EVENT MANAGEMENT Introduction Chapter 1: Event Management What is event management? Event Manager Types of Event Management Corporate Event Management Global Event Management Product Launch Event Management Budgeting the Events Chapter 2: Event Planning Identify the event Budgeting Catering Venue Security Hirings and rentals Publicity and promotion Chapter 3: Conference Management Set appropriate objectives Establish a realistic budget Drafting a programme Planning a schedule Choose the right venue Bringing in the speakers Invite delegates Publicize your conference effectively Manage the event successfully Have a proper follow-up Chapter 4: Exhibitions and Tradefairs Objective of holding an exhibition Exhibiting for the right reasons Types of exhibitions The exhibition manager Collecting and collating information Budgeting Venue Choosing the designer Choosing the standfitting contractor Logistics Safety and Security Staff tidiness Dealing with Visitors Display work for the exhibition Chapter 5: Fashion Shows What is fashion? Areas of fashion Kinds of Fashion Shows Types of Fashion Shows Producing a Good Show Chapter 6: Wedding and Parties Wedding: Getting Started Parties and Get-together Chapter 7: Event Marketing What is Event marketing Marketing your Event Creating a Budget Positioning your Product/Event Creative Checklist Publicity Chapter 8: Negotiations and Network Skills Negotiations Networking INTRODUCTION Event management, the most profound form of advertising and marketing, is a glamorous and thrilling profession. It provides an opportunity for unleashing one's creative potential to a very high degree. It demands a lot of hark work and effort but at the same time offers enormous scope. Event management is a process of organizing a professional and focused event, for a particular target audience. It involves visualising concepts, planning, budgeting, organizing and executing events such as fashion shows, musical concerts, corporate seminars, exhibitions, wedding celebrations, theme parties, product launching etc. It is a good career option which does not require much investment and offers a lot of independence and flexibility. No formal degree or qualification is required, but the person should have a genuine passion for conducting events, have very good organising ability and be flexible to work for long hours. Every time when you saw a programme like 'Filmfare' awards or those pop concerts and beauty pageants you would have wondered how people managed to set up such brilliant shows. Every tiny detail from your entering the venue to your going out is a result of rigorous planning. Well…that's event management for you. One of the fastest and the most glamorous upcoming professions today, it means rubbing shoulders with who's who of the crème-de-la crème layer of the city. It does mean big money, but it also involves lots of discipline and meticulous planning to be in this profession. So if you are think you are that type then go ahead and take the plunge. Planning an event is an event in itself. Your job as far as organising an even begins with the very basics. The client comes to the event manager with a vague idea in mind…it is entirely up to the event manager to work on the idea and turn it into a reality. Events could be anything from concerts, product launches, conferences, promotions, press conferences, jubilee celebrations and farewells to television based events, fashion shows, wedding or parties… it could be just anything. In a nutshell: An event manager has to first design the basic framework after which he prepares the marketing plans, hunts for sponsors, works on the logistics, locates the site/destination, contacts vendors, hires performers, prints/mails invitation cards, creates menus, looks after the stage/lights, books the artistes, arranges for transport for different people, and on the D' Day co- ordinates, plans and finalises every aspect of the event. Event managers usually start working months before the event. Sometimes, inorder to make the work easier, large event management companies hire the services of smaller companies on a contract basis. Remuneration: An excellent field to make money…in fact once you start getting the feel of the field; it will never be a problem. Even freelancers today earn anywhere between Rs.30, 000 and above today. It is a very lucrative profession. Money again depends on the kind of events you handle. If you prefer to deal with weddings and parties it may easily come around Rs. 50,000 or even more. Event co-ordinators with a good deal of experience could earn even in seven figures. Joining an event management company…. A person who enters into this field has to first join as a trainee. This person becomes the promotion co-ordinator. Event management companies nowadays hire lots of young people for this post. Very basic jobs in promoting the event is given to them. One could do this on a freelance basis also. The next job in this field is event co-ordination. The main job of an event co-ordinator is to supervise the various stages of planning in event management. Skills Needed… In terms of educational qualifications, a graduation should be ideal though not much stress is laid on education. But there are a host of other qualities, which are essential for a person to be well-equipped in this field. These include: Analytical/Critical thinking and problem solving - Analytical thinking, critical thinking and problem solving are abilities that are a must in this field. You should be able to acknowledge a problem, recognize that it has to be solved then and there, and always think on how the situation could be avoided in future. An event manage Client/Customer service orientation - Client/customer service orientation is the ability to be client focused and committed to meeting the needs of your customer. An event manager has to be client focused, he must attempt to know the client's needs, he must be able to put them at ease while interacting with them, build trust and respect with customers and clients Good negotiation skills - It is a general opinion that negotiating means underestimating the seller. On the contrary it is a skill in business which, when developed, makes you an astute minded businessman. Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines - An event manager should be able to handle pressures and deadlines at ease. Inspite of meticulous planning and arrangement, a small error or miscalculation can wreak havoc and disrupt the entire schedule. At such testing times, you should be able to remain calm and cool and perform your role as though everything is under control, so that others are not adversely affected. Teamwork, facilitation and co-operation - Needless to say, one of the most important things here, is the ability to work as a team. You should not only know how to lead a team but also work with everyone and get the job done. You should be able to build efficient teams of people and facilitate their effectiveness. Always remember, "There is no 'I' in Team". Planning, co-ordination and organisation - This involves the ability to effectively coordinate and organize oneself, others, information and/or situations at a personal and/or organizational level. Good networking skills - An event manager needs to build up his own network and the number of contacts he has the more successful he will be. Any kind of business can be only expanded through contacts and you must therefore have the skill and aptitude to go out and talk to people. CHAPTER 1: EVENT MANAGEMENT WHAT IS EVENT MANAGEMENT? Event management is the application of the management practice of project management to the creation and development of festivals and events. Event Management involves studying the intricacies of the brand, identifying the target audience, devising the event concept, planning the logistics and coordinating the technical aspects before actually executing the modalities of the proposed event. The recent growth of festivals and events as an industry around the world means that the management can no longer be ad hoc. Events and festivals, such as the Asian Games, have a large impact on their communities and, in some cases, the whole country. The industry now includes events of all sizes from the Olympics down to a breakfast meeting for ten business people. Every industry, charity, society and group will hold events of some type/size in order to market themselves, build business relationships, raise money or celebrate. The Event Manager is the person who plans and executes the event. Event managers and their teams are often behind-the-scenes running the event. Event managers may also be involved in more than just the planning and execution of the event, but also brand building, marketing and communication strategy. The event manager is experts at the creative, technical and logistical elements that help an event succeed. This includes event design, audio-visual production, scriptwriting, logistics, budgeting, negotiation and, of course, client service. It is a multi-dimensional profession. EVENT MANAGER The Event Manager may become involved at the early initiation stages of the event. If the Event Manager has budget responsibilities at this early stage they maybe termed an Event or Production Executive. The early stages include: Site surveying, Client Service, Brief clarification, Budget drafting, Cash flow management, Supply chain identification, Procurement, Scheduling, Site design, Technical design, Health & Safety, An Event Manager who becomes involved closer to the event will often have a more limited brief. The key disciplines closer to the event are: Health & Safety including crowd management, Logistics, Rigging, Sound, Light, Video, Detailed scheduling, Security,'' TYPES OF EVENT MANAGEMENT There are varied types of events that are hosted every now and then. And because of the number of companies and the event hosting at varied levels, they are being categorized into varied types and levels. The categories are based on the event management services in India, which include the following: Business events: These are events that promote the varied objectives of a business venture, which includes launches and promotional events; also termed as brand building and brand promoting. There are also certain events for the employees of a business venture, in order to motivate them from time-to-time. Corporate events: Corporate events primarily include those of the corporate houses mainly for the benefit of their employees, as well as clients and customers. The events generally relate to the following: Management Functions Corporate Communications Training Marketing Employee Relations Customer Relations Cause-Related events: This is related to events pertaining to raising funds for victims of varied large-scale disasters. Fundraising events: This includes events for charitable reasons that are mainly organized for varied reasons, which include: a) To attract revenue b) To garner support c) To spread awareness Exhibitions and trade fairs: These events are hosted in order to bring together vendors and consumers. These events are basically hosted in order to bring together people who are interested in viewing or knowing about the: Available products and services, gain a complete understanding of all the players in the related industry Entertainment events: This type of event is hosted purely for entertainment reasons. Large companies generally sponsor or have such events organized in order to reach their target audience directly. Festive events: These are events hosted for the public in general, so that there can be mass gatherings to celebrate festivals. Government events: These are generally the political rallies hosted by political parties, communities or others involved in the government and general politics. Meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences and conventions: These are usually hosted by companies or association as a common ground for people to come together and exchange information, debate on and discuss varied issues, take a consensus or decision, to educate the participants and a means to build relations. Social and cultural events: These are events that are hosted usually to commemorate cultural, religious, communal or societal occasion. Sporting events: This includes all types of sports competitions, at all levels. CORPORATE EVENT MANAGEMENT One of the most important aspects of any company is the varied events that are organized not only within the company, but also for the clients and customers. This is because one of the prime objectives for hosting events is to build on relations. Usually corporate houses encourage in-house events for the staff in order to motivate them from time to time, as well as to upgrade the knowledge and skills, in order to be along with the times. They also encourage staff to attend seminars, conferences and conventions in order to keep them abreast with the latest trends. Such corporate events also become a meeting point for others from the same field to share varied aspects. This is more like a formal social forum for executives and managers. These are rather serious events and are mainly handled by the corporate, itself. However, in order to organize a formal event on a larger scale, this maybe delegated to the public relations company handling the companies PR activities, or then maybe given to a corporate event management company. Apart from the serious events, there are the fun, celebratory ones. These maybe organized to celebrate the main festivals, or then the success of a project. These are mainly organized in order to build an environment of closeness amongst colleagues. This is because human resource executives and managers realize the importance of encouraging healthy inter-personal relations in the office to maximize staff efficiency. Corporate event management services India include the in-house events, as well as the larger once to launch and promote products and services. Most service providers double up to even take on the role of public relations and media relations. More often than never company event management planning is done on an annual basis. The event calendar is determined according to the budget set aside for the events, as well as other aspects that differ from one corporate house to another. GLOBAL EVENT MANAGEMENT The biggest events are those that are arranged at a global level. These international events are mainly the sports events, like the international competitions that are hosted by various countries each year. In fact, for global event management for an event like the Olympics, preparations begin well in advance, which amounts to five to six years prior to the event. These large-scale events also require Government involvement in order to meet expenses and ensure safety and security of delegates from varied nations. While international sports largely represent the term global event management, but it also includes other events, such as live performances by international artistes. For instance, the pop stars and rock stars being brought to India for their concerts and shows. These are mainly hosted by the large event companies and sponsored by the bigger corporate houses, as this becomes a major advertising vehicle for them. Then there are the international social and cultural events hosted at an international level. These are mainly those that created to create widespread awareness with regards to varied global problems such as global warming. Take for instance, the Hollywood stars being roped in by WHO in order to make people aware of the dangers and problems of AIDS. They travel across the world spreading awareness. There are numerous event management consultants who render their services in the varied departments of event management. It is not possible for just a few people to put together a global event, and do require the services of a number of consultants, who can be delegated important tasks for the event. Usually, event companies prefer working with consultants, who are roped in on project basis, rather than being over-staffed unnecessarily. PRODUCT LAUNCH EVENT MANAGEMENT In the present day and age, there is much competition to be faced by every walk of life. One walk down the mall and one can see the amount of competition amongst companies to maximize buyers. And the fact is that there is always room for more. As competition means improving and improvising quality in order to maximize profits. Thus, there are companies that are ever ready to walk down the risk highway and launch new products. However, in order to ensure that the launch is actually profitable, there is a lot of planning that needs to put in. The launch is not just about placing the product in the market, but also announcing it in an alluring manner to the consumers. This entails not only appropriate advertising channels, but also events that crate further product awareness. Gone is the time when hoardings and advertisements would do the magic. Today, companies have to think out of the box in order to create widespread product awareness. This is where product launch event management comes in. The event managers, in tandem with the company launching the product have several brainstorming sessions to decide on the varied events for the launch. Nowadays the preferred ways of launching products is through interactive events. Some companies host events wherein they invite people who have won contests and competitions held by them. Or then they host an exclusive party for their select loyal customers in order to showcase their new range. This is something done by automobile companies amongst others. BUDGETING THE EVENTS What is the most important factor when it comes to finances? It is the budgeting. Even a homemaker understands the meaning of this term and implements it in her home, in order to curb expenses and ensure that more money is saved. In the same way, no matter what the scale of event, the most important factor is to work within budget constraints, yet maintaining quality, in order to maximize returns. The fact is the budgeting the event is not child’s play of throwing in numbers and then marketing the event. Most companies follow a budget format or event management system, wherein all the figures are placed and aggregates made. Almost every company has on board a Financial or Accounting head, who is responsible for preparing the budget, as well as supervising the entire event execution process to ensure that all is happening within the figures mentioned. When preparing an event management budget, usually one maintains a margin of 5% to 15%, which is also called the buffer margin, just in case the budget exceeds the actual, placed on paper. It is important for the event manager, or marketing manager to provide the budget to potential sponsors, so that they can decide how much, or which section of the event they would prefer to sponsor in order to gain maximum mileage. For instance, there are some companies who decide to sponsor the entire ground for the event, while other companies pay for the printing of tickets and other material. The amount a company is ready to sponsor decides the kind of mileage they are given. The budget not only provides facts and figures with regards to the expenses, but also the potential returns the company can gain from the event. This would include expected ticket sales, as well as amount that can be received from sponsors. The entire plan of an event is in its budget. It is the very backbone of any event, or no matter what scale or type. It is more like a pre-event balance sheet. CHAPTER 2: EVENT PLANNING The first and foremost thing to do while planning an event is to know about the client's expectations. When a client first approaches you for assigning a task, sit with him and find out what he wants and how he wants it. Keep in mind the fact that the client has a very hazy idea of what he wants. He expects you to change that hazy idea into a reality. So you first need to strike a good rapport with him. Once you know his expectations you can start giving your inputs. Since you are a professional event planner he is bound to believe that you have a better knowledge about these things and will respect your judgment. IDENTIFY THE EVENT You first need to identify the type of event to be planned, whether it is going to be a product launch or a conference or a wedding or some other event. Then sit and draft a rough script of the budget, target audience, promotional campaigns, publicity, and other miscellaneous arrangements. Ask yourself the five basic questions: Who? First give a thought to who will be present at the event. … is the target audience? First you have to find out who are the people who will be coming for the event. This is very important because the whole event rests on the kind of people who are going to be invited. What? Next turn your attention to the type of event you are going to set up . …types of event are you organizing? You then decide what kind of an event it is? Wedding Party Conference. Product launch Concert Others When? …do you wish to stage the event? Here you have to decide on the dates. But before that you have to finalise the venue. Then the date can be fixed as to whether you wish to stage it next month or after a few months or one year or even more than that. Before settling on the duration you need to think over the time and other things. Where? When you are planning the event then obviously an important factor would be the venue. Therefore the following question would help you in this aspect: …do you wish to host the event? If it is a wedding/party it has got to be a hall, a conference room for a conference/ product launch. Depending on the nature of the event you decide on the venue. How? If you decide to press ahead, ask yourself several 'how' questions to complete your framework of objectives. …long should the event last? Think about the duration. …does the event fit into your overall marketing programme? Be clear whether it is going as a stand-alone or a one-off event that is separate and distinct from the other activities. Alternatively it could be a part of a wider campaign- just one aspect of other ongoing advertising and marketing work. BUDGETING Undoubtedly the most important thing….but how are you going to go about it. The first thing to be done here is to decide the total cost of the event. How do you want to plan it? What are the various things needed for the event? In order to simplify matters further, draw a checklist where you write the name of the item, the expected cost and the actual cost. A budget checklist would ideally look like this ITEM ESTIMATED COST ACTUAL COST