Navigating Social Media Like A Human Being

The following article was originally published back in December by Liz King Events as a guest post on their blog. In the spirit of the new year, when we’re all looking to start things off with a fresh perspective, we thought it would be nice to share it again here.

Photo by ajmac.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we do business in the world of social media. As Director of Communications for the event industry start-up eventwist, I spend a lot of time developing relationships, both online and in person. I attend industry events – networking, promotional and educational, and I spend a ton of time online connecting with people on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I also blog for a bunch of different sites, so there are always new conversations and projects arising from those postings…

Since we’re nearing the end of the year, I’ve got that overall assessment kind of feeling. Here’s what I’ve been trying to accomplish when I engage in these activities, and how I hope to do a better job going forward:

1) Clarity. My primary goal is always clear communication. In whatever letter, blog post or other message I send, I’m always hoping that my message comes across in a genuine fashion. If I want to let people know about something I’m excited about, I want to make sure they know exactly why. If I have an issue that’s concerning me, I want to spell it out clearly, creating a concise path towards the possibility of a solution. It’s like you say to little kids, “Use your words.” I try to do this to the best of my abilities…

2) Honesty. This one should go without saying, but now more than ever, I’d better be able to back up my facts and my claims. There are far too many ways for people to fact check me, so I’d better be on target. I work hard to research the information I share online with current and prospective clients, associates and friends, to make sure that it is truthful and accurate.

3) Genuine Enthusiasm. Developing business and creative partnerships entails a lot of promotion of one another’s products, projects and ideas. If I’m not genuinely enthusiastic about what I’m promoting, it’s hard to come across in a way that carries any weight. I’ve made the commitment to myself to only take on new projects about which I’m truly excited. In that way, I feel confident that I can stand behind my communications 100%.

4) Originality. Yes, there are rules and conventions to posting blogs, and etiquette for following and friending people on the various social media platforms. I like to play nice, but I also don’t want to feel that I’m going through the motions in a way that makes my words and gestures feel stale or pre-packaged. It’s not always possible to infuse originality into every single thing we do, but it is nice to mix it up once in awhile. When I re-tweet people’s posts, I usually add at least a word or two of my own to show that a human actually made this choice. I work hard to show that I’m thinking of my readers, even in group emails or automated posts. And yes, I often break the rules, to suit my own temperament.

5) Keeping it Personal. This is related to everything else I’ve listed. I try to stamp everything I do with my own personal touch. It’s not better or worse than anyone else’s, it’s just mine. It’s what makes my work and my outreach distinct from everyone else’s out there in cyberspace. The more automated our work and our world becomes, the more I feel we need to maintain a human touch in everything we do. Not only that, but it also keeps things more interesting!

People say this week marks a big turning point for humanity. Perhaps that’s true. If so, then I want to keep on promoting what is most human about the way we do business with one another. In this spirit, I wish you all a happy holiday season and a great new year filled with personal, original and significant work!

Photo courtesy of ajmac

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Planners – How to get the most out of eventwist.com

 

So you heard about eventwist.com from one of your colleagues, or you stumbled onto our website doing a search for a venue. You’re thinking, what is this site, anyway? And how’s it going to make my life any easier??

We save you time and energy. Here’s how.

We’ve created a searchable venue database of quality spaces in the NYC metro area. When you find venues that fit your event’s criteria, you save your top choices into a shortlist and provide us with some basic info about the event you’re planning. Then, we contact those venues on your behalf to see if they’re free on the date you need them, and let you know which ones are available and ready to do business with you.

That’s it. Easy.

Here are a few hints we want to share with you that will help make your search even easier, and help you get the most out of the site’s functionality:

1) Work with a budget. It’s one of the first things you can enter when you start your search.

 

  • Be clear as to whether your budget includes food and liquor, where applicable, and note that accordingly.

  • These are some of the first things you’ll want to establish with a venue manager when negotiating a space rental. Do it up front while you’re screening spaces, and save time for both of you.

2) Venues will show up in your search as either in your budget (green banner), close to your budget (yellow banner) or outside your budget (red banner).

  • The green ones are the obvious choices to explore, but you never know, some of the yellow ones might be worth checking out as well. (And you can always drool over the red ones…)
  • Venues are likely to be more flexible in pricing if you are looking to book a space on an off night, or are willing to compromise on other elements, such as going with a cash bar.
  • Keep in mind just how much flexibility you have in your stated budget limits before you start negotiating.

