it all began because of my keen interest in the culture of my amazing city... Montreal! | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 7

c o m m u n i c at i o n

What Communication

May Bring in 2012

By Stacey Hanke

If only we could predict what 2012 will bring. There is one idea that is a fact: face-to-face communication will still be a critical element to building relationships, winning business and achieving personal development.


proved to bring us a fastpaced business environment that required leaders who can create impact and influence others with sound communication practices. But in today’s world of emails, text messages and social media options, it’s easy to overlook the importance of face-to-face communication and the skills it takes to do it well. Whether you’re speaking with your employees or preparing for a formal presentation to position your latest idea, effective communication requires skill, planning and constant practice. There’s no turning back! Technology will continue to hit us fast and furiously with many options to communicate our messages. The challenge will increase to determine which communication medium is the best choice to influence others to act on what you have to say. I fear with this challenge many will take the easy way out by choosing text messages, tweets, emails and whatever new communication option is thrown our way over the more influential option, face-to-face communication. With this choice, face-to-face communication will become more of a lost art than it is today. If you don’t use it you’ll lose it! The more that 8

individuals rely on communication via technology, the more we will see an increase in: • Miscommunication and misinterpretation • Misperceptions of each other • A decline in quality relationships There will be an increase in users of text, twitter, email, etc. What will this do to relationships and that human interaction? Do you remember back in the day when we could rely on someone’s word that they would show up and they actually did show up? There will be a greater need for communication skills training including verbal, non-verbal and written. Companies will continue to struggle with internal communications if they don’t include a training initiative into their yearly budget. The struggles I’ve heard frequently throughout 2011 from my clients include: • We’re losing new business opportunities because our people are ineffective presenters. • We’re damaging our client relationships because of our lack of engagement and connection during our presentations. • We’re losing profits because of our less-thanaverage negotiation skills.

PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |


• Our people are not as productive as they can be due to time wasters. • Our people believe their work will sell for themselves and they don’t know how to communicate their ideas to meet the client’s expectations. • Our people don’t know how to interact and create excitement to influence our clients to act on our recommendations. If any of these struggles are familiar, it’s time to re-evaluate your face-to-face communication skills and the perceptions your listeners create of you. Here are three surefire ways to begin: • Before you select the “send” button, take a minute to ask yourself, “Is this REALLY the most effective option to influence my receiver?” • Ask for feedback from your family, friends, coworkers and clients. Find out from them what perception they have of you based on your communication skills. • Determine what is the No. 1 misperception people have of you and start fixing it today! Stacey Hanke is an executive consultant, author, coach and speaker with 1st Impression Consulting, Inc. in Chicago, Ill. Contact her at: or (773) 209-5970.

a l o o k at


Meetings In Demand For 2012

Global Meeting Profile:

American Express Meetings & Events Announces Its Forecast Showing an Expected Increase in Number of Meetings Planned in 2012.


eetings demand globally in 2012 appears to be on the rise, according to a recent survey and in-depth interviews of meeting experts, including planners, buyers and hotel suppliers based around the world conducted by American Express Meetings & Events. Of the meeting planners surveyed, 42% of North American, 50% of Latin American, 51% of European and 57% of Asian respondents see signs of increased activity from their clients. Additionally, 60% of meeting suppliers also expect the number of meetings planned to increase. Higher travel and meeting costs are anticipated, driving the need for companies to focus on striking the right balance of cost effectiveness and experience impact when selecting venues, according to the inaugural American

Express Meetings & Events 2012 Meetings Forecast released recently. “In many cases, meetings and event spending is an indicator of outward facing organizations connecting with their clients and prospects. “Well run meetings and events can be leading drivers of new business and growth for organizations”, said Issa Jouaneh, Vice President and General Manager of American Express Meetings & Events. “Even in the face of economic uncertainty, meeting industry stakeholders appear to be cautiously optimistic as they report an increase in services and property demand from clients. We hope that the trends and forecast report we created helps meeting professionals and executives navigate this landscape to strategically direct and make effective use of their meeting investment.”

2012 Insight from both meeting planners and hoteliers worldwide sheds light on general characteristics of meetings next year that companies and organizations can use to get maximum return on investment for each gathering. Notably, companies are continuing to support meetings and are projected to increase overall meeting budgets, while the spending for individual meetings is expected to decrease or stay flat compared to 2011. According to the survey, one third (33%) of hoteliers surveyed expect decreasing budgets per individual meeting, while only 7% expect increases.

Global meeting trends in 2012: •

Shorter and Smaller: the number of attendees per meeting will likely decrease as will the number of days, according to hotel suppliers. Driving this trend is a demand to do more with less as companies look to hold a higher number of meetings.

