• The Essential Corporate Holiday Event Planning Checklist

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Aug 21, 2017

    It’s time to make a list and check it twice…for your annual corporate holiday party or year-end appreciation event.

    Whether they’re big celebratory bashes or small appreciation events to recognize a successful year, corporate holiday events have been on the rise. Last year Challenger, Gray & Christmas found 80 percent of companies planned to host holiday events

    Meeting and event planners know there are lots of details to think about with any event. We’ve created this handy corporate holiday event planning checklist to keep track of important milestones.

    6 Months Before the Event:

    OLC Holiday planning - formal

    1) Decide on the type of party
    Is it a company-wide event? Are only employees invited, or plus-ones too? Formal or casual?

    Make key decisions like these early as they are important foundations to the rest of your event planning success.

    2) Think about the guest list
    This will likely change as you move throughout the planning process. But come up with an estimated guest list number to help estimate your budget and ensure the venue you choose is large enough to host all of your guests.

    3) Establish a budget
    Use last year’s budget as a starting point for discussion. If you know you’ll have a larger or smaller guest list, or you’re moving to a different venue, adjust your budget accordingly. 

    4-5 Months Before the Event:

    1) Identify your target date
    Our best advice: Choose your event date early. Many companies and associations book dates during the summer months for the best availability.

    And while Friday and Saturday nights are typically most popular dates, that doesn’t mean you have to plan your event for those days. If you plan your event for an “off” time such as a Sunday or Wednesday night, or early in January, you may find your venue and other vendors have greater availability – and more guests are able to attend.

    2) Find and reserve the venue
    Once you have a target date in mind and the expected number of attendees, call possible venues to ask about availability. It’s good practice to have a few backup dates too.

    When evaluating possible venues, don’t forget to think location accessibility and guest parking. If you have guests driving or flying from other destinations, a venue located close to a major airport or other amenities with ample parking adds convenience.

    3-4 Months Before the Event:

    OLC Holiday planning - decorations1) Send a “Save the Date”
    The holidays are usually a busy season for your guests. Make sure they save the date to attend your corporate holiday party by sending out a save the date announcement.

    Depending on your event budget and vibe, announcements can be casual or formal. Send the announcement out at least a few months before the event so guests can block time in their calendars.

    2) Pick a theme
    If applicable, start brainstorming possible themes. Remember, a theme doesn’t have to be big and bold. You may decide to simply use your event to celebrate a successful year, acknowledge challenges the team overcame, or recognize key goals that were accomplished.

    3) Line up key vendors and staffers
    If your venue doesn’t offer on-site catering, make sure to book a caterer several months before your event.

    Depending on your event needs, you’ll also want to make sure other special staffers, like photographers, DJs, hosts or speakers, reserve the date in their calendars too.

    2 Months Before the Event:

    1) Decide on food and beverage
    As you get closer to the holiday event, decide on food and beverage menus. Choose options that fit both your theme and budget.

    For example, elegant passed hors d’oeuvres or an upscale buffet usually creates a festive, casual feel while a seated formal dinner or family-style meal is typically used for more formal recognition or celebration events.

    Don’t forget to plan for any food allergies or dietary restrictions too. Thinking about options early ensures your guests have plenty of options to choose from.

    2) Send invitations

    Even if you’ve sent a “Save the Date”, send an official invite to track and manage RSVPs. Ask for all RSVPs to be returned no less than two weeks before your event so you can finalize catering counts and room set-ups.

    Today more companies use electronic invites, with custom graphics or animations to support the event theme. You may also decide to follow-up the first round of invites with additional reminders for those who haven’t yet responded, or even printed invitations if your goal is to create a memorable experience.

    1 Month Before the Event:

    OLC Holiday planning - deserts1) Schedule a site visit
    Bring together any key vendors and company staff for a site walk-through. This gives you a chance to visualize the event space while there is still time to make changes to room set-ups, add décor and or make adjustments to day-of-logistics.

    2) Finalize AV and other equipment needs
    Don’t wait until the last minute to decide you need audio-visual support. As part of your walkthrough, make a list of AV equipment that’s needed – including options for playing music or showing a video to create a celebratory ambiance.

    1 Week Before the Event:

    1) Do the last confirmation call
    Call the venue, caterer, AV technicians and any other vendors to confirm everything is all set.

