Friday, 30 September 2011

Maintaining and Sustaining Relationships

Happy Happy Friday everyone!! Sorry for the lack of posts but my full time job is of course taking up more of my time so my posts won't be as frequent ;)

As an event planner, you will be communicating and developing relationships with a lot of different people but mainly your customers, suppliers and vendors. Another one of the many keys to being a successful event planner is to maintain and sustain relationships with these important individuals. Having ongoing relationship management will show that you care about maintaining the relationship with the individual and you appreciate their business/doing business with them.

Here are some tips on nurturing your event relationships:

Ongoing Communication. It's important to have ongoing communication with your customers and contacts even after you have finished doing business with them. This will show that you care and are dedicated to growing the relationship. If your customers were impressed with an event you executed for them, they will probably go back to you to organize future events. They also will have no problem in referring you to others. Word of mouth is very powerful. There are various ways to have ongoing communication - regular phone calls and emails, newsletters, social media.

Referral System. Some people may not agree with this but a great way to thank your customers and suppliers for referring business to you is to provide them with a future discount on your services or a gift of some sort. Providing this will show them that you appreciate the referral and value them. Another great way to show your appreciation is to refer customers to your preferred vendors/suppliers. They will be grateful for this and will most likely refer business to you in return.

Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM). A great way to keep track of all your customers, suppliers and vendors is to have a CRM in place. Most CRM's will allow you put in all their contact details, the business that you have done with them and any related notes. Having this system in place will allow you to know who needs following up and who has had recent communication. As an event planner you will be communicating with a number of different people and it's really important to keep track of all your relationships so they can be maintained.

Appreciation Events. Organizing and hosting an appreciation event for customers and suppliers will  show you that you care and value them. This can be as simple as providing a few drinks and appies at a restaurant or you could make it more elaborate. Not only is it a great way show your appreciation for their business but it's also a great opportunity for them to network and develop other business opportunities.

When it comes down to it your customers, suppliers and vendors are the ones that allow you to continue to be a successful event planner. Maintaining and sustaining your relationships should be an important daily task and should never be overlooked.

Hope these tips have helped you! Happy weekend everyone :)

-Shira :)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

My Passions

Rather than a lengthy blog post today, I wanted to share some of my passions through images:


Being Active

Event Management/Planning (of course!)

 Teaching/Helping Others


Animals (mostly dogs, hehe)




Yay for passions! :D Just looking at these pictures makes me smile!

-Shira :)

Monday, 26 September 2011

Have a New Event Job?

Happy happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! Mine was full of weddings - the first one I worked at and the second I attended. Both were quite fun!

As some of you know, today was my first day at my new job!! I met a number of new people and was  was given A LOT of new information. I'll be going through a bit of a learning curve over the next few weeks as I learn the companies processes, products and procedures. This may be a bit scary and overwhelming to some, but overall I am excited and ready to give it my all :)

This really applies to anyone with a new job, but here are some tips on how to have a successful transition into your new event position:

Ask questions  - To ensure you are clear on your job expectations and company procedures, ask A LOT of questions. I'm pretty sure that no one is going to reprimand you for asking too many questions in the first few weeks of your new job. Your manager and colleagues want to ensure that you understand everything clearly, so they are expecting you to ask many questions. There is no harm in clarifying something you don't understand.

Meet your new colleagues. Your manager may have already brought you around the office and introduced you to everyone but if they haven't, I would highly recommend you introduce yourself to everyone on your first day. If the company is too large, you should introduce yourself to just your department. You will be working with a lot of your colleagues very closely so it's best to be assertive and introduce yourself and get to know them. This will show them that you are confident and are looking forward to working with them.

Find out the company protocols/procedures. If it hasn't already been explained to you by an office or HR manager, find out what the company procedures are. This includes email signatures, printing/photocopying, email, phone calls/voicemail, computer software, meetings and much much more. One should never assume what the protocol is, always ask if you do not know. Once you know all the procedures, you will be able to go about your day to day duties in a confident manner.