Closer to Home: Suppliers indicated planners want meetings closer to their business, with 53% of their clients requesting more local meetings. This is also likely tied to the effort to keep individual meeting costs down. • Fuller Agendas: Noting that their client ‘focus on meeting content is more critical than ever,’ hotel suppliers expect to see more incentive programs infused with business focus content, with 47% of customers planning to combine meetings and incentives. “As companies continue to operate in a cost-conscious environment, despite a growing need for meetings, it is important for meeting professionals to look for ways to optimize spending and ensure effectiveness,” continued Jouaneh. “However, optimizing spending means not just knowing where money is being spent, but knowing when to spend. Evaluating each meeting and its goals is essential to delivering the strongest, most engaging meeting with the highest possible return on investment and experience, whether that is through an interval virtual meeting, or a face-to-face client event.” | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 9

airport review

Entrepreneurial Spirit Injects the

World’s Best Airport

Changi Airport in Singapore, the 18th busiest airport in

the world by passengers, is

considered the world’s most fabulous airport. Since it

opened in 1981, the airport

has notched more then 370 “best” awards world-wide from travel trade groups

and publications. A look at

its operations reveals much

about how to run a top-notch airport.


he airport offers amenities found elsewhere only in airlines’ fancy lounges limited to premium passengers. There are comfortable areas for sleeping or watching TV, premium bars, work desks and free internet. A nap room is about $23 for three hours; a shower can be had for $6. If you want to put your feet in a tank with tiny fish that eat dead skin, that’s $17 for 20 minutes. The swimming pool is free to guests of the airport’s in-transit hotels; otherwise it’s $11 per person. A bus tour of Singapore is offered free by the airport. The tour is arranged so that passengers don’t have to clear immigration - the airport retains passports so passengers don’t run off.


Simple steps matter, like minimizing annoying announcements and honking carts, and instead playing soothing music to reduce stress. Placing rival currency-exchange and clothing stores side-by-side stimulates competition. Changi figures such perks entice passengers to spend more money at the airport and select Singapore over other connecting hubs. About 750, 000 square feet of concession spaceapproximately the size of a suburban shopping mall- provides 50% of the airports revenue, helping to pay for amenities and keep down costs to airlines. The airport says its merchants recorded $1 billion in retail sales last year. A four-story amusement-park type slide is even tied into retail. If you want to use the slide, you have to have a receipt from the airport merchant showing roughly $8 and up in purchases. Without that, you can only ride the bottom 1 ½ stories of the slide. Terminal 3, the largest, opened in 2008 with skylights, a wall of windows and an interior wall covered in plants rotated out of the airport’s greenhouse. It is a city unto itself: dry cleaners, medical centre with everything from dental care to fertility treatments, a grocery store, pharmacy, flower shop, jewellery stores, clothing stores and an indoor amusement park for kids with a balloon bounce house. “We wanted to transform the way travel is done and create a stress free experience,” said Foo Sek Min, executive vice president of Changi Airport Group Ltd., the airport’s operator which was “corporatized” into a state-owned company in 2009.

PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |


Changi also has a private terminal called “Jet Quay” that is used by celebrities, private jet-setters, government officials, CIPs (Commercially Important Persons) and anyone else willing to pay. For about $1,150, you get jet side limo service. For $231, you get the use of a private terminal along with golf-cart rides to gates. For $62, Jet Quay personnel will greet you at arrival and escort you through main terminal areas. Few of the airport’s 28,000 workers actually are employed by Changi Airport Group, but airport management requires new hires to go through a week long indoctrination on the airport, its layout and service standards and training on how to help travellers. “Serving the customer well always correlates with earning money,” said Mr. Foo. “Do you need a pool in an airport? No. No one asked for that. We are creating the market, creating the demand. People choose Singapore because they can swim.” Customer service is apparent. Feedback kiosks are scattered throughout. In bathrooms, seemingly always clean and appointed with small flowers, touch screens by sinks ask customers to rate the facility or to advise supervisors when toilet paper runs out. Mining company executive Kevin Swensdon, heading home to Indonesia after a business trip to Singapore, stopped in at one of the airports two movie theatres to watch “Fast and Furious 5.” The theatre had surround sound audio and wide aisles for manoeuvring luggage. ‘’A lot of airports are boring but there’s a movie here, massage here, food here. It’s great,’’ he said.

planner thoughts


A dozen simple truths planners have shared with us 1. My life is so busy that if you don’t keep in touch, I will forget you exist.

7. Thank me for my business, or for the referrals I send you - if you don’t, I assume that I’m not important to you.

2. When I refer friends, clients or employees and they have a great time, it makes me look smart. I like that!

8. Your staff make personal phone calls when you’re not looking - is that OK?

3. I like to get treats that no one else gets - at least let me believe that they don’t! 4. If you say it’s the ‘best in town’, make sure you deliver. Otherwise you’re just spouting hype and I don’t like that. 5. We will forgive slowness once or twice, but when it’s more than that, we assume you don’t care. 6. I really don’t want to hear excuses when things go wrong - they’re usually not convincing anyway.

9. I don’t mind paying a little more for quality. But when you cut quality to save money, I’m usually the one who suffers. 10. We know who your worst service staff members are, and we wonder why you keep them on? 11. I like your “all inclusive” function packages that don’t make me feel I will be ‘nickel and dimed’. 12. I don’t like wearing glasses when I go out, and that means I can’t read your menu - why does that have to be my problem?