Sponsors - - Venue - - Catering - - Overnight accommodation - - Publicity (if necessary) - - Rentals and hiring - - Rehearsals(if necessary) - - Post event activities - - Miscellaneous - - ESTIMATED TOTAL - - GRAND TOTAL - - CATERING AND VENUE Catering Now the importance of catering really depends on the kind of event. If it were a wedding or a party then a major chunk of the entire plan would go for catering itself. While selecting a caterer check out his/her credibility from various sources. After you have him on, sort out details regarding payment, mode of payment, payment dates and other useful information. Get all these details in writing and get it signed from him so as to avoid any problems in future. Venue The choice of the venue naturally depends on the kind of event. If it is a fashion show or a product launch, then chances are high that it would be held in a star hotel. Before deciding on the venue you should first decide on your target audience. Defining the target audience: One of the most important things you need to do before arranging your event is defining your target audience. You should have a very clear picture of who is going to come for the event. Whether the event is for entertainment, information or some other purpose. You can't have a very trendy look for a wedding; there you go for the traditional look. And again you keep in mind the number of guests, their status and style, their tastes, likes and dislikes. Similarly you can't have a traditional Indian look for a pop music concert. In this way you have to first identify the target audience to get started with your event. After you have decided on the venue, decide on the following things also: Decorations Boarding/ Lodging- depending on the nature of the event Lighting Stage designing Outside hiring and rentals for specific purposes Security Miscellaneous work pertaining to the nature of the event SECURITY Whenever you are arranging an event you ensure that it is safe and secure in all ways. Especially if it is an event which is bound to attract a lot of attention like a musical concert or a film based award ceremony or such other events. For this you need to ensure that your event is fireproof and free from any obnoxious incidents. You can't prevent them entirely but it helps to be prepared for any eventuality. For this you may need to approach security service centres in the city. You should be informing the police in case there are any important or famous people coming. HIRINGS AND RENTALS By hirings and rentals one refers to the other professionals who will be working along with you like a photographer, decorator, videographer and a host of other people who will be helping you out with the event. When you are hiring them remember to do the following things get a contract letter made decide about the advance to be paid to the person try negotiating as far as possible list down your terms and conditions before signing the contract take into account their terms and conditions when you fix the money, you should also fix up the timings check out for their credentials before signing them on You would be working with a variety of people during each event. It could be a choreographer for a fashion show or a stage designer. The basic thing you must remember is to explain them as to how you visualize the event. These are the experts who will understand what you are wanting from them and accordingly co-ordinate with you. PUBLICITY AND PROMOTION If you know how to plan and organise your event, you should also know how to market it. If there is something very peculiar or special about your event then that has to be the main thing to be highlighted. A product launch for example requires a sales promotion campaign either before or after the launch. In that case the product is advertised through banners and media and even door-to-door canvassing. Effort is taken to ensure that people sit up and take notice of the event. Sometimes it could be an event like an award ceremony, which is to be shown on television. You then have different companies making a beeline for sponsoring their respective products in due course of the programme. This is the way publicity and promotions work. Press Advertising You may also consider advertising in the usual ways, most likely in the press - an all- embracing term which encompasses a wide and extremely diverse range of newspapers, magazines and other miscellaneous publications. How wide and diverse is the range of press publications? The range of newspapers spans national dailies and Sundays, regional dailies, weeklies, bi- weeklies and free weeklies. They all have widely differing approaches to news coverage and reporting, and appeal to various, definable groups of the population. They also have different circulation and readership figures and therefore markedly different advertisement rates. The breadth of magazines available includes general interest publications of widespread and popular appeal, consumer-specific titles aimed at special interest groups and business titles related to particular products and services, to jobs and careers or to trade and industries. They all address their own mix of topics, attract assorted groups of people, have differing circulation and pass-on readership figures and, again widely varying advertisement rates. There are also miscellaneous publications, such as directories, yearbooks, in-house journals, guidebooks and even programmes, brochures, timetables and maps. All of these deals with varying subjects are published for different and definable sets of organisations and individuals. As with the other groups of publications, their advertisement rates vary according to their circulation and pass-on readership figures. Benefits of Press Advertising Newspaper advertising can reach a broad cross-section of a local population and/or scattered groups nationwide. You can place advertisements in sections or supplements where you feel they will be most effective, varying them between newspapers or editions and ensuring that they are published on a given day or in a specific week. It allows you the opportunity to be topical and offers regular, day-after-day advertising if required and at short notice also if necessary. Magazine advertising can be targeted towards well-defined groups of interested and informed people. It also carries the advantage that readers will be more likely to believe and trust your advertisement because it is in `their' magazine. Your advertisements can be varied and placed in different publications to maximise their chances of being seen. Magazines are often read by people when they are in a leisurely receptive mood, in more detail and possibly for longer periods of time than newspapers, and this lifespan affords an advantage in that your advertisement may be read and re-read several times. You might like to consider using colour to enhance its appeal. In-house journals have the advantage of a well-defined identifiable readership. Your advertisements will be viewed as trustworthy and reputable because they will be perceived as being `company approved.' They can also be displayed in a variety of sizes, formats, colours and positions and can be adjusted at short notice if necessary. You may also wish to consider advertising in programmes and brochures - say for sporting fixtures. Another area well worth consideration is timetables, maps and guidebooks, which lend an air of authority to advertisements, have a hands-on, involved readership, a long useful life and are used over and over again. Press Advertising in Promotional Campaign Should press advertising form part of your promotional campaign? What are the main factors that influence your decision? Your target market: Who exactly are the people you want to reach? What kind of media they use in their everyday lives? If your target market is going to see your press advertisements, consider press advertising; if not, don't! Media: Which types of publication are best - newspapers, magazines or other publications? Will they enable you to advertise when you want to? Will they give you the opportunity to advertise as often as you wish - occasionally or regularly so that advertisements have more likelihood of being seen? Will they allow you to promote your event for as long as you want? Long-term, steady advertising? The event: What type of an event is it? What is its purpose and theme? Which types of publication would be most appropriate? A sales conference in an in-house journal, or perhaps a trade event in the main directory of the industry? Is it really suitable for press advertising (never overlook that question!) Does an incentive event really need to be advertised - certainly not far and wide, surely? The costs: Is press advertising expensive? Can you afford to use the press? Does it offer value for money? That depends on the results. Does it give you what you want - say, another hundred or so registrations? How should your press advertisements look? What should be incorporated in them? Appearance: What type of advertisement should you select? A display advertisement in its own box and perhaps set apart from others and therefore eye-catching? This will give you room to put across information and be creative, but may be costly. It may allow too much room, perhaps, encouraging unnecessary details and highlighting creative shortcomings? A classified advertisement, then? Layout: How should the advertisement be set out? With a headline to catch attention, sum up the main message and make people read on? A photograph, perhaps of a celebrity? A cartoon, perhaps, or an illustration to convey or strengthen the message? Something simple, relevant and self- explanatory which is not too busy or obscure? Should the text be set in an appealing typeface to persuade people to keep reading? Do you want to use bold faces, italics or different shades - white on a black background, even? Keep it straightforward, though! Contents: What should the advertisement include? Some basic facts and figures, the type of event it is, why, where and when it is being staged, what it involves and how much it costs to come along? What is so special about the event that they should come? What are the benefits of their going to the event? Added attractions of the event should be highlighted. Style: Should the style have a distinctive or offbeat feel? Stick to the message and use short, to-the-point text - especially in a classified advertisement. Extra words mean more money! Use clear, understandable, jargon-free language (avoid slang). Make the text easy to read and get the facts across! Use positive words, too, and upbeat, persuasive language. Do you want readers to get in touch, perhaps to register immediately? Yes! Position: Which is the best place for it - assuming that you have a choice? Somewhere it will be seen and read most often by the right people! In general terms, should it be nearer the front than the back, alone instead of with others, at the top not the bottom of the page, to the right rather than the left, on the outside instead of the inside? How to Write a Press Release? You are co-ordinating a big event in town but don't know exactly how to inform people about it. You know there is going to be a mega event in town and you want to enamour everybody with a glam ad…don't know how to do it. That's what press releases are for. We will teach you how to write press releases here. Before you go through the trouble of researching where a press release should go and get down to write it, you should ask yourself one important question: Is this subject really NEWS? Do you want people to hear about it? Don't be too hard on yourself when asking these questions, though. Research your audience: The first person to see your press release will be a writer, editor, or editorial assistant at a newspaper, magazine, or television station. This person will glance at your press release to get a quick idea of what it's about and will then take a decision as to whether the readers/ viewers will be really interested in this kind of a subject. Your goal during research is to make sure you identify the audiences who will answer with an emphatic "Yes!" The following guidelines can help you reach that goal: Make a wide search: Possible audiences may be the readers of a specific section of a local newspaper or they could be watching certain channels. Find out the readership/ viewership rate. Investigate television: If you're targetting television, watch the daily news programmes to see if anyone specializes in the subject of your press release. Ask friends if they know of any writers or television personalities who routinely cover stories like yours. Keep good records: When gathering this type of information, be sure to write down the proper spellings of names, correct mailing addresses, phone numbers, and, if applicable, e-mail addresses. Organise your information: Gather the facts: Organise all the information you want to cover. Include who, what, when, where, why, and how of your story. Make sure you have the proper spellings for names in your company or organization, and the proper addresses and telephone numbers. Organize the facts: Sit down and file the information into two piles: essential and non-essential. You're dividing the facts so you can keep your release short, you don't leave out anything important and you establish what will go first. Essential information will include who, what, when, where, and why. Non-essential information might be any background items. As long as you keep your readers in mind - and anticipate any questions - you should be able to distinguish between what stays and what goes. Gather quotes: Quotes can make a release more personal and therefore more memorable. Try to make your quote original; platitudes are a waste of space and the reader's time. If you're promoting an event, quote some of the people involved and about the community value of their work. Include a photo: If you plan to send a photo along with your release, make sure it's pertinent. Sometimes it's best to save on cost and mention at the bottom of the release that photos are available. If you produce your own photo(s), make them as attractive and professional as possible, and check whether the publication prefers black-and-white or colour photos. When mailing your photo in, don't forget to write a brief caption on a separate piece of paper - and attach it to the back of the photo with tape. An interesting photo sometimes has a better chance of being published than a press release Write the release Before you start writing, take these things into consideration: A press release should easily fit onto a single 8.5 by 11 inch (21.6 by 25.4 centimeters) piece of paper, preferably business or organizational stationery. Copy can be single- or double-spaced. If you use plain paper, identify your organization, its address, and phone number at the centre of the top of the page. Organize your information into short paragraphs consisting of simple, declarative sentences. Your goal is to get information across, not to woo an editor with your writing style. If you have to use any technical terms, make sure your audience already knows them or that you explain them in the copy. Make sure the grammar and spelling are correct. When you're finished, have someone else check it (or use the spelling and grammar check on your computer). Always have at least one other person read the release to make sure it clearly gets its points across. Plan on writing a draft first, and then formatting the draft by filling in headlines, contact information and so forth. Now, head for the pile of relevant information. Organize it in a way that makes sense or tells a story. Begin with the key facts that summarize the main story. Then state why it's important or include an outstanding quote. From here, include information in descending order of importance to a reader, for instance, date of opening, address of new business, specialized items it will carry or repair, hours when it will be open, and who the owner is. At the very bottom, you can put a little background information. Add the finishing touches Once the first draft is finished, create a headline for it. Make sure to capitalize the first word and any proper nouns and to boldface, centre, and underline the headline. It should sit directly over the main copy. Include as many specifics as possible to attract interest. Mentioning all these things in the headline increases the odds an editor may stop and consider your release. In the upper, right-hand corner of the press release, put the word "Contact" and list the name and phone number of the person to contact if an editor or writer has any questions. You can also list contacts for the public and potential customers or funders in the body of the copy. At the very bottom of the copy, in the centre of the page, put the word "end," so a reader knows there aren't any further pages. List contacts on the upper, right-hand corner of the second page, in case the first page gets lost When your final draft is ready, proof-read it again for spelling and accuracy. Once again, have one or two people read it and comment on its clarity. Send it out Finally, the moment you've been waiting for: - sending your news out into the world. Here are some guidelines on mailing and emailing press releases: Time your release so the editor receiving it has enough time to assign it as a story and get it into the magazine or onto the broadcast. This is called "lead time." Don't send it so far in advance that it's forgotten by the time it should run, though. If you're in doubt, contact the publication or television or radio station to find out when they like to receive press releases. Prepare mailing labels and envelopes for all the contacts you've researched. E mailing the release is appropriate only if you're in a high-tech field or the publications you've targeted specifically request that method. Paste the release into the message body, instead of sending it as an attachment, if you use this method. Also watch for unusual text characters that may appear. If you're mailing copies, make the necessary number you need to send out. Don't forget to keep a master copy for yourself in case you find other contacts to send copies to and a working copy to which you can refer. Stuff envelopes and apply postage. If your mailing is huge, the post office will want you to bundle envelopes according to zip code. You should check with the post office to learn the proper protocol. Decide on the follow-up Sometimes a follow-up helps your bid for media exposure; other times, it hinders it. If you have sent your release to a local columnist in a small community, a phone call might be welcome and could demonstrate your willingness to be friendly. On the other hand, if you send your release to a huge publication or network, where you know the editors are busy, a follow-up phone call could be interpreted as a nuisance, especially if it's overly chatty. To prevent any problems, make one call only, unless an editor encourages you to call again. Make your call brief where you confirm receipt of the release, offer to answer any questions or redirect a second copy of the release to another editor, and thank the editor for his or her time. It's fine to leave this information along with your phone number on voicemail if you can't reach the editor directly. Press releases are far less expensive than advertising and can attract the attention of a large, targeted audience. They take relatively little time to produce, and can create positive attention for your organization or product. If you have news to share, what are you waiting for? Get out and meet the press. How Do You Set About Advertising? Having drafted an advertisement, how do you set about advertising in the press? Decide which publications you want to use. If you have any ideas, contact the advertisement manager or director of each title and request a media pack, rate card and a copy of the most recent issue. Make your selection, then approach the advertisement manager or director. Study the information about the publication. Check its price, regular columns, features, supplements, the sexes, ages, occupations, activities, interests and habits of the readership, and their opinions of the title. Read the rate card, which is a sheet or pamphlet, which lists more specific details about advertising in the publication. What are the circulation and readership figures, display advertising rates, classified advertising rates, names, telephone and extension numbers of key personnel, copy deadlines, conditions of acceptance of advertisements and on-sales dates? Examine your copy of the latest issue of the publication - past copies too, if you can obtain them - to gain a better understanding of editorial copy, build a fuller image of advertising copy to date and to satisfy yourself that this publication really is the right choice in your circumstances. Decide whether or not you should advertise in this publication. Does it reach the right type of audience in the right numbers? Can you advertise when you want to and as often and for as long as you wish? Can you have the type and style of advertisement that you want, in the right position? All at an acceptable price? Submit your advertisement to the advertisement director or manager. Be prepared to listen to his or her advice - he or she may be able to improve the advertisement by editing the contents to achieve the same message for a lower price, or by suggesting a different typeface for greater impact. He or she may also offer a better position for the same price, if one is available. Always listen to what he or she has to say. Monitor the responses. Who and how many responded and how many of these registered, per advertisement and per publication? You can measure these easily if you place a `key' - or identifying mark - into each advertisement. For example, in one advertisement, readers are asked to telephone you or they may be asked to write to Department A for one advertisement and to B for the next. You can then work out which advertisement represents value for money on the basis of price of advertisement divided by number of enquiries, which equals the cost per enquiry. Dividing this by the number of registrations gives you the cost per registration. Have you learned anything for next time? CHAPTER 3: CONFERENCE MANAGEMENT SET APPROPRIATE OBJECTIVES To begin with, you must be absolutely clear about what you want to achieve from your conference. The most efficient way to do this once again is to ask the six basic questions - 'who, what, when, where, why and how'. Answering them fully and accurately will provide you with a framework of objectives to work within and towards as you organise the event. Who? First give a thought to who should be at the conference - speakers, delegates - and the numbers of people involved. …will be speaking at the event? See if there are in-house speakers like the marketing director or the sales manager or the managing director. Decide on how many in-house speakers are there. Another alternative is to employ outsiders - a specialist in the field or a celebrity who can act as an attraction to the delegates .