Planning A Festive Office Party

The most effective way to plan a successful festive party is to first understand the goal behind the event.

1. Are you using this as a motivational event 
2. Do you want to hand out awards to employees in recognition of performance
3. Do you want to say thank you to everyone and Celebrate.

When you know what your goal is it will help you get started and organize things into place.

The top key initiatives to begin with are;

1. Set a preliminary budget
2. Select the location for the Festive Party
3. Select the menu for the Festive Party
4. Select the entertainment, decor, gifts and if necessary the awards 

Remember to consider the time and location, it should be a place that is suitable to everyone. Is it close to public transportation, is parking included, do they have over night accommodations? Wether your hosting a cocktail party, a buffet, or a sit down meal it is easier to have a theme which sets the tone of the event and gives you a starting point when selecting your menu, entertainment and decor.

Knowing your budget will determine how much you can spend on food, entertainment, room rental, decorations and other items you may wish to purchase.

When you find a location suitable make sure you discuss room rental costs and what is included in those fees.  Do they provide security for your event? Do they provide bar tenders? Do they provide linens, plates, napkins and silverware? Do they have in-house Dj’s? Do they have any festive decorations? Take advantage of everything they offer for free to help with your budget.

As you get closer to your date it’s a good idea to make a critical path list, tracking all the details big and small. Make sure you have covered all the time-sensitive details and double check your list to make sure you have not forgotten anything.

When you make the organizational experts at the Old Mill Toronto an integral part of your planning team, you can be confident that together, we will accomplish your every objective for a successful Festive Party.



Effective Tips for Planning Small Team Meetings

 
 
How many times have you heard; “Small meetings are just as much work as large meetings”! Effective use of meeting time sets a positive, productive tone for interaction among participants. An effective meeting leader will keep participants on track ensuring everyone is invested in the topic of the meeting and in the follow-up. 
 
Planning an effective meeting is all about the preparation, leadership, group participation, time management and a concise understanding of what the meeting is to accomplish. And, lets not forget that feedback is an effective way to measure your responsiveness both during and after the meeting.
 
Listed below are some great ideas to help you with planning smaller, meaningful and productive meetings.
 
1. Select a venue style, location and ambiance that suits both your program and guest profile well. It will encourage comfortable discussion in a non-intimidating environment.
 
2.  Get “outside” when you can! When appropriate, ensure you have access to outdoor space for breaks and team building ideas.
 
3.  Ensure you set realistic budgets when researching properties as venues enjoy being able to provide the best value for available spend.
 
4.  Location, Location, Location! Do you want to be close to the office? Do you want privacy? What are the travel times and costs involved?
 
5.  Are you flexible with dates? Small meetings don’t always have to be short term, but if you are flexible, venues may provide better pricing and premium space.
 
6.  Set a realistic agenda allowing time for more group discussion and problem solving.
 
7.  Ensure the facility Sales Manager understands your needs; can they suggest ways to help improve the meeting, can they provide estimates on pricing, can they give you valuable suggestions on helping you achieve the overall level of success you are looking for.
 
Remember small meetings make it possible to give participants more personal attention, use this to your advantage in communicating your agenda. In fact circulate your agenda in advance to allow participants to prepare.  This will also explain the goal of your meeting to help achieve more during your meeting with effective time use in prioritizing goals.
 
As a meeting leader you should summarize assigned action items with target completion dates that are measurable, (things that get measured get done) and if every item in the agenda was covered. Holding small team meetings helps focus on your goals accomplishing top priorities and accelerating growth of the organization. Small meeting structures are relatively simple but they require an effective disciplined strategy to ensure your strategic planning efforts create the most effective team planning with goals and objectives


Powerful Tips For Effective Presentations

Designing the right story (agenda) for your presentation is the critical key to ensuring the right message is delivered. Visually engaging presentations will help to inspire your audience, but first you must have your story. What is the one big idea that you want your audience to resonate with most? Create your headline to motivate your audience to listen, just like twitter it should be (140 characters) and make it memorable. You want to make sure your audience no matter how small or large, comes away with your main focus. 

Master your stage presence and make it look effortless. Walk the space you will be presenting on and get a clear idea of where you will stand. Start by asking your audience questions that will get them engaged and thinking about the topic’s relevance right away. Be passionate and it will come across in your presentation and most of all believe in yourself and you will be one step closer to delivering a great presentation worthy of a standing ovation. By taking your audience on a journey from start to finish and being your authentic self, (throw away the script) memorize your main points and ideas, and work on flowing between them naturally. Tell a story don’t just deliver data and remembering it’s all about the audience and what they want to hear you will ensure your presentation runs smoothly. Which reminds me of a point, get to know your audience, the presentation isn’t about you, you need to know your audience in order to deliver the story they want to hear and making sure they learn what they want to know.

Encourage the use of videos; pre, during and post presentations are always a great way to capture the attention of your audience, by keeping them engaged visually. Once you have your story you can also use powerpoint, keynote or other software to create engagement. Remember if your slide presentation can stand alone and people can just read them and not have attend your presentation, then you have too much information. Using humour, when and where appropriate allows you and your audience the chance to re-focus on the information being disbursed.

