Holiday Party Time


Holiday Party Time


2013 TEDActive in La Quinta

The Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference, commonly known as TED, has set the bar when it comes to innovation and Southern California has the good fortune to host two wonderful TED conferences. The annual large event held in Long Beach, California is one of those conferences you look forward to each year, but can’t always afford. The TEDActive, TED’s parallel conference in Palm Springs, is smaller, less costly and noted for its creative design, which focuses on stimulating attendee engagement and simulcasting the larger event. I had the good fortune to be at the La Quinta resort this year when the festivities rolled out. 700 attendees gathered to watch a live simulcast of the main TED conference and were engaged in the content and activities. Every detail, from the room layouts to pre-event communication to the way meals were served, was designed to facilitate interaction and collaboration among attendees. Organizers even sent out a list of 13 rules prior to arriving that included guidelines for participation. Things such as “stay until the very end” and “leave your laptop in your room and your cell phone in your bag.” The physical layout included a variety of strategic options; theater seating, armchairs, beanbags, and even bed-style lounges with monitors mounted overhead. While the live simulcast of the TED conference was the focus of TEDActive, there were many other activities during breaks, activities such as kite-flying and flag-making. Play is encouraged. The attendees were thrilled and the ambience at La Quinta a perfect setting.


UCI offering new special event track through the extension business college!

UCI is offering two new event management classes this fall through the extension business programming department. Event Operations, Logistics and Communications is now offered and taught for the first time. Veteran special event producer / director, Susan T Lee has been selected to launch and teach this first time offering. Enrollment has just opened up. Classes will be held Tuesdays from 6:30 to 9:30 beginning October 8 through November 12th.

Spring in SoCal

Spring in Southern California has officially sprung.

Event-goers store the mink jackets and break out the pastel summer evening wear. Here’s a look at some summer trends in SoCal events:

 Furniture blocks for late-evening cordials and conversation–

The glamorous late-night crowd wants their own lounge so why not build it for them? Color blocks of turquoise, yellow, pink and purple modern furniture arranged tightly in asymmetrical clusters with plenty of clear crystal and glass ornate settings topped with fresh cut wild flowers, seashells and rosy ambient candle lighting. If the setting is on bamboo mats on an ocean beach, all the better.

Late-night bites and appetizer delights –

Looking for a late-night culinary delight? How about summer comfort food? Sautéed brussel sprouts, grape and fig pizza, miso salmon soup, and macaroni with cheese and maple syrup. You can’t go wrong with seasonal farm to table faire. The healthier, the better.

Atmosphere Entertainment –

Glue artists, water and sand painting, close-up hand magic, trick unicyclist in close quarters, 3-clowns in a mini-car, tightrope walker overhead and ukulele concert.


Learn to be charismatic onstage when you present.

Why is it some leaders seem to connect to an audience with a charismatic appeal, while others do not? Some say it’s a quality a person is born with. I believe you can acquire a charismatic appeal with a few learned behaviors.

1. Be prepared. You will not be confident and compelling if you haven’t prepared. Outline your speech or agenda. Review your key points to ensure the logic and flow of your presentation and your knowledge on the topics. Assess your audience demographic. Talk about issues that matter to them in a way they will understand your content.

2. Be authentic. Don’t be afraid to show compassion behind your words. Avoid acting too reserved without emotion or you will come across as “boring.” Instead try to connect to your audience. Use humor, story-telling, personal antidotes, quotes from inspired leaders, surprise elements and provocative questions to capture their attention and keep their interest.

3. Embody enthusiasm. Charisma has a physical component, so pay attention to your body language. Stand comfortably, feet slightly apart and your hands on the podium if you’re nervous. Learn how to hold a microphone if you’re roaming the stage. Be purposeful in your movement onstage. Don’t sway or nervously move continuously. Direct your attention to all the audience – sides, front, back, balcony – include everyone. Keep your posture relaxed but strait. Breath, take your time and stay calm. Take a sip of water if you need a moment to think. Don’t be afraid to pause, look at your notes, lift your head, and resume. Learn to use a Teleprompter.

4. Practice. Rehearse so you have no surprises. You should feel comfortable with your entrance, exit, microphone, podium, shoes, visual aides, music, teleprompt and all things around you prior to your presentation. You can only get better through repetition. Everyone needs to rehearse. Take your time and have your director work with you onstage.

5. Be ready. Be a pro. Go backstage to the “green room” prior to your presentation with enough time to settle your dinner conversation and nerves. Review your notes. Check your appearance in the mirror. Breathe deep and wait for your cue. Good luck.

Special Event Predictions for 2013

“Without the benefit of large, highly publicized events like the Olympics and the Presidential election, brands will work harder to create conversations that engage their target consumer on a more personal level. Ad campaigns, fund-raising drives, and other ploys will need to be closely aligned to in-person marketing efforts, events, and promotions that are better attuned to the local market they take place in to make a more meaningful, lasting impact. Events are no longer one-off affairs, but long-term strategies tied to a brand’s identity.” Anna Sekula, news editor BizBash

“As brands realize that among social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram, they have audiences the size of some of the biggest media properties, and they’ll focus more on creating their own content—it’s not just about giving away free stuff, but creating an experience that engages followers. Marketing strategies will shift more heavily toward events and entertainment as catalysts for conversations.”Lauren Matthews, style editor BizBash

“Events will return to the nation’s capital. Several forces worked against the industry last year, including the presidential election and the fallout from the General Services Administration conference scandal. Some political and media watchers even have predicted the death of the parties around the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. But Washington isn’t about to give up one of its biggest event weekends—and it shouldn’t.” Beth Kormanink, senior editor BizBash

“Paper guest lists will give way to more and more iPad check-ins, which is a much quicker, more streamlined method for locating guests’ names on a massive list. Also, seated dinners will become increasingly rare in favor of more strolling buffets or passed meals that allow guests to mingle more.”
Jenny Berg, associate editorBizBash

“I expect to see a return to some of the showy opulence of the pre-recession era—certainly not at every event, but I bet we’ll see a handful of those Dom-filled, no-expense-spared bashes once de rigueur for certain brands that had all but evaporated in the last few years.”
Alesandra Dubin, West Coast editor BizBash

“As the steady flow of new apps and technology products for meetings and business events continues, it will become survival of the fittest. The ones that rise to the top of this crowded field will be the smartest, most user-friendly, multifunction apps, such as ones that offer registration, social media promotion, networking, communication, sponsors benefits, and post-event analytics in one low-cost product. The rest will quietly disappear.” Mitra Sorrells, associate editor BizBash