event trends

An Eventful Chat with Julius Solaris

Northwest Event Show Team Member- Victoria Blasich

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This year at the Northwest Event Show we have the honor of hosting the founder and editor of the Event Manager Blog (EventMB.com) and the creator of the Event Innovation Lab™; Julius Solaris! EventMB.com has become a fantastic online resource for event professionals for industry insight, analysis reports and creative inspiration. While the Event Innovation Lab™ has taken Julius across the country and allowed for amazing event innovation break throughs.

For our VIP All Access ticket holders, you’ll have the chance to hear Julius at our Keynote Breakfast and apply for a coveted spot in the Event Innovation Lab™ at NWES this year. But before we can learn about how to take our events to the next level, we wanted to get to know Julius and how he sees the event world a little more first.

Northwest Event Show (NWES):  How would you introduce yourself to someone who has no experience or knowledge of the event world?

Julius Solaris (JS): I am someone passionate about events. I’ve dedicated most of my adult life understanding what makes events so special. I am a geek when it gets to events.

NWES:  As an event professional, what gets you excited about an event?

JS: I love to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I like bold event professionals that take confident steps in challenging the status quo. This is incredibly difficult in an increasingly social world. Where opinions are shouted, and you can be under scrutiny in a matter of seconds. Yet the events that really changed me are those that made me feel uncomfortable in my way of thinking, in what I was doing, in the connections I was forced to make.

As an introvert, a planner that takes care of me is one that invites me to do things I wouldn’t normally do.

NWES:  Of all the things a business could do to grow their buisness, why events?

JS: No marketing tool can match the power of face to face. We all know it. Yet events have fought a pretty difficult battle against their own nature. They are intangible experiences by definition. Therefore, hard to measure.

What has changed dramatically over the past few years is the ability to measure them. As a result, we have witnessed an incredible amount of marketing budgets to experiences. The challenges for event professionals are to step up their measurement and ROI game.

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NWES: What is the best thing you’ve seen an event accomplish?

JS: Transformation. That should be the true outcome of every event. Have attendees walk out of the event deeply changed, because they co-created something new, worth talking about with friends, family and colleagues. We discussed that in the Power of Events.

Change means higher purpose but also entertainment, learning, connection. Basic elements we sometimes forgotten because we are too busy filling an agenda or picking canapes.

NWES: Businesses are always looking for better ways to marketing themselves and grow. How do you see events as the way to do that?

JS: Whether it’s B2B or B2C an in-person event will give a human face to any brand. Younger generations crave purpose, meaning and experiences. A more modern marketing is one that embraces face to face as the most powerful weapon to engage in a personal manner. What business have today is the ability to scale events something only 10 years ago was not entirely possible.

NWES: Do different industries have different needs for events? Is there anything specific that you’ve noticed?

JS: Absolutely. In our State of Event Sponsorship report we looked at how four different verticals conceive sponsorship and what matters more for them. You will find that connection is more important for luxury, security is more important for financial. Fascinating.

NWES: What factors influence event trends the most?

JS: Younger generations are having an impact over the last couple of years. Lactation, praying, meditation rooms but also diversity and sustainability. Nobody really thought about these issues as business defining problems. As in, if we don’t get it right, we are out of business. Younger generations are pushing this change.

NWES: What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when they host their own events?

JS: Being too focused on logistics. Which are absolutely important of course! Yet if you want to become a strategist, if you want to step up your career, you should move out of the list executioner stereotype associated with planning.

Thinking strategically fixes a lot of logistic issues. It can save money; it can engage attendees. I have no problem with making mistakes, we all do. But thinking about the venue or the food before we have considered how the event will change attendees’ trajectories is a thing of the past.

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NWES: I’m sure you’ve heard almost all the questions that people can think of when it comes to events. But what is something that you love being asked? What is something that people don’t necessarily think of when thinking of planning an event?

JS: How can I get attendees to connect better? I always get asked how to save money!

NWES: *ahem* speaking of which… since budgets are a huge pain point, what do you suggest people spend money on, and what isn’t worth the price?

JS: See I told you people always ask me that! Budget is never enough. Interestingly we asked 1100 event professionals if budget was a limitation to having great experiences most of them said yes, of course. Interestingly enough those with very high budgets for their events said that budget is absolutely not a factor in creating memorable experiences.

I believe the budget obsession is the brainchild of the being rich equals being happy mentality. Of course, you will be more comfortable, but will you achieve your objectives better?

NWES: So why do you think events are so expensive to put on?

JS: Why are events expensive? Is that so? I think there is no expensive events, there is achieving objectives or not. If events help to achieve objectives that in turn bring in revenue, they are not “expensive.”