…all are attending the conference? Whether you would like to call in-house staff or only people from selected departments in the organisation. - Whether there is a limit to the number of people attending. - Would you have to invite the company clients, media representatives, professional associates or members of trade bodies. All these things should be taken into account. What? Next turn your attention to the type of conference you are going to set up and what do you want the speakers to do before and after the event? …type of event are you organising? Sales - If the intention is to review sales results, to set new targets or to motivate delegates to work harder and better. Incentive - If the objective is to reward best sellers, motivate and inspire them or to encourage them so that they can attend next time also. Promotional - If the objective is to launch new products and services or rebuild the image/brand of the product. Press - If the aim is to give news/information to the media or obtain free publicity. Trade - if the objective is to discuss market activities and trends or to reach a trade agreement Training - if the objective is to show how to use products and services or demonstrate how to carry out tasks and duties. Combination - By this term it means a single show with two different purposes like a sales and training …do you want the delegates to do? By this it means the aim to encourage the delegates to do something, to maintain or improve their performance, work harder, agree on a common approach to market problems or do a job differently. When? Timing is an aspect, which is always overlooked or not taken into consideration. Therefore fix up the date and time of the event well in advance. Don't accept dates which you think would be inconvenient. …do you wish to stage the conference? Consider whether you would wish to stage the event in the following month or after a few months or a year or even later. Think over the duration and see if you have enough time to co-ordinate the whole thing before the stipulated time or should you consider postponing the event. Where? Another obviously important factor to be kept in mind is the VENUE. Therefore the following question would help you in this aspect: …do you wish to run the conference? Whether this will be in the office premises or in a conference room in a hotel or a specifically built conference room or just anywhere …would participants want the conference to be held? Would the speakers want the dais to be unusual or pleasant or comfortable? Would the delegates have the same wants as the speakers themselves? How? If you decide to press ahead, ask yourself several 'how' questions to complete your framework of objectives …should the event be conducted? Will there be one speaker talking to delegates en masse or several speakers running various smaller sessions? Are there going to be any speeches, presentations, demonstrations and discussions. Also consider whether it will be just a business programme or it is going to be a melange of both serious activities and fun or just all play and merry …long should the conference last? Think about the duration. Can you strike a balance to make it short enough to maintain your delegate's interest and limit your costs, but long enough to cover everything thoroughly? …does the event fit into your overall marketing programme? Be clear whether it is going as a stand-alone conference or a one-off event that is separate and distinct from the other activities. Alternatively it could be a part of a wider campaign - just one aspect of other ongoing advertising and marketing work. ESTABLISH A REALISTIC BUDGET Once you have clarified your objectives, move on to making a budget. First work out where the major funding is going to come from. For that consider the following points: Is there any money available from prospective sponsors? If you are staging a trade-related conference, a professional association may provide funds and would be worth approaching. Alternatively approach organisations or individuals who might stage a complementary exhibition or similar marketing activity alongside your own conference. Ticket selling to the delegates/partners It would not be appropriate to sell tickets to the internal delegates but you should also not overlook the partners. Consider whether it is proper to sell tickets to only the partners or both the delegates and partners. Alternatively also see to it that it does not refrain them from coming since the other hasn't been invited. Make the event look very attractive by charging for it, if it were free then probably people would think it is worthless. Detailing possible expenditure It is vital that you should look at the areas where money should be spent in order to ensure a successful conference. This factor is very important and should never be overlooked. Identify these areas and make a rough estimate of how much it is going to come upto and now study the following areas: Venue: While fixing the venue find out whether it is a fixed price or a per capita charge. Then include the cost of the additions like facilities, services, equipment hire, technicians, set up and dismantling charges. If you have overnight accommodation for the delegates then include room charges, extras, facilities and services. Speakers: Consider the cost of finding speakers, approaching and negotiating, writing, updating, telephoning and confirming. In addition to that consider their fees for attending - are they specialists or celebrities. You will need to meet their travel and accommodation expenses. Find out if they are coming from a long distance? Do they want first class travel? Then the food and the miscellaneous expenses need to be catered to. Delegates and partners: Here you have to make a note of finding the delegates, the cost of inviting them, obtaining mailing lists, printing invitations, posting them and writing again and telephoning them. You have to consider their travel and accommodation charges. Publicity: If you intend issuing press releases you have to take into account the cost of the ads, mailing charges, stationery and faxing the releases to magazines and newspapers. Outside help: Needless to say, if you are considering taking outside help in the form of organisations or individuals, some important things have to be kept in mind. These include: Printing or supplying publicity material – This will include printing costs, packaging materials, special memorabilia for the event, pre-conference documents and maps, postage and spares. Transporting participants and goods – This covers the stage setting, lighting and equipment such as televisions, cameras, projectors etc. Decorating the venue – Floral decorations, banners and other miscellaneous items to be used both inside and outside the venue. Hire charges- Now if you do not have certain facilities and services inside the venue, you would be required to have those things hired. Security – Special people and special equipment may have to be hired as a safety measure. Catering Arrangements – Whether it is going to be like a reception, breaks, luncheon/ dinner or a banquet. Social activities, entertainment – Whether it is needed inside or outside the venue for partners and what kind of entertainment is needed. Insurance – Cancellation of the event, damage caused to the property, freak or serious accidents are some of the things that could occur in the course of the organisation. Be ready for such testing times. Rehearsals: If a rehearsal is a must then you have to include their costs also. Travel, boarding and lodging, accommodation, transportation, extra facilities and services are some of the areas where you should look into. Programme: Again this includes the total cost of the event. All that we saw till now should be put together and the final amount should be made. Post conference allotments: When making the budget, take into consideration the changing rates of some items. What costs Rs. 1000 today, may cost more or less tomorrow. Miscellaneous: Allot this section for emergency / necessary / unnecessary charges you might come across while organising the function. Your next step would be to finalise what kind of budget you need to set - whether it should be a rigid or a flexible one. Sometimes if you set a budget for a huge amount it is highly possible that money could be sometimes overspent in some and underspent in some cases. Maintaining a proper cash flow: Organisation of a conference could take months, so it is vital that you check the cash inflow each month. Every month the money picture is going to be different. Surplus: In case of surplus money you have to negotiate wisely, settle all your bills and dues promptly and do all settlements on time. This will not only make you a better organiser it will also improve your way of working in future. DRAFTING A PROGRAMME Your next job is to sketch a programme for the conference. Think about the theme before you actually create and devise business and social activities, which will comprise a well balanced programme. Having a theme Some conferences are built on a theme. If you plan to have a theme you should think over some questions before planning it out. The purpose: If you want to create an impact on the delegates and others, the theme should be a strong one. It should be able to bring in speakers for the conference, which again is the main reason for bringing in the delegates. Selecting the right theme: An unnecessary theme does more harm than good. First you need to decide whether you really need a theme in order to sell the event. Once this is confirmed, the best option would be a theme which puts across the message and the main idea of the conference in a clear and concise manner. The type of event The basic factor of all activities is to decide the type of event you want. Decide whether it has to take the shape of a product launch or a sales conference or something else. A list of the different kinds of conferences is given below: A training programme: The topics that are normally covered at such an event is information about something, data and feedback, safety procedures, maintenance and usage. Interactivity is the key word here. Topics could be covered in the form of lectures, discussions and demonstrations. Decide whether you want plenty of time to lengthen the session as required, to ask more questions, to attempt new practices under supervision or to examine the products until the delegates are comfortable with them. A Press Conference: Essentially to inform the media about something. It could be any type of event like the above but attention is paid only to the media. It could go on like a speech, a discussion, a demonstration or an examination and freebies for the journalists to obtain press coverage. Keep in mind the length and the order. Ideally it could be a speech, question and answers, a demonstration, an examination followed by a relaxed session. A Trade Event: This kind of event is generally held to commemorate something related to trade or information about the market place, developments, trends, opportunities, coverage of trade actions and reactions, acknowledgement of various people in the industry. This kind of event could generally be like a speeches, a discussion forum and/or question-answer session. A Promotional Conference: It could be information about a new product, the reasons for its launch, its USPs, statistical data, reason for its launch and why delegates should buy it, details about the product, special features etc. Normally it could be followed like this - a short introductory speech about the product and the company, then a demonstration of the product (should give the delegates an opportunity to touch, feel, test and examine the goods) and the company's services and then the question-answer session. A Sales Conference: Here you need the statistics of past sales figures, future sales, product selling methods and strategies. It could be an award function where the best performing sales personnel could be honored. Have your time planned accordingly. Have short breaks in between to keep everybody interested in the event. It shouldn't be too long a session, which might end up being dull and drab. An incentive event: More or less similar to a sales conference excepting there are fewer delegates here and the location is more exotic in nature. The objective of such an event is to appreciate the employees for their hard work and honour them. Speeches here could be inspirational in nature and there could be award presentations. Consider the order and length of the programme and its activities. Actually her you could allot more time for breaks. Social activities: Mix business and pleasure together carefully at the conference. Too many speeches, facts and figure will tire the people so it is necessary to have light sessions in between. The purpose is to allow the delegates to socialise, meet and relax. Food The type of catering you want depends on the type of conference and its overall timetable. Possibilities here are light refreshments, lunches, buffets, sit-down meals and dinners. Consider entertainment also. Decide on the length of meals and coffee or tea breaks. Co-ordinate the timings between the meals and coffee breaks so that there is no wastage of time in between. Entertainment This part should not be forgotten. When you are making arrangements for delegates, you should also remember the partners. Entertainment could be of two types: - in-house and outside entertainments. Make a list of what kind of entertainment is generally wanted by your client and make a proper checklist. Think of how should everything be managed and co-ordinated? What kind of entertainment do they want? How should entertainment be co-ordinated with business activities? When you go about arranging the entertainment see to it that it does not coincide/interfere with the business activity. Parallelly work on transportation also because if it is going to be away from the venue then the delegates needed to be taken there. Suitable for everybody Last but not the least; see to it that the kind of entertainment you provide suits their tastes. Take into account everybody's tastes (of course…that's a bit difficult) but what this means is to do something which everybody would appreciate. Flexibility Also make your programme very flexible. Supposing it so happens that you are forced to remove some of the activities, and then the rest of the programme should not get hampered. PLANNING A SCHEDULE Timetabling your activities After making a fairly lengthy list of activities that you need to carry out, you arrange them into a timetable, which you can use for the follow up after the event. You will need to adjust your timetable according to the time frame given to you for organising the event. The first month You are the conference organiser. Is any assistance available? If yes, then from where? Set the objectives: who, what, when, where, why and how. Make the budgets: - calculate income and expenditure; draw up a budget and cashflow forecast form. Draft the programme: - theme, business activities, and social activities. Plan your schedule keeping in mind all the key activities in an appropriate order. The second month Make priorities for selecting the location of the conference, the venue and overnight accommodation. Select the location. Find out exactly what kind of a location your client would ideally like to have. Based on that, conduct research, possibly travelling to towns and cities to make the final choice. Venue and overnight accommodation comes next. Carry out simultaneous research, visiting potential sites and making the selection. Book the venue and the overnight accommodation. Decide on your speakers. How many are needed? Confirm whether your client is going to take care of it or you are supposed to do it. Find the speakers. Should they come from within the concerned organisation or from outside? Start arranging for speakers. Tell them what they need to know and agree on the terms and conditions. Notify the venue and overnight accommodation of any changes: perhaps three smaller conference rooms are now required instead of the one large one originally booked, or double rather than single bedrooms if some partners will be attending. Check the budget and cashflow to make sure everything is in order. The third month Pick suitable delegates - who and how many. Draw up contact lists- external and internal. Approach delegates, putting over the correct information. Adjust the timing of the programme if there is going to be a discussion. It might be necessary to have more sessions in that case. Inform the people concerned, about the venue, overnight accommodation and any adjustments - conference rooms being required for differing lengths of time, for example. Issue the first press releases to newspapers, magazines, Internet and other relevant media. Mail out the initial batch of letters to interested individuals and organisations as well. Advertise the conference in newspapers and magazines and anywhere else that is appropriate. See to it that the budget and the cash inflow go hand-in-hand. The fourth month Commission any outsiders you may need to assist you - travel agencies, designers, equipment suppliers, security personnel, caterers, entertainers, insurance companies. Share out the workload in supplying publicity material, transporting people and items, decorating the venue, maintaining security, catering, arranging social activities and insuring the conference. Identify whom you are going to work with and build a contact list. Negotiate with them. Mail out the second batch of letters to people/organisations who have not responded. Look at your budget and cashflow forecast again. The fifth month Decide whether you are using any visual aids. Make the most of any equipment being used. Check with the people who you have hired for See that all is well with the venue, overnight accommodation, speakers and delegates, as appropriate. Mail out third and final batch of letters to unresponsive individuals and organisations. Review the budget and cashflow forecast. The sixth month Supervise the rehearsals, business and social programme. Check the venue, facilities and services and the overnight accommodation. Make any last-minute changes to the business activities, social activities, venue, facilities and services and overnight accommodation. Notify the venue, overnight accommodation, speakers, delegates and suppliers of these last-minute changes and double-check that they know. Issue the second batch of press releases to local newspapers, perhaps, and to magazines for review in their next issue. Check your budget and cashflow forecast forms for problems. At the event Get everyone and everything well organised: speakers, delegates and partners, venue, suppliers, overnight accommodation. Watch the business programme, including the speakers, topics, approach, order and length. Monitor the social programme, checking on catering, partners' and all participants' activities, approach, order and length. Send everyone home: speakers, delegates and partners. Tidy everything up with the venue, suppliers and overnight accommodation Review the event from setting objectives through to the conference itself. Ask speakers, delegates, partners, people at the venue, suppliers and managers of the overnight accommodation for their views. Write a report on strengths, weaknesses, conclusions and recommendations. CHOOSE THE RIGHT VENUE When you get a clear picture of what you want, you can select the town or city where you will stage this conference. In all cases you will have settled for three or four locations which seem to be suitably sited and now just need to make a firm choice. When studying readily available material and subsequently visiting towns and cities on your shortlist, address these specific issues before reaching that all-important decision. Is the location convenient? When you are going about this part, ask whether: the speakers and delegates feel excited enough to want to attend it is convenient for everyone it is connected properly by air, rail or road participants will be able to reach the location on time or you will have to delay the start of the event they will be able to go home at a reasonable hour. Have arrangements been made for transportation? Are there buses to use during the day and in the evenings - for speakers, delegates and other people? Do you need to make any special arrangements for certain people? Are there any interesting things to do in that place? Are there shops to look at, gardens to visit, trips to enjoy and so on for partners who have free time while the business programme is being conducted? Are there pubs, restaurants, theatres and clubs and such like for speakers and delegates when business activities have been concluded? Of the utmost importance, does the town or city provide a good choice of conference and overnight accommodation? Are there a sufficient number of conference venues in the locality for you to choose from? Do these venues meet your set criteria? For overnight accommodation, check that there is a choice of hotels for you to pick from, which meet your requirements. Short listing Venues Having selected the right location, you can press ahead to shortlist conference venues and overnight accommodation as relevant. Is the venue easy to find and readily accessible?: Find out whether it is easily accessible and how do you intend on taking the people out there. Is it the right size?: Can all the delegates be accommodated, with everybody in one room for some sessions and separated into several, smaller groups on other occasions? Are you sure you can fit in a stage, equipment, product displays and delegates comfortably? Is there easy access for delegates - including disabled ones? Is it easy to manoeuvre and display equipment? Does the venue offer everything you need to run a successful conference?: Are there photocopiers, fax machines, secretarial and translation services? Are OHPs, slide projectors, screens and video machines available? Is there a technician on-site to operate them on your behalf? What other