    2) Double-check your to-dos
    Go back and make sure everything has been crossed off your checklist. Once you’ve confirmed everything is ready to go, it’s time to get ready for the event! Remember to take time during the event to enjoy all your hard work.

    If you’re planning a holiday party or year-end appreciation event, contact the OLC’s event management team for personal concierge service to handle all your meeting, catering and AV needs.

  • 4 Innovative Corporate Meeting Ideas to Try

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jul 19, 2017

    Make your next corporate meeting more memorable and productive by shaking up the format.

    After all, according to research published in the IACC’s Spring 2017 “Meeting Room of the Future” report, “while planners are still focused on return on investment, education and networking, an increased focus on attendee engagement and personal development is taking shape.”

    Check out these four innovative corporate meeting ideas to add interactivity, keep attendees energized and engaged, and boost bonding.

    Offer Experience-Based Education

    In the IACC report, “80 percent of meeting planners report their current role in planning meetings involves more experience creation.”

    Influenced by preferences of younger demographics like millennials, planners are adding new technologies, and providing more opportunities for interaction, collaboration and stimulation to deliver on those experience expectations.

    One easy way to make your meeting more memorable and productive is incorporating experience-based education, like hands-on product training or technical skill workshops.

    For example, the OLC hosted two Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) Resident/Fellow courses that included virtual reality medical simulators from simulation-based training companies Simbionix-3D Systems, ToLTech and VirtaMed.

    Each attendee had scheduled hands-on time working with a simulator on a single arthroscopic procedure – helping them learn and practice specific skills and techniques.

    This kind of experience-based education was invaluable. Rick Hoedt, Executive Vice President, Business Development at VirtaMed, explained, “From surveys conducted during the course, almost 100 percent of attendees felt that the simulation benefited their learning experience because the skills practiced on the simulator could easily be transferred to real-life situations.”

    And from AANA’s perspective, the additional experience-based education paid off. Christine DiGiovanni, AANA’s Senior Manager, Education, said, “Because of the overwhelmingly positive response to the enhanced format with the simulators, we’re looking to incorporate more of this kind of learning in the future.”

    Have a food truck bring treats for a break.

    Surprise with Pop-Ups

    You don’t have to look far to see the concept of pop-up experiences – short-term, temporary stores, markets or restaurants – creating buzz and drawing visitors. A temporary or unexpected element adds interest and increases engagement just as easily to corporate meetings too.

    Pop-up event experiences can be part of your published agenda or a surprise to on-site attendees. And they don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to wow.

    Some of the OLC’s favorite pop-up experiences have been simply the arrival of a gelato stand during a break on a hot summer day or a special wine sampling experience during an evening reception. On a larger scale, we’ve had food trucks pull up in our parking lot to offer a different lunch break experience and get attendees up and moving.

    Besides making your meeting more memorable, adding any kind of fun pop-up surprise will re-energize attendees.

    Provide One-on-One Mentoring

    Another corporate meeting concept growing in popularity is pairing attendees with an experienced mentor for one-on-one learning. For both beginners and advanced learners alike, a one-on-one mentoring format works well for technical or product trainings.

    For example, the OLC hosts the AANA Professional Excellence (APEx) course series. These courses allow attendees – and in the case of AANA, entire teams – to train with a dedicated instructor.

    Attendees benefit from highly personalized instruction and the ability to learn from a respected expert. As the meeting host, including this kind of unique format in your agenda serves as a big draw for attendees craving a valuable learning experience.

    Red carpet rolled out for an eventing event

    Reward with the Red Carpet Treatment

    After a long day of learning, don’t forget about giving attendees a fun way to network and bond with each other. Turn a typical cocktail reception into a “red carpet event” by adding a themed décor and a fun experience – like the movie night the OLC hosted for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

    A red carpet set the stage for what was to come as soon as attendees approached the door. Theater-sized boxes of candy and props set up throughout the venue, plus the themed related movie playing on the large screens in all the meeting rooms ensured all guests had fun while mixing and mingling.

    Add interactivity, keep attendees energized and engaged, and boost bonding by incorporating any of these ideas to your next corporate meeting.

    If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art venue with flexible space to accommodate innovative ideas like these, contact the OLC to learn more!

