Is the Conference Over Yet? Is It Ever Really Over?

August 6, 2009

headshot karenBy Karen Watson, CMP Experient

“You’ve just finished your annual conference!  What’s next?”

“I’m headed to Disneyland!”

Not kidding.  One day’s break to do laundry and re-pack and I’m taking my 7-year old to San Diego and Disneyland before the school year starts up.  

In the age of 24/7 access and the need to provide fresh content to a website or blog throughout the year to keep your audience interested, there’s barely time to think about thank you letters and paying this year’s bills before it’s on to next year’s program.  It’s almost like the concept of “annual conference” is gone because we must continue to build our audience and market the event and provide updates throughout the year.  Social media has increased both the opportunities to do this as well as the pressure to do so. 

We are insane!  I truly believe it.  But we’re also addicted.  There’s nothing like the sense that all the work has paid off and the meeting has actually happened!  And hopefully been a success!  But my mind is already racing on what will be waiting in my email Inbox when I return and what I’ll already be behind on.  Do we have fresh blog posts going in?  When can we get the photos uploaded to the website?  Is the RFP ready to issue?  What are we thinking about content for next year?  Do we need to send a reminder out on the conference survey?

Disney6It is a bit of a shame if we can’t enjoy the moment.  Relish a bit of relaxation.   A simple “Whew!”  Find balance.  Appreciate an ending before moving on to the next beginning.  And guess what?  There’s no choice but to seek that balance for ourselves, so I’m off to do just that.



Remembering Walter

July 24, 2009
BHoulihanMy personal encounter with Walter Cronkite
by Brenda Houlihan – Experient, Inc.

In the event industry, we are all privileged to meet all walks of life including celebrities, politicians, or entrepreneurs.  Recently, I was reminded of my brief encounter with an American icon, Walter Cronkite.

A few years back, I was working on an event and supporting the transportation and security elements of a high tech conference.  I remember checking on the shuttle buses when a limo pulled into the WDW Dolphin porte couchere.   I had instructed the transportation company that all VIP traffic was to be directed to the front entrance.  I was noticeably aggravated, when my transportation coordinator responded, “it‘s the conference talent and they need to be dropped off at the ballroom.”

The limo pulled up and out stepped an agent, then an assistant and then Walter Cronkite.   I immediately recognized the stately gentleman because he had been invited into my family’s home each evening at 6:00 pm.   The busy activity of a home with five active kids would come to a silencing halt.  My father would command that there would be silence, an almost reverence to the “Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”   I thought how Walter Cronkite had shaped Read the rest of this entry »

All-Star Game – Midsummer Classic

July 14, 2009
Arnold Lagos

Arnold Lagos

Arnold Lagos, Experient

On Tuesday, July 14th, Major League Baseball will hold the 80th Midsummer Classic in St. Louis.    The All-Star game has been a baseball tradition since the first All-Star game was played in Chicago in 1933.   A sports editor, named Arch Ward came up with the idea to have baseball’s best come play an exhibition game to coincide with the 1933 World’s Fair being held in Chicago.

Throughout the years, the annual event has been held in different cities year after year.  There is a MLB committe that is responsible for selecting the host city.   The selection of the host city used to alternate from an American League ballpark to a National League ballpark.  It still does for the most part, but there have been some exceptions, Yankee Stadium hosted last year’s event to commerate the closing of the field.

I remember watching my first All-Star game back in 1980…I was at my cousin’s home and didn’t want to leave until the game was Kingmanover…because Bruce Sutter, the Cubs closer, was pitching. But I also remember it, because of Dave Kingman making the team.   Kingman was the first player I ever saw hit a homer.  I was really hoping for him to hit one in the All Star Game….which of  course he didn’t.  Still, I was ok with it.

Since that first game , I always look forward to see who will be representing the Cubs.. Read the rest of this entry »


Will the real Cara please stand up?

June 25, 2009

Headshot_cara2By Cara Beckerle, CMP – Experient

Most days I consider myself an open book. I’m pretty happy with the way I live my life, am a self professed terrible liar, and will tell you a bit about myself if prompted (I’m still a teeny bit introverted, you know). But who am I, really? And who cares?

There aren’t any scandalous secrets about me online. I’ve been smart enough to limit my web profiles so only friends are allowed to check in on me. I’m selective in my posting of pictures. I try not to post anything too personal that might encourage identity theft or a myriad of other dangers you hear about. When you Google me (we all do it, right?) the main entries are mostly me, mostly accurate, and mostly innocuous. But am I ready for everyone to know the “real” me?

Over the last few months, I’ve been grappling with the E4 “experiment” using social media. I consider myself fairly technically savvy – been a blogger, on Myspace, religiously check Facebook for my friends’ status updates, and finally added a text package to my cell phone because the SO (for those not yet up on the multitude of text/chat abbreviations*, that would be “significant other”) was burning up messaging charges using his iPhone. To this point, though, the techie geek in me has been mostly operating in the personal side of my life. Adding professional groups and contacts adds a whole new dynamic to my wired life.

When mulling this topic over, I decided to check out the “Do’s and Don’ts of Social Networking.” Type that phrase into any web browser and you will get several good articles – mostly common sense but worth looking into if you are new to the online world. Because someone, somewhere will take a look into something you post. Period. What I struggle more with is revealing the inner sanctum of my brain with co-workers, professional contacts, future employees – and the assessment they may make of me from reviewing a quick status update or tweet. Read the rest of this entry »


Just text me, Mom!

June 2, 2009

DBeldon_headshotBy Debbi Beldon, CMP – Experient

My son graduated from high school this past weekend and will be heading to college in the fall which got me thinking about the differences between when I went to college a long, long time ago and now.

I left for school without a lap top (didn’t exist yet) or cell phone (nope – not invented yet either). The only way for me to communicate with my parents was the pay phone in the hall or the good old-fashioned snail mail. A stamp cost $.22 back then, by the way.


My son will have plenty of ways to keep in touch from the University of Colorado. He has his cell phone, on which he could call (unlikely) or text (much greater chance of this). He’ll have his laptop – from which he could email us, post on Facebook, or Twitter us. If his father and I could stomach My Space – we could check him out on that too – because he’s on that as well.

Last summer, he worked at an amusement park and met some kids from the Ukraine. He told me that he had been talking to them – I almost passed out at the thought of the phone bill until he explained what Skype is. In case you’re as clueless as I was – Skype is software that enables the world’s conversations. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. Everyday, people everywhere also use Skype to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles.

It’s his ability to multi-task that really has me befuddled. It’s very common to find him doing homework, listening to his iPod, texting on his phone, and chatting with friends on BOTH Facebook and My Space at the same time! If I am updating my Facebook status, trust me – it is the only thing I can do at that time. Read the rest of this entry »