Saturday, November 19, 2011

What NOT having a Business Card Says About You

This week I attended 3 networking functions, with 30 to 50 people at each function. I was amazed at the number of people I met who didn't have business cards. So, I want to tell you (in my opinion), what that says about you, the idiots that didn't have them.

  1. You are unprepared. You made up your mind to come to a business networking function and you even paid to be there. Instead of bringing 50-60 cards, you only brought 10. What that says to me is either you have more business than you can handle or you just don't think things through. Sorry, but I am not going to remember your name or your business 10 minutes after I leave the place.

  2. You are unprofessional. More times than I care to say, someone will say "Let me write my info on the back of your card." So being polite, I let them do so. Now, let's think about what just happened: a) they wasted one of MY business cards and b) I think they are an idiot for coming to business networking event without business cards!

  3. You aren't serious about your profession. I know there are many start-up entrepreneurs out there who also have another full-time job. They come to networking functions to try and kick-start their business, but they haven't invested the $50 or so in getting business cards. What the hell? Don't even give me a business card with your day job on it, unless you are promoting your day job. Again, I won't remember what you do after I leave. 
  4. You really don't want my business. We had a lot of hail damage in the area a few months ago. A man knocked on my door today asking if he could look around my house and possibly give me a quote. I said sure he could look around, but when I asked him for a business card, he said "I don't have any with me because I am driving my wife's car." HUH? You knocked on my door and you don't have any f*@#ing business cards? He asked if he could write his information on post-it note and of course being a sucker, I let him. Then he left and I threw his information away.
So here's my message. I don't care if you are a carpenter, CEO, entrepreneur, or janitor. If you want business, you need BUSINESS CARDS. And you need to have them with you always. So, put some in your wallet, purse, tennis bag, golf bag, glove compartment of you and your wife's car. Just like American Express says, "Don't leave home without them."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

i-Meet Announces Peer Marketing Solution

I recently signed on as one of i-Meet's Global Corespondents, read the following press release to learn more!

i-Meet Announces Peer Marketing Solution

Friday, September 23, 2011

Should You Outsource Your Meeting to An Independent Meeting Planner?

Many individuals never think of hiring an independent meeting planner because they figure they can handle the workload themselves or they will rely on their volunteers and/or suppliers to pick up the slack. However, in today's fast-paced, dynamic world,  you should take a second look at what an independent planner can bring to the table. Here are some ways we can help: 

Full Service Meeting Management

This is a turnkey option where the client turns everything over to the meeting planner. When considering this option, make sure to do the following:
  • Vet their background, (see my website for a good list of questions to ask them) 
  • Ask for references and then make sure to call them
  • Ask for a listing of partners or suppliers they've worked with before
  • Clearly define their role and responsibilities and make certain they are comfortable in the project management role
  • If they have multiple events going on (most of us do), ask them if anything is going to conflict with your event
  • Make certain you know how many hours per day/week/month you expect them to work on your event, especially as your event draws closer

Logistical Management

This is the "nuts and bolts" of meeting coordination. Typically, independent planners get involved in one or more the following ways: 
  • Plan the food and beverage
  • Registration and greeting of attendees 
  • Managing the speakers and exhibitors (if you have a trade show) 
  • Crisis management, if something goes wrong
  • Liaison with all your partners (venue, AV, caterer, sponsors) 
When outsourcing logistics, define roles and responsibilities clearly. Include the planner in all communications and schedule regular conference calls with written reports. Initially it may be monthly, but as you get closer the event, communication will probably be weekly or daily.

Site Selection and Contract Negotiation

Independent planners have a plethora of resources and relationships in the industry and are often times better suited to negotiate on behalf of their clients because they clearly understand the needs of  the client and the event. Think of us as you would a real estate agent, we are a neutral third-party who has your best interests at heart.  

In order to save you time, independent planners can have all inquiries regarding your meeting directed to them, thus freeing up a lot of your time. 

An independent planner can: 
  • Issue the RFP
  • Collect the proposals
  • Compile them into a report with their recommendations
  • Arrange finalists site visits
  • Accompany you on the visits and 
  • Be apart of the final negotiations with the venue. 

You can expect to pay a fee directly to the meeting planner, either an hourly rate, per-project, or percentage of budget, depending on what your perimeters are. Whatever you choose, be prepared to write a check for 25% to 50% of the total estimated fee at contract signature. 

Taking the time to understand how an independent planner can help make your event be successful is the first step in determining what you should outsource. Once you have defined all the event planning steps, do an honest assessment of what you and your staff can or cannot do, due to time limitations or knowledge deficiencies. Most experienced planners will take an initial meeting, free of charge, to determine how they can help. Don't let your event suffer! Hire an independent planner today!