Accept that you will have to go through a learning curve. Each new job that you enter will have some type of learning curve that you will have to go through. The length of time that it will take you to get up to speed with everything really depends on the company, your responsibilities and how quickly you can grasp all your tasks. In the first few weeks, you will probably be absorbing A LOT of information (just like me!). There may be times where you will get overwhelmed and not understand certain tasks right away. Try not to get frustrated, this is perfectly natural. We are only human, right? Just make sure to ask a lot of questions, review the information that you were given thoroughly and practice. It will take some time, but you will get the hang of everything eventually!

Document what you are learning. A good way to help you grasp all the information you are learning is to document it. Write the information down in a notepad or a Word document, whatever way works for you. It's easier to remember things when you write them down and you can refer back to your notes if you forget something.

There are definitely more tips out there than this but I think these are some of the most important. Also, my brain has gone to mush and I can't think anymore, haha.

-Shira :)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Singing Covers!

Hello everyone! No real blog post tonight but I thought I would post a couple songs that I covered with my friend Peter for fun. I really should get back into doing that, it was a lot of fun!



-Shira :)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I Did It!!

So the reason I had a REALLY good day yesterday was because.....*drum roll please*.... I GOT A FULL TIME JOB! I didn't want to announce it yesterday because the offer wasn't signed yet but now that it has I just had to make the big announcement. I will be an Events Coordinator for a company called Mitacs. They provide training and research programs for up and coming researchers and innovators. I will be organizing educational events/programs. I am so incredibly happy and excited!! I was completely elated when they called to say I got the job, it was an amazing feeling :)

These past 7 months have been combination of things - stressful, exciting, emotional. There were times where I was down on myself but I pushed through and kept an overall positive outlook. I think this transition period has made me a much stronger person. I have also learned a lot about myself  - the good and the bad.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and did things that I hadn't really done before or done very often - volunteering, creating a blog, networking, boot camp (lost 10 lbs!). Volunteering allowed me to give back, provide my expertise to organizations, further develop my skills and experience and build my network. My blog has allowed me to share my event knowledge, help others and express myself. Networking has improved my confidence and increased my network. Boot camp has made me feel amazing inside and out and has pushed my boundaries (in a good way).

My job search was definitely not a walk in the park but it has taught me to be patient and continue to persevere. Through reading a multitude of career/job search articles and taking friend's advice, I implemented a number of strategies to improve my chances of landing my ideal event job. And you know what? It worked. It took some time, but it really worked!!

I am totally on cloud 9 right now and I don't think I will come down anytime soon! I want to thank all of those that helped me with my job search and supported me through this transition period. I don't know what I would do without my support system.

I am all smiles :D

-Shira :)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Remaining Calm in High Stress Situations

I have had a REALLY good day, I will just say that for now ;)

Throughout my years as an event planner, I have been in a lot of high stress situations. Juggling a multitude of tasks while trying to meet a number of deadlines, setting up an event minutes before the event opening, coming up with quick and efficient solutions for day-of event issues... I could go on! Organizing events can be very stressful and overwhelming at certain times but it's all about how you handle and deal with that stress.

Here are some tips on how to remain calm and focused in high stress situations:

Stay organized. I have said this time and time again, it's important to stay organized. Use spreadsheets, calendars, task lists, Word documents and project management software often. These tools will keep you organized. When you are organized, you are less likely to become overwhelmed and stressed.

Analyze then react. Usually our immediate gut response is to freak out during a high stress situation. This type of response will not solve anything and cause others around you to become stressed. You will also appear as though you are not in control of the situation and you are not a professional. The best way is to digest and analyze the situation you are in and then react in a calm, professional manner. This type of reaction will show others that you are confident in your abilities and can work under pressure.

Review your task list. It's important to review and document all your tasks and determine their order of priority so that you have a visual of what needs to be complete and you don't become overwhelmed. Keeping all your tasks in your head is definitely a great way for you to become stressed, so I strongly advise that you lay out all your tasks that need to be complete.

Don't take on too much. Set realistic expectations for yourself. We often think we can take on so much but there is a point where it can become too much. One can only take on a certain amount tasks before they lose focus and start making mistakes. It's ok to set limits for yourself. Only take on what you think you can handle.

