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What Went Wrong? Pre-problem Solving For An Issue Free Conference Event

October 2017

One of our long standing clients in the motor insurance sector recently asked us to deliver their annual company-wide conference. As always, the event was a great success, and while we love writing about how well our conferences and team building events go, we also analyse each and every one of them to make sure we’re learning from every possible outcome, whether it happens or not.

Capturing issues early and engineering work arounds before the event is one of the ways we really add value for our clients. After all, post-conference 20-20 hindsight won’t help you have a perfect event.

So, what would have gone wrong on this particular day?

Itinerary timings – speakers know their allocated timings and yet so often enthusiasm means a presentation runs over – and strangely the average is 10 minutes! This could result in missed comfort breaks, teambuilding activities running behind, a late lunch and a restless and hungry audience. With the co-operation of the client organiser we built in extended timings for refreshments and lunch beforehand and as we always recommend leaving detailed timings off the delegate itineraries – when the inevitable happened – the time was regained without impacting the audience’s experience.

Exhibition – With this being the first year that our client had organised an exhibition as part of the itinerary, the list of internal exhibitors was extensive, the IT requirements were varied but the budget was very limited! Many of the exhibitors would bring their own laptops, tablets and projectors to hook up to our plasma screens and knowing how complicated hooking up incompatible devices with the wrong cables can be we produced an ‘IT cables’ guide which allowed the exhibitors to see the names, pictures and descriptions of the cables available to them onsite. Not one exhibitor arrived without the right adapters so were all able to display their content and of course we had spare cables in stock just in case!

AV Autocue – as the speaker itinerary developed and more hosts became involved for each different section, it became obvious that the number of people wanting to use the autocue system would not allow time between each speaker to manually set the autocue glass height to suit them. With only a few weeks to go, we addressed this by switching to an electric glass system to allow us to reset the height remotely between presenters, avoid unsightly delays between sessions and allow each speaker to see their script – a rather critical essential!

But like any event organiser knows, there are some things that you just can’t plan for! Such was the case when after rehearsal, changes were needed to slides in EVERY presentation. Fortunately, over the years our team has learnt to be ready for anything so powered by coffee and sugar we worked into the small hours to complete the changes.

Great event planning really is one of the major keys to any successful conference or exhibition event and avoiding potential problems on the day. But when the unavoidable happens, a flexible expert event management team on the day is worth their weight in gold!

Get in touch with us if you’d like your next team building or conference event to be taken care of by an Events Company who will look for the potential issues during planning.

Winning Applause From Conference Delegates: An Event Management How To

October 2017

So you’ve booked the conference venue, all the speakers are lined up and you’ve issued invitations to attendees. Your conference is off the starting blocks and you can heave a big sigh of relief. But the next consideration could determine the make-or-break of your event’s success. The value of the event will be largely measured on the satisfaction recorded by its attendees.

One of the biggest challenges of a conference organiser is to shape the agenda in such a way as to keep the audience engaged and enthused throughout the day. Here are a few tips to ensure no yawns, no empty seats and a large round of applause at the end.

Variety is the spice of life: if you’ve ever had to sit through a full day of PowerPoint presentations, with no opportunity to actively participate, and just the most cursory Q&A component, you’ll know how dull and uninspiring the experience can be. Small wonder that attendees emerge tired and grumpy, having learned little and enjoyed less. And yet it’s easy at drawing board stage, to suggest an agenda with rich and varied content. Of course you’ll need presentations, but why not build in an engaging team building activity such as a treasure hunt, a workshop or even an exhibition, one or two interactive sessions along with an ice breaker should break the day up comfortably, helping conference delegates maintain concentration.

Short and sweet: 20 minutes is probably the longest period that any of us can maintain active concentration. After that, the mind wanders, thoughts turn to lunch or the brain gently slides into neutral. Speakers are understandably keen to share their insights in great detail but research shows that delegates actually appreciate shorter and more concise presentations with the opportunity to submit their own questions and comments. Whenever possible, ask speakers from the outset to bear these two points in mind when planning their content.

Ask your Events Company how best to achieve the longest period of engagement.