I guess there is bad measurement and good measurement. A Facebook campaign can be a terrible waste of money if the objective and measurement are not clear.

NWES: So, it’s not just about how much money you have to throw at an event? That is great to hear! How can a small business compete with larger ones regarding events?

JS: Events are very levelling. Spending millions for phantasmagoric special effects is great but if you have a kick ass presenter who understands your audience, THAT is what attendees will remember, not the 360-degree LED screen behind them.

NWES: Just a few more questions-What is one thing that will make you want to attend an event?

JS: Sometimes a speaker, sometimes convenience, sometimes a colleague attending. In all cases how capable the event is to make me savor the transformation I will get out of it.

NWES: What is one thing that will turn you off of an event?

JS: Rigidity. Following a certain scheme because ‘this is how we do things’.

NWES: Thank you so much for spending a few days with us in Seattle this year for the Northwest Event Show! Just one last question…. If you didn’t work in the event world, what would you do?

JS: I would be an espresso barista. I am still on time to actually become one. Watch this space!

Julius Solaris will be speaking at our Keynote Breakfast on Wednesday, November 13th. Open to all attendees with a VIP All Access pass, you’ll get to kick start your day with Julius and his research-backed insights on the event world and new trends. Plus, with your VIP pass you are eligible to apply for the Event Innovation LabTM run by Julius on Thursday, November 14th.

If you already have your VIP pass- you can apply now for the Event Innovation LabTM here

To gain access to all the education sessions and the Keynote Breakfast with Julius Solaris- Register for your VIP pass Here!

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

 

Interview with Lee Papa, Mindfulness & Meditation Speaker

Written by NWES Team Member- Victoria Blasich

This year at the Northwest Event Show, you’ll not only have the chance to wander the aisles, networking and discovering how events can help grow your business, you’ll get the chance to learn how to grow personally as well.

Lee Papa, internationally recognized and leading Mindfulness & Meditation Speaker, Trainer and Coach will be with us this year hosting her signature “Mindfulness LoungeTM” . Any attendee with an EDU or VIP pass will have the chance to experience Lee and her vision in person. We couldn’t wait until November, so we asked a few questions that have been weighing on us for a while and Lee was more than happy to help!

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Northwest Event Show (NWES): Mindfulness is a tricky subject to define for a lot of people. When you’re teaching “mindfulness” what is that exactly?

Lee Papa (LP): Simply put, Mindfulness is Awareness. Awareness of your thoughts, words, actions and the world around you in non-judgement.  That’s the tricky part.  The non-judgement. And since we tend to judge ourselves the most, we typically – especially beginners, bring that to meditation practice. 

NWES: Non-Judgement, what is that concept?

LP: Instead of observing your surroundings and actions and placing them into mental categories and planning actions of good, bad or neutral based on your previous life experiences and cognitive processes, you are simply open to them. Non-Judgement is letting go of the automatic judgments that arise in your mind with every experience you have.

NWES: What do you think the biggest hurdle is for people to embrace mindfulness? For an individual and a corporation?

LP:  That is easy; [the biggest hurdle is] making their mindfulness practice a priority. It takes the individual to give it the necessary commitment it is due. It does not happen by osmosis. The individual or corporation must take responsibility to make it a priority.

NWES:  Sometimes, mindfulness conversations are answered with mocking tones, how can someone new to the process bring up the topic?

LP:  Practice mindfulness yourself and the fear of ridicule will melt away. Lead by example. There are many powerful and successful business-people who practice meditation and mindfulness and swear by it.

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NWES: We’ve all heard the concern or worry that ‘mindfulness’ may be seen as laziness, since so much of the corporate world celebrates stressful days and working non-stop. Working hard, staying late, pushing yourself to the limit seems to the be norm in the business community. How can someone still be productive, but stay mindful? And not make co-workers and employers feel like they are slacking off?

LP: I would say…”Who cares?!”  HAHA!  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  Own your health and wellbeing.  Make you a priority. One of my mantras that I provide my students that taps into this question is… “Nourish Yourself Mindfully, Give From The Overflow.”

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The simple answer is that you actually become more productive with more ease and grace when you practice mindfulness in your daily life. More success with less effort.  It is just an old antiquated program that most are running in their subconscious that “Stress is a Badge of Honor”. And “Stress is a requirement to get the job done.” Nope! It is not! I would suggest working with a Coach to help guide you through the early stages of the emerging and awakened being that you will become during the process of self-observation through mindfulness practice to shift that old program.

And quite honestly things are shifting in a big way.  Over the last few years, I have experienced an enormous shift in the industry and more and more people are embracing the practice. And offering it in their meetings and training their employees.

