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Advice from Jack Donaghy

Advice from Jack Donaghy

The best from 30 Rock's favourite TV and microwave oven programming exec, Mr. John Francis "Jack" Donaghy.

Creative Drinks, Networx, ANZ, Brisbane Twestival

Hello, readers! How is everyone today? Just a general update of the awesome things I've been up to lately. Last week I was lucky enough to score a free ticket to Creative Drinks. My dear friend Hannah Suarez of Brisbane Creative Industries was the speaker of the evening and did very well. Her presentation is on SlideShare here and includes some helpful networking event tips.

Tuesday I was also in attendance at my favourite Brisbane events company Iceberg Events' Networx, Working the (Real & Virtual) Room. Director of Paragon Associates, Lisa Butler kick-started the evening with information on busting networking myths and emphasised that anyone can learn to network effectively. More friends of mine were speaking on the topic of working the virtual room (specifically Twitter) - in fact, the whole panel trio of Darryl King, Clare Lancaster and Greg Lexiphanic! Ignoring the occasional train screaming through South Brisbane, discussions of Twitter and social media run amok against a background of a Twitter projection of the #networx hashtag.

Yesterday I attended ANZ's Small Business workshops discussing online marketing (specifically Google's AdWords and social media) and brand awareness. The day was a good one and I met various new people interested in learning more about their businesses online. I was even outed as a secret live-twitter bug, which was a great example to those wanting to understand the scope social media can have. There are more ANZ Small Business workshops happening all around Australia until around November, so get in quick to enrol (they're free too)!

Lastly, things are rolling faster and faster for Brisbane Twestival Local. Committee positions are being snapped up fast, bands and artists approached, venues scoped. We are hoping to gather the support of the voted-in beyondblue: the national depression initiative as our charity of choice to support, a charity I have long been a fan of.

Phew! I think that's about it. Oh! And the BTUB Wine Night was a complete success as well. My first paid event as a freelancer. Feels good, man.

Looking for full-time employment has unfortunately taken a back seat to these activities. It's a shame I'm having so much fun... well, no. Not really.

Brisbane Girl Geek Guitar Hero

Ahoy! The fifth Brisbane Girl Geek Dinner is upon us!

definitely does compute!

Hosted at the fabulous Microsoft Office there will be a games and consoles to ravage while you simultaneously catch up with the coolest females in IT around! I mean, you don't expect us to lounge around with martinis all the time, now do you?

Tracy Whitelaw, Chief Knowledge Engineer at artificial intelligence company MyCyberTwin will speak about women in games and the gaming industry. Her profile is on the event page I linked to above if you'd like a snapshot. I'm definitely keen to hear about the world of online worlds, character development and pop culture.

So if "you are a geek and a girl or know of one who is willing to escort you then you are welcome and encouraged to come along." Don't be too afraid to join in if you're a gentleman, just tell me or the organisers that you'd like to come along. I'm expecting a comment or two on this post joking we'll require someone to set up the Xbox 360 anyway!

Last thing, as I type, the event website states that food is BYO, however the latest news is that food will be provided. Make sure you inform the organisers if you have any particular dietry requirements for smiles all 'round.

Microsoft Office Brisbane 1 Waterfront Place Level 9 Brisbane, Queensland 4000 Australia

Event Management Lessons I've Learned

This has been a blog post in the making for a number of weeks and even surprised me when it came up in a recent job interview I attended last week. Not to worry that I was prepared! Please leave your thoughts and comments; I’d love to hear your own event management lessons learned.

Age 5: Lolly bags are great. Exceed expectations.

We all know to keep the client happy. This is your number one priority when contracted to run an event. Once you’ve maintained their satisfaction, keep at it! If everything else is taken care of there is no sense in stopping now, offer more than just the party. Giveaways and extra goodies not only keep your guests peeking into their bags days after your event has finished, it ensures that sponsors are willing to help you financially in order to get their fridge magnets and brochures into the hands of attendees. It shocks me how many events miss out on the benefits of creating new business relationships because they misunderstand the concept of sponsorship, a fantastic way of adding on the extra frills for your event.

Also keep your business satisfied internally. More capital means you’re able to serve clients on an even higher level so it is important for constant review of policies and procedures. Exceed the expectations of your employer by making suggestions for that new marketing campaign you think would be a success. They should appreciate your extra thoughts on the matter and will realize you’re keeping your eyes open.

Essentially, events management is all about service, not just striding around enjoying the glory of being the party planner. Actively seek how you can improve the event for everyone involved and you cannot go wrong. You events angel, you!

Age 10: Multi-focal points.

Keep everyone entertained. This means not just having the one aspect of your event; not relying on the music or food to create the entertainment at your event. If you want to create a winning conference, why not shake it up with team-building activities every two hours or so? You'll keep everyone refreshed and amused, which means they'll clearly be able to focus on that killer gala dinner budget you're proposing to them.

Age 14: The media is your friend.

Don't be shy, go on radio and TV (you'd be surprised what makes the news these days)! Blog like your little heart depends on it all about what's happening. Be transparent in planning for the event, short of describing errors that arise. A good, and wise, host never discloses mistakes or challenges that arise.

Despite this, do your homework before approaching the media. Have a well-prepared press release and notes to refer to during radio or podcast interviews. There is nothing worse than a person in charge of a large event who does not appear to know what time the doors open, or for heaven's sake, the major sponsors!

Age 16: Students are lazy. Motivate them!

'Scuse my language here, but students ain't going to do shit for you unless there is something in it for them. Now, before the few student readers I have jump up in arms over this generalisation, let me explain. I took many cultural and community initiatives during my high school and college years in regards to events. It was always so difficult to get students supporting my causes because students will always have their garage bands, dance classes, car racing, sports, movies and what-not to attend to. Adults seem to have less of these extra-curricular activities and hence are more willing to support those who do take on initiatives of their own. Maybe it is also that Generation Y has perhaps grown up more connected to global issues and charity adventures. Maybe they’re tired of all of this? Sounds like another blog for another day, but for simplicity’s sake I’d like to argue that students have a lot on their plate these days and hence do not wish to take on more than they can fit in one mouthful.

Age 18: Follow up, follow up, follow up.

Don't be lazy. Check everything twice. Three times even! I find a week’s check and a 48-hour prior check is fantastic, but it greatly depends on the size of your event. This step includes not just checking your own facts, but keeping everyone on board informed on what you do know. Run sheets, room layout maps, contingency plans, cues and directions… the more information you can give to those involved the better problem-solving capacity you will end up with. You cannot succeed without a road map!

Age 21: Use your networks!

Resources are best maintained of course. I have a good friend of mine from high school, Chloe Tully, I do not hesitate to recommend for musical entertainment and I am still dying to use her for my next event. (On the matter of online networks and event management, I shall write more on this in the coming weeks as we all know these are of great value these days.)

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out. You’ll love having that extra bit of rapport on board (pardon me!) when the shit hits the fan and the client will think you are a super human! My all-time favourite experience of this is Twitter. During my diploma in event management I ran a series of four conferences and a networking function over five weeks. On three occasions did guest speakers cancel within days of their booked date to appear and I was left stranded. But the Internet can hear you scream, and within minutes of these desperate pleas I had made some new connections in the form of kick-arse public speakers Tim Longhurst who flew from Sydney to my rescue, Des Walsh who I now treasure as a mentor and role model, and Micheal Axelsen who I also name as a mentor. These gentlemen were only a short 140 characters away online and I will never underestimate the power of online communications in any format again thanks to this one experience.