We’ve been in Events Management for over 20 years and audience engagement technology has evolved massively in that time. We are finding that conference delegates love to be involved in two-way dialogue instead of being passive listeners, and the latest conference apps allow questions and comments to be submitted from the floor. We’ve recently developed our own event apps, which enable members of the audience to put live questions and comment to speakers as part of interactive business sessions. The great bonus is that group conclusions can be reached on the day and feedback obtained while delegates are still experiencing the event.

Active learning: Once the key conference messages have been conveyed in the meeting room, why not reinforce them via a team building activity? We all assimilate information in different ways, so the inclusion of quizzes or challenges can help to ensure understanding in an interactive, entertaining way.

Ice breakers: Energy levels tend to slump immediately after lunch, so we recommend that our clients energize their delegates and get the oxygen flowing. A quick 10 minute ice-breaker works wonders before the start of the first afternoon presentation. Not only will your delegates thank you, but their memory recall of that first session will be so much stronger.

Controlling the clock: In a perfect event management world, speakers would religiously stick to the timetable but it’s not unusual for sessions to either finish early or over-run. And in every event organiser’s memory there are instances where speakers had to pull out on the day. So it’s a good idea to plan for the worst and ensure your agenda has built-in flexibility. This way you’ll be able to adjust the length of refreshment breaks to either catch up from the over-runs or fill-in some unexpected free time.

Give us a break: Research has shown that conference delegates really appreciate the opportunity to network with other attendees or catch up on their e-mails, so it’s not a good idea to pack the agenda too tightly. And if you do get a last minute speaker cancellation, what may seem like a crisis to you could turn out to be a welcome gap for them.

Bright eyed and sharp-witted: Conference venues used to provide stodgy traditional meals but in recent years there has been a revolution in menu design. But if you feel the options are lacklustre, don’t be afraid to ask for healthy alternatives, such as fresh fruit smoothies and raw vegetable canapés. That way your delegates will be saved the mid-afternoon blood-sugar crashes which are so detrimental to concentration and problem-solving.

And for overnight events, late-night alcohol binges can be a disaster for attendance levels on subsequent mornings, so the inclusion of a coffee bar as an alternative option may yield dividends. Guests really appreciate the extra choice and will be far more alert the following morning.

Our clients have found that putting themselves in the delegates’ shoes and imagining what would create an inspiring, upbeat day for them, is the best way of ensuring enthusiastic feedback at the end of the event. You want your delegates to go home happy, and so do we!

Speak to us if you need some help planning your next conference or team building away day.

Gone to the dogs? Not a chance! A Three Day Product Launch – Creative Team Building & Unique Party Theming

September 2017

An event to mark the launch of a ground-breaking animal healthcare product, developed by a global healthcare leader. While the new brand would be a transformational offering, it would be entering an already-satisfied market place competing against established household name products.

The internal staff launch therefore had the critical mission of galvanising the salesforce with team building activities to challenge the status quo and confidently sell the revolutionary new brand, while assisting direct-selling customers to regain business that was currently being lost through other channels.

The three-day launch would bring together over 150 employees in what was briefed as a transformational event that would enable and empower staff to ‘create great’.

Creating a transformational event

Having won a three-way pitch, for the provision of the event’s operational content, KDM Events had a four week window in which to source two venues one for the accommodation and business content, and the other for the product launch itself and to design a dedicated delegate registration website for streamlined and effective event management.

The branding and the concept behind the launch theme had been designed by healthcare strategy and communications specialist, Cognite.  KDM was tasked with conveying Cognite’s ‘Transformational’ theme into the look and feel for the events.

We also produced two key elements of the internal launch – the gala dinner and team building activity.

Day One of the three day product launch conference saw the 150 delegates engaged in business unit meetings, using multiple meeting rooms at London’s Tower Hotel.  The unveiling of the new product took place on Day Two, at iconic events space Vinopolis. The surprise guest speaker was distinguished physicist and presenter Professor Brian Cox, who inspired the audience with a scientific talk echoing and expanding on the launch’s ‘Transformational’ theme.

The gala dinner at the Tower Hotel saw the venue ‘transformed’ in the new product logo colours with creative table and room dressing.  Mind reader Alex Crow delighted guests with a personalised cabaret while a customised photo studio provided delegates with souvenir photos linked to the product.

Day Three of the launch provided an opportunity for delegates to put their understanding of the new product into practice, through one of our most popular and unique team building activities, the Stop Motion Animation techniques made popular by Aardman Studio’s ‘Wallace & Gromit’.  In this highly creative session, delegates worked in teams using modelling clay and craft materials as well as mini studios and recording equipment to create, film and edit their own movies.  The exercise stretched participants to communicate ideas in new ways and brought out strong teamwork, planning and production skills.

Our very happy client said:  “Both the choice of venues and the launch content reinforced the brand’s essence and core values.  The event’s messaging and delivery helped support our team to further believe in the product and they came away energised and ready to ‘create great’ and be ‘transformational’ in the field.  We are confident that they will be able to challenge perceptions, and encourage direct-selling customers to rethink and become brand ambassadors in their own right.”

A result any events company would be proud of!

Relighting the Company Fire – Evening Entertainment & Venue Finding for a Company Party

September 2017

A leading Plant Hire Company, stuck in an annual groundhog day type corporate dinner, enlisted our help to refresh the company-wide event and make it an occasion that their 300+ employees would be excited to be a part of.

Where to start! The event had been held at the same venue for a number of years and the format was unchanged so the KDM Event Management team got to work straight away on venue finding, getting our ideas and recommendations across on that same day.

St John’s Hotel in Solihull was the chosen event venue, providing the Midlands based company with 150 bedrooms and space for their rejuvenated company party.

Our next task was to consider ways to change from a staid corporate dinner, to a Company celebration dinner thanking employees for their hard work – with a particular emphasis on entertainment & fun, in order to leave a lasting impression & strengthen morale amongst employees.

After considering a range of possible themes, a Wild West Themed evening was selected to create a real party atmosphere – with the focus then turning onto the requirement to ensure a memorable evening. KDM dressed all tables & provided bespoke cactus centrepieces, and themed the room with a range of props such as Ranch signs, bale stacks, gallows, gravestones, silhouette panels, themed backdrops etc – along with a bespoke Wild West themed saloon bar & entranceway.

From a wide range of entertainment options, KDM sourced a band along with line caller to provide a barn dance, as well as various themed shooting ranges, Rodeo Bull, bespoke Photo Studio & spoof paparazzi amongst others. A memorable evening was had by all, with excellent client feedback also reporting that next year’s event will have to be larger due to increased demand to attend from employees.

 

 

 

We’re a full service Events Management Company with a huge range of themes available here: Themed Evenings, and prices starting from £20 per head, why not reduce the stress of your next event by contacting KDM to do what we do best!!

High Energy Injection – Team Building & Conference Event Management

August 2017

The Finance division of a global construction machinery giant, initially approached KDM with a view to putting together a team building activity event, which would be a key element of its annual company conference.

The conference would be exclusively for the Finance division staff, with a lot of the content structured around the company’s varied product range. The organisers were hoping to squeeze a hefty agenda into a very tight timeframe, and after the day’s business sessions the participants would attend a reception followed by an awards evening. For the Midlands – based company, the Mere Golf Resort and Spa hotel offered the ideal event location.

Having discovered that KDM are in fact a full service Events Company providing not only team building activities & entertainment, but also event management & conference production, our client expanded our brief somewhat in order lighten their own event planning burden.

While our event manager worked closely with the client during the planning phase, we picked up new tasks to assist with event production including full event management & support for the day’s programme to ensure the smooth running of the events. We devised a bespoke 30-minute Family Fortunes – style ice-breaker focussed team building session in the afternoon, involving questions based on the company’s products – teams answered 19 specially-prepared questions on screen, using table buzzers and added sound effects contributed to the competitive atmosphere.

For the conference as a whole KDM provided full AV support, including set and stage, audio, video and lighting.

Any fatigue felt by the 82 delegates at the end of their day of business sessions was soon dispelled by our evening entertainment in the shape of nine-piece soul and latin band, which injected high energy into a very lively evening drinks reception.

For the awards dinner the venue was transformed with a vibrant turquoise and orange theme, continuing the buzz of the preceding upbeat reception. As well as colour-wash lighting around the room, we provided specially designed table centres that continued the flamboyant theme.

In addition to assisting with conference event management, KDM provided AV support for the awards dinner, as well as music to accompany the presentations for each of the winning categories.

Speaking after the event our client said: “Conference went very well, everything was brilliant, band provided were amazing – table dressing and room looked great.”