NWES: The idea of ‘Meditation’ comes with a lot of baggage and pre-conceived notions. How do you introduce people to this and keep their minds open about it?

LP:  Meditation and mindfulness are practices that often elude the very ones who need it most.  I keep things simple, accessible, fun and experiential.  Because once the individual, who has not been able to successfully quiet the mind or meditate previously, has an experience in one of my Mindfulness Lounges™, they are instantly converts and huge supporters.  It changes their life! I have been teaching meditation and mindfulness to professionals for many years.  I have heard, and experienced myself in the beginning, all the resistance you can imagine.  I understand how to break through it and provide meeting attendees with a tool and takeaway that is mind shifting. 

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NWES: What do you suggest for people who are not interested in Meditation breaks, how else can they work on being mindful and recharging during the day?

LP: There are many forms of meditation that can kick start an individual into awareness.  Simply taking a walk with no electronics.  Breathing rhythmically.  Journaling.  These are good places to start.  However, the key is consistency.  Mindfulness Training, as I teach it goes far beyond the mind.  Meditation is a part of it but not one in the same.   Mindfulness equals awareness.  So, begin to be aware in non-judgement of the words that you speak and the thoughts that you carry.  Are they nourishing and optimal or are they poisoning your productive path to wellbeing?

NWES:  What is a question that you never get asked, but would love to answer?

LP:  What is the meaning of life? I’m kidding, and while I may not know the answer; I do know where the answer resides.  Within.

NWES: Thank you so much for being a part of the Northwest Event Show family this year! One last question. If you had a week to spend in Seattle, what would you do?

LP: I would take a food and culture tour each day that specializes in a specific area of town. North, East, South, West Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia etc. Explore the museums in the city and of course nature walks!

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Lee Papa will be speaking and leading meditation sessions at this years Northwest Event Show. Open to all attendees with an EDU or VIP pass, you’ll learn more than you thought possible at a tradeshow! Register now for your EDU or VIP pass if you haven’t yet, and if you would like to upgrade your General Admission pass, click here!  

 Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

A Look at Authentically Incorporating Virtual Reality at Events

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Olivia Sundstrom of National Event Pros

Why Virtual Reality

The question of whether or not to incorporate virtual reality into an event is a question that also asks a lot about the event itself. What is the purpose behind the event in question? Is it an event aimed at bringing people together? Is it a marketing or brand activation? Is this event a chance or an opportunity to make a first impression like a conference or expo appearance? Virtual reality has quickly become not just a new phenomenon in the entertainment sphere, but a medium with limitless applications.

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Virtual Reality has the ability when used strategically, to be a highly engaging medium for storytelling, marketing, entertainment, and more.

Assessing the rise of virtual reality technology across various industries throughout time, and within the last year alone, it is clear that big brands and industry leaders are quickly adopting virtual reality as a highly versatile tool to draw engagement within an organization, within a consumer base, or even with a potential consumer base.

Knowing that virtual reality can be an incredibly efficient tool, this article will break down the many ways one can utilize virtual reality at their next event in a way that is engaging, impactful, and authentic.

Know the Audience 

With any endeavor, it is always crucial to understand the audience. A successful event is one that is tailored to its audience authentically and is centered around building organic connections. Whether it be a launch where the audience is made up of potential investors and consumers, a company event, a school fundraiser, or a networking event, there is always an opportunity to create organic connections between the attendees and the event host.

There are many routes one can take with events. When using an event as a means to make a first impression, draw in an audience for a particular product, or to engage with a brand like a trade show or exposition appearance, the strategy behind the event should focus elements like storytelling.

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Many brands across all industries have used virtual reality in this way, and for some of the biggest examples of this check out our break down of 18 Inspiring Uses of Virtual Reality Marketing as well as our bread down on How to Improve Trade Show Engagement with VR for an in-depth look on how virtual reality can be used at marketing centered events.

If the event is aimed at sparking engagement internally at an organization such as a corporate holiday party, team outing, networking event, or fundraiser, then the focus will be on building immersive experiences that all attendees can relate to and engage with, adding storytelling elements is also a powerful addition in these cases as well but the primary focus is on creating an environment that welcomes connections between attendees.

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Building the Event 

There are unlimited routes to take when building an event with virtual reality elements. If the event has a particular theme in mind find virtual reality elements that compliment the theme or take the theme to a new engaging and immersive level for attendees.

If the event theme is one that resonates with the attendees because of its relevancy or proximity such as a winter-themed event for a winter sporting event, then the ability to include guests through virtual reality entertainment like hosting a VR station where guests can enter immersive skiing or snowboarding simulation is one solution.