equipment are you looking for? Is the venue available on your preferred dates?: If so, it could be that no one else wants it. Think about why this is - is it a poor venue, perhaps? If this is the case, what should you do? Would it be sensible or possible to rearrange your dates? Is there another, equally good venue which is available on your dates? What are the costs involved?: What is included in the basic hire charge? More important, what is not included? Be clear about this now rather than later! Consider whether the figure is acceptable and within your budgetary constraints. How much do you have to pay for the extra facilities and services, which are not part of the basic hire charge, such as the equipment, technician and the time taken to set up and remove all the conference equipment? Do you have someone to assist you in your plans?: You should know when you are selecting a venue whether it is really meant for conferences or not. It is best to have some knowledge about all this when you come across such a situation otherwise it is good to have someone who is familiar with the art of organising conferences. Is suitable overnight accommodation available on-site or nearby?: Don't overlook this factor as many organisers tend to do. First, check that the accommodation is sited within a convenient walking or driving distance from the venue. Then make sure that there are enough rooms of the right type free on your dates - singles and twins, doubles or family rooms. Are there ground-floor rooms for disabled participants? Are they of a standard, which will satisfy or impress speakers and delegates? Will the costs incurred include room, breakfast, lunch, and evening meal? Which facilities and services are incorporated within these costs and which are extras? How much do the extras cost? Visiting the Venue Now visit your shortlisted venues and any hotels which might provide overnight accommodation so that you can check the answers to your questions and make your final choices. Are the conference rooms right for you?: Are lighting, heating and ventilation all suitable - in a blazing hot summer or in a freezing cold winter? Check them out. Noise levels are often overlooked. Inside the building, can your conference run without interruptions and distractions from others at the venue? Is it quiet enough outside the building, or will traffic, road works or any other noisy interruptions be off putting for speakers and delegates. Are you happy with the facilities, services and equipment on offer?: Are the facilities of a good quality, up to date and in a satisfactory condition? Are you equally satisfied with the services that are being provided for you? For example, is the secretarial service up to your required standard and can the translator do his or her job well? Do you have faith in them? Is the equipment solid and reliable, modern, in good condition and just what you want? Are the hotel rooms right for participants?: Are they clean, tidy, comfortable and luxurious - will they satisfy speakers, delegates and partners or even impress them? Are the facilities and services all in order - the shower working properly, does the restaurant have a good choice of food? Is this the best deal for you?: If you can give positive answers to all the questions you have raised, then proceed. If not, consider looking elsewhere. If this venue represents value for money, then go ahead. If not, think again! Making a Provisional Booking You should now feel ready to make a provisional booking both at your selected venue and for overnight accommodation too, whether this is on the same site or elsewhere. There are a number of steps you should follow at this stage. Have you also talked about and checked all aspects of the venue? Overnight accommodation as well? Accessibility: On foot, by car and by public transport? Size: The capacity of the rooms, their dimensions, access to them, lighting, heating and ventilation and noise levels? Everything else on offer: Facilities, services and equipment and the availability of the venue on your preferred dates and on other dates? Costs: Basic hiring facilities and any other issues relevant to you? Track record: Positive or negative response from previous users? Overnight accommodation: Its accessibility, the number and type of rooms, standards, mix of facilities and services and costs? Have you studied the venue's conditions of hire and code of practice as relevant? Conditions of hire: Have you read each and every condition and sought a second opinion where necessary? Are you happy with these terms and conditions - are they fair and reasonable and can you abide by them? What about those which are not fair and reasonable or which you cannot abide by? If they are not negotiable, should you look elsewhere? Code of practice: Have you considered all the conditions contained in the document and spoken to others about them? Do you feel comfortable with them and able to adhere to them? Are those that you are comfortable with applied on a rigorous basis and, if so, should you seek another venue? Do you feel able to complete a booking form? You will need to provide on the booking form: The company's name, the conference organizer's name and title, address, telephone and fax numbers, date and time of arrival. State clearly the number of attendees, names and number of venue rooms required, days and times and numbers of delegates per room. List the equipment, facilities and services required, on which days and times. Specify your catering requirements: If overnight accommodation is needed, list the number and types of bedrooms, any further requirements, and the date and time of departure. In any accompanying letter, give basic information not requested in the venue's booking form: Confirmation and explanation of your extra requirements, free rehearsal time, perhaps, ongoing availability of the conference executive, use of a technician, costs involved, payment dates, terms and conditions, request for a written response agreeing to your requirements - especially those which vary from the conditions of hire. After the booking? Check whether all the details listed in the booking confirmation are absolutely correct. Surprisingly, they are often not 100 per cent accurate. Amend incorrect text, initial alterations and draw attention to them, in a separate explanatory letter, if necessary. More important, make sure all the information is included, especially those extra requirements requested in your earlier letter. Take nothing for granted - ensure that everything is put in writing now! You will probably have to pay a deposit at this stage. A formal contract may be necessary for some venues, but not all, so do check. If so, ensure that every single key detail is included, or attach an additional sheet for both parties to sign. If all the clauses are not clear and specific, add an extra, explanatory comment to be initialled by both sides. What happens after these documents have been completed? Confirm any outstanding details in writing, as soon as possible, giving the exact numbers of delegates, their wants and needs, any special requirements, details of facilities and services being provided by other suppliers and miscellaneous additional details. Finalize the programme, including the business activities and social activities. Inform the venue of any alterations, especially those which affect it in particular. Send any documents and materials which may be of relevance, such as publicity material, to the conference executive and his or her staff. Anything else? Check regularly to make certain that all is progressing well. Are there any queries, uncertainties or problems? Have another venue and overnight accommodation lined up just in case - definitely! BRINGING IN THE SPEAKERS Clearly your first task must be to identify the people you wish to talk at the event, lead a discussion, demonstrate goods and so on. The following questions should help you to recognize suitable people who can then be approached in due course. Generally, whom should you select to speak at a conference? What qualities are you looking for in speakers? They should be people who are fully familiar with their subject matter and really know what they are talking about. You might also want them to be regarded as experts on that subject, and to have the respect of their audience. Ideally, they should be experienced and capable of doing what you want them to do - to make an interesting speech, control a lively discussion, handle tricky questions or demonstrate a product in a clear and concise manner. You might also need them to attract delegates to the event. Should they be a personality, then? Make a note of the particular qualities and attributes that will suit your purposes. How many speakers are going to participate in your event? Is it the managing director or the sales director instead? If more than that, how many? The number of speakers depends partly on your approach. Finding the Speakers With a better idea of the type and number of speakers required for the event, you can set about finding the right people. Sometimes this will be relatively easy - you may know someone who seems ideal, or perhaps they have already approached you to announce their intention to play an active role in the conference whether you like it or not. On other occasions, suitable speakers may be harder to find, although there are various ways of approaching the task to increase your chances of success. Finding speakers from outside the firm? Business associates: Could they play a part in the proceedings? Other contacts: Have you thought whether friends and relatives could put you in touch with speakers, perhaps even local celebrities? What about the sponsors? Can they help out at all? Your professional association: Could they provide a speaker for a trade event or a list of people you can approach, such as well-known names in the trade or personalities? Other businesses: Is another business staging a complementary exhibition alongside your conference? Would it be willing to put together a presentation of some kind on your behalf or share their contacts list with you? What will make speakers want to attend your conference? Should you try to identify their motives so that you can work on these later? Will just being there make them feel important? Will they enjoy speaking to delegates and be flattered by the attention and interest in what they have to say? Is it money that will appeal to them - a substantial fee backed up by generous travel and accommodation allowances, miscellaneous extras, unlimited use of the hotel's facilities and services and a choice of gifts from your range of products? There may be other motives such as the chance to visit an exotic location, to stay in a luxurious hotel, the opportunity to meet friends again, renew business acquaintances, and make new friends or establish business contacts. How should you approach these selected speakers? Face-to-face contact has the advantage of informality and gives you the chance to explain, answer questions and persuade. The disadvantages are that it may be too informal for some speakers who may consider this kind of approach as rather forward or even demanding. The pros and cons of a telephone approach are much the same as a face-to-face contact, but may also incur other disadvantages, such as difficulty in judging a mood by voice alone and the inability to show supporting materials. A more sensible approach might be to write a letter. The benefits of this more formal method include the opportunity to think about what you want to state, how to phrase it correctly, and whether to include explanatory documents. The drawbacks include the possibility of a poorly phrased letter, misinterpretations and misunderstanding. It may be wise to use an intermediary. This has the advantage that the go-between will know the potential speaker well and can time and phrase their approach accordingly, but also carries the risk that the intermediary may not put across your message in the way that you want them to do. What needs to be discussed with each speaker at this early stage? The conference: Its type, theme, purpose, the audience, provisional business and social activities, dates, location. Cover as much relevant information as possible but keep it brief and to the point, bearing in mind what the speaker wants and needs to know. The speaker's role: What do you want them to do? Arrive at a certain hour? Make a speech on a particular topic, for a given length of time? Take any questions from the floor, as appropriate? Do you want the speaker to join the delegates for lunch and present an award to the top salesperson, to be around to participate in the fun and games during the afternoon and/or depart at a specified time. Your offer: The fee, if relevant. This will probably be reached by negotiation. Travel and accommodation arrangements - their responsibility or your responsibility? Clarify whether or not the speaker is bringing a partner and, if they are, whether he or she is staying over. Who is responsible? Who is paying - including miscellaneous expenses and sundry extras? Specify what's what now! Anything else Are there any other details relevant to your individual situation which need to be covered? Be prepared to negotiate at all times, perhaps to meet on several occasions, talk regularly on the telephone and exchange letters up to and on agreement. Have The Speakers Agreed To Come? Confirm everything in writing: Conference location? Dates? Times? Business and social activities? Speaker's commitments? Lengths of stay? Obligations while there? Financial and other arrangements - fees, payment dates, travel and accommodation data? Parties to sign and date on verification of agreements? Miscellaneous other matters? Obtain details from the speakers: Photographs? Biographical notes for use in mailshots to would-be delegates, press releases and general advertising? Synopsis of their speeches for your suggestions and/or approval? Lists of any supporting equipment needed, such as flipcharts or slide projector and screen, so you can make arrangements? Finalise the programme: Notify speakers and draw their attention to any amendments? Confirm the contents of speeches and use of equipment and so on in the light of any changes? Provide any documents and materials relating to the conference such as sales reports and trade newsletters, which may be of value or interest to them? What else: Check that all is well on a regular, ongoing basis and follow up any queries, concerns and worries. Attend to travel and accommodation arrangements early on. Book equipment at the earliest opportunity. Meet in rehearsals. Make changes, as necessary. Get speakers to the event, relaxed and on time and make sure they are happy with their accommodation and so forth. This does not finish here. You might have to face difficulties like last minute dropping out from the conference. You have to be ready for all this. INVITE DELEGATES You should first know who are the delegates who are going to / supposed to come for the conference. As soon as you get the information ask yourself the following questions: How many delegates should be invited to your conference? A selected few, just the top salespeople perhaps, the best or the elite - is that wise? Perhaps all the sales team - in-house and outsiders, the most successful, the least successful? Should you invite everyone and anybody? What is most sensible? What should be the main influences on your decision regarding the number of delegates to invite? The purpose of the event is a major influence on your decision. Is it to reward the best of the sales team and to motivate others to do better, or to review everyone's sales results and set company-wide targets for the whole sales force? Another factor is the budget available to you. Are delegates paying their own way - and their partners too? How much have you set aside to pay for delegates and partners, their travel, accommodation and any extras? What will happen if you exceed these limits? Can you balance it out elsewhere and, if so, what will be the effects of these cutbacks? Are you free to select your delegates? If so, review all these questions, answer them fully and piece together a clear understanding of the type and number of delegates required. Do you know who in particular you wish to invite? If not, perhaps you have been told to invite certain people and not others by the managing director or someone else. Can you still invite additional delegates though those who will benefit both themselves and your firm by attending, and so on? After you have finished collecting the above information you should know the main activities involved in the selections of delegates and they are: Drawing a contacts list Approaching delegates The best way to invite these delegates to the conference Information to be given to delegates. After the invitation to your event has been accepted PUBLICIZE YOUR CONFERENCE EFFECTIVELY Issuing press releases One of your first promotional actions may be to draft a press release to be sent to appropriate media contacts that can help to publicise your business and the conference. What is a press release? What are the advantages and disadvantages of issuing them? A press release is a one- or two-page statement outlining a recent or forthcoming news event which is forwarded to selected media contacts in anticipation of free publicity for that event and to the individuals and organisations involved with it. The types of `news event’ that might be covered in a press release are the addition of a new director to the board, the opening of another shop, office or factory and the staging of a first-class conference. What are the key advantages of using press releases to publicise your event? There is minimal expense involved – they cost you virtually nothing, just your time plus some stationary and stamps, and are certainly much cheaper than other forms of promotion, such as press advertising. They are also flexible – it is up to you what to include, how to state it, how long you take to state it, when you send them and where you send them. So there is very little, if anything, to be lost by issuing them. Their main disadvantages are that they are hard to write well. Typically they are full of gaps (so when exactly does that conference start?), contain irrelevant material (what does the chairman’s life history have to do with the event?), can ramble on and on (so what’s the point of it?), and the response is unpredictable. There is an element of potluck involved here. Will the recipient be interested? Will there be space to publish an article? Will it be printed when you want it to be? The answer is often no. Press Release What should your Press Release look like? What should be Included in It? Appearance: Use top-notch, letterheads. You work for a classy firm and this is an important conference, so be stylish (if it is expensive, but worthwhile). Use A4 paper (big enough to be noticed) and write the release on one or two sides. Layout: `Press release’ at the top? An eye-catching heading, perhaps to the left. Date in the top right corner? The first paragraph must be attractive enough to have impact to keep them reading. Have subsequent paragraphs of the `who-what-when-where-why-how’ variety. Put `more’ at the bottom of the first page and the heading plus’…2’ at the top left side of the second. Then go on! State `ends’ at the end of the release and add a name and telephone and fax numbers in case the recipient wants further information. Contents: Basic details about the conference – its type, theme, purpose, dates, times, location, business activities, social activities and fees. What else? Include the benefits of attending so far as the delegates are concerned? The experts who will be there, ready and willing to pass on their knowledge and expertise and the interesting celebrities to be met? Anything else? Style: Brisk and business-like – you’re dealing with busy, hard-nosed journalists. Have it typed in double-spacing with wide margins and leave plenty of room for their notes and amendments. The text should be short and concise, with specific, informative paragraphs, easy-to- understand language and quotes to liven it up perhaps and to add credibility. Avoid hype and flannel, though. Don’t capitalise parts of the text; underline or put them in italics – make sure it is simple to read. Should you use Press Releases as part of your Promotional Activities? What are Influences on your Choice? Your audience or prospective speakers, perhaps. Are you still seeking a `draw’ to pull in delegates? Are you short of numbers, not yet having attracted enough to guarantee a profit? Do you need more influential organisations and individuals who can convey a quality image of your firm and event? Who do you want to attract – what type of organisation? What sort of individuals (numbers, sexes, ages, occupations, interests, locations) Just who are you trying to reach? Which form of media does your target audience see, hear and read: television, radio, the press? More specifically, which particular media are they most likely to come into contact with – which specific television station, radio station, newspaper and magazine. Just as important, which ones might be interested in receiving a release and running a feature – television perhaps, radio, newspapers, magazine? Does the purpose and theme of your event make it newsworthy -Almost certainly not if it is an incentive event to reward and motivate the best salespeople. Probably yes if it is a trade conference held to discuss and agree on new guidelines for the industry. Can you think of anything else, which might make the event newsworthy, such as its location, if it is held on board a ship, in a theme park or in another unusual place. Is this likely to interest those who receive the press release? Minimal cost is involved in issuing a press release – a little time and effort, stationary, stamps and the cost of faxing them at the most. So can you afford to use them? Do they offer you value for money? They do not bite into your budget, as other forms of promotional activity will do. Overspending elsewhere can even be balanced out by the lower-than-expected cost of a publicity campaign consisting mainly of press releases.) Having written a press release, what should you do with it? Decide exactly where it should be sent - those publications which are read by your audience! Do you know which ones these are? It may be your professional association's magazine if you are staging a trade conference, fellow concerns' or in-house journals if you are holding a training event. Decide when your