End to End Team Building & Event Management for a Unified Conference Experience

August 2017

KDM recently produced a unique experience comprising of team building activities, company party entertainment and end-to-end event management for an occasion any events company would be proud to showcase – a senior-level international conference that unified the senior global team behind a new leadership ethos.

About our client: Tunstall Healthcare Group is the market-leading provider of technology-enabled care services. Operating in over 50 countries and supporting over 3.6 million people worldwide, the organisation’s technology and services play a key role in helping older people and those with long-term needs to stay out of hospital and residential care and live independently.

The Brief: Our client asked for KDM’s support in planning its annual three-day conference. The event would provide a rare opportunity to bring together the company’s senior global team, to network, share common goals and take the company’s vision forward.

Our first task was to source a venue for an event that would include guest speakers, award ceremonies, workshops and team building activities. The CEO favoured a country house-style venue for 60 participants that would be prestigious but not ostentatious, in a rural location. With colleagues travelling from Australia, the US and Europe the location needed to be no more than an hour from Manchester Airport .

KDM involvement: We proposed Rookery Hall, an Elizabethan-style mansion in Cheshire. Having worked previously with the venue we were confident that it could deliver on all fronts, providing the requested auditorium and break-out rooms. We undertook the graphic design of logos, invitations and event branding. All collateral reflected the ‘Unify’ vision for the company’s strategy – the ethos of pulling together and collaborating. KDM also managed the conference AV and production, gala dinner theming and provision of evening entertainment.

One of the event’s highlights was a team building activity – The Missing Link. Devised by KDM, the exercise involved 10 teams each tasked with building ‘their’ section of the Missing Link machine. Gradually teams discovered that rather than competing, they needed to cooperate collectively to bring together the interconnected modules. KDM’s Senior Event Manager facilitated the activity, sharing notes on how each individual behaved within their team with the client’s own facilitator who fed-back progress live at the event. The Missing Link put into practice the company’s new strategy and enabled delegates to experience first hand the ‘Unify’ theme.

Client feedback: Carolyn Reed, Global HR Director said: “A big thank you to you and the team – the support the team has given us for Unify has been nothing short of brilliant!”

Mr Bond … I’ve been expecting you – Comprehensive Event Management with a Creative Team Building Twist

July 2017

After KDM had delivered a successful corporate team building activity event in 2015 for the UK’s largest full-service dental dealer, our client contacted us again – initially requesting a team engagement activity. As it turned out, our assignment was to evolve into a much more comprehensive event management package, and one with a distinctly Secret Service theme!

Our original brief was for an indoor-based, competitive team building event, by providing team building activities incorporating team work, creativity, and most of all, fun to appeal to the company’s 60-strong sales team during its annual conference. Cue ‘The Chocolatier’s Apprentice’ an engaging, entertaining and creative team building activity that had teams using a range of skills from creative thinking to budgeting, sales and marketing…all involving chocolate!

Learning that there was no AV provision in place for the company’s conference presentations, we proposed our full in-house AV package for the day and evening. This meant that presentations were made on stage during the morning’s business meeting and then teams had the opportunity to pitch ideas for the afternoon’s Chocolatier’s Apprentice team build to their unsuspecting competitors. We also took care of the conversion of the stage, set and lighting to create the perfect atmosphere for the evening’s Company Awards ceremony and themed dinner party.

In honour of the recently-released Bond film, Spectre, the awards dinner was transformed into a ‘shaken not stirred’ cocktail of sumptuous black and silver table dressing and elegant glass table centrepieces. Giant event props were used to dress the room and create a Bond theme, and an elegant Hollywood style red carpet lined the dining room entrance. Retro games provided the informal entertainment for the evening.

Finally our in-house professional event photographer captured the highlights of the day’s activities and evening award celebrations. As an events company who pride ourselves on great value & quality by employing our own full time event management & production team we were delighted to offer our in-house professional event photographer to capture the highlights of the day’s team building activities & evening award celebrations.

The client’s verdict

“Fabulous feedback…The team did a great job, seamless transition from afternoon to evening! The Chocolatier event delivered in every respect – team building, leadership, creativity and most of all fun. Sensational! As always – you guys are really easy to work with. Till the next time.”

Looking forward to it Mr Bond!

Bravura Party Performance at Stamford Bridge – Star Studded Conference Event Management

July 2017

Asked to produce an action-packed motivational staff party at a landmark London venue, KDM’s corporate event squad brought Hollywood to Chelsea FC for a star-studded experience.