3) Search by the criteria that are most vital to the success of your event – the non-negotiables.

  • For example, if you have a client who wants to brand the space with video from their latest product launch, then you absolutely must have a space with video capability.

  • Focus your search by adding other elements that are essential to your event.

  • We have some excellent options, but don’t choose too many of them, or you may disqualify some excellent venues by imposing too many requirements.

  • If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, broaden your search.

4) If you’re looking for venues in a specific neighborhood, start with a search, and then narrow it even further with the many neighborhood choices available on the left side of the screen.

5) Once you find the venues you’re interested in and save them to your shortlist, let us do the legwork of checking date availability for you. We don’t mind, really!

6) If you still don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, let us know! Sometimes we have venues that are in the process of signing up but aren’t listed on the site yet. We might have just what you’re looking for, waiting in the wings…

7) If you’ve had a positive experience planning an event at one of our venues, take a moment to Leave a Tip for other members of the event planning community. The more you contribute to the profiles of your favorite venues, the more you help them thrive and continue to make themselves available to you!

8)  Most importantly, contact us with your feedback at support@eventwist.com. We want to hear everything you have to say – good, bad or indifferent. We value your opinion, and look forward to helping you plan your next event!

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A Conversation With Liz King

 

Every so often, someone in our community takes a big leap that adds a special thrill to an industry already filled with exciting happenings. Our friend Liz King has decided it’s time to take her show on the road by going full time with her event planning and marketing company, Liz King Events.

Those of you who know Liz may be surprised to hear that up until now, she’s been wearing two hats, splitting her time between her own company and a full time job planning large scale educational events for an ivy league university. I’m sure this total immersion in the field of planning has helped immeasurably to support her deliberate path towards the creation of her own unique niche.

Liz’s forte is working with entrepreneurs to further their brand through the creation of live events, with a focus on social media and cutting edge technology. Together with partner Ed Wagaba, Liz has developed not only the successful event tech series, Plannertech, as well as a regular series of event industry meetups through their Planner Collective, but she’s helped launch some amazing, newly branded projects such as Claudia Chan’s S.H.E. Summit Week.

Liz’s commitment to hard work and maintaining her focus is definitely inspiring to those of us who are laboring to realize our own creative visions. Not to mention – who better to work with entrepreneurs getting their projects up and running than an entrepreneur who has just gotten her own project up and running – am I right?

Deb: So Liz…. big changes happening here. How excited are you? Really?

Liz: I am so incredibly excited. This is a great opportunity for us to work with more clients and innovate new event formats. With greater focus on our business, the opportunities are endless!

Deb: Has it been difficult living a “double life” while you were planning a graceful exit strategy?

Liz: The hardest part with it all has been balancing. I have been 100% committed to giving my full-time job the time and attention that it needs. I have focused on working on Liz King Events during the evenings and weekends and every free moment that I had. So, it’s been a very busy and tiring few years. However, I have learned so much from both lives and have really been able to take what I learned in one world and apply to the other. The great thing is that I was doing events at my full-time job as well so I was utilizing a similar skill set all the time.

Deb: Are you scared at all?

Liz: I think any new change brings about a little bit of fear. However, we have really spent so much time building up our brand and strategizing our niche and I think that will really help us as we move forward. We are embracing the fear and using that to motivate us to do really well. I think we are really excited to see how the business evolves.

Deb: Will you take a break and go to Disneyworld before you start up full time in the “new” company?

Liz: No traveling for me – I’m ready to jump right in and get to work!

Deb: Is this going to change your lifestyle considerably?

Liz: Well, for one thing, I won’t be working from Manhattan all week. I think that ultimately a lot of the skill sets I have been using over the past few years will remain the same. The biggest change that I foresee is really developing a better mind for business development, sales and marketing. While balancing both careers, I haven’t needed to focus as much on marketing, but we really want to get the word out widely now that we can work with a broader base of clients.

Deb: What are your big plans for the upcoming year?

Liz: We have some really great things planned for 2013. A lot of our focus will be on developing the communities that we have already started – really investing the time to connect people around particular interests. We also want to push the boundaries a bit on traditional events and make them more effective for attendees, sponsors, participants and partners. We are also working with a great lineup of clients who are doing really innovative and interesting events.

