Let’s Go Chiefs!

We are thrilled to see the AFC West Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 1st KC home playoff game in 6 years! During football season, all Friday’s are a RED FRIDAY!

We appreciate the Kansas City Business Journal featuring our team’s distain for a colleague’s alliance to the Steelers.

http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2017/01/13/kansas-chiefs-workplace-photos.html 

 

ASE Group Founder & CEO, Bonnie Siegel joins All-Star Froozer Board of Advisors.

— Des Hague, Chairman and CEO of Froozer and Rich Naha, President of Froozer, the fast-growing frozen whole food fruit and vegetable snack maker announced today that Bonnie Siegel, founder and CEO of ASE Inc. has joined their all-star cast of Board of Advisors. Siegel’s unmatched experience and approach to brand strategy has an indelible impact on every client and organization she touches. Siegel has focused ASE’s sights exclusively working within the corporate market, franchise organizations and most recently political campaign events. Siegel has over 27 years of experience in Events, Meetings, Branding Strategy and Protocol, and has developed a global client list – proof positive her approach works. Siegel believes if you understand the brand, you can pave the outcome to having an indelible impact for every client. Her firm has won numerous awards from industry organizations and peers, allowing her to share her experiences and knowledge through speaking engagements and published articles. “I have known Bonnie for a decade,” stated Des Hague. “Her passion for excellence and creativity is enviable. It is a pleasure to have Bonnie join our company at this critical juncture to help us drive demonstrable growth globally,” concluded Hague.

Siegel began her event career in the early 80’s as the Liaison Officer for the Israeli Mission to the United Nations. Siegel coordinated meetings and events on behalf of the mission as well as the U.N. Secretariat. She also produced countless fundraising events for major philanthropic organizations while living in New York. In 1992, having established ASE Group only 5 years earlier, she was recognized and invited by the U.S. Department of Defense to lead workshops in Heidelberg, Germany for the Moral Welfare & Recreation (MWR), division of the Army to organize and develop special events at various bases throughout Europe.

Siegel’s laser focus and vision for ASE Group has led her company to produce meetings and special events in the corporate marketplace, specializing in the franchise, retail and dealer sectors. Most recently, Siegel was retained to be the National Brand Strategist and Lead Advance for the Cruz for President campaign putting her strategic thinking, branding, and event planning expertise to work. Her broad experience helped meld the messaging and image of Senator Ted Cruz into the most recognized Leader of the Republican Conservative Movement. Additionally, ASE Group partnered with the Cruz campaign to produce numerous nationally publicized events throughout the 2016 GOP Primaries.

Siegel holds a dual master’s degree in International Public Policy and Public Administration from Binghamton University, New York. She is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), has sat on multiple boards within and outside of her industry as well as in the community. “Froozer is an outstanding Brand,” said Siegel and continued, “there is no better time for a fresh, innovative, yet simple product like this to deeply penetrate the consumer market. There is definitely a renaissance taking place where people of all ages are looking for wholesome, healthy, nutritious and sustainable food choices for themselves and their children. Froozer is on the cutting edge of what the consumer is craving,” concluded Siegel. “These are exciting times for Froozer, and the talent we are assembling positions us well for explosive growth,” said Froozer President, Rich Naha.

About Froozer® – “simple ingredients. real nutrition.”
Froozer® products, the official healthy frozen fruit and vegetable snack of US Speedskating, represent the pure goodness of freshly harvested fruits & veggies picked at the peak of their ripeness, flash-frozen whole and blended for optimal taste, nutrition and digestion. Natural fruits and veggies in all their glory, nothing added or subtracted, not even a drop of water. Available in three delicious flavors – STRAWBANANA BLISS, TROPICAL SUNSET and BLUE ALOHA – in 6-pack boxes. Look for Froozer® in your local grocery store freezer at selected retail locations in and around Denver, including WholeFoods and Alfalfa’s, and various select retailers in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington State, Rhode Island and Alaska, or place your order at http://www.Froozer.com or http://www.Amazon.com to have your Froozer® delivered directly to your home or office.