If you are calm and confident in high stress situations, you will be a successful event professional.

-Shira :)

Monday, 19 September 2011

If I Wasn't an Event Planner I Would be a Teacher

Happy Happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone's weekend was just fabulous. I celebrated a few friend's birthdays this weekend and it was lots of fun. I love catching up with all my friends :) Also, today I did my very first temp job and I have to say it was interesting and I enjoyed it!

So, I was asked in a recent interview, if I wasn't an event planner what would I be? It took a second to figure it out but then it suddenly came to me, I would be a teacher! I've realized recently that I really enjoy helping and teaching others because it is really rewarding to contribute towards someone's education. It's great feeling to help others.

I think it started to come to realization when I started this blog. I felt that I had all this event planning knowledge in my head and I needed to share it with the world! I really enjoy educating others especially when it comes to events. I want to see others succeed and gain valuable insight into the event industry. I could be selfish and not share any of the information that I know, but I think that is just plain silly. Why not pass on the knowledge? Why not help others that need help?

This blog really has brought out the teacher in me. One of the main reasons why I blog is because I know I am providing useful event information to someone that needs it. That in itself is incredibly rewarding. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

I will continue to provide a wide variety of event planning tips for as long as I can. If anyone wants to me to go over a particular topic please don't hesitate to let me know, I am here to help! See, there really is a teacher in me!

Who knows, maybe someday I will teach an event planning course! Wouldn't that be fun?!

-Shira :)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Looking for an Event Job?

Happy Saturday everyone! It looks like fall has finally hit Vancouver. It was a rather quick switch. I swear one day is was 25 degrees and the next it was 15. Ah well! Time to put on my sweater and scarf :)

Over the past while, as a few of my readers know, I have been looking for full time work as an event professional. During this process I have learned and applied a variety of job search strategies. Because it is in my nature, I want to help others find their event dream job as well :)

So without further ado, here are my event job search strategies:
Use LinkedIn, Often. If you don't have a LinkedIn account, get one, seriously. It is basically the professional version of Facebook. You create a profile and provide a professional summary, your work experience and skills. You can also have past colleagues write recommendations for you. LinkedIn is a great way to develop your network, keep in touch with your friends/colleagues and develop opportunities. You can join a variety of event-related groups, follow a wide range of employers and search for jobs. Employers will also often review your LinkedIn profile when they are considering you for a position.

Volunteer. A great way to get more event experience and skills and potentially develop career opportunities is to volunteer for an event organization or acquire a volunteer position. Volunteering shows that you want to give back to the community and provide support. Don't count on this 100%, but volunteering could also lead to future career opportunities. is a great website that lists a ton of volunteer jobs (lots of event related ones) in BC and Alberta.

Join Event Associations. There are various event associations out there to join - Canadian Special Events Society (CSES), International Special Events Society (ISES), Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Being a part of these associations will allow you to take part in a variety of events where you can network with other event professionals, promote yourself and potentially find an event job. You also have access marketing opportunities, education and professional development and other event-related resources.

Contact Event Businesses. I know this may seem scary to some, but it's probably a good idea to contact event businesses either by phone or email. Let them know who you are, what you can offer and if they need any help. I approached Alicia Keats Weddings + Events and asked if they needed help and I ended up getting a part time job! You never know what doors will open unless you take the chance and go for it. Please keep in mind that a number of businesses won't get back to you, that is just the reality. Don't let that discourage you though :)

Develop a blog. A great way to promote yourself is to create a blog. Discuss topics that you are an expert on. Show people what you can offer them. 

Use Twitter/Facebook. A lot of people don't realize that social media can be used to help find them an event job. Like/follow employers that you want to work for. Make interesting tweets/posts that show you are an event expert/are looking for career opportunities in the event industry. A word of caution though - be careful what you say. Try to not talk negatively about any employers because they will read your profiles. Actually, try not to post anything negative at all. Not only is it a downer to all your readers but potential employers aren't really attracted to people who complain/are negative all the time.