  • 50 Questions to Ask Your Meeting Venue Before Signing a Contract

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jun 19, 2017

    From keynote speakers to networking breaks there’s a ton of important details to consider when planning a corporate or medical meeting. And meeting planners know that every detail matters – especially when it comes to choosing your venue.

    But before you sign your meeting venue contract, make sure you ask these key questions.

    Goals and Objectives

    1. How will your venue accommodate our meeting needs?
    For example, if you’re hosting a medical training meeting, what space is available for attendees to have hands-on labs? Or if you’re hosting a sales meeting, does the venue offer the ability for breakouts both in a large meeting room and throughout the building?

    2. Are there separate spaces for all the different types of activities to be hosted (general sessions, attendee registration, networking breaks, etc.)?

    3. Can the space accommodate any large equipment or special room set-ups that may be required?

    Availability and Location

    4. Is the venue available on our desired date?

    5. How close is the venue to a major airport? Is it also easily accessible from highways or public transit?

    6. Is the venue located near dining, cultural, sports and entertainment opportunities?

    7. When is the earliest we can start setting up? And how much time is available for breakdown?

    8. Does the venue accept shipments or deliveries prior to our meeting?

    9. Can you place a 24-hour hold on the space (meaning if your program is more than one day, the venue can’t sell that space to another event when you’re not using the rooms)? Is there an extra charge for a 24-hour hold?


    dedicated registration area10. How easy is it for attendees to get around the venue? Are all meeting rooms and spaces located on one floor?

    11. Is on-site parking available? How many spots are available? Is it free?

    12. Does the venue offer other amenities, like a mother’s room, prayer room or monitors displaying real-time event schedule or flight information?

    13. Where and how many outlets are available for attendees to keep their devices charged?

    14. What types of sleeping accommodations are nearby?

    15. Can the venue assist in discounted arrangements with other suppliers (i.e. transportation companies, local restaurants, hotels, etc.)?

    16. What is the typical turn-time for rooms (i.e. changing a keynote set-up into breakout sessions)?

    17. How many restrooms are available? Are there changing facilities/locker rooms or coat/luggage storage areas available if needed?

    18. Is there a dedicated area for attendee registration?

    19. What kind of signage is used to help attendees with wayfinding?

    20. Are there any special venue restrictions (i.e. décor, music, etc.)?

    Venue Staffing

    21. How many and what staff is included in the rental, and who will be present and available during the meeting?

    22. Will staff be available to assist in welcoming and directing attendees on the day? Can they also assist with check-in/registrations?

    23. How flexible are staff to accommodate last minute program needs or agenda changes?

    24. What is the staff’s experience with meetings similar to ours?

    25. Is the venue staffed versed in greeting and working with international attendees?

    AV and Technology

    Current av capabilities26. What AV is included in my meeting room charge? And what HD capabilities does the venue offer?

    27. Does the room rental cost also include technician(s) and labor?

    28. What are the technical backgrounds of your staff, and are they dedicated to the venue?

    29. Is there an extra charge to bring in my own equipment and technicians?

    30. What internet options and capabilities does the venue offer? If you’re showcasing new R&D, what about offering dedicated VPN lines?

    31. Are there separate networks available for your production team and your guests? How do they keep it secure/non-attendees from using the network?

    32. Is the venue wired for video livestreaming?

    33. Is there an on-site control room or HD broadcast studio?

    34. What kinds of microphones, cameras and lecterns are available in the meeting spaces?

    35. How is equipment loaded-in/loaded-out (i.e. a dedicated loading dock, freight elevator, etc.)

    36. Is there an area to store equipment out-of-sight to attendees?

    Food and Beverage

    Consider catering options37. Does your venue offer catering? Can we choose our own vendors, or do you have a list of preferred vendors?

    38. What kinds of food options are offered: Vegan? Gluten-free? Kosher? Halal?

    39. Can we have a food truck on the venue premises?

    40. Are there food and drink minimums and, if so, what are they?

    Safety and Security

    41. What kind of security personnel and equipment does the venue provide?

    42. Is security included in the rental fee?

    43. How secure is the facility? Is there 24/7 closed-circuit monitoring?

    Payment Policies

    44. What is the cost to rent the venue for our meeting’s date and time?

    45. Is there a cost difference between booking weekdays versus weekends?

    46. What is your policy regarding last minute changes or cancellations due to weather or other unexpected events?

    47. What kind of deposits/payment schedule is required?

    48. What are insurance requirements?

    49. Are there any additional costs like service charges, gratuities, cleaning fees, or overtime charges?

    50. Are there any additional packages offered to save money?

    Looking for an ideal venue for your next meeting? Contact the OLC to learn more!