A Good Idea from Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson Governments need to make it “very clear” that jet fuels made from sources such as inedible plants and organic waste aren’t taxed like regular fuel, said Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. A push by governments to remove taxes levied on airlines if they switch to using clean fuel would provide “enormous encouragement to the airline industry” to invest further in biofuel companies,” he stated recently. Virgin spends more than US$2-billion a year on fuel and there is “billions and billions” of money there for the taking by the clean energy industry, the entrepreneur said. “Governments need to make it clear that if it’s clean fuel, it shouldn’t be taxed, and if it’s dirty fuel, it should be taxed, and that seems to be the best way to speed things up.” | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 11


By Marilyn Lazar

PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD Professional help in projecting a professional image In past issues of The Planner, we’ve dealt with image on many levels, from a survey regarding tattoos in the business environment, to our article about dress codes in New York City. To follow up, we present the idea of using an image consultant to take this concept to the next level. Whether you are considering polishing your own professional image, or looking to suggest a breakout session at the next conference you organize for a client, consider this.


icole Schwartz, a Certified Image Consultant, founded Toronto based Next Image Consulting. She strives to help individuals present their “best self” possible. Helping others strive for self-actualization, and provide them with the tools to do so is Nicole’s passion. She has melded her diverse training into a career that assesses and

ultimate goals and aspirations. Nicole is a graduate of The University of Western Ontario, where she earned an Honorary Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology, which gives her insight into how people feel about the way they look, as well as Parsons the New School for Design in New York City, where she earned an Honorary Associates Degree in fashion marketing.

When dressing for an event that you are working, you want to look as though you belong without standing out at all

assists individuals while maintaining a high degree of creativity and proximity to the world of fashion. Her specialty skill set includes: Style, Personal Development, Colour & Wardrobe, Etiquette & Human Relations, Effective Presentation Skills and Business Management. Nicole is equipped with the tools to help men and women alike showcase their exceptional selves in order to attain their

Tips from the Pro:

“When dressing for an event that you are working, you want to look as though you belong without standing out at all. Additionally, you want to maintain a professional yet un-stuffy look.” It is of supreme importance to maintain your visual presentation across situations, not only at

a working event. You represent your brand, and should be presenting your best-self possible at all times. Looking our best transitions to feeling our best, which in turn boosts confidence. Once confidence is heightened, the sky’s the limit… confidence truly feeds success. Dressing for a holiday party can be challenging. You want to make sure you are fun and festive, while maintaining a certain level of professionalism. It is important to always look quite presentable, as though you have put a lot of effort into the way you look, however, not seeming too high maintenance. As a professional, you should always strive for balance – regarding visual presentation, communication strategies, as well as professionalism itself. Nicole Schwartz, Next Image Consulting, 416.346.5200 ~,, Blog: Facebook Page: Next Image Consulting Twitter: @NextImageCon Marilyn Lazar is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to The Planner. E-mail her at: |





PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |




d e s t i n at i o n o f t h e m o n t h

Quebec: Winter Destination Steve Ross is a new contributor to the Planner. For his first assignment, we asked him to write about two key factors in his professional life—his experience in event planning over the past 11 years and Quebec, the city that has always been his hometown. Steve describes Quebec City through the eyes of a seasoned planner. Québec Rolls Out the Red Carpet Quebec City is a dreamland of romantic allure and family attractions. Visiting Quebec during the cold season is an opportunity to sample the many delights of winter and live life at its best. At just a 30-minute drive between Old Quebec and the countryside, forest and mountains, what other locale offers equivalent attractions? You start your day admiring the St. Lawrence River from your Quebec City café, hit the slopes of our magnificent ski centres in the afternoon, spend your evening taking in the Grande-Allée’s nightlife and then retire to one of our Ice Hotel suites. Our enchantingly diversified capital region has become an expert in the art of hospitality.

Zen Ambience Sibéria Station Spa in Lac-Beauport, just 20 minutes from downtown Quebec, is an excellent choice for medium-sized conferences. It features a multimedia room that can seat 40, coffee break service and luncheons prepared by Restaurant Batifol. Participants may of course also avail themselves of nature spas, a eucalyptus steam bath, a Finish sauna, the Nordic waterfall and a swim in the Yellow River. For a slight additional fee, guests can wrap up the day with a therapeutic and relaxing massage. You can also reserve the entire site at very affordable rates for private receptions of up to 50 people. On the Web:

Stunning Setting Château Mont Ste-Anne, just 30 minutes from downtown Quebec, is the perfect choice for treating guests at your large events like royalty and offering them a full gamut of winter pleasures. With a magnificent exhibition hall, 19 meeting rooms spanning 36,000 sq. ft., a breathtaking view of the slopes, WiFi service, free parking and 239 rooms, Château Mont Ste-Anne can accommodate up to 700 and can meet every event need. If you select this destination, make sure to ski this famous mountain or take off into the forest with an experienced guide on a dog sled. On the Web:

way to ensure magnificent experiences for all, with 36 themed rooms and suites, sleeping bags good to ‑30 C, spa and sauna facilities and much more. Open from January 6th to March 25th, 2012. On the Web:

At Home in Quebec City “If you can’t come to Quebec City, Quebec City will come to you.” If you are unable to admire the eternal beauty of this magnificent town in person, you can still give your guests a taste of Quebec City—or souvenirs of your company’s role in this region. Just make “Quebec City” your event’s theme. Many options will help to ensure an outstanding and unique event. You certainly want to provide your guests with an extraordinary experience. Here are a few tips: build your event around the theme of our famous Winter Carnival! Be inspired by our Bonhomme’s many colours in planning your festivities and build the Quebec City Carnival’s atmosphere into the sounds and decor of your event. Or recall your organization’s history during an anniversary celebration with a historic presentation modelled after Robert Lepage’s famous Image Mill. Anything is possible, with a bit of imagination and adequate resources! Quebec City has long been a particularly enjoyable winter destination. It also ensures safety and peace of mind for all visitors. You can take in all of this magnificent city’s wonders both day and night, without the slightest worry. Quebec City is the perfect venue for a delightful range of experiences! Steve Ross is the Director of Development and Communications Officer for Vision Concept, an event design, management and production firm. You can email him at On the Web:

News from the Month’s Featured Destination Please send your feedback on any of the following sites you happen to visit over the next few months to

Out of the Ordinary Want to organize an unusual event in a winter wonderland? You will find an unusual alliance between the urban and natural worlds at Quebec’s Hôtel de Glace, just 10 minutes from downtown. While enjoying the snowy scenery, you also benefit from more urbane bar, restaurant and lodging services. For a cocktail reception, a dance or a meeting, the Hôtel de Glace provides a variety of choices for personalizing your event. Guests stroll down a torch-lit red carpet, your logo is branded onto ice, cocktails are served in ice glasses and so forth. You can even conclude the evening with a magnificent fireworks display. Add to the magic by spending the night in one of the Hôtel de Glace’s theme suites. The staff goes out of its

The Québec City Convention Centre recently announced plans to expand its public and meeting spaces by 69,000 sq. ft., so that it will be able to host more groups simultaneously and ensure even more remarkable facilities for local, regional and international clients. Work will start in the spring of 2012 and conclude in the winter of 2014. The U.S. Green Building Council just awarded LEED-EB Silver Certification (existing building) to the Centre. This news comes just a few days after the centre received Gold certification under the AIPC Quality Standards Program from the International Association of Congress Centers. On the Web: | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 17

d e s t i n at i o n o f t h e m o n t h

Quebec: Winter Destination

The Centre de foire de Québec is also expanding as part of a $35 million project. Its space will grow from 125,000 to 200,000 square feet. On the Web:

being and relaxation. The health centre is part of the hotel-museums global concept based on reproducing the way of the Wendat and their legendary hospitality.

With a new terminal completed in 2008, Quebec City’s Jean-Lesage International Airport is continuing its expansion work. Enlargement of the international sector, the addition of a multi-level parking garage, a hotel and a de-icing centre are to be completed by 2016. On the Web:

An ice bar will also be set up this winter opposite La Traite Restaurant to give you a chance to take in the pleasures of winter accompanied by fine selected cocktails! On the Web:

In September 2011, Groupe Le Massif completed its ambitious Tourist Train, one of three elements of a broader project. Travelling between the river and the mountains across 140 km of breathtaking countryside, the Train of Le Massif de Charlevoix takes passengers on a remarkable journey between Quebec City and La Malbaie. Come aboard for a remarkable railway experience focused on Charlevoix’s culinary arts and the region’s countless hidden treasures. On the Web: A new international hotel chain is coming to Quebec City in late 2011. TRYP by Wyndham will be installed in the current PUR Hotel. On the Web: The Quebec City Hilton has invested $22 million since 2008 towards the renovation of its rooms and reception halls. The new décor gives the hotel a very modern look. On the Web: Manoir Montmorency offers evening snowshoe excursions for groups of 15 or more. The package includes a guide, gear, hot wine and a fourcourse dinner at Café-Bistro Kent House for $49.95 (plus tax and tip). Manoir Montmorency is also welcoming new Executive Chef Sébastien Turgeon. The Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations offers two new exciting activities for corporate groups! The site’s woodlands along the Akiawenrakw River now include replicas of fall huts once used by members of the First Nations. Activities such as the snow snake, storytelling and hot beverage tastings are included. As of January 16, 2012, the hotel and museum will also provide a Nations Spa Centre for up to 25 people. Guests are invited to partake in a unique multi-sensory Native experience built around well18

PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |


Château Bonne Entente has decided to give its catering service an official identity under the Monte Cristo Trotteur brand. Monte Cristo Trotteur is, incidentally, a preferred supplier of Domaine Cataraqui. On the Web: The Nordique Spa et Détente and Expéditions Nouvelle Vague are teaming up to further refine the “après-rafting” concept. They now offer a package combining thrilling and relaxing experiences in the same day, while discovering the Jacques-Cartier region, just 35 minutes from downtown Quebec. The package includes a white water (III-V) rafting expedition along the river’s Tewkesbury Section, a BBQ lunch on a terrace overlooking the river and an afternoon spa visit. On the Web: and

