Unleashing the Power of Great Questions for the ED Retreat

Have you ever thought about what your organization’s soundtrack would be? Read on to hear about how we curated our own playlist and how it helped us in planning our annual retreat. 

Remember the blog post a while back about asking the right questions and the story about Erin asking a client ‘what kind of chair would it be?’.  If that doesn’t ring a bell, click here to read it now! 

We put the ED discovery practice into play for our own team to ensure we understood the intent, purpose, and desired outcomes of our team retreat. Working backwards, Erin and I brainstormed what we needed to know from the team in order to plan accordingly to achieve our intended results. Based on that, we developed questions that we felt would give us the ‘intel’, aka data, that we needed to make decisions. 

Here are the questions that the ED team was asked, and the purpose behind them. 

  1. When we get back home, what are you going to tell your spouse or friend about the ED retreat? What stories do you hope to tell them?

These responses helped us to gauge what was of priority to each team member. Would they talk about relaxing and being able to unwind? Meaning they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed and need a break. Would they tell others about how they enjoyed spending time together? Meaning that they value and have strong relationships with their team members. Would they brag about ED and how happy they are to be a part of it? Meaning that the ED culture is strong. 

One of my favorite responses that came in was: “What happens in Kananaskis, stays in Kananaskis.”

  1. If the ED retreat had a soundtrack, what type(s) of music would be on it?

This is similar to the ‘what kind of chair would it be’ question. It’s a roundabout way of asking what do you expect or hope the retreat will be?

The soundtrack question had 2 purposes. 

First, it told us the kind of vibe that the team was looking for. Some of the answers ranged from upbeat, girls rule the world kind of music, to chill, relaxing, laid-back coffee shop, to raise a little hell and girls just wanna have fun.  This gave us insight into the mindset that the team members were coming into the retreat with and we could plan accordingly to ensure we have some down time to relax and some celebration party time! 

Second, it literally became a soundtrack as we had Jen create a playlist for us that we listened to on the drive to the resort. Listen to the ED Retreat 2022 Playlist here.

  1. What would an ED client hope we are talking about at the retreat?

This question guided our planning for what the strategy discussion during the retreat would include. The answers shaped the discussion around: 

  •  potential pain/stress points our clients may be facing 
  •  what other services ED clients may be looking for
  • what advice they come to us for as experts in the industry 

An ED-ucation: What would you like to learn about from your ED colleagues? Whether something that you’ve seen them do or talk about during work or something that you know they are passionate about personally? It can be as specific as you like, or a more general topic.

As much as we wanted Chris Hadfield  to speak at our mighty but micro retreat, the budget just wasn’t there; so we chose to focus on the knowledge already in the room. I have to say looking inwards to our own team was one of the best decisions we made. We each have different backgrounds, skill sets and work that we do within ED and sharing that knowledge, mindset and best practices was extremely valuable and something that we will continue to do. And come on, we try to use ‘ED’ in all the words we can and what’s more perfect than our own  ED-ucation session. 

Each ED team member answered what they would like to learn from each other ED team member. Based on the responses, Erin and I developed session titles for each team member to prepare a 15-minute presentation on. A few of the titles were: Art of Learning and Enter the Zen Den. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post specifically on the ED-ucation sessions. 

Overall, the questions achieved their desired purpose in guiding our planning of the retreat itinerary for both social and work elements. And, as a side note, it also solidified the unity of the team, as without any prompting or discussion of the survey in advance of the team taking it, the answers were very consistent and had similar themes. 

Whether it’s a mighty micro retreat, a project kick-off meeting, or any other kind of gathering of minds, asking the right questions will set your team up for success in whatever you are doing. Think outside of the box, try and look at it from the end result to determine your questions and have fun with it. Surprise your colleagues with some thought provoking, creative questions that may not make sense to them initially, but ultimately, you’re taking a different approach to get meaningful answers from them. 

If you ever want to brainstorm questions – just reach out! We’ll promise to have some random thoughts for you! 

Seeking Sanity Checker, SAGE Wiz and Overall Awesome Bookkeeper

After a whopping 15 years as ED’s bookkeeper, our amazing mind-behind-the-money is retiring. Truthfully, she’s been trying to retire for years…. But just can’t stay away and I certainly wasn’t rushing her out the door. That being said, it’s time to seriously seek a new bookkeeper to keep up with the energetic ED team as we move into year 17! (what!?) 

The person we’re looking for is a SAGE Accounting Guru that knows the importance of good financial planning, reporting and LIVES in the DETAILS. This is a contractor position that has an estimated 10 -15 hours of work per month. The hours are not guaranteed and are an estimate. It’s likely the workload will vary month to month based on the number of projects going on and business requirements during year end. 

This position reports directly to ED’s Owner and will have a transition period with support from ED’s current bookkeeper. We are open to working with a company or an individual for this role so long as the person performing the work is highly skilled, open to working through the 90 day transition period and is committed to treating our business as their own. 

Summary of Tasks & ED Processes 

Systems Used

  • Google Business – Gmail, Google Drive, etc. 
  • Sage Accounting  
  • Basecamp (Project Management) 


Tasks & ED Processes 

  • Set up Client Profiles in Sage as new projects begin 
  • Create invoices based on project working agreements and billing cycles
  • Schedule reminders and send invoice installments based on billing cycles 
  • Allocate the staff hours and track the costing for each project based on monthly invoices received from ED contractors 
  • Follow up on client payments 
  • Track project expenses as they are submitted (monthly) from ED staff 
  • Invoice clients for project expenses as needed or at the completion of the project 
  • Proactively provide reporting such as summary of costing vs actual, profit & margin, staffing hour status per project. 
  • Monthly meetings with ED Owner
  • Payment to ED Contractors – review of invoices for accuracy, inputting to Sage Account. 
  • Annual T4A Statements to Contractors 
  • Complete year end and communicate with Accountant for filing and submittals

This is not an exhaustive list of what all is included in the role as I’m sure it will evolve as we find the right fit for our small but mighty crew. If you have any questions or would like to submit a resume or proposal please email info@edmarketing.ca 

Enjoying Events in a Pandemic

The last month has been full of excitement and relief as, in Alberta anyway, the pandemic restrictions have been lifted. I have been buoyed by seeing friends in their homes and walking through public spaces not wearing a mask. I anticipated the interesting contradiction of excitement by familiarity. Relief coming from the place of ‘normalcy’. And yet, what has accompanied these feelings for me is fear and anxiety. 

Photo by Finn on Unsplash

Those close to me will know I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression at times in my life. The pandemic has not been easy on anyone, especially our collective mental health. I’ve always been an introvert, but I’ve never had a lot of social anxiety…until now.  As someone who’s career and jobs (marketing & Business development as well as event planning) hinges on being able to work a room and be comfortable in crowds, this new anxiety is life altering and terrifying. 

In person events are coming back at an incredible pace. I have been invited to so many networking events, luncheons, conferences, social events, kids birthday parties that it is hard to keep track because I’m not only anxious but I’m also out of practice at running my calendar with in-person needs in place; how long does it take to get fully dressed with hair and make up again? How long does it take to drive to this place? Why is there traffic? Oh right! I have to pay for parking…. Must re-download the parking-pay app.

This was all recently tested as I attended my first in-person networking events last week. Attending a familiar, 500 person construction industry event made me realize how rusty my in-person elevator pitch is and that I’m not prepared for small talk and sarcasm. A second event in a crowded bar, brought to the surface for me my newly acquired claustrophobia when in a crowded bar and that the volume level of 200 people talking is way louder and far more distracting than I remember. 

As I looked around at these events I wondered am I the only one feeling this way? Am I the only one fighting the eagerness to embrace my pre-pandemic self, and realizing she may not exist the same way I remember? Am I the only one struggling to ease back into the world of in person gatherings for work or pleasure? 

I’m a direct and curious person by nature so instead of starting a conversation with ‘Wow this second winter sure sucks doesn’t it?’ I found myself asking my fellow event attendees ‘how are you doing with being in person with all these people? Are you feeling a little awkward and uncomfortable too?’ Turns out I am not alone.  

Since many people may not be able to articulate their anxiety the same way as someone who has been handling general anxiety far before the pandemic, I wanted to draw attention to some things event-organizers can do to support their guests and enhance overall guest experience. 

  • Consider putting in place a red/yellow/green system of wrist bands, name tags or lanyards to indicate how comfortable guests are with different levels of interaction. Green is I’ve been starved for interaction – let’s shake hands/hugs/connect closely. Yellow is I’m unsure and may not be ready to shake hands or touch, but happy to connect. Red could be someone who needs some extra space and may still be more comfortable masking 
  • Plan for extra space – larger tables with fewer people at dinners, more high tops at networking events, more bars or walking servers to ensure fewer crowds gathered around bars or food stations
  • Explore a lighter agenda at this year’s events – plan for more social time as people who may have not seen each other in two years, or may be new to the industries connect and learn from each other. Allow space for free discussion 
  • Plan for a ‘quiet space’ near the main event rooms – somewhere with no noise, hand sanitizer, masks, and seating for people who need to decompress and take some time are able to without having to return to their room or leave the event entirely
  • Put your guest’s safety at the forefront and have a mental health nurse on site – include this information in scripts and make this individual easy to find. For someone who may not realize it, a panic attack can feel like a heart attack… having someone knowledgeable onsite to assist is next level awareness of the safety of your guests
  • Have a way for guests to skip the networking rooms – perhaps it means opening the main room early to allow those who may be a bit more anxious to sit at their tables rather than wait in the crowd at the bar
  • Organizers, venue staff, guests, everyone may be dealing with various degrees of this anxiety, be gentle with each other 
  • Be vigilent as organizers –  if someone is hanging back from the registration table, gently ask if you can help them
  • Keep the doors open as much as possible for air flow and if possible find a way to include an outdoor option to the social parts of your event 
  • As an event guest – you are not alone in your worries! Speak up – ask to be sat at the back of the room near an open door, ask the organizers what steps they’re taking, ask for what you need to be as comfortable as possible during this transitional period. 

As much as I want to go back to what I remember to be my enjoyment of events before the pandemic, it’s going to take me time, self-compassion, and the patience of those around me and the knowledge that I’m not alone in this.

Happy Holidays

When we were thinking of what fun we could have for our holiday message this year….at our retreat in AUGUST, we landed on a parody of a Night Before Christmas with some help from our families in key acting roles of course. However, as we tried to write it, it just wasn’t flowing. I was frustrated. “Twas the night before Christmas…..T’was the night before Christmas when all through the…. the… house…” Nothing was coming to me except mice and night caps. 

Then one day, in early December, while wearing a set of sparkly reindeer antlers and driving round delivering goods to a local charity I sang All I Want for Christmas by the incomparable Mariah Carey at the top of my lungs with the windows down and it hit me!  THIS MOVES ME! THIS is what we should do to spread joy and cheer to our favourite people this year. 

And so within 72 hours, in true ‘get-it done’ ED fashion we had mobilized for a full family video shoot in a field west of Edmonton. Drone work by the illustrious Justin Armstrong from Invert 720 and all! We hope it moves your toes to tap and uplifts your lips to an ear splitting grin because this time of year is not about gifts, gazmos or gizmos, it’s about YOU and those you love. 

From our families to yours – Enjoy. 

Virtual Surprise Birthday Celebration

It’s pretty rare that we work on a private event. Our usual clients are planning corporate events. But when one of our favourite corporate event clients approached us to help her host a surprise virtual celebration for her husband’s 60th birthday, we couldn’t help but say yes!

Autorickshaw from Toronto

We thought this would be simple…until we learned that there would be guests joining from countries all over the world; India, Japan, Singapore, United States, Canada, to name a few. Trying to find a time where everyone could come and not be half-asleep was a challenge in itself. We decided on 7:30am MST so that by the time the event finished, it would be just after midnight in Japan. And remember – this was a surprise party! We scheduled our planning meetings at times that he had staff meetings as both he and our client were working from home. Even with our best efforts of scheduling meetings when he should have been busy, there were still times that our client had to talk in code if he passed through her home workspace to grab a coffee. Ninja-style secret event planning at its finest! 

Wanda Baloyi from South Africa

The guest of honour is passionate about music and reading, so we used his eclectic taste in music and his love of books for inspiration. I found 3 incredibly different artists who all agreed to make a 15-minute personalized pre-recorded video.

Kate Blechinger from Edmonton

Wanda Baloyi, a jazz/r&b/neo-soul singer from South Africa, Autorickshaw, an Indian/pop/jazz fusion band from Toronto, and Kate Blechinger, a folk singer from Edmonton. It was great to see people dancing along in their little Zoom box. To celebrate his passion for reading, we asked guests to recommend their favourite book for him to read as part of the RSVP process. This list was shared with him and, as a tribute to his passion for reading, a donation of textbooks was made in his name to a school in India.

We had a fun “How well do you know the birthday boy” quiz and used Mentimeter so everyone could see the results live.

Guest speakers from across the world shared touching messages of appreciation and stories of how he impacted their lives. One of the honoured guests from Japan led everyone in a customary sanbon-jime, consisting of a series of three handclaps to celebrate the end of an event. The guest of honour was very touched that his dear friend and ex-colleague stayed up so late to celebrate and teach everyone this tradition.

Amazing stories, speeches, pictures, laughter, and tears of joy – all parts of a successful international virtual surprise celebration!

The Fath Group Holiday Party

We love working with The Fath Group and their holiday party is always one for the books. In our initial planning meeting with them, we give them options for a few different themes. Once one is selected, we hit the ground running.

Photos do not do it justice!

Knowing our venue was the Pioneers Cabin (formerly The Old Timers Cabin), we wanted to create a special atmosphere the moment the guests stepped into the beautiful, rustic space.  We were inspired by seeing a lighting design by Roy Jackson Design. They can create the Northern Lights on the walls and ceiling, so our theme became “A Night Under The Stars”.

We learned that if you are using a log cabin that was built in the 1950’s, be prepared for some power issues. Luckily, our amazing tech from Roy Jackson Design was able to make it work (after finding the breaker panel) and created a wonderful ambience, complete with shining stars.

We found some beautiful geometric candle holders from Knotwood Event Rentals that we completed with mirrors to help reflect the lights. Fresh cedar was placed on the tables to bring the smell of the fresh outdoors inside. We also rented a large, wooden farmhouse table that became the centrepiece of the room. Our amazing caterer, Creative Quality Catering, designed a beautiful grazing table with meats, cheese, fruits, and crackers that guests could enjoy as they began to arrive.

The incredible farm house grazing table

After dinner, a few speeches and prize-giveaways, we got into the entertainment. We are so lucky that we have such a thriving musical scene in Edmonton and were so pleased when Martin Kerr was available to do an engaging 45-minute set for our event. 

To close out the evening, one end of the cabin became a dance floor and the other end was set up for a paint nite! Smash Art created two paintings for us to fit our starry night theme. The two large groups that painted had a wonderful time and a lovely canvas to hang on their wall once they got home!

Who doesn’t love a photobooth?! Thanks for the fun memories Flashworks!

#morethanapartyplanner – Entertainment

Before I get into my #morethanapartyplanner bit, I feel like I need to tell you how I got started with ED. Some people may think that I’m an unlikely fit for an event planning company. I’m actually a professional musician and have been for about 20 years. I play piano and sing in various theatres around Edmonton, I perform on tracks for film, television, and video games, I work with choirs, and write and arrange music that has been performed all over the world.

4 summers ago, Erin was over having lunch with my husband, John and me. She mentioned that Kelsey was going on maternity leave in a few months and she needed help with ED. John was suggesting a bunch of his students when I finally piped up and said, “what about me?” Now, at the time, I had absolutely NO experience with event planning, but I was willing to learn. I felt the skills I use as an entertainer would contribute to ED’s work; skills like being able to juggle weird schedules, having a creative mind, and my ability to stay calm in busy and stressful situations. Plus I knew my connections in the entertainment industry would prove to be a useful resource.

Fast forward to today, and I know my background as an artist has allowed me to add a different viewpoint to events. And I love being the one that gets to source entertainment! 

Kelsey, Erin, and I have developed a great working relationship, each of us appreciating one another’s individual strengths for delivering a great event. After the initial discovery meeting with a client, Kelsey and I put our brains together to come up with some themes for their event. Once that’s selected, I try to find an entertainment option that fits with the theme. Sometimes our clients specifically ask for something (like a musical act) but often times the ball is left in my court. I usually pitch musical acts to clients (since that’s my background and I have many connections around Edmonton and across the country) but I love it when we can find something really original.

One of my favourite events was a Cirque du Soleil themed Canadian Western Bank gala. I reached out to one of my connections in the performing arts community and was able to book the local circus group, Firefly Theatre, for the event. Aside from doing a jaw-dropping performance for the CWB event, Firefly Theatre also poured champagne for the guests during the reception hour….while hanging upside down from beautiful red silks! This was spectacular to see and definitely gave guests an immediate “wow” factor the second they walked into the room. 

Some things to remember when choosing entertainment options:

  • Book early. If you want the best and you’re booking during a busy season (like Christmas) popular musicians and performers can book up months, or even years, in advance.
  • Confirm if your entertainment needs extra time to set up or tear down. Is this something that can be done before guests arrive? Or will it take extra time during your main event agenda?
  • Know your audience. Don’t book a performer just because YOU really like them. For example, if you have an audience full of young people that just want to get up and dance, maybe a quiet string quartet isn’t the right call.  
  • If you want professionals, build it into your budget. Exposure is never an acceptable form of payment.
  • Depending on your entertainment option, you may want to do a site visit at the venue with them. For the Cirque event I mentioned above, we needed special rigging to make sure the silks could be hung from the ceiling. We needed to coordinate with the venue so the performers could have early access to install the rigging.
  • With virtual events becoming so popular over the pandemic, you can easily include international performers and not have to worry about paying for travel! I just finished up a virtual event where I booked an artist all the way from South Africa.

At the end of the day, I am #morethanapartyplanner! I feel for Erin and Kelsey when they have to work around my crazy performance schedules but am so happy that I spoke up during our lunch and grateful that Erin took a chance on me! 

#morethanapartyplanner – Asking the Right Questions

“I hadn’t thought about that. That’s a great question” I hear this often when working with clients and I take pride in it. With all new ED projects our team holds a discovery session with the client to learn more about their business, their stakeholders and the ‘why’ behind the event or project. Some clients are taken back that we don’t start off with the 5 W’s; who, what, where, when, and why but instead focus on the last ‘W’ first. Why are you choosing to host this event? Why now? Why is this important to you and your organization? Stephen Covey says ‘begin with the end in mind’; starting with the intent and purpose behind the project is critical to then best determine the course of action for all other decisions to be made. 

Of the many things we gather in a discovery session, these three are crucial: 

  1. A Temperature Check: Before starting a project we need to understand what the climate is like within your organization and amongst your stakeholders. Take an employee event for example, if there has been recent structural changes, heavy workloads, layoffs or uncertainty, we need to know that in order to ensure the communications we write for the event reflect the tone and culture to the individuals reading them. You have the insight into your organization and how the team is feeling, we have the expertise to creatively write and curate an event that acknowledges the current state of morale while also moving forward, celebrating or recognizing accomplishments. Showing vulnerability to acknowledge the struggle will go much further than just glossing over it and trying to rally the teams for the next stage or goal. The answer to this question gives us insight into the current emotional state of your organization 
  1. Your Definition of Success: Have you ever considered what your definition of success is when you start a new project? It’s an interesting task and reveals a lot about how an individual sees and measures accomplishment. Not to mention, each person around the table might have a different definition of success- which is a good thing! In order for us to help you achieve your goals and ‘why’, we need to know from the beginning how you will determine if it was successful. Is it based on the number of leads generated, employee feedback, satisfaction surveys etc. As with any metric, we need to know what we are measuring before we start. The answer to this question gives us an insight into what is of most importance to you. 
  1. What Keeps You Awake at Night: Although you’ve hired us to work with your team to drive the project forward, there are still many other priorities on your plate that we are not aware of. We need to know your greatest stress point so we can help alleviate it.  For many clients, it is not related to the project, but if we know what the internal pressures are, we can help to plan the timeline around them. If we know you have a big board meeting in a certain week, we’ll do our best to get any decisions or answers we need from you well in advance or not bother you until after. On the other hand, if you are most concerned about the project, then we’ll send you weekly check in emails to update you in between meetings. The answer to this question helps us to communicate with you effectively and to be aware of competing priorities in our timeline and planning to ensure it doesn’t become too much for you or the team. 

Let me finish with a short story of a recent, brilliant, question that was asked during a discovery session- and no, it wasn’t my question this time! 

In working with a client for their upcoming podcast series, Erin asked: “If the podcast was a chair, what kind of chair would it be?” The look of surprise on the client’s face lasted for a moment but while they thought about it I was in awe at what an amazing question it was! Think about it, it’s simply a different way, a different perspective to think about the project. It challenged the client to think about the end result with how and where they envision their target market listening to their podcast. The answers they give us will tell us significantly more about how they envision it. Is it a leather recliner by the fireplace in a library or study? Is it an Adirondack chair in the backyard or by the lake? Is it a high stool at a noisy bar? Or is there no chair at all and it’s in the gym or on the river valley trails while someone is working out? 

We challenge you to not only strive to ASK great questions but then to truly LISTEN to the responses.

#morethanapartyplanner

Do you have a job where when you tell people what you do they have a preconceived notion or stereotype about what that means? Let me give you a perfect example. 

Random Person: “great to meet you Kelsey, so what do you do for work?”

Me: “great to meet you Random, I’m a corporate event planner!” 

Random: “oh that’s cool, so you plan parties?”

Me: “well….I guess yes, sometimes, but there is so much more to it than that”

Random: “yeah, I get it, I just helped my community league host a bouncy castle and cotton candy day for the kids. You have such a fun job!”

Don’t get me wrong, I have planned a couple events that had bouncy castles and cotton candy but those are minor details compared to what we (ED Marketing) actually does. Yes, choosing the right caterer and entertainment is important to the guest experience but if those were your only 2 decisions to make then you could have your Aunt Susan do some research on Google and make it happen.

Over the next couple of weeks we are going to share with you some thoughts on why we are #morethanapartyplanner and how having strategy, thoughtful intention and a marketing mindset can take your event from being just a social gathering to a brand building, employee culture or community development opportunity. 

We see events as an opportunity to share your message, purpose, brand and unique characteristics in a memorable way. Events are a great marketing tool that beats out a traditional print or billboard campaign and can create lasting impressions- which is what you ideally want right? 

Erin, Jen and myself each have a unique background and current role within ED that when combined provides a fuller picture than just that of planning a party. 

I’ll be up first next week and I’ll share with you a bit about our discovery process that is our first step with clients when discussing their event. In the meantime, do you have a job that people tend to think they know what you do? Share a meme with us about your job and what people think you actually do!

Canadian Western Bank National Leadership Conference

The mission, should we choose to accept it (which we did of course), was to guide a highly functioning but busy team to launch day for their national leadership conference. The dates were set, the theme chosen and some of the session topics approved. The ED team was tasked with managing the project timeline, the committee and developing engaging, creative digital content as well as custom packages to be delivered across the country. Oh, and the launch date (aka conference start) was only 4 weeks away.

The conference name was Fueling the Future and with the graphic design focused on space, rocket ships and astronauts our team put on our flight suits and worked long days in mission control. There is so much we could tell you about this event, and are happy to chat more sometime, but for today we’ll keep it to 3 things.

  1. Conference Packages
You’ve got to have some sustenance! And who doesn’t love cookies?!?

Creating a personal, interactive and engaging experience was key for CWB. The social aspect of this conference in past years when it was allowed in person was the highlight for many as they would only see colleagues from across the country at this one time.

When considering what to send attendees, we knew they would be expecting the traditional printed conference program, maybe a branded water bottle and a hotel branded pen and we definitely were NOT going to be doing that! Come on, who really wants another branded pen…

Some light hearted fun included in the package!

In keeping with the space theme, we created 3 separate packages for attendees to open at specific times which were written onto the package labels. When guests opened their package, they first saw a welcome to crew members message from Chris Fowler, CWB President & CEO and Mission Control (aka Tech Support) contact information.

Package 1: Pre-Flight Check

Package 2: Day 1- Ignite: We have Lift Off

Package 3: Day 2- Accelerate: Reaching Light Speed

2. Digital Assets & Production

Some of the digital assets created, in partnership with the talented crew at invert720 Productions, were a countdown video to start each conference day and a blast-off video to start sessions. Attendees were surprised from the moment the program started and knew this wasn’t just going to be another ‘Teams meeting’.

Still from the countdown video

We used invert720’s studio space where the designed LED wall matched the other design aspects of the digital event and the printed packages people received to bring a cohesive experience to guests.

Sr. AVP Kate Lister in front of the branded LED wall

Another impactful piece developed was a video compilation of CWB staff answering the same few questions. These questions related to the session topics and were used as intros to the sessions. The response from staff was great and we had many submitted videos for every question.

3. Guest Communications

We helped integrate the theme in written communications to guests leading up to the event. The attendees enjoyed the unique mission control messages they were receiving and it created anticipation and curiosity. Here are a couple examples:

  • Every successful astronaut needs to prepare for their mission. Usually this involves years of physical, mental and emotional training to be in the best-pre-flight shape for the stress of space travel. We’re not asking you to do this much pre-launch work; however; you will be receiving a few crucial items that contribute to the success of each astronaut. Click this link and provide your current, accurate, complete SHIPPING address to receive your pre-launch package in time.
  • Before each flight, many astronauts pre-record messages or write notes to friends and family to read while they are in space. We would like you to do the same! As part of your mental training for your upcoming mission aboard the CWB Rocketship, Mission Control would like you to choose 3 questions from the following list and record your answers on your smart phone. Then submit your recordings to Mission Control to create a special video.
  • This is your final system check before blast off. The deadline to register for the Fueling the Future Leadership Conference (mission!) is imminent. The ship’s systems have been double and triple checked; the fuel cells engaged and the team is moving towards the launch pad….will you be among them? If you haven’t registered, now is your last chance to complete the pre-flight information to receive crucial mission sensitive information. IF YOU DO NOT register before the deadline #TeamTeal will launch without you. You will be left, helmet in hand, staring wistfully into the stars imagining the fun your fellow astronauts will have had WITHOUT YOU!

Things we learnt that you might want to consider in planning your next event:

  1. Sending creative themed packages is great but keep in mind that you might not have all of your employee’s home addresses. Or if you do, it might be from 10+ years ago when they started with you and you will want to confirm shipping addresses as part of the registration process. This can take extra time but is worth it up front to ensure accuracy in your shipping.
  2. As with an in-person event, the guest experience starts BEFORE the event starts and it’s a great way to build anticipation and help tie your theme together from beginning to end
  3. Packaging 350 boxes, each with 3 different packages inside of them takes a lot of time and man power!
  4. Virtual events provide different opportunities for people to attend. Maybe in the past, your in-person event was only for a certain level (ex: Senior Leadership & Executive) and that was partially due to budget in flying people to one location. Now, you can consider having Managers and up and coming leaders join in virtually. This is great, but does add to the complexity of getting your invite list ready and approved.
  5. A space themed event is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

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