Deb: OK, let’s talk dream events. What have you got your eye on?

Liz: Being that our target market is entrepreneurs and we focus so much on technology, I would really love to see a collaboration between an influential entrepreneur who uses live events and technology to engage people around the world on a particular topic. I think there’s so much room to play with innovation and hybrid events and technology and it would be really exciting to work with an influencer to push the envelope.

Deb: Are you hiring?

Liz: At this time, we have a great team and I’ll be focusing on developing our team to work even more seamlessly and collaboratively. I think we will hold off on hiring new people until we get settled in this full-time role. That being said, we always love working with volunteers to execute some of our events and some interns to execute overall brand strategy and event planning. This is a great learning opportunity for people trying to get into the industry and I really love to help educate newcomers. So, we are always open to these kinds of relationships.

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Giving Thanks to Our Venue Partners

Over the last year and a half, since we started our popular eventwist: Insider venue showcase series, we’ve held ten wonderful events at terrific spaces around town, attended by event planners, producers and other industry professionals. In the spirit of the season, we thought it would be nice to show our thanks by revisiting them here! They represent some of the best that eventwist and NYC have to offer.

Check out the reviews of the events at the links below. There you’ll also find details about the wonderful photographers, vendors and other creative partners who helped make all of our events so successful!

Silk Rd Tavern – The site of a small, semi-private event we co-hosted with Liz King Events on a stormy night in September. My current favorite NYC restaurant, Silk Rd re-imagines Asian and American comfort foods into surprisingly innovative and unforgettable dishes such as Singapore Chili Crab Pot Pie and Barbecue Braised Short Ribs with Kimchee Brussell Sprouts. Proprietor Patricia Ng, an event industry veteran, will help you plan a sumptuous, exclusive gathering in this Flatiron district treasure.

Helen Mills Event Space and Theater – If you don’t know it’s there, you might be tempted to pass by this hidden gem on 26th St. Featuring a spectacular street-level event space, as well as a 140-seat theater and screening room, this gorgeous venue is perfect for any upscale promotional or celebratory event.

Gild Hall – A Thompson Hotel – Nestled in the cozy, historic side streets of the Financial District, this sleek and modern venue has numerous spaces suited to your event, including a private library space and luxurious hotel suites.

SIR Stage37 – One of the more robust and versatile spaces in midtown Manhattan, this West Side venue is perfect for large installations and gala events – even concerts! With excellent load-in capabilities and many tech options, they are often used as a rehearsal space for large theatrical and music productions.

The Monkey NYC – A unique private venue in Chelsea, this studio space features excellent sound and video projection capabilities. A great choice for a small screening, industry showcase or reception, proprietor Dominic Frasca has created a haven to feature any musical or visual element of your event.

Katra Lounge – This lower east side venue is a favorite of event promoters who want a mix of luxury and international flavor. With its two floors, DJ capabilities and intimate seating options, Katra also features a Moroccan inspired menu that brings flair to any party.

Ez Studios – An upscale photography studio and event space with drive-in capabilities, a full kitchen and sleek, modern decor. What else could you ask for? Oh yeah. A penthouse suite available for exclusive, private events.

Morrison Hotel Gallery Loft – The famed Soho gallery that features the best in music industry photography also boasts this warm and inviting private loft space. You can even choose from the gallery’s collection to provide decor for your event, and take advantage of the built in video projection system. If Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett like it, that’s good enough for me!

Thom Bar – One of the more exclusive Soho nightspots is also a great location for a private event. Located on the premises of 60 Thompson Hotel, the space can also be used in conjunction with Kittichai restaurant (awesome Thai food) or the near legendary A-60 rooftop terrace.

Tribeca Rooftop – This Tribeca stalwart features several vast and luxurious spaces, including the vast rooftop (one of the best in the city), and the breathtaking Three Sixty, with its full views of downtown Manhattan. In-house catering and stellar staffing complete the package at this well known NYC venue.

If you are a venue manager and would be interested in holding a showcase event at one of your spaces, let us know! We’ll be resuming our series in 2013 and would love to bring our planners to YOU.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Kist
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Flowers On A Dime

flowers

If there’s one element I did NOT consider for my wedding, it was definitely flowers. Even though they are beautiful, they have never been incredibly important to me. But now I am working with a client who has a small budget for decor, a large passion for flowers, and an even larger love for very expensive flowers!