Finding VR games to match themes like outer space, a murder mystery dinner party, or even zombie apocalypse-themed, are all great and specific ways to use VR games to play on the theme of any particular event.

When it comes to hosting events that are not pertaining to one specific theme, utilize VR experiences that are just as versatile as they are engaging.

The Google Tilt Brush is one of the only pieces of virtual reality entertainment that can be used in such a diverse range of ways from allowing guests to create room scale drawings and animations to using the Tilt Brush to play traditional and familiar party games such as Pictionary, by using the device in scenarios where a traditional pen and paper would be used.

Taking virtual reality and applying it to enhance familiar party games, or using a VR version of a traditional party game or board game, is an easy way to give attendees or team members a more approachable introduction to virtual reality as well as a more universal experience compared to a specific gaming experience.

Create the Environment

When creating the environment at an event with virtual reality there is a multitude of ways to do so. It can be done by creating a dedicated gaming section or gaming lounge at an event where guests can explore and enjoy the juxtaposition of classic arcade games and new virtual reality experiences. Or by creating various stations throughout the event where a different element of virtual reality is used.

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One of the best ways of utilizing virtual reality gaming at an event is the use of multiplayer gaming experiences. For a look at a diverse range of multiplayer VR experiences for group outings, team building activities, and events check out a break down of the Top 19 Virtual Reality Games for Events.

Have one section of the event dedicated to showcasing a storytelling element through virtual reality. Let this be a way for members of an organization to interact with a story or timeline by showcasing the history of the organization, a recap, a timeline, or engage with a new campaign through virtual reality.

Have various sections of the event dedicated to being inclusive of family-friendly and younger attendees, as well as allowing a beer garden, gaming lounge, or sports bar experience with VR games meant for adults.

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National Event Pros is a full-service event planning, production, and rental company headquartered in Seattle with accomplished partners worldwide.

For over 30 years, our network of event professionals and extensive equipment inventory have provided our clients with services for more than 50,000 private parties, public gatherings, school picnics, and corporate special events.

Event Wellness

“The wellness trend began by offering healthier meal options but has now blossomed into an entire culture for events. As people’s personal values are developing and they become more mindful in their personal lives, their expectations for meetings and conferences are changing as well. Incorporating them into the event atmosphere is necessary to maintain a competitive edge over others trying to ride the wellness trend.”

— Event Manager Blog

Wellness is more than a trend.  It’s a lifestyle choice for many because it fuels success in our fast-paced and demanding industry. 

With that in mind, this year NWES will provide a wellness pavilion dedicated to supporting attendees’ optimum experience. Wellness today goes beyond lunch salads to aim for balance in diet, rest and play. And, it’s a concept the smartest event planners are adding to their events.  

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The NWES schedule this year makes room for attendees to refresh between sessions, network with new and old contacts, play games, solve puzzles or simply hydrate in a comfortable chair to absorb all the new ideas they’ve gained from education sessions and exhibits. You’ll learn from experience the value wellness elements can add to any event.

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Mental wellness moments give attendees a quiet space to slow down, reflect on what they’ve learned and plan their next moves.  This can be done with a dedicated area amid the bustle of an event, with special exercises aimed at mental well-being and with programming that shifts mental focus to create headspace for creativity to bloom. Attendees leave these sessions ready to be fully engaged in the event.

Interactive Activities

Team building games give attendees something to do while they grow trust with strangers and acquaintances. People connect in ways that foster productive collaboration, and that is the lasting value attendees seek from an event. The impact of a challenging puzzle solved as a group can transport attendees from contacts to colleagues. 

Enhance the Food Onsite

Never underestimate the power of food to enhance, even drive the success of an event. When the food is good the impression lasts.  The food at this year’s NWES Keynote breakfast will include the ‘traditional’ fare of pastries and sweets, and it will offer attractive options that truly nourish.  As fuel for success, healthy food is direct, and it starts attendees’ off with energy to enrich the rest of their day. It’s important to reinforce the well-being of attendees with dietary restrictions as well by offering a variety of foods that support their needs. This sends the message that you care about all those who attend your event. 

We all know wellness is a trend that has evolved into a multi-trillion dollar industry. In our community of corporate events this notion of healthy balance may seem difficult to achieve.  However, small and large changes can add up to create a space for the attendee to better absorb the volumes of information they’re accessing and to connect more effectively with those around them. 

These aspects of meetings are becoming more important as comprehensive wellness gains traction in the world of business success. Quiet space, nutritious food, community building, and unique programming can connect attendees more effectively and allow for wellness to be at the forefront of your events. 