For more information, please visit http://froozer.com

Source: http://marketersmedia.com/des-hague-of-froozer-expands-board-of-advisors/144734

 

ASE Group in the Kansas City Community!

Members of the team at ASE Group had the opportunity to provide lunch service at the Kansas City Community Kitchen on Tuesday, November 8th. We fulfilled a variety of needs that allowed the facility to operate as a restaurant rather than a soup kitchen. It also gave us the opportunity to experience the operational side of the restaurant business! Our team served as hostesses, servers, bussers and kitchen staff allowing diners to be served their meal and beverage while they relaxed at their table. In our daily work, we create an All Senses Experience for our clients, this was a chance to create a dining with dignity experience for the guests of Kansas City Community Kitchen. It was a tremendous experience to engage with the members of our community in service and conversation, fostering a sense of camaraderie and hopefully creating a bright spot in each diner’s day. The Community Kitchen is always looking for volunteers and donations, so please consider how you can contribute to their cause.  Please visit http://episcopalcommunity.org/

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What is your strategy for protecting your event data?

Focusing on asking the right questions and understanding  how your event data is being protected is the first step. The most important step is creating a strategy based on the information that you have gathered. Google and Dropbox are a couple of companies that have taken extra precautionary steps to protect and keep data secure, which include adding extra layers when logging in or asking additional security questions. Although this example only covers the surface, this is a great example for when it comes to events. As a third party meeting and event planning company, ASE Group works with a lot of mobile apps which hold client and attendee’s names and at times, phone and email addresses. When we are managing any mobile app, we ensure that we have an added layer to our app to ensure that people’s contact information is secure to only those attending an event.

ASE Group also has their own security policies in place for all data that is managed in-house as well as all data that is housed with external companies. When managing data with outside companies for registration/event and mobile app platforms, we know where all of our data is held, what the protocols are and have a plan for the “worst case” scenario. Theresa Payton, former White House CIO and now CEO of Fortalice Solutions LCC wrote a great article in Security Intelligence focusing on a strategic cyber security strategy and provides a great check-list for those who do not have one in place to follow. She states that “Over the course of my career, one thing rings true over and over again: A breach is inevitable, but how you plan to respond to one is not. If you create and store data, there will be cyber criminals waiting to copy it, take it, post it, ransom it or destroy it”. Following these steps and answering the below five questions will help you define your event’s strategic strategy:

Event Cyber security Checklist

  1. Do we or does a third-party track our organization, physically and digitally (like an adversary would), using open source intelligence techniques?
  2. For large physical events or concentrated places of work or travel for our executives, have we set up geofenced locations, and do we monitor for chatter or traffic that could be targeting the people at the event or our critical data?
  3. Have we defined the top two assets that would destroy us if they were stolen or compromised? Have we made sure all human and technology processes ask about those two assets first?
  4. What’s our worst digital and worst physical nightmare? Do we have a disaster plan to address these?
  5. When is the last time we got all relevant parties together to conduct a tabletop exercise against our worst nightmare? If there are multiple stakeholders, do we have a simple, straightforward memorandum of understanding or agreement in place to define roles and responsibilities?

Offensive strategies with defensive mitigating controls work. A purely defensive strategy is a losing strategy. For every defense you put in the path of a cyber criminal, they will find a way to get around it to grab the data. Making sure that you play devil’s advocate while planning and brainstorming, will provide you a success outcome. For more information on cyber security as a whole, visit the Homeland Security website here which focuses on providing the public useful information to fend off cyber criminals.

 

Visit our website at https://eventplanningexperts.com/ or email us at ase@ase-group.com with any questions!

Cyber Security: Have you asked the right questions to protect your event data?