press release should be issued. When do you want the event to be publicised? How often? Six months, three months and one week before it is staged to attract speakers, then delegates and finally last-minute delegates, as appropriate? Can you therefore prepare three versions of your release, each with a twist, another angle, something to ensure second and third mentions? How long do you want a feature to run? Follow up: Be available if the news editor or a reporter wants to follow up the release for further information, more details or to arrange for photographs to be taken - perhaps of the new product you are launching. Keep track of the responses to your press release. Do you now have a useful media contacts list? Note who ran a feature, whether it was a positive one, what the effects were and who and how many enquired as a result of it. Which would-be delegates registered and in what numbers? What have you learned for the future? MANAGE THE EVENT SUCCESSFULLY Having staged rehearsals successfully, you should be able to approach the conference itself with quiet optimism – by now, you have done all that you can to ensure this is a winner. To manage the event well you have to oversee various tasks and duties. Most notably: getting everyone there, watching business activities, monitoring social activities and sending everybody home. Getting everyone there Your initial task is to make sure everyone arrives punctually for the conference and in a positive frame of mind, and in addition that every thing is in place for them on their arrival, and thereafter. Has everything been arranged for speakers? Travel arrangements: Are they making their own way here. Do they know where to go? Do they have a map? Do they also know when to arrive? Do they have those pre-conference documents? Are they aware of what to do in an emergency? Are they being collected? At what time? Are they and the collectors aware of the details? Are standby arrangements in existence in case of problems such as strikes, curfews or breakdown. Accommodation: Have sufficient rooms been booked and at the right times for the correct periods? Are they the right types – singles? Twins? Doubles? Family rooms? Are they in the required places? Ground floor, perhaps to give easier access to disabled speakers and their partners, possibly? Are facilities and services available and ready as well? Have all the necessary arrangements also been made for delegates? Travel: Are they coming on their own? How are they coming? Do they know all they need to know – where and when to arrive and so on? Are they being picked up by taxis, minibus or coach? Is everyone familiar with the pick-up points and times? Do you have someone on standby in the event of difficulties? Outsiders? Accommodation arrangements: Have the right numbers and types of rooms been made available and on the correct dates? Have they been booked for the right lengths of time and are they sited where you want them to be? Have the facilities and services that were requested been provided? What about arrangements with the venue? Concerning speakers and delegates participating in the conference, are the conference executive and his or her team aware of who is attending, the number of people who will be there, when they will be present and for how long? With regard to your particular requirements, which conference rooms will be occupied by the participants? When exactly are they being used? How long are they being occupied? What facilities are required – where, when and for how long? What services and equipment? Have all the appropriate arrangements been made with your suppliers? Has everything been tested already, viewed and amended and agreed in writing? Has everything been arranged with individuals and organisations supplying those facilities and services which are unsatisfactory or unavailable at the venue itself? What about other outside suppliers? Do security staff know precisely when and where the conference is taking place? Do they also know just how long they need to be there and what their responsibilities are while they are at the venue? Is sufficient insurance cover in place for everyone and everything involved with the event? How about the overnight accommodation? Which speakers, delegates and their respective partners are staying overnight? How do they divide up, into single rooms, twins, or doubles and family rooms? So, how many rooms are needed, what types, when and for how long? One night for some perhaps, two for others? Where? Ground floor for some, anywhere for others? Regarding your specific needs, does the hotel know what you want to be provided for those people staying overnight? Which facilities, services, equipment and any other needs? Are they catering for these requirements, and satisfactorily? CHAPTER 4: EXHIBITIONS AND TRADEFAIRS In this vast module on exhibitions you are going to learn the A-Z of organising an exhibition. From mailing lists to stall space, from advertising and publicity promotion to the event follow-up, you name it and its there for you. A company must have good reasons to exhibit, otherwise it cannot plan a strategy that will benefit itself or the exhibition. Therefore the first question it must consider is whether or not it really does want to exhibit. It is neither easy nor cheap to stage a worthwhile and successful exhibition stand. As a project, it can be a frustrating experience. Yet exhibitions can be very rewarding when the planning and time spent prove to be successful and trade buyers demonstrate their approval by the enquiries they place with stand staff. At a public show, orders are usually made directly on the exhibition stand, and more immediate reaction will be seen. Trade fair stand enquiries generally require more time for processing and the results are not so immediate. OBJECTIVE OF HOLDING AN EXHIBITION Exhibitions and trade fairs are part of the process of product marketing. They have advantages, which other forms of marketing and promotions cannot offer. They provide the opportunity for large numbers of buyers and sellers in an industry to come into direct contact with each other in one place at the same time. Products of interest to the buyers can be viewed at the time that discussion is taking place, allowing the opportunity to handle, examine and compare with other products, go away to examine other company's products and return again for further examination, all within a short space of time. Very few other selling situations can offer this flexible facility. Where else, for example, can competitor's product be seen nearby, enabling instant visual comparison. New products can be displayed in premier positions supported by appropriate captioning, highlighted and signposted. Dominant displays inevitably attract the trade press as well as passing buyers. Such press attention can result in reviews of products in the relevant trade publications. As new technologies develop exhibitions and trade shows provide a splendid showcase and furnish opportunities unavailable to other media. By their very nature, exhibitions and trade fairs are very public. The efficient company is seen to be so while the inefficient will not make a favourable impression. Smaller companies can take advantage of the event by showing themselves to be well-organised operations. They do not need a large stand to do this: competent management combined with considerate and efficient staff will suffice. Product research can also be undertaken at exhibitions and trade fairs since there is a ready- made audience of the very people who it is hoped will ultimately buy the product being researched. They may not even be known as customers but their views on new developments and ideas for restyling or improving existing products can be invaluable. They will also be flattered to be asked to provide an opinion on your new product – it could be the beginning of a blossoming relationship! Some specialised exhibitions are also accompanied by conferences. In such cases the cross- fertilisation between conference and exhibition offers particularly good opportunities for product research. Test marketing of new products can be carried out at exhibitions. If the product is not right and does not appeal to trade audience at an exhibition this will very soon become apparent since visiting buyers will quickly see the advantages or disadvantages and react accordingly. In addition, this research can provide an indication of the likely production run needed for any new product. Well-published launches of new products often attract interest from competitors as well as the press. In such cases it may sometimes be necessary to restrict the viewing opportunities with a suitably modified display treatment. Exhibitors expect to meet old customers and friends. This is one purpose of an exhibition, but it also provides an opportunity for the visiting buyer to be introduced to other executives and employees whom he does not normally meet – for example, the research manager or the sales office manager or others who share in providing the product the customer ultimately buys. The customer has to deal with these people – usually at the end of a telephone – and in can be useful for both buyer and seller to get to know each other better. Such meetings lead to better understanding and possibly increased business. A major contribution of exhibitions is to provide the opportunity to meet different buyers. Both buyer and seller can use the event to update their knowledge of the other. People new to an industry often use exhibitions to familiarise themselves with other companies, processes and people in their area. It is an effective method of achieving this objective; by asking questions of the stand representative a visiting buyer or specifier can build a clear impression of a company. It is important that stand representatives should always initially establish the name, Company and interest of the person to whom they are speaking. Courtesy and good manners demand it, and also too much information is often freely given to competitors because careless and inexperienced stand staff did not know to whom they were speaking. The opening or VIP day is usually a social event at which the company chairman and other directors take the opportunity of fraternising with their opposite numbers and meet ministers, MPs and other personalities whom might be present. These occasions are well patronised by the media since this is the industry get-together where a careless or ill-considered comment or a hint of gossip could well be magnified, sometimes out of all proportion, in the next issue of an influential publication. More positively, useful joint ventures are often started as a result of a casual conversation at such events. EXHIBITING FOR THE RIGHT REASONS Having decided to exhibit, it is necessary to establish your prime reasons for showing. These might be to: Introduce goods, products or services Demonstrate goods, products or services. Research goods, products or services Test market products. Meet old and new customers. Enter new export markets. Support trade associations. Sell more products profitably. Now it is also necessary to decide which exhibition or trade show you will support. In many industries there are maybe one or two main trade shows, whilst in others there may be several to choose from. Trade associations can provide useful data to help in the choice. All exhibitions and trade shows also produce information relating to attendance, numbers of exhibitors – both national and international – and sometimes press cuttings. Exhibitions provide good opportunities for social interchange, new contacts names, new enquiries for products to be introduced and an opportunity to share a group brochures that could reach an important new trade audience. TYPES OF EXHIBITIONS Trade and Industrial Fairs Trade and industrial exhibitions and fairs fall into the following categories, whether in India or overseas: Trade fairs for a particular industry or related group. Travelling exhibitions for a group or one company. Hotel, universities and school exhibitions. Combined conference and exhibitions. Company product launches Consumer and Public Exhibitions Consumer shows are intended mainly to attract the public. They are staged in many ways and fall into several categories: Public exhibitions Garden festivals Agricultural and flower shows Department store exhibitions and promotions Shopping arcade or leisure complex events Local events such as carnivals and fetes Company ‘In-House’ Events These are often used as a method of recruitment for a local company. Prospective staff interviews can be conducted and the community introduced to a new company. They are more frequent at times of a strong economy when staff are in short supply. Other Exhibition/Display Attractions Department stores may use their windows and if they have an exhibition hall this can also be used to house manufacturers’ promotions. For example, perfumery companies may arrange product promotions with quickly assembled travelling display stands. Such events can also be held in collaboration with the local newspaper. Television and video promotions can also be held in this manner. Cameras and associated equipment are products that lend themselves to this type of promotion. Cars are frequently displayed in shopping arcades. Special offers can also be made with these clubs can use their grounds – especially in summer months – to encourage sporting goods manufacturers to display their products. With the growing number of hypermarkets and shopping malls, the opportunity for expanding exhibition capacity will increase as greater numbers of people are attracted by the visual potential. The greater opportunity of choice and the ability to touch and examine the products will attract the public. THE EXHIBITION MANAGER The exhibition manager clearly carries a great responsibility. He or she must be in total command and the final mediator in all matters relating to the exhibition, with the authority to approach and negotiate with all concerned whether they be in-house executives or outside personnel. They must be recognised as the person who takes the ultimate decision. Control of the stand and the budget is his prime responsibility. If every person who is likely to come into contact with the stand builder is allowed to request additional items or alternations without consulting the exhibition manager the extra costs could undermine the project. Professional designers and contractors recognise that the exhibition manager has the final responsibility for all orders relating to the stand. Once appointed, the exhibition manager (EM) must prepare a script, which will be developed into the exhibition brief. To do this, the EM needs to consult all the department heads and ascertain their opinions, requirements and the space they wish to have in order to accommodate their requirements. It is essential that the EM balances the requirements of the various departments in accordance with company policy and objectives. A great diversity of views will be found. The sales manager normally sees it as an opportunity to increase sales. They will all consider their view to be correct, which is why it is essential to have the company chief executive supporting the choice of the person deputed for this role. It is the firm that will be on display and the projected image should favour the company. COLLECTING AND COLLATING INFORMATION As an example, assume that senior management has decided that the stand will focus on 'New products', 'Research and development' and 'Improved service facilities'. It might also be the intention to introduce an entirely new division. The EM is often faced with this type of problem. Space has to be allocated in the initial planning but an alternative scenario has to be ready for substitution at short notice. More often than not, this takes the form of duplicating a popular product item already shown in one display or area. All concerned, particularly the designer and builder, must have advance knowledge of any possible changes so they can plan accordingly. The initial script for large trade shows will have been drafted some months ahead of the event. The EM must ensure that all items are documented as they arise, including any probable last- minute changes. Many managers will request more space than necessary for their products. The EM must argue the point and establish a fair compromise. All space on the stand is costly in its finished exhibition form. After discussions with all concerned, he should prepare what he considers to be a fair appraisal of the total requirement. After calculating and preparing a realistic 'guess estimate' of office and general space the probable area will become apparent. The minutes of the meetings should be issued to all those who participated in the formation of the script since they will form the basis of the final details, such as the size of space required for each division's products, the time needed to prepare exhibits and all other relevant details. From this an exhibition 'brief' can be formulated. BUDGETING When preparing your budget it is worthwhile to segment your direct and indirect costs into two areas. Firstly there are direct costs such as payment for stand space, construction and fitting out of the stand and other costs such as special literature. Secondly there are indirect or hidden costs such as staff time in preparing for the exhibition, expenses and other costs incurred while working on the exhibition and promoting it. When preparing your budget it is worthwhile to segment your direct and indirect costs on your budget sheet. Remember to include all fixed costs from advertising your presence at the event in national and local press. An ideal break-up would be something like: Space rental-26% Stand services-9% (includes electricity, onsite handling and storage etc.) Stand construction-41% (design, construction, graphics, furniture etc.) Staffing and facilities-17% (stand staffing, accommodation, transportation, catering etc.) Publicity- 7% (related promotions and publicity for the event) First consider the type of event you will be exhibiting at. Look at the literature sent by the stand organiser, which will show the number of visitors and the type of visitors. Like a sales forecast, create an exhibition forecast of the number of sales prospects and sales closures that you expect over the duration of the exhibition. Creating a time-table Budget headings Controlling costs Time Table The brief is the culmination of ideas, suggestions and requests by all concerned to arrive at a suitable exhibition stand. It contains all product details, including the size, weight, colour and power requirements of all products, preferably illustrated by brochures. It should indicate which are to be working exhibits and which need safety rails or other precautions. It indicates the order of exhibit importance so that the designer knows which are to receive greatest prominence. Captions and copy should be included and where the final caption detail is known, an indication of the amount of copy should be provided. Slogans and headlines together with any associate colour and logo reference should be made available. The suggested number of 'selling stations' (depending on the product and stand size) should be suggested to the designer. The office, storeroom and entertaining area should also be noted. Machinery exhibits often need time to be plugged, while computers and some electronic equipment require 'clean' electrical points as well as absolutely level base. The designer must know this, just as he needs to know the electrical energy demand and if it should be single-or three-phase power. Many companies like floral decoration or have a preference for a particular style of furniture. The brief must convey this to the designer. In preparing a brief it is customary, indeed essential, to start at the floor and progress upwards to the top. Nothing is then forgotten. Most briefings are written and then discussed face-to-face with the designer so that any nuances can be clarified. The brief usually contains six sections: Site and show details Exhibitors' general views Definite requirements Company particulars Proposed budget Timetable After considering any comments made by the chosen designer, an appropriate stand site can be finalised with the exhibition or trade fair organisers. In the meantime, discussions can commence with the designer and a rough general visual of the proposed stand can be prepared. Budget Headings Most exhibitions and trade fairs contain very similar ingredients. It is possible, therefore, to devise a budget structure, which should meet the needs of most exhibitors, whether at trade fairs or public events. The costs will always be either 'bought in' or 'internal'. The headings in our sample format will provide a basis that can be used to meet most situations that will arise. However, because all exhibitions and trade fairs are different it is not possible to be totally accurate in allocating headings. Controlling Costs The space rental costs are determined by the stand size one needs. This is determined by the objectives, which in turn are dictated by the size and number of products the organisation wishes to display, the demonstration requirements (both static and moving), the targeted number of stand visitors and staffing members and whether one needs a hospitality area on the stand. Stand service costs On site services can be expensive and this is where you must carefully determine what you need and what the organisation can afford. Good planning and awareness will help you control your stand services charge. What will be the total requirement for electric power? What are the start up and running loads for the machines? Can some or all of the machines and lighting be run from a pre-wired and constructed control panel? Will water and compressed air ratings enable to make multiple connections? What have we chosen to display? VENUE It is not always possible to choose the site at busy shows. Some organisers allocate sites according to their own judgement. Many exhibitions are categorised in product sections and the choice can be restricted. Stand options: Exhibitions normally offer the option of 'space only', where the exhibitor is responsible for all work and services, where a section of the exhibition has been allocated into simple uniformly constructed stands. These are usually compact smaller units with walls, floor covering, name board and simple electrical work provided to an identical style. They are an economical method of participated at an exhibition. The stand-holder is normally permitted