360o View of Quebec from 221 metres over the city The Observatoire de la Capitale is not only a major tourist attraction, but also a venue for some hundred galas each year. Following a complete makeover last April, the observatory is now offering a mid-60s styled lounge. On the Web: Quebec’s Winter Carnival, from January 27th to February 12th, 2012, is not to be missed! On the Web: The Plains of Abraham offers a permanent exhibition on the Battle that took place there. This virtual journey covers 400 years of our history. On the Web: Join QuébecAdabra for visits from December 22nd to January 4th, 2012 to all of the city’s nooks and crannies decked out in their Holiday displays. On the Web:

for your info

Trends… Tattoo popularity fading

The Top 15 Songs for Events in the US The following songs were the most requested at events held in the US according to the DJ Intelligence Music Request System, which compiles information on playlists submitted by member deejays and music-licensing organizations. “You Shook Me All Night Long” (AC/DC) “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson) “I Gotta Feeling” (Black Eyed Peas) “Love Shack” (B-52s) “Dynamite” (Taio Cruz) “Don’t Stop Believin’ “ (Journey) “Brown Eyed Girl” (Van Morrison)

“Livin’ On a Prayer” (Bon Jovi) “Get Down Tonight” (KC & the Sunshine Band) “At Last” (Etta James) “I Like It” (Enrique Iglesias/Ludacris) “We Are Family” (Sister Sledge) “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson) “Wonderful Tonight” (Eric Clapton) “Just Dance” (Lady Gaga/Colby O’Donis)

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Following our recent tattoo survey; here is a little follow-up from The Sunday Times of London. Tattoos are designed to last for life – but nothing endures that long, in Hollywood or anywhere else in our fast changing world. Film stars such as Megan Fox, the Transformers actress who helped make them fashionable, are now leading a backlash against ‘body art.’ Statistics suggest Fox is far from alone. According to a Harris poll, the number of tattooed Americans, which was below 10 per cent until 1990, soared to 16 per cent in 2003, but fell back to 14 per cent in 2008. Since then, the number of U.S. tattoo parlours has fallen by 10 per cent while laser removal treatments are booming, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

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for your info

Americans get a taste for macaroons Macaroons, the small almond sugar cookie loved by the French, are rapidly replacing the cupcake in the United States as a favourite sweet.

Travellers’ top frustrations On the 10th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, a new survey has found that the airport screening process remains among the top frustrations for most air travellers. •

The security procedure yielded four of the top five annoyances of passengers asked to list their top frustrations with air travel. The finding came from an online survey by the U.S. Travel Association, the nation’s largest travel trade group. The Association surveyed 600 Americans who travelled by air in the last 12 months. Bakeries devoted to the colorful confections have been popping up in New York, Seattle and San Francisco. Now, the legendary Parisian patisserie Ladurée, whose pastry chef Pierre Desfontaines created the macaroon over a century ago, opened its first U.S. branch in New York City in August. “It’s exactly the same shop and spirit,” said Ladurée chairman David Holder about its new U.S. store. “The products and the quality are the same.” Although the Ladurée recipe is a closely guarded secret, Holder said all of the company macaroons are made in Paris from a mixture that is about 50 per cent ground almonds, along with ground sugar, egg whites and food colouring. The delicate treats come in almost every imaginable flavour, from classics like raspberry to more innovative options such as salted peanut and grape. For New York Fashion Week in September, Ladurée produced a cinnamon raisin New York macaroon, which Holder said was a nod to the popularity of cinnamon in American sweets- something that is not common in France. The most popular flavour, though, appears to be salted caramel. So if you want to indulge an American visitor with a sweet tooth, macaroons may be the way to go.


The top frustrations cited by air travellers: •

People who bring too many carry-on bags through the security checkpoint (72.4 percent).

Fast Facts Canada’s tourism industry is worth $74 billion, which supports 617, 300 jobs.

Tourism is one the fastest growing sectors in the global economy – and Canada’s share is shrinking. UN World Tourism Organization figures show that in 2002, Canada was the seventh most popular international tourist destination. By 2010, we had dropped to 15th place on the list and our travel deficit (the money Canadians spent abroad vs. the money international visitors spent here) hit $14 billion.

PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |


Uncomfortable seats on an airplane (70.4 percent). • The wait time to clear the TSA checkpoint (68 percent). • Having to remove shoes, belts and jackets at the TSA checkpoint (62.3 percent). • TSA employees who are not friendly (42.4 percent). But the survey also said 66 percent of travellers are somewhat or very satisfied with the TSA’s overall performance. The satisfaction rate was 54.6 percent for frequent travellers. Also, nearly 75 percent of travellers said they were somewhat or very satisfied with TSA’s recent announcement that the agency will eventually phase out the requirement for passengers to remove their shoes. The TSA said recently that it plans to expand a pilot program that allows pre-approved frequent travellers to zip through a special screening checkpoint without removing their shoes, belts or jackets.