ASE Group manages and secures a lot of event data, as do a lot of other meeting and event planning companies. It is imperative that we protect our data and shield it from cyber criminals and hackers. Not only do we protect our data but we also work with an event management platform to build our registration websites and to manage attendee’s registration information. As technology is evolving, this also now includes information through mobile app platforms. In the case of these two platforms, do you know how those companies are protecting your data? If you have them integrated, do you have extra security precautions in place?

It is crucial that you know the answers to these questions and ask even more in-depth questions with your suppliers who manage your platforms and internally with your technology team. Steve Baxter with Meetings & Conventions, wrote in an article that really highlights key questions you should focus on:

HOW IS MY EVENT DATA PROTECTED?
• Do you use strong, industry-standard encryption like HTTPS and Advanced Encryption Standard?
• How is my data protected at rest (when stored on servers) and in transit (when accessed from your event-management system over a public Internet network)?
• Where is your database stored, and how often do you back it up? (The more often, the better, so that no changes will be lost from your database if restoration is required.)
• Where is the physical location of your cloud servers (if applicable), and do you comply with accepted international standards and regulations?
• Who has access to the cloud servers, and what kind of security procedures do you have in place?
• How long do you keep this data on your servers? Is it moved to other locations or servers?

WHAT DATA SECURITY POLICIES ARE IN PLACE?
• How do you protect your own company data?
• How do you meet regulatory and legislative requirements (PCI-DSS, EU Data Protection regulations, etc.)?
• Who in the company has access to our data, and how do you handle authorization? What happens when someone leaves?
• How do you share client information (email/phone), and where is this stored?

WHO OWNS MY EVENT DATA?
Some event-management technology companies have a legal right to use your data for their own marketing purposes. If so, it is highly likely that they store this data somewhere other than your company’s database on their client servers, which can increase the risk of breach.
• Do you own my data? If so, what do you use it for?
• How long do you store it in your systems, and where is it stored?

WHAT SECURITY PRECAUTIONS DO YOU PROVIDE IN CASES OF INTEGRATION?
Your software provider may have issued you an application programming interface (API) key for any integration you have between your event platform and other third-party systems. The key allows these applications access to your event data and vice versa. If you have just one API key for all your integrations, a data breach would lead to far more serious consequences for you and your organization.
• Can you issue separate API keys for each integration (event app, customer relationship management platform, financial systems and so forth)? This way, if one API key were to get lost or exposed, you could revoke the key, which disables the integration, and set up a new one.
• Can you issue different API keys for different functions? Doing so allows you to spread the risk by having one key to connect your system to the delegate section of your event app, for example, and another for your exhibitor section. If one is compromised, then the other isn’t affected.

If you don’t know the answers to the above questions, you now know what to focus on. Understand each piece of these and if you don’t know the answer, then reach out directly to your supplier to get a better grasp and clear understanding. Your company or clients expect you to manage and own every part of the data, which also includes protecting it. For more information on cyber security as a whole, visit the Homeland Security website here which focuses on providing the public useful information to fend off cyber criminals.

Check back next week as we will focus on creating a strong cyber security strategy. Visit our website at https://eventplanningexperts.com/ or email us at ase@ase-group.com with any questions!

In the press – Franchising World August 2016

We were thrilled when we were asked by Franchising World to submit an article for the Conference Planning edition!  We grasped the opportunity to write what we know about – sponsorship!  We have developed countless unique sponsorship programs over the years, to the delight of our clients.  There are so many way to leverage the dedication from your supplier community to grow your conference.

To read the article proceed to pg. 20 of the digital issue:

Franchising World, August 2016 – Developing a Winning Sponsorship Program

FranWorldAug2016

 

Company Culture

culture

What makes your company unique? It may be the services you provide or add-ons provided to your clients, or even just the relationships you build, but in the end all of that go back to the culture of your brand and company. In an article written by Mattson Newell, he references that 92% or C-suite executives say that improving their firm’s corporate culture would improve the value of their company.

At ASE Group, Inc. we have truly embraced that and know that our culture is what makes us stand out in the Meeting and Event Industry. We build our team up and ensure that together, we grow. Every company should continually be striving to improve their culture as technology and social media continues to evolve. Over the years, we have found that there are certain steps that you can take to transform your corporate culture, which Mattson Newell outlined in an article named Three Ways to Improve Corporate Culture:

1. DEFINE RESULTS

To understand culture, we first need to understand what we want our culture to achieve. Simply stated, culture impacts results. So what are the results you are trying to achieve? Organizations have strategies, tactics, missions, visions, values, KPIs, and the list goes on and on. How do you identify your organization’s top results (what we call Key Results)? We would define the Key Results as, “The top three or four results that are strategically critical to the success of the organization.” Limiting the number is imperative. We recently worked with a large healthcare organization and met with the CEO. In our initial meeting, we asked him what the Key Results of the organization are and if everyone knew what those were. He proudly responded that they were very clear on what the Key Results were and that everyone knew them because just the month prior they had distributed the three-page handout with all 132 results on them!

We explained the concerns we had around a list that long, and after coaching and working with him, we were able to get him to pare down his list to four major Key Results. Now, many of the results on the list of 132 were not actual Key Results; rather, they were tactics or KPIs that fell under the four Key Results we just got aligned on. But now, equipped with the “Big 4,” he was able to continually speak to them, and employees were actually able to remember them without having to go to a three-page handout. Key Results usually fall into the following buckets: increasing revenue, decreasing costs, customer or employee satisfaction, and other enterprise-wide initiatives that are imperative to the success of an organization. While each industry and every company has different areas of focus that they deem pertinent, it is crucial that these results are defined in such a way that they can instill and foster a culture that can produce these results.

2. DEFINE CULTURE

To manage culture, we first have to define it. We define it simply how people think and act in an organization. So, basically, we change the way people think and act to achieve new, better, and different results. Often, leaders are looking for more “traction” in the change process—more early adopters, better results, and faster progress. Roger Connors and Tom Smith introduced the world to The Results Pyramid® model over two decades ago. They are the founders of Partners In Leadership, four-time New York Times Bestselling authors and the recognized global experts on this topic. The Results Pyramid model is a simple yet very effective means for understanding the connection between the way people currently think and act and the results you want. The model shows that the results you are getting come from the actions people take. The actions people take come from the beliefs they hold about what they should do and how they should do it. Those beliefs come from the experiences they have. In other words, experiences foster beliefs, beliefs drive actions, and actions produce results. To change the results you are getting, the model suggests you have to change the beliefs people hold.

The best way to start is to develop a clear understanding of the key cultural shifts that need to occur from the current culture (what we call, C1) to the desired culture (C2). Remember, in our model, the current results (R1) is produced by C1. R2, the results you need to achieve—which are different than the R1 results you have been getting—is produced by C2. Identifying what C2 looks like is critical. To facilitate this, the leadership team of an organization needs to identify a set of Cultural Beliefs® that guide the change process. Cultural Beliefs are a set of beliefs and values that, if demonstrated by leaders and the workforce, should result in a C2 capable of delivering R2. These beliefs guide all of the coaching, communication, and feedback that teams give one another throughout the organization. Cultural Beliefs ultimately drive

3. DEFINE ACCOUNTABILITY

Once you have the results and desired culture clearly defined, now you have to define who is accountable to make the necessary shifts. Many leaders fail to clearly define results because there is a sense that, if they do, they will be the only ones accountable to achieve them. A great example of this can be seen in the culture of one of the largest energy companies in the United States, a Fortune 1000 organization we have been working with over the past five years. When we began our work with the executive team, it was clear that there was no alignment and no accountability for achieving their results. A silo mentality was rampant as the operations team was focused on cutting costs and getting lean, the customer service department was focused on responding to customer issues, and human resources was focused on retention of employees. They were all focused on their own objectives. In fact, if you would have asked the leaders who was accountable for safety, they would have all turned and pointed to the safety manager! The reality is we need everyone, regardless of if they are in operations, customer service, or HR taking accountability for safety. The same holds true for each of the Key Results, and it starts with an organizational foundation of accountability

Start today! Nothing impacts a company more than the culture that the people and leadership build. Follow these steps and improve the culture of your company immediately. By doing so, you will add value to your team and company.

Mattson Newell is an Author for Partners in Leadership. To view the article referenced, please follow this link: http://tinyurl.com/jkmvpeg

FLORALS 101

floraltraining

Here at ASE Group we had the pleasure of having the floral expert, Larry Wheeler, into our office to show us a few tips and tricks on getting the most out of flowers for an event. During this time, he taught us why florals are important and the basic needs of flowers.

Why Florals?

Why not?! Florals are an important piece of event décor. They are used to make a statement the moment attendees walk in the room, to the centerpieces, or stage set. Nothing is more traditional or cross-cultural than flowers. They help illustrate a theme and evoke guests to expel emotions and/or memories. Consider florals as an enhancement to your events where it is important to consider when and where they will have the most impact. As brand-innovators, the ASE Group Team strives to think about how to use flowers and arrangements strategically to help emulate client’s brand or program theme.

Floral Basics

There are three important pieces when it comes to taking care of flowers – sanitation, temperature, and nutrition. To ensure that your flowers stay healthy for a longer period of time, use the following tips.

• Sanitation: Before processing and arranging flowers, ensure that all buckets, vases, and snipping tools, are cleaned. It is recommended to use Clorox and water solution. It is extremely important to do this step, as bacteria can deplete and ruin a flower’s growth potential.

• Temperature: Flowers grow best when they are stored between 32°-35° prior and post to processing and arranging. If you are on-site at an event, do your best to keep florals away from “hotspots” or areas without air-conditioning. Tropical flowers are the exception as they are best stored in warm temperatures, and should be store around 50°. Note that humidity also affects flowers as it makes them perspire.

• Nutrition: Flowers consist of two major substances: sugars and carbohydrates. Similar to people, plants need water and food to grow and survive. There are several types of plant foods sold on the market, offered in both liquid and powder forms. Quick Dip is one of the easiest-to-use flower preservatives on the market. If you plunge the floral stems into the Quick Dip, it chemically provides acid that opens up the stem’s pores. It is crucial to read and follow the plant food instructions to allow the flowers to grow fully and live longer.

Flowers are a type of décor that will never go out of style. As long as you take proper care of them, by sanitizing your floral prep gear, storing your flowers at the proper temperature, and feed your flowers with plant food and water, your flowers will live a long and healthy life.

Optimizing Your Franchisee Conventions: Part 3 – Year-Long Optimization of Franchisee Conventions

Did the momentum from your event fade away?

By using strategies and tools, you can keep the excitement from your meeting, event, or conference alive. In the previous articles, Evan Hackel, describes how to maximize the benefits to your franchisees but regardless of what is built up, if it is not maintained, the purpose of your event may be diminished if you do give your attendees the correct tools to succeed. As outlined in Part 3 of this article series, Evan Hackel, Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting, presents the research that shows getting feedback and providing post-conference follow-up is crucial in the growth of your company internally and externally.

Survey your attendees

One important tool in that process is the conference survey. According to our survey, more than nine of 10 franchisors surveyed undertake their own survey as part of the conference, typically following the event (see chart).

How do you determine the overall success of your meeting?
We do a post-event survey internally 68.1%
We do both a pre-event and post-event survey internally 22.5%
We don’t measure 5.5%
We work with a third party to help us understand exactly what the franchisees need and want pre-event and how well we did post-event 1.1%
Other 2.8%


Whether you survey your franchisees as they leave the conference or through an email survey a week to 10 days later, your post-conference survey should include the following questions:

• What are the top two highlights of the conference for you (e.g., speaker X)?
• How can we make the conference better (e.g., more/fewer speakers, more networking)?
• Do you feel you received a good return on your investment in coming to the conference?

“You want your survey to provide genuine feedback on your conference and doesn’t restrict the commentary,” says Eric Stites, founder and CEO of Franchise Business Review. “In fact, quite often the people providing the most significant and constructive comments are also people who gave the conference a favorable review and want it to be a success.”

Attendee satisfaction

In general, the vast majority of survey respondents reported that their franchisees were satisfied to a certain level with their conferences (see chart).

From a franchisee motivation and inspiration perspective, how satisfied are you with your conference/conventions?
Very satisfied 62.6%
Somewhat satisfied 34.1%
Somewhat dissatisfied 3.3%
Dissatisfied 0.0%


Franchisor satisfaction

However, the nearly 200 franchisors who responded to the survey were not quite as satisfied with how their conference resulted in improved franchisee performance. While nearly half were “very satisfied,” more than half were only “somewhat satisfied” (see chart).

How satisfied are you with your conventions from an operational perspective, helping the franchise system operate better?
Very satisfied 45.5%
Somewhat satisfied 53.4%
Somewhat dissatisfied 1.1%
Dissatisfied 0.0%


Post-conference follow-up

So how do you make your franchisee conference a winner after the event as well as during it? The key is in the follow-up, and that starts with the takeaways from the conference. These can include:

An implementable action plan. During the course of your conference, incorporate time in between speakers and events where your franchisees can draft an action plan based on the ideas being discussed. By the end of your conference, your franchisees should have a plan of ideas they can implement.
Provide presentations for franchisees to share with their organization.Whether it’s a PowerPoint, DVD, or YouTube video, franchisors should provide some sort of takeaway where franchisees can share what they learned at the convention with their staff. Franchisees, in turn, should schedule time to review with staff what they learned at the convention.
Give them a scorecard. In addition to the action plan, your franchisees should leave with a scorecard they can use to can track how well they are progressing in incorporating the ideas learned at the convention and tracking results. The scorecard is also something franchisees should be sharing with their franchise consultant to chart progress and ensure they are meeting their goals.
Reward conference attendees.Part of your conference follow-up should include “earlybird” discounts for the franchisees who attended. This can start by offering special discounts at the conference for the next year’s event and continuing those in your marketing efforts. Do not extend discount offers to franchisees who did not attend the previous conference.
Review with non-attendees.Schedule time for your franchise consultant to review the content from the conference for franchisees who did not attend. Be sure to bring them takeaways from the conference to bring their staff up to speed, as well as providing them with the scorecard described above.

In many ways, the follow-up work you do with your franchisees is as important as the conference itself. Granted, there is nothing like a live event to fire up your franchisees. Proactive and consistent follow-up can carry that torch to improved results during the ensuing year and at the next conference.

Evan Hackel is the Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting. For more information, contact Evan Hackel at: (781) 569-5900 or ehackel@ingageconsulting.com and view the article referenced, please follow this link: http://www.franchising.com/articles/optimize_your_franchisee_conventions_part_3_yearlong_results.html

 

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Optimizing Your Franchisee Conventions: Part 2 – Maximizing the Benefits of Your Franchisee Convention

ASE Group, Inc. wholeheartedly agrees with Evan Hackel, Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting, when he states that “there is no better advertisement or promotion of your convention than having a top-quality event”. With over 35 years in the industry, we understand how to provide not only your franchisees but managers, corporate, and internal employee’s a conference, meeting, and/or event that provides them the maximum benefit. Franchise Update, explains the “What” of maximizing the benefits of your franchisee convention by explaining it below.

When you have a winning event, the franchisees who attended not only put it on their calendar as a must-attend for next year, they pass that feedback on to other franchisees who did not attend, and to new franchisees. But how do you find the right mix of speakers, networking, vendors and other intangibles to make your convention a winning event for all involved?

Length. One factor not to be underestimated is the length of your convention. While this can be a determining factor in whether or not franchisees attend, it also can affect the benefits franchisees take away. Even the most attentive listener can be overwhelmed by too much information presented within the relatively short time span of a conference. Information overload can detract from the core message you want to get across and, worse, leave attendees wondering what it was they heard.

Fortunately, according to our survey, most franchisers understand, or are sensitive to, the importance of having a convention that is not too long, at least from a calendar perspective. According to those surveyed, 80 percent said their convention was three days or shorter.

Chart 1

Agenda. While creating a convention that minimizes time away from the home office is important, the most critical element of a convention is the agenda. According to franchisors who have surveyed their systems pre-conference, franchisees expect the following from their convention, in order of importance:

• Time to network with their peers (25.82%)

• Business skills training from expert outside presenters (20.33%)

• An open forum to exchange concerns, ideas, and suggestions with the corporate team (20.33%)

• Training on new systems and products (14.84%)

• Updates from the corporate office (10.44%)

With this in mind, your event should have an agenda that’s at least 50 percent interactive, with networking opportunities, group activities, Q&A sessions, and other activities that promote discussion of the core messages you want to get across. Most important, while you want to have high-quality content throughout the event, hold back the highest-quality material for the end of the conference. This will give attendees a reason to stay for the entire event. Also, if you spread out the high-quality content, it makes it easier for attendees to absorb the material.

Speakers, experts, and presenters. Survey respondents indicated their organizations value what professional speakers and outside experts bring to their conferences. While the higher percentage of respondents admitted to having no budget for external speakers, nearly 75 percent allotted some conference budget for speakers. Says Mitchell, “Selecting the right speakers to kick off and close your meeting might just be the most important marketing decisions of the year.”

Chart 2

Education, training, and networking. Whether you have a high-priced keynote speaker or not, you still want to give your franchisees the convention experience while incorporating educational, training and networking opportunities into the program. Here are some things you can work into your franchisee conference to ensure attendees are getting what they want out of the experience, while ensuring that your core messages and themes come across:

• Focus your key messages. Narrow the core messages of your conference to three key points or fewer. Activities and speakers over the course of the conference should reinforce those points. Avoid the trap of trying to communicate too much. Delivering too many messages almost always assures poor communication.

• Improve networking opportunities. Include team-building activities as part of formal networking sessions. This can include group or table discussions after each speaker to review key points and help develop an action plan for attendees to take home from the conference.

• Orientation session for new franchisees. This kind of session not only makes new franchisees feel more at ease, it also forges relationships with other new franchisees that can be invaluable both personally and as a resource to each other and to more senior franchisees and councils.

• Buddy system for new franchisees. Pair up veteran franchisees with new franchisees at the conference in a buddy system. While this is not necessarily for formal mentoring, it will help break the ice for new franchisees.

• Include more meals. Meals are an excellent time for networking, and a great way for management to spend quality time with the franchisees.

• Involve your franchisees. Great motivational speakers are important to conference success, but sitting in a chair listening to others talk all day can wear out even the most attentive franchisee. You want attendees actively participating at least 50 percent of the time.

• Give suppliers and vendors a larger role in the event. Franchisees like spending time visiting with suppliers and learning about what is new. Encourage vendors and suppliers to have special offers that are available only at the conference. Better yet, encourage them to save the best deals for the last day!

• Action plans. Send franchisees home with an action plan – an actual physical document that they create – and can begin implementing the minute they get back.

Evan Hackel is the Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting. For more information, contact Evan Hackel at: (781) 569-5900 or ehackel@ingageconsulting.com and view the article referenced, please follow this link: http://www.franchising.com/articles/maximizing_the_benefits_of_your_franchisee_convention.html

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