  • Lessons in Livestreaming Your Event

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | May 15, 2017

    There’s good reason why more planners are turning to livestreaming their meetings and events.

    For starters, there are plenty of times when potential event attendees want to attend, yet can’t make the trip because of conflicting commitments or long distances to travel.

    Livestreaming also gives planners the opportunity to engage a whole new market of people who haven’t attended a past event. According to Digitell, a multimedia development company, “30 percent of people who watch a livestream of an event will attend the same event in person the following year.”

    Despite the benefits, livestreaming an event has higher stakes. With larger audiences tuned in watching every move, your livestream deserves the same level of attention and planning that you give to every other part of your event.

    As a venue that has hosted many successful livestreams, our technical team draws on over 25 years of experience to share five important lessons for successfully livestreaming your event.

    1) Make a plan

    A livestream won’t be successful if you just “wing it.” The best event livestreams account for the following:
    • The audience. Who will be joining the livestream? Is it an internal audience of employees, or a whole new group of potential attendees who may not be familiar with your event? Clearly define your target audience so you can determine the best promotion strategies for getting your audience to tune in.
    • The promotion strategy. Just because you livestream it, doesn’t mean remote participants will watch. Actively promote the broadcast through email, direct mail and social media. Another promotion tip: get sponsors or industry partners involved. Sponsors can help spread the word. And at the same time, having a sponsor can create an additional revenue strategy to subsidize the cost of the livestream.
    • The venue. Make sure your venue is up to the livestream challenge. A venue like the OLC with a dedicated, on-site HD broadcast studio equipped with ample bandwidth and all the latest high-definition production switching, routing and editing equipment helps ensure your livestream audio and video is high quality.

    2) Decide what to livestream

    Many companies choose to livestream select parts of their event, keeping streamed segments to no more than 20-30 minutes max to keep attention focused. Here are several popular ways livestreaming can be used to compliment a face-to-face meeting or event:
    • Have remote audiences watch and listen to your kick-off or keynote presentation.
    • Stream a live demonstration or technical talk to help non-attendees see your products in action.
    • Unveil a new product or share important news to a larger audience.
    • Host a Q&A with company executives, or interview industry experts on hot topics and issues during a special segment.

    3) Specify your technology requirements

    There are many moving elements to a successful livestream – including cameras, lighting, audio and the underlying livestream technology.

    Work with your tech team, plus the on-site production crew at the event venue to determine what equipment is already on hand – versus additional AV that might need to be brought in. Don’t forget to ask if equipment rental costs are additional or included in your AV.

    4) Create a backup plan

    Lee Balthazar, instructional systems technician at the OLC, says, “A full technical rehearsal/dry-run is crucial.” Conduct it before the event to give you and your team the chance to work out any potential kinks or issues.

    Don’t forget about a backup plan too. Gregory Janowiecki, senior video expert at the OLC, says “Despite all the testing you may do, things can still go wrong. Have a plan for what you’ll do if an issue does pop-up.”

    One last tip? Make a technical phone number or dedicated email address available to remote participants. This way if remote viewers experience an issue, they can easily contact a technical expert for help.

    5) Give the livestream an afterlife

    Once you’ve made it through the livestream, don’t let all your hard work and excellent content be for nothing. Make sure to record a copy of the livestream. Then take the footage, edit it and repurpose it for future marketing. For example, if you have another livestream coming up, include a clip of the past event in your promotions.

    You’ll also want to share a copy of the livestream in its entirety shortly after the event ends. Viewers can catch up on anything they missed or re-watch their favorite parts again.

    Livestreaming can be a powerful strategy for extending your event reach and attracting a larger audience. Contact the OLC to discuss the best way to add a livestream to your next meeting or event!

  • Key Takeaways from the Chicago Industry Xchange 2017

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Apr 27, 2017

    Recently, thousands of meetings industry professionals around the world joined together to celebrate the second annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). Sponsored by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, this day of advocacy was designed to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities. To celebrate GMID, a wide range of events were held across the globe.