Many of these tourists are from key emerging markets including Brazil, China, India, Russia and Mexico. A recent study by tax service refund provider Global Blue found that a number of middle-class Brazilianswho face high prices for certain items at home because of heavy import taxes- are travelling to Europe and going on shopping sprees. The federal government has launched a strategy to make Canada’s tourism industry more competitive. Suggestions for this include: improving tourism marketing, increasing access to visas for foreigners, simplifying border crossing for U.S. tourists and reducing airport taxes to relieve airline ticket fees.

for your info

Finally: a Breakthrough on Bedbugs Breakthrough in Bed Bug Detection Debuts


in bed bug detection technology. It is the first bed bug detection tool to provide continuous detection of bed bugs for up to 90 days at a time in a small, easy-to-use device. Verifi provides hotels and their guests with peace of mind in the face of an ever worsening bed bug epidemic. This breakthrough bed bug detection technology works via an exclusive combination of three bed bug lures, including; • A co2- generating cartridge which mimics a living, breathing host • A liquid kairomone lure that works to

lures are vented appropriately so that there are no mixed-signals,” said Rick Ekins, marketing manager at FMC. “Hungry bed bugs are attracted to the kairmones vented through the pitfall where they will fall in and cannot escape. Dr. Susan Jones, Associate Professor of Entomology at Ohio State University, was one of several notable bed bug experts who tested the device prior to its debut. “The Verifi bedbug detector can be left in place long-term. It is relatively small and unobtrusive, “she said. “I would think a lot of hotels would want to put them in every room.”

roundbreaking technology from FMC Corporation offers long-term, proactive monitoring of bed bugs. The Verifi™ bed bug detector is a breakthrough

attract bed bugs seeking a meal A liquid pheromone lure that encourages bed bugs to aggregate in the device. “In addition, the Verifi design ensures that the

New Hotels in Mexico Popular with many Canadian groups, the Melia Hotels International’s luxurious, allinclusive Paradisus resort brand has expanded its portfolio with two new Mexican properties, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda and Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla. Located in the prestigious Playa del Carmen enclave on Mexico’s eastern Caribbean shore, the resorts are poised to become among the area’s finest all-inclusive properties.  The impressive facilities and signature amenities at both Paradisus La Esmeralda and Paradisus La Perla include dramatic free-form pools, artful landscapes, a YHI Spa, twelve restaurants and ten bars. These provide guests with the ability to escape and indulge in all the wonderful choices the properties have to offer. Paradisus Resorts are sophisticated all-inclusive properties owned and operated by Melia Hotels International. For further information, contact Ayten Mizoyeva, Regional Director of Global Business Travel for Canada. Staff from The Planner had the pleasure of meeting the charming Ayten during the recent Acte Conference in Montreal. She can be reached at

Tighter Budgets The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the average Atlanta hotel room has fetched an average of $128 a night so far this year, making 2011 the fourth consecutive year that this city’s hotels have lowered their rates. The average rate was $129 last year and $140 in 2008, the story says.

data. Next month, hotel occupancy is expected to drop by nearly 8%. The Convention & Visitors Bureau suggests however, that demand has stabilized. The city’s occupancy in October, for instance, has held steady at 66% for the past two years vs. a low of 58% in 2009. The biggest factors keeping rates low, as noted by the paper: More business travellers now are using discount sites to find bargains and big-budget business travellers such as investment bankers, who used to pay for luxury rooms, have cut back. Fewer rooms for citywide conventions are being booked in advance, limiting hotels’ ability to raise prices for business travellers and others who book closer to check-in day.

Atlanta is also on the bottom 5 list of hotels in the top 25 markets that are expected to perform the worst in December on a year-overyear basis next month, according to TravelClick’s forward-looking

“Back when the market was really peaking in late 2007 and early 2008, high fliers like executives in financial services and bankers were willing to pay top dollar for a room,” Mark Woodworth, President of Atlanta-based PKF Hospitality Research, told the paper. “Those travellers who were the least price sensitive during the good times haven’t returned.” | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 21

survey of the month

Survey “Planner Tool Box” Your


Following our survey “Planner Tool Box”, we asked you to help our intern Amber, a future planner, in finding a name for her multipurpose tool box for her meetings and events. Here are but a few of the responses:


hank you to all the planners who took the time to answer our survey and provide me with great advice. After having read all the responses I have learnt not only what should be in a tool box but have also been given some good pointers.

Congratulations to our winners: Anne Moffatt of ARM Associates, Robin Ambrose of CG Luke, Heidi Winkler of Blessed Events, and Lynn McLarnon from the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada. Each person won a prize of four tickets to Disney on Ice, the Hockey Hall of Fame or Medieval Times. Among all the answers here is a list of the frequently listed items: Tape measure, Tide pen, pencils, Sharpie markers, highlighters, laser pointer scissors, paper clips, steno pad, envelopes, cue cards, elastics, extension cord, Post-its, multi-head screwdriver, hammer, twist ties, elastic bands, Zip lock bags, needle and thread, gaffer (duct) tape, regular tape, masking tape and two sided tape, mints, 3 hole punch, florist pins, Band-Aids, flashlight, a 3 prong plug, spare recharger for a Blackberry or iPhone – they have devices with multiple plugs, a USB key and a lint brush. As for possible names for the box here are my favorite five (congratulations for your originality): Murphys Law Box, by Joshua Katchen, SWAT box (Saved With Accessories/


PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |


Tools), by Nancy Kenwood, Crash Kit, by Marg Chartrand, Emergency Prepardness Kit, by Phil Ecclestone and finally LIFESAVER, by James Wright. Thanks also for all of your suggestions which have given me insight on what it takes to run a smooth and successful event. The following are a few of my favourite suggestions: • “2 regular sized and extra large door stoppers for those pesky hotel doors that won’t stay open at the break.” Elizabeth Hooper • “Emergency planner toolkit contents depending on the type of event you are managing.” Rose Timmerman Gitzi • “A pen on a chain (that goes around your neck so you don’t lose your last pen!)” Sandra Wood • “A spool of nylon fishing line” Jane Maciel • “A snack bar (in case you don’t have time for lunch)” Mireille Charron • “A rolling suitcase instead of a toolbox” Lynn Mc Larnon I wish you all a great 2012! Amber Jackson

for your info

5 steps towards success in the New Year: The Planner gets you started Ever wonder what makes people successful? Well, here’s the answer – and it’s really quite simple! 1. Set goals - Successful people set goals that have a specific completion date. Set concrete goals with a time frame for when you want to achieve those goals. 2. Get started - Successful people start immediately. They don’t drag their feet or put it off. They act on a goal right away, because they understand the power of momentum. They may not do the whole thing at once, but they do take a big step to get started. 3. Think positive - This is the half-empty, half-full syndrome. Successful people are optimists and

believe the cup is always half full. They aren’t piein-the-sky types, but they see the positive side of an opportunity, and they believe in their ability to achieve their goals. 4. Take action - Those who are successful take action, even on partial information. Too many people wait around until they think they have all the answers. But if you do that, you may wait forever. It’s called “analysis paralysis,” and a lot of people experience it. 5. Be determined and attract it - The same holds true for most life decisions. You don’t know what

will happen once you take the first step, so the only constants are the end vision and your determination to get there, even if the path doesn’t unfold exactly as you envisioned. Have a clear vision of what you want. Your thoughts will draw success to you. As Buddha said, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” So remember success doesn’t just happen to people. You have to do something to make it happen. Following these steps will put you on the path to success. | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 23

for your info

Finally a practical use for terrible gifts

Your Regular Table Is Ready A recent study at the University of Bologna, showed that 66% of the students observed in lecture halls over a six-week period chose the same seat or an adjacent one every time. Costa says the study titled “Territorial Behavior in Public Settings” suggests that restaurants and hotels could boost satisfaction by giving repeat customers the same table or room on each visit and that companies could reduce worker anxiety by holding recurring meetings in the same conference room.

Pad Thai, Please The Canadian palette is changing, according to a top report from market researchers at the NDP Group. The majority of consumers prefer ethnic dishes when dining out, and 70 per cent of restaurant goers would order an ethnic-influenced menu item when available. The survey listed the top five ethnic food favorites as Italian, Thai, Greek, Chinese and Japanese.


or those unfortunate recipients of an ugly sweater, tasteless fruitcake or other lackluster item gracing their holiday gift pile this year, Wyndham Rewards has launched the “My Horrible Holiday Gift” contest that gives members a chance at trading in their less-than-desirable gift for two million Wyndham Rewards points or other valuable prizes including $50 and $100 gift cards. A recent poll by Wyndham Rewards found that 32% of Americans admitted to re-gifting their horrible holiday gifts, while 17% say they receive their worst gifts from their in-laws. “While the holidays are about spending time with loved ones, the reality is that people are disappointed when they don’t get the gifts they’d hoped for,” said Robin Korman, Wyndham Hotel Group senior vice president, Loyalty Marketing. “That’s why we want to give our members a chance to


flip the tables on their horrible gift and turn it into something that they really want.” Now through 10 January 2012, U.S. and Canadian Wyndham Rewards members who upload to the contest a photo of their horrible holiday gift, along with a brief description of what makes it so bad, will be entered for their chance to win a grand prize of two million Wyndham Rewards points. A team of Wyndham Rewards judges will pick five finalists from all eligible entries submitted. The public will then vote to select the grand prize winner. Finalists will be chosen based on: creativity, originality, popularity, and faithfulness to the idea. As an added bonus, finalists will each receive enough Wyndham Rewards points to redeem for a $100 gift card to the retailer of their choice.

PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |


Back for Seconds Top Chef Canada winner, Dale MacKay has plans to open a yet-to-be-named second eatery in downtown Vancouver as early as this month. The new location will be blocks away from his successful Ensemble restaurant, which opened in May. The new digs will feature pub-style nachos and hamburgers, complemented by a vast beer menu. “It’s not just going to be fried calamari with a few onions and some tartar sauce. Everything is going to have a twist,” MacKay told The Vancouver Sun of the 80-seat dining room, which will sport multiple flat-screen TVs. In addition to the new eatery, MacKay will introduce a line of handblended spices that helped raise his profile on Top Chef.


By Marilyn Bali

Visualising your event

for a Zen outcome

So your mandate has been signed and approved! Whether it’s a small or large event; an event organizer must learn how to count to ten and breathe deeply. More often than not, surprises will occur and the planner should expect and be ready for them. Zen planning is based on an organizer’s state of mind. He/she has a vested interest in delivering an event in all serenity. This is why I emphasize the importance of visualizing.


he outcome of an event depends heav-

in the planning and organization of the event.

ily on the art of managing priorities as

It also provides full potential for creative and

well as the visual details, regardless of

artistic elements in addition to providing for

its size. Details very often reflect the

the unforeseen. The development of the gen-

sense of creative and artistic dimension of the

eral theme, color, and decor perceived in these

individual who prepares the event, while taking

visualization moments begins to take shape.

into account the relationship between the event

Simple and concise ideas are much more effect-

and guests. Paying attention to details: from

ive. Transmit their inspiring effects into the heart

offering vegetarian bites to planning for aller-

of your event; this provides a hint of authenticity.

gies, from organizing the seating arrangement

Rely on the art of simplicity!

of the guests according to their interests and

Another reason to adopt Zen planning is that

affinities to planning the type of music that will

very often, when one is caught up in the frenzy

be playing and when. Visualization will enable

of organizing and managing tasks, this occur-

you to quickly identify the details and provide

rence can easily make you forget the details.

effective solutions and answers when needed.