Network. Attending a networking event can be scary (especially if you know no one there) but it is a great way to promote yourself and meet new people. I would definitely not go into a networking event thinking that you will get a job offer, however, because 9 times out of 10 it won't happen. Job opportunities typically happen after you have developed a relationship with someone you have met, after you have shown them what you can offer them. Networking may be something that is outside of your comfort zone but seriously, it is worth doing.

Tell all your Friends/Colleagues/Family. This may seem obvious but let your whole network know that you are actively looking for an event position. This way they will keep an eye out for you.

Job Search Engines. This is kind of a given and probably something that you are already doing but definitely look at a variety of job search engines everyday. Charity Village, Eluta, Indeed and Wow are good places to start.

If you have any other job search strategies that you want to share please feel free to leave a comment.

-Shira :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Do you Have What It Takes to be an Event Planner?

Happy Wednesday everyone! I have a pretty important presentation tomorrow and I know I will do an awesome job but still wish me luck, hehe ;)

Over the past few weeks I have gone to a number of interviews for a variety of event-related positions. I learned a lot about myself throughout this whole process. I realized that you have to have the right personality and skill set to be an event professional. Some people may disagree, but I don't think just anyone can be an event planner.

If you are looking to to get into the event industry or you want to confirm you are in the right profession, here are the list of qualities and skills that I believe will make you a successful event professional:

Ability to plan. This is a bit obvious but you should be able to plan an event from start to finish.You should see the big picture but also be very detailed oriented and determine everything that is required to fully execute an event.

Ability to work under press and multitask. An event planner often has to work under a lot of pressure to successfully execute an event. They also have to juggle a number of tasks and be able to do it with finesse. If you feel you would be overwhelmed multitasking and working under pressure, this profession might not be for you.

Strong organizational skills. Because you are juggling a number of tasks it is also very important to stay organized as I have mentioned before. If you can't keep all your tasks/contacts in order you will again become overwhelmed and it will be hard to execute a successful event.

Creativity. You should have the ability to come up with creative and innovative event ideas in order to execute the best possible event. You should also be able to come up with a number of creative solutions to a variety of problems that may arise during your event.

Strong communication skills. Having good communication skills will help you develop strong relationships with customers, vendors, suppliers and sponsors. It will also help you manage and direct event volunteers and staff and write event marketing material.

Passion. I think it's crucial to be passionate about event planning. If you have passion, you will put your whole heart and soul into planning and executing events and people around you will see this. This passion will help you be a successful event planner.

Remaining calm during high stress situation. Let's be honest, planning and executing events can be stressful. It is important, however,  to portray a sense of calm during high stress situations. Being calm will help you complete your tasks and will show others that you are in control and can handle stress well.

Strong computer skills. It's important to have really good computer skills as you will typically be using Word documents, Excel Spreadsheets, databases, project management software and much more. If you have to learn a lot of software from scratch you may have difficulty completing a number of your event tasks.

Leadership skills. You should have the ability to lead because you will most often have to manage a number of event volunteers and staff. You should feel comfortable with managing others and being a confident leader.

Self starter. Taking initiative and being able to work independently are important qualities of an event planner. In this type of profession you are often managing your own event projects and will have very little guidance from others. It's important to take initiative with all your projects and be comfortable in this type of environment.

There are of course other qualities and skills that you can add onto this list, but I think these are the most important to be a successful event professional.

-Shira :)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Things that Make me Smile

I received some upsetting and disappointing news today. My immediate gut reaction was to feel sad and upset and I was for a brief period. After processing everything, I decided to turn a negative situation into a positive. I figured out the positive outcomes. I wanted to move forward. Just thought I would share that with all of you :)

Continuing on a positive note,  today I am going to discuss the things in my life that make me smile!

My friends: My friends are there for me always and support me no matter what. They make me laugh and I can always be myself around them. They appreciate me for who I am and make me feel good about myself. I don't know what I would do without my group of friends :)

My boyfriend: My boyfriend is basically like one of my friends, except I would say he is my best friend. He supports me and loves me for who I am. He treats me very well and always make me smile. I feel very lucky to have him in my life.

My family. I love my family dearly and they are a great support system for me. They love me unconditionally and support me no matter what. They constantly tell me they are proud of me and that sure makes a girl feel good.

Music. As I have mentioned before and I am incredibly passionate about music. I have been since I was a very young girl. I love how music makes me feel. Whenever I am upset or down, music just lifts me right back up. Singing is also amazing for me. It makes me feel incredible.

Food. Food just makes me really happy. I don't consider myself to be a picky eater and I love all different types of food. I love trying new food and going to a variety of different restaurants and food-related events. I'm getting hungry just talking about food!

Movies. I love how movies get you so involved and invested in a story. Like you are actually a part of the story. I love all different types of movies and will usually never say no to watching a good flick :)

Giving Back and Helping Others. I really enjoy volunteering my time to worthy organizations and helping others. I think it is really satisfying and rewarding to volunteer and lend a helping hand to those who need it.

Executing an Event. After putting in a lot of hard work and hours towards the planning of an event, it's very rewarding for to see an event fully executed. Seeing it unfold before my eyes makes me feel amazing and fulfilled. This is one of the many reasons why I am an event planner.

Making Others Smile. I love making people laugh and smile, it just makes me feel good. Improving someone's mood is so awesome. Anytime I can turn someone's frown upside down, I will do it!

Love. Of course, the love I feel for others make me smile but also seeing others love for one another does too :) I love seeing people care for one another and seeing two people in love. Oh boy.. I am getting all mushy again!

I could continue this for days but I think I will stop right here. I hope this post brings a smile to your face and makes your day just a little bit better :)

-Shira :)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Project Management Software for Event Planners

Sorry for the lack of blog posts last week guys! I have been busy and also just wanted to relax during my down time :) I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

I have mentioned this before, but it is important as an event professional to stay organized and on top of everything. We often have to juggle multiple tasks and communicate to a wide variety of individuals. This can become very overwhelming and if you don't have a proper system in place you may miss deadlines and not have a good grasp on what needs to get done. Excel spreadsheets, calendars, and task lists are good but sometimes, depending on your workload, you need something more to keep you organized. A project management software is a great tool to keep on top of everything.

There is a variety of project management software out there but the one I am familiar with is Basecamp. I believe it is an amazing organizational tool for many event professionals out there. I used it on a daily basis when I worked as an Event Coordinator for Vancouver Film School. The whole marketing department at VFS used this software for a variety of projects outside of events, however, it can definitely be used to manage events on a small scale and larger scale.

Here are the reasons why I think Basecamp is a great tool for event professionals:

  • Assigns Tasks/Deadlines: You have the ability to create a task, assign a deadline and assign who is responsible for getting the task done. All the deadlines that you create will be added to a calendar so you will be shown a visual of what needs to get done at any given time. This will help you meet all your various event deadlines.

  • Create To Do's: You can create to do list items in no time flat. And we all know how important it is as an event planner to have on ongoing up to date to do list.

  • Create Message Posts: Rather than having confusing, scattered emails about the various event projects you have on the go, you can create message posts. In a message post you can discuss  a particular project within your event and include all the necessary people who are involved in the project. Once a message is posted, anyone included in the post can make comments. Message posts help keep communication clear and keep it open so everyone can work collaboratively.

  • Share Files. Along with posting messages, you can also upload variety of different files that are related to your event. A file can be uploaded with your message post, comment, deadline or to-do item.

  • Email Notification. Whenever someone posts a new message or a new comment (where you are included) you can receive a notification by email. You also get email reminders of upcoming deadlines and a reminder of when your project item is due.

  • Collaborative Word Document. Basecamp has what you call a Writeboard where you can create a web-based document. It is basically a Word document but other people other than the creator have the ability to make changes. The Writeboard tracks all the changes and at any time you can review a previous version of the document or compare versions side by side. This is a great way to work collaboratively if you have a number of people involved in the event production.

I know this post is a bit of a Basecamp promotion, but I really am a strong advocate of this software. It really has kept me organized. Check out their website for more info:

-Shira :)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Staying Positive

I'm baaack! Sorry for not posting yesterday but my brain just had too much in it and I just wasn't able to function properly :P I'm still a bit wonky today but I have promised myself to blog and to blog often!