    In celebration of GMID, here in the OLC’s hometown neighborhood, the Chicago Industry Xchange was held in special collaboration with Choose Chicago’s Annual Meeting.

    With well over a thousand attendees, plus a fabulous group of sponsors and industry partners, it was an amazing turnout supporting the meetings industry.

    As part of the event, I was incredibly fortunate to be invited to discuss trends with a distinguished panel of industry experts, who included:

    Following the event, I sat down with Katie Callahan-Giobbi, Executive Vice President for Minding Your Business, who served as event emcee, to talk about key takeaways from the day.

    The State of Safety and Security in Meetings

    During our panel discussion, one of the first topics covered was the state of safety and security in the meetings industry.

    Unfortunately, with the world we live in today, more than ever this is top-of-mind. So much so that when Callahan-Giobbi polled the audience, it was no surprise that 50 percent responded they have an emergency plan in place for their events.

    All of the panelists agreed that the meetings industry has a unique responsibility to secure the safety of those attending our events – whether that’s from the perspective of the destination, venue or individual organizers.

    While the progress that’s been made is good news, Callahan-Giobbi added, “This is still a critical topic that we all have to lean into more than ever before to keep momentum going.”

    The Importance of Event Design

    Following the discussion on security and emergency plans, Callahan-Giobbi polled the audience again to understand what they wanted to hear most from the panel. Effective event design came in number one – rising above other topical subjects like federal and state legislations, ROI and increasing event attendance.

    When it comes to giving our meetings a unique “wow” factor or finding new ways to push the envelope, technology is often a primary element. But each of the panelists spoke about using technology to enhance the overall experience – and not detract or take away from the very important face-to-face time that only meetings can provide.

    Callahan-Giobbi reiterated another important theme from the discussion: Keep the human touch in hospitality. “As high-tech as we are, let’s be mindful we’re still in the hospitality business. We can’t allow or encourage technology to take over every aspect of what we do.”

    Pass the Passion On

    As the event drew to a close, Goodman reminded us that as meeting professionals, we need to “sing the song” of the importance of the meetings industry. And coming full circle to the main purpose of GMID, we should be doing this all the time – not just when we’re trying to get support for a new initiative or questions are being asked about ROI.

    And that’s where the panelists echoed that the passion and commitment that we have for the meetings industry gets passed on, especially to future generations just entering the industry. When we all sing the same song about the value of the meetings and event industry, we continue increasing awareness about how critical all the aspects of the meetings industry is to our overall economy.

    Callahan-Giobbi offered one final piece of advice: “Get involved with industry organizations. It’s the best way to pass the passion on and help others understand the value of the industry.”

  • How to Make Experiential Learning Part of Your Medical Meetings

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Mar 08, 2017

    When healthcare practitioners take time away from their practice and patients to attend a medical meeting, it has to be for a good reason. Often a prime reason to attend is to learn new skills and advance techniques designed to improve patient outcomes.

    And that’s where experiential learning – the opportunity to have hands-on practice and experience with what’s being taught in the classroom – becomes a concept more medical meeting planners are embracing.

    Nichole Bernier recently wrote at PCMA Convene, “Science evolves, research reveals, and things must be taught as efficiently as possible to practitioners and researchers eager to put this new knowledge to use.”

    The OLC hosted two Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) Resident/Fellow courses where experiential learning was a key component of the meeting. Here’s how AANA did it – and how you can make it part of your next medical meeting.

    Give Physicians Multiple Ways to Learn

    Hands-on learning has always been an important part of AANA’s courses. Christine DiGiovanni, AANA’s Senior Manager, Education, described, “We’ve always used hands-on wet labs to give physicians an opportunity to practice what they’re learning in the classroom. It’s crucial for orthopaedic surgeons to develop their skills through experience to achieve successful outcomes.”

    But this year AANA added a new element to the Resident/Fellow course agenda – virtual reality medical simulators.

    DiGiovanni explained, “At our annual meeting we started talking with Simbionix-3D SystemsToLTech and VirtaMed about the possibility of bringing medical simulators to our meetings.” She added, “We thought adding medical simulators would be a great way to give physicians multiple ways to practice and learn skills and techniques.”

    However, adding additional experiential learning components means determining the best flow.

    Determining the Experiential Learning Flow

    To accommodate all the hands-on learning, one of the first challenges was finding enough space to accommodate the simulators. DiGiovanni said, “Since the Resident/Fellow courses were already scheduled at the OLC, we had an extremely large and flexible space to support whatever setup configuration we would need.”

    Next up was finding a schedule to accommodate each attendee to have time with the simulators. DiGiovanni said, “A hospital is lucky to have one or two total simulators in their entire facility.” She explained, “We were extremely fortunate each company brought 4 simulators to the courses, for a total of 12 simulators. I’ve never seen a medical meeting or venue who’s been able to handle that kind of arrangement.”

    The AANA education team developed a rotating schedule where each of the 48 course attendees had scheduled time to work with a simulator on a single arthroscopic procedure. They also had time in the wet lab for additional hands-on practice. The following day they listened to lectures and completed a post-test.

    Greg Spitzer, COO at ToLTech, said, “The simulators allowed attendees to work on specific skills at their own pace, which was particularly helpful on the first course day as attendees came in with different levels of experiences.”

    Another benefit to this flow? Rick Hoedt, Executive Vice President, Business Development at VirtaMed, explained, “From surveys conducted during the course, almost 100 percent of attendees felt that the simulation benefited their learning experience because the skills practiced on the simulator could easily be transferred to real-life situations.”

    Providing Feedback for Continuous Improvement

    As medical meeting attendees are learning new skills or techniques, real-time feedback and insights are especially valuable.

    AANA attendees receive feedback from instructors throughout courses. But the simulators provided another mechanism for attendees to receive immediate feedback about their performance. Liat Bergman, Product Manager, Healthcare at Simbionix-3D Systems, said, “The simulators provided performance metrics, which enabled each attendee to quickly evaluate their performance at the end of the procedure.”

    The addition of the simulators paid off. DiGiovanni said, “Because of the overwhelming positive response to the enhanced format with the simulators, we’re looking to incorporate more of this kind of experiential learning in the future.”

    If you’re looking to add more hands-on learning to your medical meeting, keep these tips in mind:

    • Make sure the physical venue/room is large enough to accommodate everyone and all necessary equipment.
    • If needed, stagger the schedule so each attendee gets hands-on time.
    • Survey attendees about what they liked – and what could be improved – to fine-tune future experiential learning activities.

    Looking for a venue that can support experiential learning in your next medical meeting? Contact the OLC to book your next event!

  • Thank You from the OLC

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jan 31, 2017

    Without continued support from each and every one of our valuable supporters and partners, we couldn’t have accomplished everything we did last year.

    And every day, we had the privilege of working with smart event and meeting professionals around the world.

    On behalf of the entire OLC staff, we’re truly thankful for your partnership. Cheers to another great year!

    OLC 2016 infographic FIN

  • Simple Rules for Planning Your Medical Meeting

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Nov 29, 2016

    Anyone who has planned a medical meeting knows they’re a completely different ballgame. Even with years of planning experience, constantly changing regulations and rules, requirements for CE/CME, as well as other issues like AV and security can be enough to make your head spin.

    Follow these simple rules to successfully plan your next medical meeting.

    Stay Up-to-Date with Regulations and Compliance

    It’s a big challenge and it’s critical to stay current understanding the regulatory codes, restrictions and legislation that may impact your meeting. Most likely you’re well-versed with the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Health care Professionals, the AdvaMed Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals and the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.

    Beyond these guidelines, stay on top of your own company compliance policies. Work with your internal compliance team to understand the direct impact of all these policies on your meetings.

    And if you have international healthcare professionals in attendance, ask your compliance team to provide recommendations for handling different regulations that may arise. While it may take extra work, there’s usually a way to find a balance that suits everyone’s requirements.

    Plan for Continuing Education Accreditation

    According to the new study, “Doctor’s Orders: The Physician’s Perspective on Meetings and Events,” the opportunity to earn continuing medical education (CME) credits is one of the top three reasons physicians attend meetings and events.

    If you’re incorporating CME accreditation, early in your healthcare meeting planning spend time familiarizing yourself with the latest Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s Standards for Commercial Support. Some accreditation rules and requirements are tricky—requiring additional tracking, monitoring or evaluations.

    For your sessions to be CME accredited, make sure your education team is on board with exactly what is needed.

