“You have one chance to make a first impression”

As event professionals, we are forever searching for those ideas that will put us on top and build our reputations. As an Idea Hunter for many years, I was always challenged with finding the latest talent or the latest creative idea. It is not always staring you in the face and sometimes you have to dig deep to create it on your own.

The example shown here is perfect, as it blends the old with the new. Now imagine the experience the guests will have when they walk into the room! I can guarantee engagement, conversation and lots of selfies and photographs to be shared.

So how can you start off on the right foot, if you have chosen to design events? First impressions matter so much because they happen fast, and they are stubborn,

“Put the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work. “We make judgments about what we see and experience in a nanosecond.” And once that impression is formed, it’s “very, hard to change it.”

Do your homework at the event. Know who is attending and what the purpose of the event is. Your goal is to win the opportunity.

Here is where your knowledge, strategic planning abilities and scope of the event will pay off. You can anticipate bumps, and how you tackle them will either make you or break you. Be aware of how you present yourself, as well as your body language as it should be “confident and comfortable”.

“Play to your strengths” It’s natural that your winning traits are what they are hiring you for. Remember, you will be measured during the process. Tip: “Try to find something in common with the client”. This helps build a rapport and bond. Look the client up on LinkedIn and find out as much as you can about their interests and background.

No matter how we have changed over the last two years, wow and dazzle at special events are still riding high. Try to draw attention to the design elements that can be used to engage the guests and no idea is off the table until it is. You will find that camaraderie develops naturally.”

On the day of, be on time for set up, as changes are imminent. Don’t be frustrated or impatient or show your emotion as there is no place for it at an event. Take pride in what you do and the client will feel it too.

Follow up

After the event is over, ensure your first impression sticks, it’s wise to “write a personalized note of sincere appreciation,” to your client. I know it’s 2022, but some traditions will stay around forever and have the power to get you another opportunity. Trust me on that.

If you are not a creative person, then you should not be in the event design business. You either get it or you don’t. There are many areas of events that you might be suited for but don’t pretend.

Credit: Norma Cohen Productions

 Meeting Professionals International

Author: Janice Cardinale has been named a Woman to Watch, a Top 100 Entrepreneur by Smart Meetings magazine and a powerful woman by Reiimagine in 2022. She is a heart-centric leader, visionary, mentor and change maker. As an editor, facilitator and speaker, she talks about mental health and is leading the newly formed EVENT MINDS matter, a community for event professionals, building brave spaces to amplify the industry’s conversation on mental health. She is the board chair for Seneca College’s event management and creative design program and has opened up her own charity under the name of “Giving Butterflies.” Janice is passionate about global trends, human connection, and the future of events and people.