Throughout my career transition period there have been a lot of ups and downs. A lot of the time I have been motivated, enthusiastic and giving it all I got. There have been times, however, where I was upset and just really frustrated with the world (I'm only human). I would wonder why things weren't going my way. I would put myself down and get into a very negative state of mind. When you are going through a transition period like I am, I think it is only natural to feel this way from time to time.

Even though I am human and it is ok to sometimes be this way, I realized that having a negative state of mind was effecting my mood and my relationships with my family, friends and my boyfriend. No one really wants to be around a Negative Nancy. Being around this type of person is draining and can cause you to be negative and down as well. When I came to this realization, I knew I had to make a change.

I realized that I am in control of my state of mind and I can change it at any time. If I feel myself moving towards that negative state, I accept those feeling/thoughts and then move towards a more positive state of being. For example  - If say I did not get the job offer that I really wanted, my typical immediate reaction is to get upset and get down on myself. I can choose to stay in that state or I can move away from that and tell myself it just wasn't meant to be and that I will find something soon. Of course, this is easier said than done. You really have to acknowledge and accept how you are feeling and make the decision to change your perspective. If you don't acknowledge your negative thoughts, you will continue to stay in that negative state.

Having a positive attitude I think is really important. People want to be around people who are positive, it is just the way it is. Positive people are fun and often have a smile on their face. Positive people are happy. Positive people are contagious in the sense that they spread positivity to other people. I think it is just a great state of mind to be in.

I think it is crucial for me to stay positive during this period in my life. It will help me stay focused on what it is important which will in turn keep me motivated. If I go to that dark place, I know it will be a downward spiral and I don't want that.

Sometimes I just need to remind myself about the things that I am grateful for and that everything will turn out as it should.

Just typing that out made me smile :)

-Shira :)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Marketing your Event

The interview I had to today helped me come up with a new blog topic - marketing your event. You have confirmed the venue, the event date and planned out all the details but you need to remember to properly market your event. Some event planners have another company or department help with the marketing of their event but a lot of them do the marketing themselves. One of the things that makes an event successful is the high attendance numbers and if you do the proper marketing you may see this (there are other factors that contribute to high attendance numbers - ticket price, value to the attendee etc.).

There are a number of ways to market your event, here are some of my suggestions:

  • Use Social Media - Promote your event through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog (if you have one) and any other social media you can think of. The way we communicate and market products/services has changed and social media is in the fore front. It's really important to use this medium to market your event as many people use social media as their news/activity resource.

  • Promote through related associations. Promote your event through an association (ie. a gaming event would be connected to a gaming association) if it is related to an association/industry. You can market your event through their newsletters, emailers, website and any other marketing tools that they have.

  • Go to Networking Functions. If it is relevant, go to networking functions to promote your event. When you are at a networking event, you are meant to talk about yourself and what you do. It is a perfect opportunity to promote your upcoming events.

  • Use Event Listings. Use free and paid event listings online and in the paper. It's a great way to get the word out fast about your event.

  • Make a Website. If applicable, make a website that will have all the event details, including registration. If you already have an existing website, you can promote your event through there.

  • Get a Print Ad. If your budget allows, use print advertising in newspapers and other print media to promote your event. Make sure to use a print publication that is relevant to your event and has a similar target audience as your event.

  • Put up Posters. Design a poster with your event details and put them up around your city. Depending on who you are targeting, you can place the posters in community centers, libraries, and on poles (that allow postering).

I hope the above suggestions will help you in marketing your event!

-Shira :)

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    Weddings Galore!

    Happy Labour Day everyone! I am so happy summer has not gone away yet. It looks like this week is going to be the hottest week out of the whole summer which is kind of ironic considering everyone is going back to work/school :)

    So today's post is all about weddings. I have had the honour of being a bridesmaid for two beautiful weddings this year. I also attended a fabulous beach wedding in July and will be attending two more - one later this month and the other in November.