    Allow Ample Planning Time

    For medical planners, finding venues capable of handling wet/dry labs can be a challenge. The same applies for facilities that can store anatomical specimens and handle medical equipment that may be required for procedure demonstrations.

    Be sure to allow ample planning time to secure your medical meeting venue. Many times popular dates are booked well in advance.

    Understand Your Audio/Visual (AV) Requirements

    These days, it’s a given that your meeting needs state-of-the-art AV equipment. But for medical meeting planners, the issue is even more paramount. Often, high definition equipment is needed to ensure clear resolution of media support (like X-rays or microscopic images).

    And for medical meetings that include wet or dry labs, often there is a need to live videostream procedures. Check with your venue to make sure the AV team is prepared to handle these technical requirements.

    Ask about Security and Attendee Amenities

    Besides traditional security needs, medical meeting planners also frequently need to ensure medical equipment and specimens are stored securely. Venues that were designed for medical meetings, like the OLC, have separate locked storage rooms specifically to address the unique needs of medical meetings.

    If your medical meeting includes labs, don’t forget about needing locker rooms and luggage storage. Attendees will need a place to change into scrubs or protective gear and store their belongings.

    Many medical meeting planners choose to host their event at a venue close to major international airports to make meeting travel easier for attendees. After all, healthcare providers are often taking time away from their practice and their patients, so the less downtime for them, the better.

    HCP attendees usually have a choice of what medical meetings to attend. Follow these simple rules and you’ll deliver on their expectations for a valuable event that makes time away from patients and practice worth it.

  • Kick-Off Your 2017 Meeting Planning

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Oct 13, 2016

    During this time of year, many event and meeting planners are putting the finishing touches on year-end events. But unfortunately, 4th quarter also means budgeting and planning for 2017 events is right around the corner.

    Now is a great time to reflect on what works and rethink what doesn’t, to lay the groundwork for meeting and event success next year. Take these five simple steps now to kick-off your 2017 planning.

    Think About Goals

    Successful meeting and event planning starts with clearly defined goals. Take time to check-in with senior management about the top objectives they’d like to accomplish at each meeting or event in the coming year.

    Follow the SMART criteria and make sure each goal is:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Realistic
    • Timely

    If you’ve already established goals, check again. Priorities shift and plans change. Verify original goals are on target with internal decision-makers. If necessary, make adjustments. When the crunch hits again, everyone will be starting from the same page.

    Plan Appropriate Lead Times

    Contract lead times have been slowly shrinking. Planners aren’t able to get sign-off to book venues or hotels until a few months out – sometimes even a few weeks prior. Too often with late notice, popular or convenient locations are already booked. And the search process starts again.

    Book now to lock in a specific venue or preferred dates. Explain to internal stakeholders the need to make a decision and commit early for the best selection.

    While many times it’s possible to secure your ideal venue on last-minute notice, short lead times mean more pressure and stress for everyone involved.

    Review Past Evaluations

    This year’s events may be a mere memory. However, there’s valuable information to be had in your post-event reports, attendee surveys and speaker evaluations.

    Pull your files and review all notes made immediately following the event. What recommendations or suggestions did you receive? Did you identify a list of improvements for next time? Now is the time to incorporate those ideas into your planning.

    If you didn’t do evals, make a to-do to add them this year. You’ll reap big benefits during next year’s planning process.

    Re-Examine Budget

    Compare this year’s event or meeting budget with actual costs. Were there any unexpected surprises or overages? Avoid future rush fees by working out a timeline and making key decisions now.

    If you’re eyeing event or meeting upgrades, work out how to accommodate those changes. Planning now how to shift additional budget keeps ideas from being quashed during project kick-off.

    Take “Me” Time

    The non-stop and fast-paced grind planning and executing events takes a toll. No down-time equals rapid burnout.

    Carve out time to spend with family and friends – and don’t cancel it! You’ll return energized and ready to tackle next year’s meetings and events with gusto.

    With a little planning now, you’ll be ready and re-energized to jump in to 2017!

  • Livestream Goes Mainstream

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Sep 05, 2016

    As meeting planners increasingly look to extend their event reach, there is greater interest in hosting hybrid meetings – meetings that combine a real-time, face-to-face component with virtual elements.

    Here’s a look at how live videostreaming is going mainstream and best practice tips for incorporating livestreaming into your next event.