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See the complete article at: https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/wellness-event-ideas

EventMB is the first resource online for event professionals around the world. Founded by Julius Solaris, international speaker, author and former social media consultant for global brands. EventMB has become the go-to online resource for Trends, Technology, Innovation and Education for the event industry. Thousands of event professionals from around the globe read EventMB daily.

Habits of a Successful Event Manager

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Victoria Blasich - Freemind Seattle

Event planning is not about hosting parties, well sometimes it is. In fact, there are so many different types of events that not all event planners and managers are the right fit for each one. Take our team at Freemind Seattle, we are a well-oiled machine when it comes to planning and executing events both large and small, at a corporate level. Whether our clients are smaller companies of 100 employees, or huge multinational tech companies tipping over the 100,000 employees mark, we’ve seen and experienced it all. And more importantly, we know what can make or break an event planner. That is why it is so important to understand not only the basics of event planning, but the types of events that need planning. This ensures we have the right skills to own our lane. In other words, don’t promise what you can’t deliver. While we excel at tradeshows and conferences, we know a cowboy themed wedding is better suited for the real wedding professionals.

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Here are a few traits that we see in our favorite industry professionals. Do you have what it takes to be a successful event manager? Or maybe we should ask; Do you know what kind of event planner you want to be? Either way, there are basic skills that anyone in the event industry needs to have.

 

 

The Basics: Core Skills that Anyone in Event Planning Should Have

 

Take charge: Events won't run themselves. Which is why your client hired you. Everything from building your team, to managing volunteers, to leading your hired vendors and greeting your guests. You and your team are on point to make this event a success from the moment you begin brainstorming to the moment your client walks out of the venue for the final time. Every decision should be made with authority. No matter a planned decision or one that is made on the fly, go with your gut. If you know your client will be pleased with the decision, it’s probably the right move.

Time & budget management skills: Events currently are all about doing more with less. Less money, less time, less space. Event managers often face short lead times and have very little room for error (both figuratively and literally). This is especially true onsite at events when planners must strategically use the little time and money they have to fix issues before attendees notice or the issue affects the entire event.

 

Excellent communication & personal skills: The success or failure of events often depends on the ability of the people involved to communicate effectively. A great event planner will be able to talk to people on the phone, in person, and in writing to gather and disseminate all the necessary information they may need. You may also need to adjust how you communicate to best fit with your client and their needs. Ensure that you always provide a pleasant, approachable and confident tone when communicating via email. It is the one method of communication that we take for granted. And often times fall habit to quick responses rather than a thoughtful reply. Knowing how to anticipate what others will need, even if it’s just bringing your client a glass of water or reminding them to sit, will make a big impact.

 

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Don’t sweat the small stuff:  You do not need to be “Type A” or “OCD” to be an event planner. Being “particular” instead of a “perfectionist” allows event planners to roll with the punches and changes that are bound to happen at any event. Attention to detail is necessary, that is true, but sometimes you must let the small stuff go! Remember the overall focus and objective is the most important part of any event. Plus, you are the only one who will notice if a last-minute change was made.

 

A calm sense of urgency:  Things will go wrong, that is a given. Don’t be surprised when something doesn’t arrive or gets delivered to the wrong location, a sign is spelled wrong, something breaks, someone is late…etc. Keep your cool and use your mental toolbox to address and remedy the situation. An event planner can solve huge issues with a smile and keep everyone else calm so as not to cause more stress. When in doubt, just channel some Vanilla Ice... “If there’s a problem, yo’ I’ll solve it”

 

 

Additional Traits: Not required, but strongly desired...

 

Find your balance: Take your job seriously, take your client seriously, take the attendees seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously…Have fun, make friends!  Stay professional; but remember to enjoy yourself. Your stress free attitude will rub off on your clients. Allow yourself some time to laugh and vent and relax after the event.

 

Build your team:  A strong support system will do so much for your mental state and effectiveness in event planning and management. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to your team. It will give your team sense of ownership and help you stay on track and sane. Find people that have different skill sets than you, so that your weakness is their strength and vice versa.

 

Always be learning: The only constant in this world is change. There is new tech, new products, new anything and everything coming out every day! Are you excited? You should be! Don’t get too comfortable or rely on what you’ve done before. A great event planner is always aware and ready to learn a new tool, work with a new team and try something new.

Freemind Seattle is a boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways. We’ve managed events from small corporate seminars from 100 people to vast industry tradeshows with over 30,000 attendees. We craft our approach in-house and can work with any team of vendors to build a cohesive and effective event.

Melissa Bathum & Kori Monson – Partners at Freemind Seattle

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager