Murphy's Law states: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." This is especially true and especially painful when there is an audience involved.

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This blog was active from April, 2008 to July 2012.
It is no longer being updated but will continue to be maintained for reference purposes.

What did you say?

Here’s a gem from meeting planner Deborah Elias’ piece describing the challenges she faced in putting together 3 events in 3 nights:

Never assume your vendors will share information, even among their own staff. Always verify that the appropriate people receive firsthand information for accuracy, then follow-up with a thorough conference call. Despite its convenience, email often leaves too much to interpretation.

Might Have Missed List (01/30/11)

MUST READ: MPA Political, LLC  — Unconventional Wisdom: Events

As I looked back on 2010 and saw the great big failures, they troubled me.  Messaging failures, generally unprepared or unqualified campaign staff, candidates unwilling to learn, listen and/or improve, and of course strategies that were designed to fail from the start…  But then there was a feeling of downright anger.  How the hell can Democratic campaigns fail so often at the very basics of setting up an event?  Does no one teach this stuff anymore?  Do people not learn from event to event?  Do they not see the big greasy piles of fail due to some form of rose colored glasses?

. . .

You should visit and walk the venue, take pictures.  Think about where attendees with enter, where they will gather, will there be food/drinks somewhere drawing the mingling crowd?  How many chairs will there be, how will they be arranged, where will the walkways be?  Are there tables?  Sketch these things out as best you can.

Where will the candidate enter the room?  Will the candidate have access to a “green room”, or a restroom, prior to entering the venue?  When they enter, will they be overwhelmed with the crowd as they enter?  Who will walk the candidate in, meet the candidate at the car/bus?  Will someone be introducing the candidate to the attendees as they mingle?  Will the candidate be going straight to the “stage” upon entering to speak, and straight out after speaking?  How will they enter and exit?

The Eloquent Woman — 5 things speakers should ask the meeting planner

Identify room setup. You should ask questions about the room setup, for instance, will you will be behind a podium, or on a panel? If on a panel, will there be seating behind a table or in separate chairs? If chairs, what kind? This may sound rather anal; however, I’ve seen many presenters on panels who did not know they would be sitting in director’s chairs. If you’re a female in a skirt that happens to be too short or doesn’t easily move when you sit down, this could be rather uncomfortable and potentially give the audience a bit too much to see. Or if your preference is to appear behind a podium and organizers expect you to roam the stage in delivering your remarks, it’s probably best to know that before you arrive.

To allow AV or No AV…that’s an important question. Have you ever showed up with PowerPoint in hand only to learn that there’s no equipment for such use? It may happen more often than you think. Finding out the overall format of the presentation is critical as well as allowances for audio visual equipment, including internet access. Sometimes lack of AV could be a budgetary consideration. At other times, it simply may not suit the program. Make sure to ask about it.

The Official join.me Blog — Darth Vader Was Not Invited To The Conference Call

Your dog is not invited.

Sure, I like dogs. Who doesn’t? But we did not invite your dog to the conference call. So if you’re taking this call from home, then make sure your dog isn’t in the room. Because dogs are unpredictable, and before you know it they are barking and the call is ruined. Don’t make your dog my problem.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (08/17/08)

GIZMODO: Blue Screen of Death Strikes Bird’s Nest During Opening Ceremonies Torch Lighting.

Perform Marketing Solutions: The audience doesn’t care about you — “At an important presentation, the wireless microphone’s batteries go ‘flat’ & you wait for ages while the technical crew looks for new batteries. The laptop doesn’t open the Powerpoint presentation; the speaker arrives late; a guitar string breaks right in the middle of a solo. What do all of these have in common? Who cares?! The audience doesn’t care what caused the problem, they don’t care that it can’t be helped, they don’t have empathy for you at all, ever.”

USA Today: Chilly rooms anger people at conferences, social events — “If two or three weeks later they’re still thinking about the temperature, then that’s an issue.” He hates cold rooms. It’s so frustrating “to plan a fabulous program, with a speaker you paid $100,000 for, and all you hear from people leaving is ‘Brrr, it was freezing in there!’ ” (via face2face).

Manage Smarter: Conference Call Cacophony: Top Five Mistakes –“Your training teleconference is going great, until you hear the screaming baby in the background, and the static of a bad connection sets in.”

My Toastmasters Blog: Epic Failure: How to Not Connect with the Audience — “Yesterday I sat though an hour long presentation. Today, I cannot recall any of the main points. I can’t remember anything because the speaker did not care enough about the material to connect with the audience and make a point. Epic Failure for a presenter.”