Finally practise to ensure the agenda runs smoothly, especially if you are using (AV) to avoid possible issues that will detract from the overall meeting experience. Finish your presentation by briefly framing your key points and your headline that you began taking your audience on a journey with.

The Old Mill Toronto is the ideal choice for those looking for a unique property with an elegant, historical ambiance, allowing you to devote your full concentration on your agenda and achieving the results you are targeting. Your success is our passion and priority.



Team Building

The term “Team Building” conjures up various definitions to all of us, and what one individual considers “useful”, “relevant” and “motivational”, another may not agree.  When Team building is  done  effectively, we can consider this positive process as “Building a Team within a Workplace”. Why?  To promote office harmony; employee understanding; improve performance and working towards a shared goal.

We believe the purpose of team building is to encourage each team member as individuals and the group as a whole.  Providing on-going and annual evaluations are key to employee growth, however team building reaches a new level of individual and team engagement.  Goals and expectations must be made clear, otherwise working towards a team goal can get derailed if individuals work towards their own objectives.  

Team building is often thought of as being expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are numerous programs and ideas for every budget.  Don’t confuse team social activities with team building activities.  A structured environment giving direction and encouragement during a team building exercise, will infuse your team with energy and creativity.    

At the Old Mill Toronto, our team building partner is the “Frontier Team Building” group who label their programs “Edutainment”.  Their unique one of a kind team building experiences take full advantage of our indoor and outdoor surroundings.  Team building is a sure way to foster effective relationships, elevate morale and make your meetings experience unforgettable!



Robbie Burns Supper Celebration

338

 

 

 

 

Robbie Burns was born on January 25, 1759 in Ayreshire, Scotland.  Best known as the national Poet and lyricist of Scotland and  famously synonymous with “Auld Lang Syne” that can be heard on the last day of the year, every year since its inception.

Famous for his political views and his love for the lassies, Burns poems were also inspired by the beauty of Scotland. Although Burns only lived to the age of 37, he enjoyed a eventful life and produced an astonishing amount of great literary work during his career.

More than 200 years have passed since his death and Burns still remains one of the most celebrated figures in Scottish history and culture, demonstrated by the annual Burns Night Celebrations held on or near his birthday of January 25th.

A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry by Robert Burns.  Suppers may be formal or informal and a standard format is usually as follows;

1. Host Welcoming Speech
2. Parade of the Haggis
3. Supper
4. Immortal Memory
5. Appreciation
6. Toast to the lassies
7. Reply toast to the toast to the lassies
8. Other toasts and speeches
9. Works by Burns
10. Closing

The closing is where everyone is asked to stand and join hands to sing Auld Lang Syne bringing the evening to an end.

A Robbie Burns Supper Celebration is an evening of more then just Kilts, Haggis and Scotch, it’s a celebration of one’s life!

 



Are Meeting Delegates Expectations Changing?

  

Are meeting delegates expectations changing? This is a common question we hear from both meeting planners and meeting delegates.

Every meeting is different. Every market is different. Every client has unique expectations. A meeting planner has to juggle many balls at once, including managing budgets that may or may not be realistic.

Some key points to consider and to help understand the relevance of changing expectations are as follows;

The age of the audience and how you connect with them will dictate the delivery method of the content you want to convey. This can change quite dramatically depending on the age group attending.

Technology has and will continue to play an increasingly important role. This is not new news, as it is an ever changing technical environment. However, focusing on personable interaction during meetings will allow the meeting planner to “Communicate” the message with a more “human” element.

The line between personal and business is ever more blury. Timing of meetings; downtime during meetings; networking in meetings are all important points to consider when deciding what the ultimate goal is.

Now, more then ever,  there are increasing special menu requests for allergies and preferences. We are also asked quite frequently if the food & beverage is “Locally” produced? This seems to be an upward trend.

Of course the location and style of venue remains very important. You need to question how the setting; versatility and ambiance will play a role?

In conclusion, the venues who are more flexible and have a better understanding that change is a constant, will inevitably be more effective partners to the meeting planning industry.



Resources for New Meeting Planners

 

Are you a new meeting planner? Has someone handed you a project that you  need help on?

Welcome to the world of Hospitality. This is a Great business with Great  people and Great mentors.

Industry memberships provide a solid base of general information while building your network and promoting a learning environment.  Memberships from organizations such as: MPI, CSAE, PCMA, CAEM, CansPep, etc are geared towards your specific type of industry whether your a trade show manager, corporate event manager, association planner or 3rd party  meeting planner. These organizations are also very cross-sectional, as you can use the  lessons learned in one membership and apply it to another project.

Remember that the venue(s) you are looking at can also provide you with  enormous help on producing an event. The sales and catering teams plus operations staff members provide their expertise every day and are able to  act as consultants on what may work and what may not.

Our profession has many suppliers, from many industries, that can also provide you with invaluable information on how to plan that next meeting, whether it be a Board Meeting for 10, a Sales Meeting for 100 or a Cocktail Reception for 1000.

Ask the questions, you will be surprised at how many answers you will get!