About our client
Our client is part of a leading UK merchant banking group listed on the FTSE 250 index and one of the City’s most enterprising and respected banks. A pioneering provider of premium finance with a 35-year pedigree, the company helps over a million people across the UK and Ireland spread the cost of their insurance policy.

The brief
With a strong commitment to customer service and an industry-leading staff training programme, the company sees employee engagement as critical to its business success. KDM had been producing annual employee events, ranging from corporate team building activities & games through to full conference event management, for this client for the last three years, but its new Chief Executive was keen to kick-off 2015 with a fresh event format that would motivate and reward all 330 staff members for the year ahead.

We were tasked firstly with sourcing a venue exuding real wow-factor that would be sited within a 20-minute radius of our client’s Wimbledon office, and secondly with producing an action-packed evening event combining dinner, dancing and an awards ceremony.

KDM’s response
From a shortlist of six possible venues we proposed Stamford Bridge – the iconic home of Chelsea FC and ideally located with excellent transport links to neighbouring Wimbledon. Most importantly, the venue’s Great Hall provides a magnificent open space for large-scale company events. Rather than being a dedicated function suite, this versatile area gave us the perfect blank canvas on which to stamp the personality and style that would create an unforgettable corporate event.

‘A Night at the Movies’ was the chosen theme to tie in with their internal communications programme, and with the help of creative lighting, star cloth and giant props, the guests were transported to Hollywood for a night of glitz and glamour. Throughout dinner a series of themed team building games kept them on the edge of their seats. Contestants won prizes using specially-designed scratch-cards, and each movie-themed table competed to win a celebrity face mashup contest. In addition to a pre-arranged celebrity look-alike contest, guests took selfies, which could be immediately uploaded onto the main screen, offering just one of the evening’s many prize opportunities. Following the company’s award ceremony, an eight-piece band and DJ ensured there was no let-up in adrenalin-fuelled activity. Our Event Management team were delighted with the results and enjoyed the evening almost as much as our client’s guests.

Client feedback
Our seamless event management seems to have paid off! Here’s just a sample of the comments received from the guests:

“A great evening thoroughly enjoyed by all within my teams so thank you so much for putting this on for everyone!”
“Amazing night and a huge thank you to everyone involved in organising it!”
“Great location, fantastic effort with decoration of the main room.”
“It was a well organised evening and I enjoyed myself, it just went too quickly.”
“It was amazing, I felt as if I enjoyed myself too much! Was such a great atmosphere and the marketing team and everyone involved really did pull it out of the bag! Well done”
“The decorations were amazing and loved the Hollywood theme.”

When in Rome

April 2017

April found the KDM Events team packing our bags as we were invited to organise a team event at the newly opened Hotel Eden in Rome.

We were asked by our clients to organise a two day team event that provided activities dealing with team work and transformation, whilst also being fun and innovative. The team event was being held at the newly restored Hotel Eden located in the city of Rome as part of their ‘People Forum’. The forum was organised for the client’s internal team of Heads of Department.

Pleased to be invited to organise this team event, we packed everything we needed for the two day event into large suitcases and flew to Rome to deliver an animation team building activity and a beatbox energiser.

So what did the two day event consist of?

Across the two day team event the KDM team delivered our Animation Innovation team build activity and our Beat Box workshop to 40 members of the client’s team.

The Animation Innovation activity is designed to encourage team building through creativity. Through an introduction to Stop Motion Animation techniques, the team members were given the opportunity to use new ways of communication to show their ideas as they created, produced and edited their own animation.

Alongside the animation activity, we also provided a beatboxing workshop. The clients team were introduced to the techniques and skills needed to beatbox. Beat Box is a great energiser as it allows all members of the team to be involved as they work together to see what can be achieved together using only mouth, voice and lips. With their newly learnt skills and having been allocated different percussion sections, teams successfully worked together to create a musical memory.

And the feedback?

Our client delighted us with a very short email ending with this sign off “All was amazing!”

The UK’s Best Event Provider!

April 2017

We did it!

The first time we’ve even considered taking time out of the day job to enter ourselves into the industry’s most prestigious M&IT Industry Awards – and we bagged ourselves a GOLD!

(read more …)


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