    This year has definitely been the year of weddings for me. I have never been to this many weddings in one year and a lot of people are telling me they will keep coming in the next coming years. It's really kind of crazy how time passes so quickly. I swear it was just yesterday that I turned 19 and marriage didn't really cross my mind. Now I am 27 and everyone around me is getting married. I definitely feel the pressure to get married but I try to not let it get to me. I will get married when I am good and ready, there is no rush :)

    This year was the first year that I ever was a bridesmaid so I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I had an idea. When two of my friends asked me, I really did feel blessed and honored but I knew there were would be some stresses that come with being a bridesmaid. I did realize that as a bridesmaid you do have certain duties (not as much as the maid of honour, hehe). I also realized that conflicts can arise between bridesmaids. What I learned from these experiences is that compromises need to be made and more importantly, you need to keep the bride happy.

    Along with having my bridesmaid duties, both of my friends allowed me to help plan their weddings as wedding planning is a field I want to gain experience in. I am so grateful that they allowed me to do this as I really did get a good insight into wedding planning. There is SO much planning involved and SO many details to go over. From the seating plan to the table numbers to the transportation logistics. Because of my Type A personality, I created a work plan and schedule for them and made sure they stayed on track. I also helped create a number of items - invitations, centrepieces, table numbers, favours. Planning a wedding can be really stressful and leading up to the big day I experienced first hand some really stressed out brides. Throughout this whole process, I realized that even if you plan everything, something can go wrong. When something doesn't go according to plan, you have to just run with it and accept that not everything can be perfect. This past Saturday, while I was watching the happy couple take their first dance, it all of a sudden hit me that what really matters is that the bride and groom get married and are happy.

    I am so incredibly thankful that I was a part of so many weddings this year. I know that each couple found their other half and will have a long lasting marriage. I love you guys!! (I am such a mush :P)

    -Shira :)

    Sunday, 4 September 2011

    Post-Event Evaluation

    Hello hello! It feels like it's been quite a while since I made a new post since I blog so often, hehe. I had quite the busy week - interviews (yay!), wedding prep and a beautiful wedding (where I was a bridesmaid).

    Today's post is about post-event evaluation. A lot of people think an event is finished right after it is complete and that is just not true. You need to thank anyone involved in the event, update any processes and more importantly, evaluate your event. It's really important to review your event from start to finish to really determine what went well and what needed improvement. By doing this, you can know your successful areas and weak spots and this will make for very successful future events.

    The following are some key guidelines/tips when performing your post-event evaluation:

    •  Provide surveys. When possible, hand out surveys at the end of your event or send out surveys via email to your event guests. If you ask people for their opinion they will often give it to you and if you don't ask you won't really know what they thought. Ask questions like - What was your experience like? What were areas that needed improvement? What was your favourite part of the event? Try and give open ended questions so that your guests can really give you specific answers. A fair warning that you may not get a lot of responses so a good way to increase response is by providing your guests with an incentive. The incentive is usually a draw for some type of prize - restaurant gift card, gift basket, passes for next year's event (if the event is yearly).

    • Ask the right questions. You need to ask the right evaluation questions so that you really figure how the event went. What needed improvement? What went well? Did anything unexpected happen? Were there any conflicts and if so how were they resolved?  What was the general feedback from guests? Were the outlined event goals met?

    • Create a report. It's a good idea to create a detailed report after each event that you do. Depending on your event, it can include the following details: name of the event, date, location, number of guests in attendance, objectives that were met/not met, schedule, expenses, revenue, successes and improvements, testimonials/feedback.

    • Have a team discussion. If your event involved a number of staff/volunteers (which it usually does), it's important to have a meeting/discussion with this team to discuss the event areas of improvement and successes. Each person will have their own opinion on what went well and what didn't, which is great because you will get a variety of responses. The team will also feel appreciated that you asked for their feedback.

    • Evaluate Promptly. You should do your post-event evaluation I would say no later than 2 weeks after your event is complete so that it is still fresh in your mind. If you put it off for an extended period of time, you won't remember all the details of the event very well.

    Have a great day off tomorrow everyone!

    -Shira :)