to add to the 'shell' and decorate at his own expense. Stand fitters are adept at providing interesting interiors to these shell stands at reasonable prices. Many established exhibitors commenced exhibiting in this way. Other venues: Exhibitions and shows can be staged in many different venues. Circuses and fairs were the origin of exhibitions; in those days they were called ‘goose – fairs’. Ships and trains have also been used as travelling exhibition halls. Even a Jumbo jet aircraft has been fitted out as an exhibition setting – particularly suitable venue if the product has no connection with aircraft. Any vehicle with sufficient space and novelty appeals has the potential for a travelling exhibition venue. In such cases, accommodation for the staff may need to be provided but on a train or ship this in not a problem. All of these venues have good publicity value and that is part of the requirement. The decision on weather or not to incur the expense of these operations depends very much on the product to be shown. In all cases it must be remembered that adequate parking has to provided for staff and visitors and toilets and catering facilities must be nearby. Leisure centres, shopping arcades, sports clubs and race courses have such facilities and are sometimes used as a showcase. CHOOSING THE DESIGNER The designer's role is most important in contributing to the success of an exhibition project. Great care should be taken in selecting the best person for the event. Exhibition design is a specialised craft and should be carried out by a professional - not just anyone. You will have prepared a full and considered brief reflecting the needs of the people and departments who are involved, and this should now be passed to a competent exhibition designer. There are several ways of making a choice if you do not know of an appropriate designer. For example, advertising and PR agencies can usually provide names of people or design organisations they have used with success for other clients. Exhibition organisers will also be able to suggest people who have designed successful stands at their shows. For some industries, such as building and construction events, some architects will undertake exhibiting design. The final choice of designer depends on your requirements. If you decide on a 'shell scheme' at a minor exhibition, you will probably need only to establish a simple setting by means of display panels, self-standing display pieces, graphics and interesting arrangements of your own products. A good designer can usually provide an adequate design at a realistic cost. Quite often the whole purpose of taking such a stand is to keep the cost down, often the case in a first-time exhibition. If you have booked 'space only', the whole stand has to be designed and built. The exhibition brief you have prepared will indicate the considered views of your company. It details the stand size and position, your general and particular requirements. You may have appointed the designer before you finalised the brief and budget, in which case the design contribution will already have been made and incorporated in the brief. If not, the full value of the written brief will now become apparent. Successful designers will have several projects happening at the same time and, like all creative people, they will appreciate the requirements and details being gathered together in a logical order so that they can devote their time and talent to creative rather than administrative work. Designer's methods Some designers are one-or-two-people operations; others are part of a large practice. They will each have different methods of working. The designer who is part of a large practice will possibly have the services of a commercial person whose task it is to gather all the information, brochures and technical detail so that the designer - the creative interpreter - has everything to hand to allow him to create the exhibition stand. The commercial person will be the one who is in regular contact with the client - the exhibitor. After the initial roughs are approved, the designer will usually prepare the final visual of the stand. Draughtsmen will prepare the working drawings and other details plus the specification, to the creative designer's instructions, when these are required. Upon approval of these, the commercial executive will tender the project to the chosen stand builders. These design teams can therefore work on several projects at once. For smaller stands it is not necessary to employ design groups but on a major international event or an Expo or other major trade fair, they often produce the better type of work. They are also likely to have greater knowledge of what is expected from exhibitors. Designers usually prefer to sketch out a few ideas or rough thoughts and obtain the client's opinion before developing the final design. This will probably be in the form of a perspective drawing showing one or more frontages or sometimes the various elevations with a plan layout of the stand. Some exhibitors find it difficult to visualise plans and in such cases a simple model may be prepared. Models are an additional expenses, warranted only if the client finds it necessary in the planning process for briefing the stand staff on the positions they will occupy within the stand, or maybe to explain the stand philosophy to senior management. The have little value to the designer or to the stand builders. When the design presentation is approved by the client, working drawing and specifications are prepared. At this point the designer needs to obtain the organiser's and any other required approval. Working drawings and specifications are the most essential part of the design process. The drawings interpret design ideas in a realistic and practical manner, which the building contractors can readily understand. Just as the client 'reads' the story of the stand from a model or visual, the craftsmen who are building it 'read' or visualise the final job from these drawings, which are fully described in the specification. On a larger exhibition stand the designer will probably produce a plan, an elevation for each frontage, one or more sections plus details of any special features or displays. Accompanying these will be the specification, colour and finishes guide, electrical layout and fittings plus details of any other special requirements needing separate layouts or drawings. These might include audio/video, compressed air, plumbing, floral décor, animation, hydraulics, etc. Smaller, less complex stands will require fewer drawings. From all this information the exhibition standfitter will have all the facts that are needed to estimate the cost and he and his workmen will be able to build the stand just as the designer visualised it. Tendering The designer is usually asked to tender the standfitting work after the design and working drawings have been approved by the client. His standfitter recommendations are usually sought by the exhibitor. Because he has frequent dealings with these standfitters they are unlikely to upset a regular client. While tendering is the norm for official organisations and larger companies, many smaller exhibitors find it better to negotiate a contract. Negotiated contracts usually come about after a relationship has been established over a period of time between a standfitter and his client. The contractor will have shown that he is fair in his dealings and costings and can be relied upon to complete the work on time. Experienced exhibition managers who are themselves capable of estimating a project at current prices often use this method. When considering estimates the old rule always applies - 'You always get what you pay for'! The main standfitting contractor will normally be able to cope with all aspects of the work that the designer has called for within the design. As a general example this will include floor coverings, furniture, plumbing, electrical or gas services, floral displays, compressed air, audio/video, television and satellite signals distribution, computer 'clean lines' and any other services. Stand cleaning is sometimes provided by the show organisers within the space rental and sometimes by specified contractors. Sometimes exhibitors may be required to make their own arrangements. Timescale Once the project passes to the designer, a strict timescale must be observed. This has already been indicated in the design brief detailed in the last chapter. The designer now has your proposals and he will confirm his acceptance of these together with the agreed timetable. While a little space will not prove greatly harmful, longer delays could. In preparing the brief, the exhibitions manager will have noted all his requirements and doing so a tentative critical path and timescale will have been created. This must now be completed. Since every case is different it is only possible to indicate how it might read. CHOOSING THE STANDFITTING CONTRACTOR Having completed the design, working drawings and specification in accordance with the agreed timescale and obtained approval, the designer will submit the project to tender to an agreed number of standfitting contractors. The designer will choose those contractors he considers to be equal in ability and capable of building the project Placing the contract The standfitting contractors need to know your decision as early as possible. They will be quoting for other work and need to balance their quota for various exhibition and fairs. If a designer has undertaken the work, he will have provided the specification and tender documentation. He will also reply to those tendering. It is quite usual that standfitters are informed of other prices in a letter of rejection, but not who provided each price. LOGISTICS Exhibitions and trade fairs will carry different headings to accommodate the requirements of the industry, which is being displayed. Those shown above are merely indicative of a typical event but are among the most common. Quite often an organiser will carry different headings to accommodate the requirements of the industry which is being displayed. Those shown above are merely indicative of a typical event but are among the most common. Quite often an organiser will permit suppliers to advertise in the manual. This is a very good medium for the supplier since every person reading it is an exhibitor or involved in some way and therefore a likely prospect. There is little wastage. For the organiser the income from the advertisers can pay for the cost of the manual. Apart from making the logistics manual, the exhibition manager has to: Form filling: The various forms relating to the subject matter of the exhibition need to be completed and sent to the organiser. Most people dislike filling in forms. Because of this, the EM will find it difficult to gather the information needed. The organisers have to have this information to open the exhibition or fair successfully on time. Most have a progress department whose task is to ensure the required information is received. Some organisers are now introducing penalties for the late arrival of forms; some don't even bother to chase the information at all. The latter is sometimes the case with overseas trade fairs, so that when the exhibitor arrives on site and discovers he has no lighting, floor covering or furniture he has to manage as well as he can! If he succeeds in persuading a supplier to provide the required item, the cost could be quite enormous and he may get the leftovers. Many trade fairs and exhibition organisers request exhibitors to submit a drawing of the stand will meet the requirements of the various authorities. Organisers do not want exhibition stands condemned at the last moment by a building inspector. If a double-deck stand is being used, for example, the constructional drawings may have to be approved by the local authority building inspectors and surveyors and, in some areas, also by the fire department. Regulations vary and a form and appropriate explanation will be supplied in the exhibition manual. If a shell scheme is being used, name board details will be required. When a choice of items such as furniture and display units are allowed and included within the shell-scheme, these also have to be detailed on the appropriate form. Involving and briefing other departments: To obtain the information needed to complete the forms in the manual; enquiries will have to be made of other people in the company. This is a good time for the EM to comprehensively brief the others who are concerned. If the EM has circulated details of the exhibition or trade fair to all departments at an earlier time, he can now fill in all incidental details. He will need a list of the personnel attending and when they will be attending to ensure they have exhibition passes and car parking stickers. Their accommodation requirements also have to be established. Any special requirements stipulated by the organiser - for example, on electrical needs and other energy sources - can be discussed and, where necessary, the appropriate person can be put in direct contact with the designer. It is, however, likely that the designer will already have foreseen the need to speak with the various specialists and asked the EM to arrange a meeting. Sometimes it is useful to photocopy parts of the manual to give to others involved in the stand. The organiser will rarely issue a second copy of the manual because this could cause duplication of an instruction. On a large project this could prove costly. Badges, tickets and passes: Having collected all the information on requirements, the EM can complete the form requesting passes and badges. He must ensure that sufficient passes are ordered. They are normally included in the exhibition space charges so there is no excuse for shortages. The company's directors do become rather cross when, having decided to see how the stand building is progressing, they find they cannot gain access to he venue because they had no pass. It does happen frequently! Surveying the venue: The EM should survey the venue and surrounding district early in the run-up period. A decent hotel will be required for those who are away from home. If it is an entirely strange location, it is useful to spend a couple of nights at the chosen hotel to ascertain the level of the facilities. Some hotels offer a sports centre within the complex, which may be appreciated by staff who have been working all day in the dry atmosphere of an exhibition hall. Swimming pool or squash also explore the restaurants and cafes on offer. By the time the EM has spent a couple of days in the area, visited the venue press department and the hotel and hospitality department that are present at the larger centres, he should have a reasonable idea of the facilities on offer. This information can be incorporated into an information book that may be issued to staff who are to work at the exhibition. The EM should also meet all the departmental heads, managers and foremen with whom he will be working at the time of the exhibition. Notifying staff requirements: By this time, all departments will have details about the exhibition. Managers will have notified the EM of their ticket and staff accommodation requirements and other such logistical arrangements. Now is the time to ensure that the chosen staff knows they are required to be at the exhibition or trade fair on certain dates in the future. It is amazing how many people will come up with reasons why they cannot be available when they are required. Holidays and weddings always seem to intervene at exhibition times! This problem must be overcome by the departmental heads. Having allocated staff, bookings must be made at the chosen hotel. This is not always easy since at exhibition times many regular exhibitors will have booked their hotel accommodation the previous year before they vacated. Staff uniforms: If it is decided to use a special uniform or dress now is the time to establish the requirements and order as necessary. Uniform dress does distinguish the staff and is therefore helpful to visitors. Name badges should always be worn, identical in style and in an identical position on the label. The visitor can then identify whom he is speaking to. Stand catering: Catering can be estimated and decided later. On a busy show, particularly public events, airline type tray meals can be provided for staff; if this is done, a private staffroom must be incorporated in the stand design. If it is intended to offer snack meals to visitors, the necessary requirements must be calculated. SAFETY AND SECURITY Before the exhibition opens, the fire and health and safety inspectors should inspect the complete show. Their duty is to ensure that the event is safe in every respect, and only when they have given their clearance can the event open to the public or trade visitor. The rules and regulations governing all aspects of fire requirements and health and safety needs are always fully stated by the show health and safety needs are always fully stated by the show organiser. Professional exhibition designers and stand builders follow as a matter of course to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone involved at the exhibition. Fire inspectors will particularly look for fire traps, the gaps between stands which could become filled with rubbish, boxes, papers, wrappings and similar material that a carelessly discarded match or cigarette ends could easily ignite. Paper and card and other materials, which catch fire easily, should never be used. If they are the inspector will require them to be removed before permitting the show to open. Health and safety inspector should have a comprehensive list of requirements, which will be stated in the exhibition rules and regulations. They are meticulous where the preparation of food and drink and other catering details are concerned. Whatever be the venue see to it that a doctor and a nurse are always ready in case of any emergency. Contact the nearest police station, fire station and hospital in advance to prepare for any kind of emergency. At large shows where maybe several hundreds of people are visiting, accidents are inevitable. All exhibition organisers can quote cases of every description, from broken limbs and heart attacks to babies being born! Therefore appoint people exclusively for each one of these functions. Never leave parcels or goods unattended on the stand or in the gangways. Always have at least one person on the stand – particularly at lunchtime when many thefts occur. If the exhibits are small enough have them locked in a secure store. Secure should mean solid and firm and not something fragile. Most exhibition and trade fairs have security guards patrolling day and night. They cannot easily spot a thief if he appears to be working on your stand during daytime but at night they will certainly challenge and usually request identification. Newer exhibition venues also have video cameras that scan the halls by night. These are remotely controlled from the security room and can film a theft-taking place. STAFF TIDINESS At a busy exhibition, a stand can very quickly become untidy. Dirty cups, saucers and plates should be cleared when the visitors depart, ashtrays should be emptied frequently, the stand should continue to look inviting at the end of the day, not like a refuse dump. It is all too easy to let this happen, and you should constantly emphasise the value of good housekeeping. Staff will get tired: they should be allowed breaks when they can sit and relax away from the ‘business end’ of the stand, either in a staff room built into the stand or one of the cafes or restaurants within the venue. In no circumstances should they lounge around on the stand, as this does not create a good impression. Staff should be discouraged from smoking on the stand. Many people find this offensive. Also, do not forget to replenish supplies. Brochures and leaflets quickly run out. Catering supplies should also be ordered a day in advance. DEALING WITH VISITORS The stand or sales manager should brief the stand staff everyone knows their stand station -- everyone should be in position at least 15 minutes before the opening time. The first visitors will soon arrive? How should they be approached? The salesperson should first discreetly note the product that appears to interest visitors and then approach them with an appropriate comment product such as 'we have a whole selection of sizes if this is of interest to you.’ Or By the way, my name is so and so, I’d be glad to help you in any way that I can’. This type of approach is positive and helpful, and seen to be so – much more so than the commonly used but ineffective ‘can I help you?’ Dealing with disabled visitors Special needs of disabled visitors should also have to be considered by the event manager. Specially parking spaces adjoining the entrance are essential. These spaces should be wider than normal to allow wheelchairs to be off-loaded. Disabled people need rather more room when entering or alighting from a car. Healthy visitors should on no account occupy the disabled parking spaces – regrettably this happens all too frequently and not just at exhibitions! In the building, all entrances and exits should have slope – it is not easy for the handicapped to use steps and stairs. Slopes should not have a steep incline. Gate entrances should include at least one with wider access for wheelchairs to pass through. All toilets should incorporate facilities for the disabled and doors should be wide enough to allow wheelchairs easy access. Doors should not be too heavy to push or pull open since disabled people find this a frequent problem. DISPLAY WORK FOR THE EXHIBITION All exhibition stands will have some display work. It is not possible to describe every type of display technique that is available since there are so many and the list grows as new creative ideas enter the market place. It should be kept in mind that the whole reason for being at the exhibition is to show goods, products or services and to attract the attention of potential goods, products or services and to attract the attention of potential buyers. Smaller products can be shown on shelves, in showcases, mounted on panels. Larger pieces of machinery may stand in a prepared decorative bed on the floor of the stand. If it has moving parts and is to be demonstrated in a working state it will need protective railing or fencing to prevent accidents. It may need toughened glass screens, grinding or similar operations are involved. Amplification of the demonstrator’s voice may be necessary if the machine is noisy. Photographs of alternative models may be displayed adjacent to a demonstration. They should be wet-mounted on separate panels, which can then be pinned to a wall in the appropriate position. This is useful if the photo panel is to be retained after the exhibition. If the product is uninteresting in appearance it will be the task of the designer or display artist to find a means of enhancing the product interest. Lighting is all-important: Displays should be well illuminated. Low-voltage spotlights are a most effective light source. They can be adjusted to throw a circle of light the size of the actual item being displayed or to give a general spread of light. It should be remembered that the ambience of fluorescent light is cold. It can be provided in various tints of white but it does not emit any heat at all whereas tungsten lights are warm in every sense. They can transform a product display if well used, but if they are used as roof lights shining down ion people’s heads they will cause glare and headaches, and will become a nuisance to visitors and staff alike. Lighting is a specialized art and proper advice should be sought. Electrical energy can be very expensive at exhibitions and the inexperienced exhibitor can waste a great deal of money. Animation and colour: Movement and colour attract attention. Colour can also be used through floral displays or with coloured lights, perhaps changing colours on different displays or products. Most animation is based on switches and relays, combined with varieties of turntables driven by electric motors, often with variable speed capability. Lights and mirrors can also be used to good effect. Video projection and multi-screens, laser theatres, holograms and talking heads are some of the animation effects commonly being used. Using all these basic techniques animators can create almost any effect. As well as animated and electrical effects exhibition model agencies can now supply specialist staff like walking clowns and robots – indeed, mechanical figures of any desired character – which are especially effective for children's events and promotions. CHAPTER 5: FASHION SHOWS Obviously one of the most popular ones when we are talking about events. A fashion show needs timeless co-ordination and a great amount of effort. The fashion show is unique because it is alive and mobile. The audience is seeing fashion being worn by very attractive people who are evidently enjoying the appearance and feel of it. There is considerable difference in the way a dress is seen on a window mannequin and the way it clings to a body and moves on stage. A fashion show can create magic. And this fashion show magic sells- it presents creative talent in textile and apparel design, introduces new expressions, launches trends, suggests how to merchandise, influences customers to buy and generates fashion news which results in consumer acceptance and response. A fashion show is an event put on by a fashion designer to showcase his or her upcoming line of clothing. In a typical fashion show, models walk the catwalk dressed in the clothing created by the designer. Occasionally, fashion shows take the form of installations, where the models are static, standing or sitting in a constructed environment. The order in which each model walks out wearing a specific outfit is usually planned in accordance to the statement that the designer wants to make about his or her collection. The way that each outfit is presented on the catwalk isn't necessarily the way the designer is trying to make people wear his or her creations in everyday life. In this instances, this is more of an intellectual/artistic construction of the designer for the same purpose of making a statement or presenting a particular idea. It is then up to the audience to not only try to understand what the designer is trying to say by the way the collection is being presented, but to also visually de- construct each outfit and try to appreciate the detail and craftsmanship of every single piece. A wide range of contemporary designers tend to produce their shows as theatrical productions with elaborate sets and added elements such as live music or a variety of technological component like holograms, for example. WHAT IS FASHION? Fashion refers to the styles and customs prevalent at a given time. In its most common usage, "fashion" exemplifies the appearances of clothing, but the term encompasses more. Many fashions are popular in many cultures at any given time. Important is the idea that the course of design and fashion will change more rapidly than the culture as a whole. Fashion designers create and produce clothing articles. The terms "fashionable" and "unfashionable" were employed to describe whether someone or something fits in with the current or even not so current, popular mode of expression. However, more so in the modern era items termed 'not so current' may indeed fit into the term 'Retro.' Retro fashion allows rule shifts, such as 'old is suddenly new,' thus fashionable. The term "fashion" is frequently used in a positive sense, as a synonym for glamour, beauty and style. In this sense, fashions are a sort of communal art, through which a culture examines its notions of beauty and goodness. The term "fashion" is also sometimes used in a negative sense, as a synonym for fads and trends, and materialism. A number of cities are recognized as global fashion centers and are recognized for their fashion weeks, where designers exhibit their new clothing collections to audiences. These cities are Paris, Milan, New York, and London. Other cities, mainly Los Angeles, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Miami, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Madrid, Mumbai, Vienna, Moscow, New Delhi and Dubai also hold fashion weeks and are better recognized every year. AREAS OF FASHION Fashion as social phenomena is common. The rise and fall of fashion has been especially documented and examined in the following fields: Architecture, interior design, and landscape design Arts and crafts Body type, clothing or costume, cosmetics, personal grooming, hairstyle, and personal adornment Dance and music Forms of address, slang, and other forms of speech Economics and spending choices, as studied in behavioral finance Entertainment, games, hobbies, sports, and other pastimes Etiquette Fast fashion Management, management styles and different ways of organizing Politics and media, especially the topics of conversation encouraged by the media Philosophy and religion: although the doctrines of religions and philosophies change very slowly if at all, there can be rapid changes in what areas of a religion or a philosophy are seen as most important and most worth following or studying. Social networks and the diffusion of representations and practices Sociology and the meaning of clothing for identity-building Technology, such as the choice of computer programming techniques Hospitality industry, such as designer uniforms custom made for a hotel, restaurant, casino, resort or club, in order to reflect a property and brand. Of these fields, costume especially has become so linked in the public eye with the term "fashion" that the more general term "costume" has mostly been relegated to only mean fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term "fashion" means clothing generally, and the study of it. This linguistic switch is due to the so-called fashion plates which were produced during the Industrial Revolution, showing novel ways to use new textiles. For a broad cross-cultural look at clothing and its place in society, refer to the entries for clothing, costume and fabrics. The remainder of this article deals with clothing fashions in the Western world. KINDS OF FASHION SHOWS Basically there are following kinds of fashion shows- Formal - It has a definite theme; it is a staged production with a script and a commentary. It generally has an invited audience, which is usually seated. It incorporates all or most of the elements in a theatre. The informal show is a presentation whose theme is not as emphatically identified as in the formal show. It relies on a comparatively loose structure with promotion, ranging and direction not as tightly planned and rehearsed as in the formal show. Informal- The informal show does not have a script and a commentator- the audience may read descriptive information from cards and programs. The formal fashion show again has two formats: The runway show: it uses a defined 'runway' (ramp) presenting the merchandise in a scheduled sequence that is timed to run at a pre determined pace. The theatrical show: It uses special staging, scenery, skits, dialogue, music and dancing to demonstrate fashion styles and trends. TYPES OF FASHION SHOWS The Industrial show or trade show- The industrial or the trade show is sponsored by a producer of raw materials (usually textiles) or a manufacturer of apparel. The audience is usually composed of professionals and/or the press. In that case of raw materials producer, the audience will include apparel designers, piece goods buyers for apparel producers, retailers and the press. The objectives of such shows are to demonstrate the versatility, utilization and appropriateness of the raw material product in the design, technology and manufacture of fashion. The Retail show- The retail show is sponsored by the retailer for presentation to several different types of audience. The major types of retails shows are: The internal or in-store show- The internal or the in-store show is designed to inform store personnel of the new and exciting fashions that the store will be promoting. Its purpose is to acquaint its audience with the new merchandise, stimulate their enthusiasm, and suggest selling points and sales approaches. It serves to implement advertising and promotion planning throughout all the divisions and departments of the store. The customer show- This is a presentation to customers which features storewide, seasonal, departmental, designer private label or manufacturer name brand themes. It provides information and advice. Such shows are normally held in a store auditorium, restaurant, theatre or a public area in a shopping mall. The community or charity show- This type of show is co- sponsored by the store with a local institution, civic association, women's group or fund raising charity.. The objectives in addition to selling the merchandise are institutional- increasing goodwill and building a strong community position. The press show- the press shows is a special performance for editors and members of the press and broadcast media, usually given in advance of the regular performance. This is a practice of the larger designer/ manufacturer and retail sponsors who wish to retain themselves of substantial publicity. PRODUCING A GOOD SHOW The following topics are the requisites needed to produce a good show: Budgeting Show co-ordinators Mailing invitees Audience Promotion and publicity Plan Catering Duration Venue Merchandise Music Models Lights & sound/Stage designing & decoration Staging Choreographers Dressing space Stylists Commentary Hair styling and make-up Rehearsals Theme - CHAPTER 6: WEDDING AND PARTIES In this chapter we take you to a world of gaiety, funfare and loads of fun. Yeah…we are talking about weddings and parties. A Wedding is a 'lifetime event' so you really can't dismiss it off as an easy thing. Here in this module we will let you peep in to the world of weddings and parties. WEDDING: GETTING STARTED Wedding arrangements require a lot of planning. Chalk out a list of all you have to do within a particular time period. Proceed in the following order: Approach your client: Have a detailed discussion about how the wedding should be conducted. Ask them things like:- Details about the bride/bridegroom’s family, their status, the family background and the positions they hold. These details are important because based on this information the wedding co-ordinator can actually gauge how the wedding should be conducted. He will have a brief idea about what kind of people would be attending the wedding and what the whole event should look like and the guest list. Enquire about their rituals, customs, ceremonies and other things to understand what their requirements. Understand the basic concept of how their wedding works. Clarify doubts instantly to avoid unnecessary confusion. Budgeting is undeniably the most important thing. Determine the total cost of the wedding. Sometimes you could even give suggestions to the client saying he/she could deduct/add money for a particular item. Discuss about invitation cards, food, décor, decoration, videos or photographers and other things. Don’t forget transportation. Ask them whether they have any relatives coming from abroad, or within the country. Ask for the dates when they are likely to arrive and arrange for transport accordingly. Also ask them the dates for booking their return tickets. Budgeting The next important thing is to plan a budget for your own convenience. In the Indian context, the bride's parents do financial planning and spending on the wedding. How much to spend-when and where? This is a task that requires a lot of planning. It can be divided into three parts namely Pre wedding ceremonies. The Wedding day- The day of the weddings and all the arrangements. Post Wedding Ceremonies-Reception Depending on your client’s budget, the number and elaborateness of the ceremonies can be decided. Ask him where he wants to spend the maximum and minimum for the wedding. Sit with him and design the budget. Then chalk out your budget so that you will know how much to spend and where. Keep an ideal price for each item in your list but before doing all this get to know the actual price of the item in the market. Make two lists-estimated costs and actual costs and this will help you to go on the right track. Guest list Before placing the order for invitation cards the main thing to be done is drawing up the guest list. Make a list of all the guests who are going to come. Classify them into relatives, friends of the groom, well wishers, family friends etc. According to the number print the invitation cards. Fifteen days before the wedding call up the guests and ask them whether they would come for the wedding. This saves money because you would know the number of people coming for the wedding and the caterer would know how much to make to avoid wastage. Invitation cards These days about two to three types of wedding cards are designed for a wedding. Wedding cards today should have an artistic look. There are two kinds of invitation cards-traditional and contemporary. The former one is a card with rice grains stuck on it and turmeric powder applied on the corner and the latter one is that which has a classy look. Tell your client to print extra cards because he may never know when he might need them. Take a list of the names and addresses of the guests to post them. Start doing this about 1-1 ½ months in advance. Rituals, Custom Normally this would be taken care of by your client himself. If you are going to look into it, then what you could do is to go to a temple/ church or any place where you would meet them. South Indian weddings need as many as four to five pundits for a wedding. In case you do not know about this, ask your client about where you can find them. Video The videographer will be recording a once-in-a-lifetime event of a person’s life therefore great care must be taken in selecting one. The selection of events should be based on his experience, reliability, the length of raw footage to be taped and the amount of time allowed for editing. Always make sure that the person has adequate experience in the profession before finalizing. The job is a very difficult one since he has to record it live and especially shooting amidst the chaos, the noise and the crowd will make it even more difficult. Photographs The most obvious choice in selecting a photographer would obviously be the one who specializes in wedding photography. A detailed interview is a must before you finalize them. It is always advisable to fix up at least two photographers. What would you do if the person you fix up falls sick or cannot make it due to unavoidable circumstances? Also find out the costs in advance. Don’t be fooled by the ‘wedding packages’ some photographers offer at a low price. Find out about quantity discounts and who would keep the proofs? Can the negatives be bought? Decide on the size. Normally the size of a wedding photograph is 5" X 7". The total costs would include the time spent on shooting, the film roll, developing, proofs and prints. Normally a small booking has to be done in advance. You will receive the photographs and negatives only after you make the full payment. It is best to check and clear all terms, conditions beforehand especially the cancellation policies to avoid last minute hassles. Travel and Transportation Arrange for cars/vans/mini buses for the groom’s family and guests who will be coming for the wedding. Also book return tickets. If there are important people coming for the occasion, book rooms in hotels. Always keep two to three cars ready on the day of the ceremony. Also book tickets for the newly-wed’s honeymoon and their travel, boarding, lodging and accommodation. This must be done four to five months in advance. PARTIES AND GET-TOGETHER Different kinds of parties: Birthday parties Anniversaries Wedding parties- bridal shower, wedding reception, engagement party, bachelor’s party etc. Kitty parties Farewell parties. Festival parties like New Year, Diwali, Christmas, New Year etc Miscellaneous functions like family get-togethers. Corporate Parties By corporate parties we mean office bashes. It might be an office picnic, launch party or a semi- formal party. We again have two classifications here. Indoor parties- These are held in a hotel, banquet hall or the office itself. Outdoor parties- That is held in outdoors like a sea resort or a beach house or anywhere. When you want to arrange a party you should first get all the details like the venue, kind of party, catering, date and time of the party. After that you should set up to make a party planner which will tell you of all the activities you should do systematically. Party Planner A month before the party The kind of party your client wants If it is a theme party, create your theme or better still ask your client for the theme. After the theme is settled, jot down all those things you would make out of the theme. If you think that you are going scarce of ideas, surf the net. Prepare the guest list. Classify them into friends, relatives, well wishers, colleagues, neighbors etc. The party date and time. Start making orders for party supplies, decorations, activities and miscellaneous items like prizes (for children’s parties). Order for enough napkins and items like plates and spoons. You might never know when you would need extra. A fortnight before the party Start sending the invitations. It would be good if you asked the guests to send an RSVP. It would make your work much easier when you come to know how many people are actually coming to the party. Decide on activities, menus and games if you want to incorporate them in your party. A week before the party Contact the caterer. With his help, decide on the menu. Confirm everything with him before proceeding any further. If there is no caterer and menu planning is your department, then it would be advisable to start buying the things needed. Confirm the orders placed on part supplies and hired help. 2-3 days before the party Arrange for the photographer/ videographer if necessary. Make an exact guest count. Supposing some of them have not responded, contact them immediately. CHAPTER 7: EVENT MARKETING Today entertainment and event marketing has become a large income generating market. Many of the industry profiles state that any event which requires funds would call for an excess budget, but the fact is a well planned strategy for an event will work on any budget. Event marketing thus becomes a very important part of your event plan. WHAT IS EVENT MARKETING? There are certain strategies to follow which are applicable no matter what the size of the budget in these are: Identifiable target market Accurate positioning Good channels of distribution An effective launch strategy Category domination Sustaining power Delivery of a promise It's your creative thinking, not the limit to your spending power that determines your success. A major marketing tactic employed in the Event Marketing strata are: The need to use multiple channels of distribution- Gone are the days of relying solely on receipts. Videocassettes, cable and network television and foreign sales are all diverse sources of revenue. The importance of synchronous launch- Forget about launching a product market by market, consumers have short attention spans and multiple entertainment options. The aggressive use of credible endorsements- if someone raved about your product, let everyone know. Consumers are generally influenced by third party testimonials At the same time, the entertainment and event industry has taught some tough lessons the hard way. For e.g.