Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to Plan a Last-Minute Super Bowl Party

February 5th is Super Bowl Sunday (yes, this weekend)! If you've just now decided to have a little something for friends and family, here are a few tips to help you have a great party in a short amount of time:

Figure out your viewing space. Your TV will be the main focal point of your party. So, you first need to figure out how many people can comfortably sit in the room where the game will be viewed. You might need to move some furniture around to accommodate all your guests. Also, be realistic; if it's too crowded, your guests probably won't have fun. 

Create your menu. Aside from the actual game, a great Super Bowl party is about the food. With that said, create a menu with lots of traditional Super Bowl favorites like chips, cheesy dips, beer and soda. You can also consider making some food in your crock-pot like chili or barbecue; these foods can be made early and kept warm, ready for guests to help themselves when hunger strikes. 

Keep the drinks nearby. After all the salty snacks, your guests will be ready for something cold to drink; be sure to have several beverage options available for quick refills.

Get the help of your guests. When you've figured out your main dish, let your friends/family help you with other items on the menu. And to make sure you don't have too many of certain items, tell them exactly what you want them to bring.

Set up and Timing. Plan to have people arrive about an hour before the game starts. That way, they'll have the chance to enjoy some appetizers and some time to socialize before kick-off. Additionally, if you have the space, have one room for TV viewing and another room with the food. This creates a place for those who may not be as interested in watching the game to continue hanging out without disturbing those who are into it.

Whether you're rooting for the Giants or the Patriots, have an awesome Super Bowl Sunday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Create a Successful Networking Event

If you're looking to expand your business network an an entrepreneur, organizing a networking event can help you do just that. Although planning an event can be challenging and time consuming, it is possible. Here are some tips to help:

Think about your audience when scheduling it. 
When the event will be and where are essential considerations to boost attendance. You should also have two goals: what you want to achieve and what you hope your attendees will achieve. All of these things will help you focus your efforts, communicate successfully and provide a great experience for everyone involved.

Make the invitation personal. 
More than likely, the first impression that potential attendees will get about your event will come from your email invitation. Therefore, it has to be engaging. The invitation should look professional and should give the invitee basic information about your event. A few tips include:

  • Invite people who you feel would be most interested in the event.
  • Personalize the invitation by including people's names. 
  • Make sure it is branded with your business logo and colors.
  • Let the invitee know the purpose for and the benefits of coming to the event. 
  • Give clear details about the date, location, costs associated with the event and contact information. 
  • Provide a map (if possible) and driving directions. 

Since sending invitations might not be enough to ensure a "packed house," here are a few suggestions to increase awareness, promote attendance and ultimately fill seats:

  • Create a website about the event. This is a wonderful place to include all the details about the event.
  • Be sure all promotions include your brand, colors and logo. 
  • Is the event open to the public? If so, think about promoting it on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. 
  • Send reminders leading up to the event (just don't go overboard). 
  • Include an events calendar to publicize upcoming events.
  • Obtain a little more information from invitees to use in future marketing efforts.
  • If there are fees involved, collect during registration. By doing so electronically, you avoid the security risks of handling and storing credit card numbers. Additionally, if people pay when they register, you're getting a solid commitment from those people that they'll be in attendance. 
  • If you're collecting fees, include a refund policy.

Consider post-event activities.
After the event, you'll have the opportunity to make improvements. Post-event activities can disclose useful information about what worked and how you can make the next event better. Some tips:

  • Keep track of those who attended and those who didn't.
  • Send out timely follow-up communication with highlights of the event, photos and overall summary.
  • Do a post-event survey of the attendees to learn about their experiences at the event. 
  • Ask them for ways you can improve your next event. 

With these tips, not only will you look professional, you'll also provide a rewarding experience for yourself and your attendees!

[Photo Credit; Source]