Category: planning tips

Point Me in the Right Direction

December 15th, 2011 in dquinlan, planning tips

At E&C, we’re not afraid to ask for directions…or provide some direction to our event guests! As members of the BU community, we know our way around the large campus, but we realize that our visitors may not.

Directional SignWith a main campus that extends for over a mile and a half, Boston University can be considered a metropolis within the city…which is why a little guidance can go a long way. Too often it is easy to become preoccupied with “crucial” event details, such as the room set-up or menu, and forget about something that is equally important—directional signage!

Signs not only help visitors navigate, but can also better their overall experience. A good sign should include some, if not all, of the following:

• The organization name and/or logo for easy recognition

• The event name in a font larger than surrounding text

An arrow to point guests in the “right” direction

• One line of written direction, such as “Take elevator to 9th Floor”

• A QR code, linked to the organization’s event page/website or a phone number to call for assistance

A mix of bold, italic and/or colors for aesthetic variety can complete the overall look, but make sure the sign is not too cluttered! Keep it simple with only essential information that is easy to decipher.

Once you’ve completed a basic template, we recommend walking the arrival path as a hypothetical guest to discover potential roadblocks that may cause confusion. Often, multiple signs are required for maximum success. Start at the designated parking lot(s) if guests will be driving. If not, begin at the building’s main entrance and proceed to the event space.

Are you proud of a directional sign you’ve made?  If so, we’d love for you to share it with us.  Your ideas are not “lost” on us!

“Smile for the Archives”

December 9th, 2011 in dquinlan, planning tips

“I can’t quite describe it, but…“

Too often that’s what we’re saying after we’ve been to a unique or interesting event and no one took pictures! 

Photos are quintessential from a marketing perspective, but they are also extremely useful for the archives. Over time, memory fades and event set-ups can start to blend together.  Maintaining a photo collection can help you relive the magic of past events and better plan for future events!

Don’t let the memory of this…

…become this!

Valentine's decorations Blurry decorations

Little Money, Big Impact

December 2nd, 2011 in dquinlan, planning tips

floating candlesIf only we had a dollar for every time a client said, “We just don’t have the budget for that…”

At E&C, we understand that sometimes you come up with a great idea, but it’s just not cost effective for your event.  However, all hope is not lost!

There are many ways to make small additions for big impact at your next event:

  • Adding a floral arrangement to your buffet gives it a VIP look
  • Setting votive candles on your guest tables creates a warm & inviting atmosphere
  • Having an event in Fall?  You’d be shocked how great those miniature pumpkins are for adding a burst of color to your tables!
  • Even a single flower in a tall vase can create a colorful contrast to your linens.

We’re all looking for way to help reduce that “university building” look and feel, so we’d love to hear your ideas too!

You say “right”, I say “stage left”

August 10th, 2011 in kamullen, planning tips

Communication is the key to preparing any good event, but it is important that everyone involved is speaking the same language.  As the manager of the Tsai Performance Center, I interact with both theatre or artsy types as well as event planners or non-artsy types.  Both equally great, but often using different terms for the same thing. 

Consider this simple request:  “Setup 3 chairs on the left.” 

Hmmm.  Do they mean 3 chairs on the stage left side, which is the right side if you are in the audience looking at the stage?  Or they mean the left side of the stage if you are standing onstage looking at the audience, which would be stage right?  And did you know that Stage Left usually equals Camera Right and vice versa? It can be confusing.  Depending on what you are used to, it’s easy to “mis-hear” the information.  Always consider who is giving the information and CLARIFY it. 

Post-It diagramWhat works the best to clarify?  Draw it out.  Some people shy away from doing setup drawings because they have to hand-draw them or they won’t be in scale or they need some fancy computer program to make them.  Not true!  Sketching out a stage setup, however sloppy, can insure that everyone is saying the same thing and valuable setup time isn’t wasted.  If you are the person providing setup information to others, make sure you are consistent with terminology and try to include a diagram to compliment your instructions.  On a side note, if you are meeting in person, I’ve found that lots of hand gestures pointing to the area you think they mean also works pretty well. 


Left/ Right as seen from the person’s point of view on stage looking out to the audience. (ie Stage Left is the right side of the stage when looking from the auditorium.)

Left / Right as seen from the camera person’s point of view in the audience.  (ie Camera Left is the left side of the stage when looking from the auditorium to the stage.)

Show me your badge!

July 26th, 2011 in great ideas, kamullen, planning tips

Example of Conference Badge (WordCamp Boston 2011)Something so simple that got so many compliments at this year’s WordCamp Boston 2011….the badge.

A sturdy piece of paper, folded in quarters, then put on a lanyard with a clip.  All the normal “badge” items on the outside, like who you are and where you are from, plus the conference name & date.  On the inside was a full schedule, a map of the conference rooms used, and directions to an after-party.

The icing on the cake…in very tiny letters in the bottom corner…your t-shirt size.  Stop by the t-shirt table, give them your badge.  They “x” out your size and hand over your conference tee.

Example of Conference Badge

And unless you are one of those conference junkies that saves conference badges like trophies and hangs them around your office, you can recycle the schedule and hand back the lanyard for them to re-use.

We like.  A lot.  Probably more than we should.

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There’s a Conference App for that!

July 26th, 2011 in great ideas, kamullen, planning tips

Recently, Boston University welcomed WordCamp Boston 2011 to campus.  And let’s just say that great ideas flourish when you get a group of innovative web designers, bloggers, and new technology junkies together.  What impressed us?  The Conference App (available for iPhone & Android users) provided by  Don’t ask me to explain how they do it (ruins the magic), but by going to website link provided, it created a “conference app” icon on our phones.  Very simple layout that included the schedule, session name & info, speaker info, and live Twitter feed (using hashtag for their conference).  I used it a whole lot more than the paper schedule provided since don’t we all check our phones way too much?

Conference App - Schedule

Conference App - SessionConference App - speakersConference App - Twitter

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