- don’t let your costs run high that returns on your investments is impossible and never advertise or distribute your product when everyone is releasing theirs. Entertainment/ Event marketing involves the setting of prices, packaging, advertising, distribution and merchandising of just about any form of entertainment or event available for public consumption. Travel has begun on the information super highway. Shortly millions of people will encounter a staggering selection of entertainment through satellites, phone lines, high-powered PCs and hundreds of cable television channels. Then there will be a profusion of new ways to reach these consumers. What can marketers do to reach this position? While it is true that the public has a voracious thrust for some new event, simply producing a product or event no long guarantees success. Prior to risking thousands or even millions of rupees promoters, producers and entrepreneurs must determine exactly who their audience or target audience is and how best to reach it. Reaching your target is half the battle won. Convincing them that it is the best thing that has happened requires marketing prowess. Whether you call it marketing or hype, great advertising is a kind of art that can often help propel your product towards a very profitable existence within its short life span. Before we dive into the wonderful world of event marketing, we need to look at the world of advertising. Advertising: Advertising will evaluate and determine the marketing characteristic of your event and help you reach your target market by doing the following: Analyse the present and potential market for your product Outline the relationship of your product and any inherent competition it might face in the marketplace Profile the available media (radio, print, outdoors, television, e-mail or direct mail) necessary to communicate the product benefits to the consumer. Formulate a cohesive strategy or marketing plan Execute your marketing plan MARKETING YOUR EVENT There isn't an industry in the world whose marketing exercises are more than discernible than the event/entertainment business. When you market an event, you are charged with creating a brand in the shortest amount of time possible. Advertising, publicity, promotion in some cases, research are the tools of effective event marketing. To make it, your project should be armed with a good poster, press kit, lots of promotions and a creative campaign and sometimes the event, nobody can predict an event's success or failure. At the same time not even the most provocative and powerful marketing can save a bad event. Prior to beginning the marketing process for your event, it's a good idea to take a check of the saleable qualities of your product/event before you market it. Ensure that you are properly equipped to proceed. You should be able to answer the following questions about your product/event before you market it: Is it a strong and a unique event? Have there been similar events of the same genre that has been successful? Do you have any notable cast in your event? Do you have a target audience? Is the key art powerful? Does the product/company connected with the event have a marketable track record? Is there a merchandising capability? The remainder of the process deals with the challenges and issues these questions raise. CREATING A BUDGET There is no set formula when setting a budget to market an event. You have to look at several variables prior to generating a budget: What is the potential of your event? Who is your audience? What is the gross of similar events held in the past? You will also need to find out how many markets should be included in the release of your event. (Markets here means cities) The other approach to budgetting is targetting your audience and determining how best to reach out to them. This can be very tricky, since making a mistake by targetting the wrong market can destroy an event. The way to ensure a strong opening is to create awareness frenzy as the premieres. Depending on the genres, you need to generate a lot of publicity, press releases and a breakthrough campaign to isolate your product amidst in the clutter. The most essential and effective tool is in building awareness for any event in a campaign. POSITIONING YOUR PRODUCT/EVENT Long before the creation of your campaign begins, the positioning of your event must be decided. The positioning of the genre of the event decide the type of audience you will reach and exactly how you will posture the event to the press, who will write about it long before the consumer will ever see it. Once you have determined who your audience will be, you can then start to research their characteristics and model your campaign after other similar events that have proved successful. CREATIVE CHECKLIST This section describes the creative elements necessary for the development of the key art and promotions required to sell your event. Key art Key art is the image created for the poster and later adapted for newspaper ads and publicity materials. Key art is the first element of creativity developed long before the event. The role of the poster is to generate an early awareness for the event. The poster image should be clean and simple. It's important to remember that key art designed for the poster will also be adapted for the newspaper campaign. The graphics must be clean and powerful in order to reduce properly as your ads grow smaller in the third or fourth week of release. Along with the poster comes the cutline. The cutline or copyline is generally a few words that position or set up the event. The copy should be provocative, able to set a mood and sell the event. PUBLICITY Publicity is used to legitimise the claims that you are advertising about your product/event. Publicity is carried out to direct the public's attention to your event. The publicity process should begin the minute a deal is signed to produce an event and it should be continuous throughout the release. During the pre-production period, stories regarding the event, its cast, the actual event, special effects should be regularly fed to the press. Here are a few points on how to generate a good publicity: Assemble and distribute a comprehensive press kit to journalists and critics. Secure major stories with newspapers and magazines. Ensure these stories break around the time of your event release date. Distribute your electronic press kit to television studios, clips of the product, event and interviews with the creative team. Arrange screenings for opinion making groups that will help spread the word. Get local celebrities to attend premiere screening and also attach a radio, television and/or newspaper sponsor to the premier screening. CHAPTER 8: NEGOTIATIONS AND NETWORK SKILLS Goes a saying "In business, you don't get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate." Such is the importance of negotiations in the business world. In this module we teach you the essentials of negotiations. Not only that you will also know about a trait called networking which is considered the most important way to be a successful businessman. NEGOTIATIONS Some people are of the opinion that goods have a fixed rate and bargaining the price would be the most inappropriate thing to do. But the strangest thing is three fourth of the people sell goods without a fixed price. Therefore the value of the commodity is determined only by the act of negotiation between the buyer and the seller. Most people in business implicitly understand this concept, i.e. that they won't be given something of value for nothing. But many still don't know how to get what they want or need in a business transaction. The reason for this is two fold: fear and ignorance. People are fearful of negotiating because they don't understand the strategies and tactics involved, and they don't want to make mistakes. Far too often, they approach a negotiation without being prepared. Danger: There is a danger of being in the midst of negotiating without recognising it. If this occurs you won't be able to try to improve the outcome for yourself. If you have not thought of the transaction as a negotiation, and you have not prepared, the chances will be less favourable to you than they might have been. Some practical definitions Whenever you are attempting to influence another person through an exchange of ideas, or something of material value, we are negotiating. Negotiation can be described as a process we use to satisfy our needs when someone else controls what we want. Negotiations between companies normally occurs because one has something the other wants and is willing to bargain to get it. THE IMPORTANCE OF ATTITUDE IN NEGOTIATING Your attitude is always important in negotiation skills. They influence your objectives, and objectives control the way we negotiate. The way in which you negotiate determines the outcome. Before negotiating consider the following questions- have you thought about the objectives? Have you considered the objectives of the other party? Can you both win? Each party in a negotiation wants to win. Successful negotiations end up with something both need. The win/win concept of negotiating is not simply based on ethical considerations. When both parties to an agreement are satisfied with the outcome they will work to make it succeed, not fail. In fact they will be more than willing to work with each other in future. Win/Win negotiating is possible because…. Individuals, groups, organisations or nations entering into negotiations with each other all have reasons to negotiate. Since these reasons are unique to the parties involved, and because each party will place different values on their wants and needs, an exchange is usually possible where each party can obtain what is of greatest value to them at that time. In successful negotiation, a negotiator will obtain something of greater value in exchange for something on which he places a lower relative value. Both parties can win. They may have wished for more, but end up satisfied. Characteristics of a successful negotiator A successful negotiator is: Sensitive to others needs Compromises to solve problems when necessary Committed to a win/win philosophy Has a high tolerance for conflict Willing to research and analyse issues fully Patient A high tolerance for stress A good listener Is not bothered by personal attack and ridicule Can identify bottom line issues quickly THE SIX BASIC STEPS IN NEGOTIATING 1. Getting to know one another Negotiating is like any social situation that has a business purpose. It moves more smoothly when the parties take a little time to get to know one another. It is helpful to assess those involved before negotiations begin. Individual backgrounds will provide an excellent guide to the level of importance placed on the issues, and the degree of expertise brought to bear on the subject. A good rule of the thumb is to keep the beginning friendly and relaxed, yet businesslike. 2. Statement of goals and objectives After the opening, negotiating normally flows into a general statement of goals and objectives by the parties involved. Specific issues may not be raised at this time because each party is just the beginning to explore the needs of the other. The person who makes the opening statement should wait for feedback from the other party to learn if they have similar goals and objectives. Normally it is a good idea to make the initial statements positive and agreeable. This is no time for hostility or defensiveness. You must build an atmosphere of co-operation and mutual trust. 3. Starting the process Some negotiations are complex and have many issues to resolve. Others may have only a few. Individual issues may vary greatly in complexity. In a negotiation no one can predict the direction until both parties have presented the issue. There may be hidden needs neither party has raised, but these will surface as things proceed. A skilled negotiator will study the issues closely before negotiations begin in order to determine 4. Expressions of disagreement and conflict Once the issues have been defined, disagreement and conflict will occur. This is natural and should be expected. Good negotiators never try to avoid this phase because they realise that this process of give and take is where successful deals are made. Disagreement and conflict, if handled properly will bring negotiators together. When presenting the issues, most negotiators will explain what they want. It is the task of the other negotiator to find out what they need. Few negotiators will get what they want, even in a successful negotiation. But good negotiators will get to work as much as possible, yet understand compromise may be necessary, and a modification of goals maybe required. The confrontation involves stress but it is important to remember that conflict resolution under these circumstances is not a test of power but an opportunity to reveal what they need properly understood this should lead to possible areas of Agreement or compromise. 5. Reassessment and compromise At some time, one party will normally move towards compromise. At such a time, the other negotiator should listen carefully to see if an attempt to compromise is being offered. The response should be carefully stated. Too quick an attempt to pin something down may cause the other party to withdraw because the climate may not seem conducive to giving and getting. 6. Agreement in principle and settlement When agreement is reached it is necessary to affirm it. A decision about how the final settlement will be obtained is needed, especially if additional approval is required. This normally means placing the agreed terms in writing. If possible, this should be done while the parties are together so they can agree on the language. This will reduce the danger of a misunderstanding. Since agreement is the ultimate objective of any negotiation, it is important to identify the level of any authority of the party you are negotiating with at the outset. Some sellers, for example will negotiate in order to identify your position, and then inform you they do not have the authority to accept your terms. When you have the authority to make an agreement in an attempt to manoeuvre a better deal for the seller. PLANNING AND PREPARING FOR NEGOTIATION Successful negotiation does not result from chance, it comes from the skilful implementation of a well thought plan. If there is something you wish to acquire through negotiation, be prepared to take a few risks. Good preparation will help you to keep risks manageable, and provide you with a feeling of confidence. Start by thinking through your objectives What do you want? What do you need? What is your timetable for giving and getting? Once you have your objectives established, concentrate on the issues and categorise them as major or minor concerns. Do this not only for your issues, but also for those you anticipate the other party will identify as theirs. Also, don't neglect issues, which are common to both parties. Sources of power: Persistence- Do not back off at the first sign of resistance. Give the other party time to think and consider alternatives. Competition- There is always competition for what you have whether it is money, ideas or products. Don't forget that you always have options. Expertise- Use all possible resources in what you have. You will receive more consideration from people who believe you have more knowledge, skill or expertise than they do. Involvement- Get everyone involved. Personal involvement will often cause those participating in a negotiation to work hard to ensure it doesn't fail. Attitude- Do not relieve your tension on the other negotiator. If you need time to reduce stress, take a break. EIGHT COMMON MISTAKES Inadequate preparation: Preparing provides a good picture of options and allows for planned flexibility. Ignoring the give and get principle: Each party should feel that both of them have gained something. Use of intimidating behaviour: The tougher tactics you employ the tougher will be the resistance. So you have to be persuasive and not dominant while negotiating. Impatience: Be patient. Don't rush into things. Wait and watch how things proceed and then get set to work. Loss of temper: Negative emotions hamper the growth of co-operation in a working environment and it also makes the atmosphere very unfriendly. Too much to talk and too little to hear: If you want to gain knowledge then listen. Put your ears to work. Don't let the mouth do it all the time. Baseless arguing: Often leads to unnecessary complications. Be assertive and put your point across firmly but not rudely. Ignoring conflict: It is the essence of negotiating. Learn to accept and resolve it and not avoid it. LISTENING- THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN NEGOTIATION SKILLS The most important thing in Negotiation Skills Negotiation is the paradox of communication. Few of us have problems putting communication skills to work in everyday life. But when it comes to negotiating, communicating is a whole new game. According to the experts, if you don't feel good about how you communicate, you probably don't feel confident about your ability to negotiate and/or sell. The most important skill of all is listening. But following are the other important points to be considered: Ignoring - If you think you would never ignore someone you're conversing with, think again. Almost everyone has been at a networking-type of reception with hors d'oeuvres and drink in hand. Two feet away and face to face stands a person you've just met. Are you listening to what he is saying or assembling your own thoughts for when it's your turn to speak? Pretending - How many times have you been on the phone talking to a friend and found yourself making courtesy grunts such as "uh-huh" and "yes?" Selective listening - As a negotiator, you should be paying attention to all, not just parts, of the conversation. Selective listening leads to missed opportunities. Attentive listening - You can achieve this level only by using all components of listening: keeping an open mind, responding, being non-judgmental. Empathic listening - This happens when you prove to the person in front of you that you are truly listening, by overtly showing your responses like a nod of the head and an emphatic yes or no. PROFESSIONAL NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES Here are his basic principles for achieving a win-win negotiation: Everything is negotiable, but everything has a price. Quoted prices and rates are invitations to buy, not statements of value. (Never put your best terms on the table first.) Terms are as important as rupees. Some people, when negotiating with a hotel or convention center, focus only on rates, dates, and space If you want something, ask for it. A contract is not binding until both sides sign it. So don't be intimidated by preprinted forms or contracts. IMPORTANT TIPS Never take the first offer. Use the trade-off technique. Example: "If I do that for you, what will you do for me?" Don't come to the table with just one issue (i.e., price). Understand the "vise technique: "You'll have to do better than that." Best response: "How much better do I have to do?" Don't be the first party to split the difference. Use the "set aside" technique to avoid a deadlock ("Let's set aside this issue and talk about some other items we can agree upon"). Then the time investment works in your favor. Use the" feel/felt/found" technique. RISK MANAGEMENT IN NEGOTIATIONS A key element in meeting and event planning is to assure compliance with various laws and regulations. These may include how one treats and handles an attendee who has a disability, or liquor liability, copyright claims, etc. It may also be how one moves large pieces of equipment or exotic plants, how to overcome and be prepared for emergencies, and the like. It's imperative to remember that it is easier to keep out of legal trouble than to get out of legal trouble. Making sure that competent legal advice is obtained is a step in the right direction. NETWORKING WHY NETWORK? Networking is critical in the search of business contracts: not only for freelance contracts, but also for small businesses. With a majority of the working population working and another small percentage who are self employed, the skill is going to become even more critical for you in the future. In the small business sector, particularly, that marketing is so important yet so difficult to do it cost effectively. But there are several trends coming up which are making these conventional routes to the decision-maker less effective. There are now so many publications and TV channels that you have to place many ads to reach out to enough people to make a difference. And the standard of the ads is such that you need to spend a large amount of money just to stand out from the 1,200 or so advertising messages we see everyday. People are all aware of the hype around them so persuading them will be a difficult task. As information about business increases, so competition gets hotter as everybody wants to match customer demands and get their notice. For all these reasons, you need to be cleverer than the competition. You need to think subtle and indirect. Working hard is not enough…you need to work smarter. Networking is necessary for you in so many ways. You need information about what contracts are coming up before anybody does. You need to build visibility with your target audience in order that you become seen as the natural choice for the work. And you need to be known by the decision-maker personally or through a personal connection so that he/she will know your reputation where skills are hard to measure. Networking increases the odds of avoiding the costly competitive nature of pitching and winning contracts. It is an art in itself. KEY TECHNIQUES IN NETWORK There are key techniques in networking: Step 1- Overcoming your inhibitions The key problem most people face when thinking about networking are shyness as a fear of being seen as 'using' people and also the fear of rejection. Networking is putting yourself about to some extent and this requires some degree of outgoingness. You don't have to possess the 'gift of the gab' to do it. Think of networking as something you have to do to get your rightful desserts and that is everybody is doing it and you are out to help people. Then you will start to overcome your fear of using people's connections. It is painful when you are rejected but instead of putting the blame on your heads take it in this way that they do not want your kind of offer. They have not rejected you, only your order/services. So do not take it personally. Step 2- The three key networking techniques Building visibility: This is not an immediate process which can yield results at the snap of your finger. It can be quite difficult but it is a powerful way of raising your profile. In this world advertising is becoming less effective but public relations have become important and cost effective. The process of finding contracts is to follow this trend, and networking by building visibility has many parallels with PR. First you should know the clear difference between advertising and PR. A woman who sees an ad of a new washing powder will more feel like buying it more if she sees any ordinary woman like herself recommending it. In the same way networking by building visibility can appear to involve less effort, carries more weight because it is a referral and it is inexpensive. Reaching targeted individuals: The main problem lies in finding the right people in networking. As soon as it is done all you have to do is understand his/her likely needs and work out how you are going to position yourself against the competition. There are actually two methods of reaching targeted individuals: Through network partners Directly Hearing about opportunities from your network partners: The people who would help you the most are your network partners. You need to think of them as advanced listening posts.
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