Successful Meetings - December 2008 - (Page 64)

Best Practices > MiGurus experts’ blogs from Words from the Wise 5 WAYS TO STRETCH YOUR MEETINGS BUDGETS More and more frequently, we are being challenged to find cost cutting measures that deliver the “wow” factor for either the same as the previous year’s investment allocation or possibly even less. Many times as professionals, we think the HR department is misguided by managers who fail to include “magician” in the job posting. How many times have you felt like you had to pull something out of thin air? Moving from a major metropolitan area to a much more conservative market that not only perceives events differently, but lacks the ability to Gloria Nelson hop in the car and drive Gloria Nelson Event Design, LLC to the wholesale fabric Winneconne, WI mart or a wholesale floral house or design house, was a major adjustment. However, when we stop and think for a moment about what other resources are now available online and also in our own backyard, we get to thinking out of the box and can truly surprise ourselves. Having a list like the online community MiForum and other professional environs to “bounce” creative concepts or resources is always helpful too. Here are a few that I’ve used that are reasonable and accessible: Goodwill Industries Retail Shops (or local thrift shops): Great for finding anything from costuming to containers for floral/centerpiece structure(s). You never know what type of 3-D props you’ll find either. Hobby Lobby and Ben Franklin: These stores often have clearance items available for less than wholesale. Don’t be afraid to do some mixing and matching for an eclectic look, so long as it’s within the same design element family. So grab what you need in combos of low lotus dishes, 12-inch cylinders, or, if they’re really a good buy, grab some of those tall, long neck 24-to-36-inch vases. You’ll be very surprised how inexpensive they can be. Combined on a 12-inch mirror tile that you can get in twelve packs from Home Depot or Menards (or your local retailer), you can bounce anything with added candlelight and make a table look breathtaking. Surplus Stores: If you’re doing anything that is jungle themed, MASH-oriented or a team event that requires inexpensive “uniforms,” I’ve found the local Army/Navy store to be a treasure trove. I located a 20by-30-foot camouflaged net to use on a pipe and drape backdrop and got green T-shirts and pants for the entire band and event staff. It was a great value and the client realized quickly when being quoted fees that even while we were “buying it,” it was far less expensive than utilizing a prop house for this particular theme. Oriental Trading: You’ll be amazed at what little treasures you can find in this publication along with other novelty web sites. If it blinks, flashes, or glows— it’s hot! Make sure your lead time is ample so that you can sample before you buy the quantity you’ll need. Buying a sample ensures it is up to your aesthetic standards. eBay and Online Auctions: We recently themed a 40th birthday as a “Flight of Fantasy” for a brain tumor survivor with two beautiful little girls. His wife wanted the evening to be extra special. She said her husband loves planes, so creatively we were off and running. I have the tendency to also like “authentic” design elements, so we created a departure gate, a passenger lounge, and a faux airplane setup. I actually found an oxygen mask and seatbelts used for safety instruction on eBay. This made me realize there’s not only a market for what we need here, but I can always unload something and get money back if I don’t want to inventory it. Come to think of it, we haven’t used those green uniforms from the remote landing strip theme . . . maybe there’s a listing on the horizon and some return revenue. 64 DECEMBER 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - December 2008

Successful Meetings - December 2008
Editor's Note
Corporate Events
On the Record
Planner Spotlight
Personal Success
Technology Talk
Food & Beverage
Professional Development
Quick Tip
Tools of the Trade
On Site: Retire Those Tired Power-Point Slides
On Site: 12 Tips for Thriving on a South African Safari
Deep Impact
Recession-Friendly Speakers
Showing Off
Hawaii Insert
Places & Spaces
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Fort Worth
South Florida

Successful Meetings - December 2008