De-de Mulligan, CMP, CMM is the President of Mulligan Management Group, LLC, a full-service meeting planning firm in Hudson, Ohio. De-de has over 18 years experience in the areas of non-profit, corporate, and small to medium sized business meeting planning. E-mail her, follow her on Twitter @DedeMulligan or become a fan of her Facebook page.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good News For Meeting Planners

In December 2010, US News &W orld Report came out with their listing of "The 50 Best Careers of 2011" and guess what? Being a Meeting Planner was on the list! How awesome is that?

In order to get on the list, U.S. News considered job-growth projections for a 10-year period (2008-18) from The U.S. Department of Labor. These occupations are expected to add jobs at an above-average rate through 2018, as well as, provide an above-average median income. Other factors that determined whether or not the occupation made the list were: overall job satisfaction, low turnover, and impending retirements, which crank up job openings.

As of 2008, there were 56,000 meeting planners in the US and that number is expected to grow by 16% by 2018.

The median pay for a meeting planner was $44,800 in 2009, with a salary range of $25 to $75K.

A bachelor's degree is generally preferred and many planners gain the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation from Convention Industry Council to add to their educational level.

However, all this being said, the climate for the meeting industry is changing. Meeting planners are expected to be leaders and visionaries in order keep pace with the ever changing dynamics of the event meeting services industry. According to US News and Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP who is CEO of Leadership Solutions International suggest that we focus on the following:
  • Understand and continue to focus on the budget. Budgets are probably not going to grow by a lot, but it is important to understand exactly what areas you can cut and which ones you cannot. 
  • Look at your Return on Investment (ROI) for every meeting. Establishing meeting goals and objectives, tracking them, and then presenting or writing a final report shows great insight and the willingness to say whether or not those objectives were met.
  • Continue to show the value of Face-to-Face Meetings. With many options out there for attendees, it is important to stress the continued value of F2F gatherings. 
  • Understand the global meeting marketplace. As our economy improves and the dollar becomes stronger, large companies and associations will be looking to host their meetings overseas. Understanding various cultures and meeting venues will bring your own value to the the discussion.
  • Create a vision for your department and communicate it to the rest of the organization, your partners, and attendees. 
  • Move staff, partners, sponsors and attendees to action. Do you have good project managers in place? 
  • Be a Change Agent. Keeping current and understanding new ways of doing things is very important. 
If you are event planning in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Kentucky, look to Mulligan Management Group, LLC as a partner for all your meeting needs. MMG can creatively work within your budget guidelines and provide excellent project management to make your next meeting, trade show, or product launching event really shine.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Best Careers 2011: Meeting Planner - US News and World Report

Some good news for Meeting Planners!

Best Careers 2011: Meeting Planner - US News and World Report

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Think You Know that Meeting Space? You don't know jack!

Today, I went to Wildwater Kingdom in Aurora, Ohio...I thought for the umpteenth time in the 20 years I have lived in this area.  The first many times I went it was Geauga Lake, an old but inexpensive amusement park. Then, in the early 2000s, it was acquired by Six Flags and they tried to expand the park and make the water park a little bigger and different. I decided it buy season tickets for the family because my boys were small then and I thought they would enjoy the rides and water park area.

Boy was I disappointed. The parking lot was full of broken glass and beer cans when we would arrive early at the park some mornings. The clientele looked scary with long hair, multiple piercings, and ragged clothing. I was so glad when that pass expired and I really never gave the park another thought...until today.

Friends of mine came into town from Detroit and they convinced me to join them at Wildwater Kingdom today and am I glad I did. First, Cedar Fair (owners of Cedar Point) now own the park and the first thing they did is move it to the old Sea World location. Second, it is very clean and professionally run. Third, they added great water attractions and cleaned up all the park areas. For $25, it was well worth the admission price. Fun and cool...especially in the 95 degree heat.

So here is my message to meeting think you know a certain property, city, or convention center because you had a bad experience a few years back? You ignoring that place because the service sucked? Take a look again...because chances are you don't know jack! Things change, for better or worse, they always do. Sometimes we just aren't paying attention.

I can't wait to go back to Wildwater Kingdom. How about you?

Friday, June 17, 2011 - Hudson Farmers Market opens (with VIDEO and PICTURES)

I am a Board Member of Hudson Farmers Market. Here is a little taste of what the market has to offer each week through October 1st! - Hudson Farmers Market opens (with VIDEO and PICTURES)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Convene Salary Survey Highlights the Value of the CMP

Convene Salary Survey Highlights the Value of the CMP

Alexandria, VA - June 8, 2011 - According to data in the newly released Convene Salary Survey 2011, respondents who were Certified Meeting Professionals earned on average 10% more than those without the designation.
"These results are in keeping with the most recent CMP Census conducted by CIC," stated Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention Industry Council.  "TheConvene survey underscores the fact that obtaining the CMP enhances a meeting professional's earning potential." 
According to the report, 45% of respondents had earned their CMP.  The average salary for those with a CMP was $76,255 compared to $68,605 for those without.
"The CMP is recognized as the mark of professionalism, commitment and attainment of a high level of knowledge and competency," agreed Martie Sparks, CMP, Chair of the CMP Board of Directors and Vice President of Catering & Convention Services for Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. "Obtaining the CMP can help set the stage for career advancement and improved compensation."
"The results of our survey demonstrate that there's monetary benefit to earning the CMP," saidConvene Editor in Chief Michelle Russell. "We believe so strongly that the designation helps advance the meeting profession that we make our CMP series--which enables readers to earn education hours to certify or recertify for the CMP--a fixture in every issue of Convene."
The Convene Salary Survey is produced annually by PCMA.  The 2011 survey was produced in partnership with American Express and was conducted by the research firm Lewis&Clark.  The results appear in the June 2011 edition of the publication.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hell-o-o! Is anyone listening to our client's objections?

I just fired a client today. Hated to do, but it had to be done.

This client is rolling out a brand new Internet product and they hired me to do marketing research on their product offering. I called on and walked 12 or so prospective clients through the product demonstration and after my 20 minute presentation, I LISTENED and recorded their concerns and objections.

I quickly returned those objections back to my client. I expected that they would do a little research and get right back to me. Instead, I was utterly stunned with my client's response.

They said, and I quote "I have never heard those objections and concerns before with any of our other test prospects, so it must be what and how you are presenting the information."

WHAT, I wanted to say? Instead, I took a deep breath, and repeated their concerns and objections. Again, more gibberish. At this point, I just wanted to slam the phone on the counter 4 or 5 times and say "Are you listening to me? I am telling YOU what YOUR potential clients are concerned about. WHY are you bucking me?"

But, instead, I went about the business of interviewing more prospects, listening to the same objections, and feeding them back to my client, the Internet product company. More stonewalling. More bulls**t.

As far as I could tell, my client had no good response or he was afraid to tell the prospect the truth. Or it took too much of their time to research the answer. name it.

So, here are the conclusions I had to draw:

  1. Prospective clients are smart and they no longer want to be told what to buy and who to buy it from;
  2. Prospective clients have lots of options where to spend their money and they will spend it where they perceive they are getting the greatest value and;
  3. Prospective clients don't like to be bullsh**ted. Tell them the truth...Only the facts, ma'am.
I fired my client today and I feel damn good about that decision.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pros and Cons of Hiring Full-Time, Contract, or Outsourced Help

US Companies, with fewer than 50 employees, added 84,000 full-time jobs to their payroll in April 2011, according to ADP Small Business Report. However, many small businesses are still not ready or in a position to hire full-time but have projects and work to be completed.

It is no longer about who you hire, how you hire. Candidates can come in many varieties and flavors including:

  • Full- and Part-time Employees
  • Flex-time and Job-Sharing Employees
  • Temporary Employees
  • Independent Contractors or Freelancers
This blog will cite the advantages and disadvantages of all the above. 


These employees are usually non-exempt and are expected to show up at the company location a certain number of hours and days per week. Most of these positions have a certain hourly or weekly wage and benefits are partially paid for by the employer.

  • Employer controls employee hours and days they come into work;
  • Employee comes into a central work place;
  • Employee can feel part of a team
  • Employees can be more costly than other alternatives;
  • Health care costs can become a burden as those costs rise;
  • Maybe difficult to downsize employee if needs in the organization shift.

These jobs were originally designed to allow working moms keep their job and job skills up while their children were little. Many of these jobs are designed to completed while kids are in school or perhaps changing of the guard between spouse work arrangements. Nowadays, this is often requested by the "sandwich generation" who needs time to take their parents to doctor appointments and pick the kids up from school.

  • Allows for a "win-win" between employer and employee;
  • Employees are often more focused because they know they have complete their work within a specified period of time;
  • Allows work to be completed during the off-shifts.
  • In a job-sharing situation, sometimes communication can be lost between employees;
  • If there is crunch-time at the company, the employee may not be available;
  • There may be more sick days taken due to children's sickness or parental needs.

These employees are often hired from a temporary firm for a period of time and the employer has the option at the end of that period, to offer the employee a position within the company or return them back to the temporary pool.

  • Great for a new position or one you are uncertain may not last more than a few months;
  • Allows for a variety of personalities to be tested in the position, with no strings attached;
  • If the person works out and the position is stable, the person can be easily hired as a full-time employee.
  • Temporary help doesn't always show up on-time or at all;
  • It is often more expensive than an employee because the temp agency has to be paid as well;
  • If the contract is for a long period (i.e. 90 days) and you know the temp is not working out prior to that, it is hard to break the contract early.