    The Rise of Livestreamed Video

    Livestreaming is to broadcast both audio and video of an event on the internet as it happens. For example, during the 2016 Summer Olympics, NBC Sports livestreamed a whopping 4,500+ hours of coverage so fans around the world could catch their favorite sports as they were played in real-time.

    In the last few years, livestreaming has gotten a boost thanks to new technologies like Facebook Live and Periscope. Anyone with a smart device can quickly test or experience an informal livestream. With livestreaming appearing just about everywhere in our everyday lives, the expectation is to see more of it at events too.

    Livestreaming is a popular hybrid meeting strategy for meeting planners to generate buzz and draw in additional participants.

    Ideas for Using Livestreaming

    Here are just a few of the ways to use livestreaming to extend your meeting beyond the traditional physical boundaries:

    • Invite remote audiences to watch and listen in to your meeting kick-off or keynote presentation.
    • Stream a live demonstration or technical talk to help non-attendees learn about and see your products in action.
    • Unveil a new product or share important news to a larger audience with a live videostream of the meeting announcement.
    • Host a Q&A with company executives or interview industry experts on hot topics and issues during a special live videostreamed segment.

    Livestream Best Practices to Keep in Mind

    When considering adding a livestream to compliment your face-to-face physical meeting, keep these four tips in mind:

    • Know your audience. A livestream may not be a fit for every group. How tech savvy are they and are they likely to participate virtually?
    • Decide which meeting moments will be appropriate for remote audiences. Livestream only the most relevant content and keep streamed segments to no more than 20-30 minutes max to keep attention focused.
    • Look for a meeting facility with a fully equipped HD broadcast studio. Venues that have an on-site studio, like the OLC, ensure your livestream audio and video is high quality.
    • Don’t leave your livestream to chance. A dedicated team of production staff and AV technicians makes sure your meeting experience is flawless for those attending virtually.

    Interested in livestreaming your next event? Contact us for more information.

  • 4 Trends Shaping 2016 Meetings & Events

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Sep 05, 2016

    Whether the goal is to recognize hard work, conduct new product training or inspire your team, corporate meetings and events today are decidedly different.

    Here are four of the hottest trends coming into focus this year.

    1. Engaging Experiences

    With 63 percent of planners saying the need to create a compelling meeting experience is a top issue, watch for meetings to include more experiential touches. 

    For example, event planners are using hackathons, “makerspaces” (informal workshop environments where people gather for DIY building or tinkering) or hands-on learning labs to boost learning retention. Rather than traditional networking receptions, planners are also adding group teambuilding exercises to build relationships and foster team camaraderie.

    Cindy Fisher, vice president of CWT Meetings & Events, says, "It’s critical to create an impactful event experience so attendees walk away with a memory." She adds, “This type of ‘high-sensory’ experience leads to a greater emotional connection, which in turn is what can ultimately drive better brand recognition, sales, client retention, and behavioral change."

    2. Social/Peer-Based Learning

    Educational research has shown again and again that group learning improves individual behavior. Instead of using traditional lecture formats, look for ways meeting attendees can learn from each other. 

    Try hosting special interest/“birds of a feather” activities so participants have the opportunity to interact and learn from others sharing similar challenges.

    As Sue Pelletier, editor of MeetingsNet and Medical Meetings writes, “Small-group discussion is a better way to lead to improvements in performance and reinforce learning than lecture alone.”

    3. Hybrid Meetings

    More planners are adding a virtual online component to their live events or training sessions to reach a larger attendee audience. For example, live videostreaming a keynote extends the session beyond in-person attendees to a global remote audience. 

    Corbin Ball, events and tradeshow technology analyst and author of the TechTalk Newsletter, offers one caution: "30 to 45 minutes is usually the maximum you can expect someone to pay attention to while sitting in front of a monitor.” 

    4. Flexible Learning Spaces 

    Take a page from higher education and create meeting environments designed to facilitate collaboration. A three-year study at Ball State University showed innovative learning spaces can create a positive attitude change.

    Break from the normal classroom set-up and set-up clusters of round tables equipped with large rolls of paper and colorful pens, or interactive whiteboards. Use the novel set-ups to have attendee brainstorm together a new solution to a common problem. 

    Looking to up-level your next meeting? Contact us for ways to add these trends to your next event.