Once you have gone through the event in your

Visualization will enable you to quickly identify the details and provide effective solutions and answers when needed

Initially, it is essential to know where you are

mind’s eye step by step you should then put it

going, that is to say what direction you want

down on paper, as this will become your time-

the event to take, is it for networking, product

line. Add as many details as possible. Putting

launches, an evening among colleagues, team-

it down on paper will also help you remember

building, etc. You must start by listing the event

the details. The goal is to jog your subconscious

objectives to obtain a more effective overall

memory at a glance during the event, giving

vision. Then establish who will do what and

you a clear picture of where you are and where

provide the teams with a schedule that will cover

you are heading. To complete the Zen picture

each of the details of the event.

remember to eat properly and drink water as

Once ideas have been put forward, the teams

both will keep your body in balance.

are mandated and ready to go and you should take a moment to go through the details and visualize them. Close your eyes, relax, and see the details in your mind’s eye. Mental visualization of the various modules of the event will lead you to maximize productivity

Marilyn Bali is President and Event Organizer of Bali Événements. Based in Montreal, the company offers special event organization services, either tailor-made or according to your needs. | December 2011 - January 2012 | ThePLANNER 25

trade shows

Moving Beyond Notes on the Back of Business Cards Want to hear the worst follow-up phone call to a contact you met at a trade show? It goes something like this. You: Hi, It’s Barry Siskind with ABC Company and we met last week at the Green Show. Contact: Yes I remember you. What can I do for you? You: We only had a few short minutes to talk about your situation at the show. The purpose of my call today is to arrange to get together to discuss your concerns and see if there is something that I can do to help. Contact: Sounds good. You: How about next Wednesday? Contact: Sure, what time? So far this sounds pretty good. Now here comes the bad part. You: Before we commit to a time I have a few quick questions to ask. Contact: Sure. What do you need to know? You: What exactly is the scope of the situation you are trying to solve? Contact: Huh! You: Where are you located? Do you make the decisions for this change? Have you allocated a budget? Contact: Wait a minute. Didn’t you ask me those questions when we met at the show? You: Yes, but… Contact: Why are you asking me again? The answer to the contact’s last question is simple. You forgot.


he solution is to ensure that you record all of the contact’s information when you first meet so the follow-up phone call can be seamless and simply a continuation of the conversation rather that starting all over again. Numerous industry studies have shown that nearly eight percent of all leads are mishandled. One of the reasons for this lost opportunity is that the leads collected at the show were less than adequate in the first place. Taking leads at a trade show is all about quality rather than quantity. A handful of good quality leads puts you in a stronger position to convert those leads to business than a pile of business cards or ballots. The trick is to ensure that the information learned about the contact is recorded on the spot. One big mistake many exhibitors still make is writing contact information on the back of business cards. There are a number of problems with this: 1. The back of a business card is small and therefore restricts the amount of information you can record. It also means that without a formal recording tool, business card leads are inconsistent from one to the next. This puts your salespeople or dealers and reps at a disadvantage when they follow up because they know very little about the contact before they make the call. 2. Many companies print on both sides of their business card. If you had planned to write information on the business card, you are now stuck. 3. Many companies use electronic business cards. Now you are really stuck 4. Many cultures take great pride in their business cards and it might be a personal offence to write on the back. To avoid the business card pitfall ensure


PLANNER | December 2011 - January 2012 |


By Barry Siskind

that you have arranged to use some form of lead recording technology in your plans. There are three choices: 1. The electronic lead retrieval system. You have probably seen many of these devices in use. They take the form of scanners, QR readers, Card swipe, Smartphone apps etc. Overall, these tools are excellent methods of gathering contact information. Many of these systems can be customized allowing you to enter specific fields of information that will help you when following up. 2. A manual lead sheet. This is a simple low-tech solution for those situations where your organizer does not provide an electronic system. Your lead sheet is a pre-printed form that acts as a script for your sales people to follow to ensure that they gather consistent information from contact to contact. (For a copy of my lead sheet template e-mail me at barry@ 3. A hybrid is used in the situation where the electronic system only provides you with part of the information you need. You can then supplement it with a manual lead sheet and gather the bits of information you still require. Business has moved beyond taking lead information on the back of a business card. To be truly successful at your next show give some serious consideration to the technology you will use to record contact information. One further thought ­- once you have decided on how you will gather information, train your staff so they are comfortable getting the information you need. Barry Siskind is North America’s foremost trade and consumer show expert. Visit his Web site: or e-mail him at:

December 2011 - January 2012  

Future students tell us why they want to be planners. Destination: Quebec City

December 2011 - January 2012  

Future students tell us why they want to be planners. Destination: Quebec City