In order to get the flowers that she truly wants, my first recommendation was to purchase only a few arrangements to put in key spots, instead of on every banquet table; i.e. entrance ways, focal points, high traffic areas, etc. This was not sufficient for her. She wants flowers in those key spots AND everywhere else, so I needed to think about more options, given the low budget. I decided the way to begin was ordering flowers in bulk! Here are some sure fire tips, including some ideas I got from talking to local florists:

1. Buy the flowers wholesale or online and have a florist do any specialty arrangements.

2. If the client has a specific color theme (in my case it’s blue), try groupings of less expensive flowers in the same color wheel. Clustering them will make each individual flower less noticeable.

3. Focus on flowers in season. If the desired flowers are not on the calendar, getting them will cost a pretty penny. Your florist should be able to recommend similar ones that are in season.

4. Be prepared – place orders in advance. If your event happens to fall near major “floral” holidays, such as Mother’s Day, Easter, etc., the price of flowers may be higher than normal.

5. Depending on the theme or look of the event, forgo the expensive vases for clear glass ones. They are significantly less expensive, and you can even shop at flea markets or vintage stores to find different and unique designs.

6. Traditional floral arrangements are a thing of the past. There are many other options now that are highly decorative, colorful and elegant, and will complement the event theme. Some of these options include potted plants, using produce such as vibrant fruits and vegetables (lemons/limes are popular), and accessories to accentuate your flowers such as branches, urns, tea lights, pillars and votive candles. They effectively fill the space and enhance the arrangements you have.

7. The favorite tip I got from some of the florists I spoke with (and is a decor belief of my own) is that less is more! Elaborate arrangements can sometimes have a dizzying effect, not to mention a higher bill. If you choose an attractive venue, go for simple elegance with your flowers, and let the natural beauty of your event space shine!

Photo courtesy of fugufish
 
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Back To My Roots with Gaonnuri

When visiting “K-Town,” essentially 32nd Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue, you are inundated by numerous Korean restaurants and the overpowering aroma of charcoaled beef. It is difficult to differentiate one restaurant from the next, as the menus are similar and the decor is usually lacking. It is not the area where you want to pop in for dinner before a romantic evening, as you will be airing out your clothes for the next three days.

But enter Gaonnuri – barely a couple months old, and the type of venue K-Town has been urgently needing to coincide with the rising popularity of Korean food. Conveniently located right off numerous subway lines, the 10,000 square foot restaurant is located on the 39th floor penthouse of a non-descript high-rise on the edge of 32nd Street and Broadway.

When you enter 1250 Broadway, Gaonnuri has its own private concierge. There are only two elevators that take you to the top floor, and there is someone to escort you directly once you get up there. You exit the elevator and say to yourself, “Am I really in K-Town right now? Am I even in New York City?”

The immediate impression is a combination of warm mahogany, grandeur, elegance, and just plain cool. It is completely encased by walls of windows offering up the city lights without the sounds of sirens. It offers stunning views you don’t often see, unless you are a tourist purchasing a ticket to go to the top of the Empire State Building.

Being Korean, however, I had my hesitations. I’m used to good authentic food in a grungy setting. This place just seemed too fancy to be traditional. So I thought. To a Korean person, the test in authenticity is in a dish called kimchee. I am pleased to say that I tried various types that evening, and they reminded me of my mother’s kimchee. Finally a place I can take her where she can actually say it’s Korean food and not “fusion.”

I was with a large party. I looked around, as I found it odd that the other patrons were not giving us sneers for being too loud (an occurrence that often happens when I get together with my close girlfriends)! There were other large parties around us, but we couldn’t hear a sound, which meant luckily they couldn’t hear us! The restaurant has been designed in a way that they can still provide the tradition of Korean family style eating but with a certain level of privacy. There are also two private party rooms for smaller events, but if you wanted the entire place, it accommodates up to 250 guests.

For a restaurant so new, the food was impeccable and the service was unpretentious. I was pleased to see that despite its modern and glassy decor, they kept the Korean way of eating and entertaining traditional and authentic. And the best part is the smoke-sucking downdraft tabletop grills… no need to air out your clothes for the next three days!

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