These individuals work for themselves and often have their own company. They are often corporate professionals who have decided to become their own consultant in a specific field, usually in the industry they just came from. Employers do not withhold taxes or pay them benefits. But at year end, if the contractor completes more than $600 worth of work for that company, the organization must submit a 1099 to the individual.

  • Great for short-term, defined assignments that have a start and end date;
  • These individuals can usually complete tasks in a quick turnaround period;
  • Independent Contractors or Freelancers bring specialized skills to the table and there usually is no training involved to bring them up to speed.
  • They usually have their own company, so they may be completing several projects at the same time;
  • If the project turns into a long-term commitment they may not be available;
  • They are not an employee and may not feel part of the team environment.
Take careful stock in your decision as the CEO or President of your organization as to what is best for you. 

Mulligan Management Group, LLC ( provides organizations with meeting, event, and social media marketing consulting. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

The 2010 Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning

Great Research on how Apple and others keep on, keeping on:

The 2010 Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning

Monday, May 2, 2011

Virtual Events: Real Results with Real Companies

Have you been thinking about hosting a virtual event for your organization? Check out this PowerPoint Presentation with companies that justified their events in hard data -- saving time, money, and carbon emissions.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Alternative Community Services, Inc. helps disenfranchised Veterans "Bridge the Gap"

Check out this press release I wrote about an upcoming and fun event in June.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2 trade shows in 2 weeks with 2 different feels

Today, I attended Event Expo 2011 at the House of Blues in Cleveland. There were about 60 to 65 booths located on 3 floors and it had roughly 250 to 300 attendees. It was great, and to boot, they had a keynote speaker who had some great advice about planning large special events.

In contrast, 2 weeks ago, I traveled to Chicago to attend HSMAI's Affordable Meetings Trade Show.I dreaded going on the trade show floor and practically knocked over some attendees sprinting back to the food, just so I wouldn't have to make any eye contact with the booth sales persons. Then I walked with my eyes down to the wheel where you could throw your business card into for the chance to win an iPad 2 (didn't win it...would have made that torture worth it!)

How can 2 trade shows that had about the same number of booths and attendees get such a different response from a seasoned planner?

I have been thinking about that very question all day, and here is what I came up with.

LIGHTING. Today's event dimmed their lights low and almost made you feel like you were in your own home (or a very large mansion). The lighting was perfect...not so low you would bump into people, but low enough to make it feel right at home. Bright lighting was at the sucky event.

MUSIC. Every room had some sort of live music playing in it today. Guitar player in one room, orchestra trio in another. Aahhh....perfect. No music in Chi Town.

BOOTH SPACING. The booths were closer together, making the rooms feel crowded, which made me feel comfortable talking to my colleague for 45 minutes in the aisle. I'm talking NO WIDE AISLES! The boring one at Navy Pier wide, wide aisles. I'm not sure how many people they were hoping for, maybe 10,000? Those days are gone...Make it close and cozy.

FOOD. Great food today and what made it even better...they had people coming to little ol' me with samples! Outstanding! That's why I stayed in one spot for 45 minutes. No need to move...the only thing missing was a glass of wine (just kidding Rick). Chicago, bad food, no roaming waiters, and the service staff almost jumped on you if you wanted more food (I'm not kidding).

ROOM SIZES. Again today's event was spread out on 3 floors. Spaces were not that made the event look crowded. Navy Pier was one big space and not that many vendors, so the space looked too big for the show. Remember when you were little and you tried on your mom's dress or your dad's shoes? You get the picture.

So, now you tell me. What else makes a great trade show feel?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Top Google Result Gets 36.4% of Clicks [Study] #SEWatch

Great information as to why we need to get to Goggle's #1!

Top Google Result Gets 36.4% of Clicks [Study] #SEWatch

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Seth's Blog: The opportunity is here

Interesting Blog about the future of employment:

Seth's Blog: The opportunity is here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

10 Reasons Social Media Matters for Today's Event Planner

Great article about the importance of social media from a planner's point of view

10 Reasons Social Media Matters for Today's Event Planner

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meetings Mean Business.

Good information about the economic value of meetings and events.

Meetings Mean Business.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Make Your Conference More Lady Gaga-istic

This is a great blog on how to make your next meeting, event, or conference very special.

Make Your Conference More Lady Gaga-istic

Saturday, March 5, 2011

This is a cute, albeit true account of attendees rights when in meetings. Read on:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Death of Sponsorship? | Business Blogs

Very interesting information about creating value for sponsors.

The Death of Sponsorship? | Business Blogs

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hudson Jazz Fest

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SPIN: The Senior Planners Industry Network - Home

Good summit for Senior Event Planners.

SPIN: The Senior Planners Industry Network - Home

Game - No, the Serious Business - of Give and Take - Meetings & Events | Cvent Events

Interesting Articles

Game - No, the Serious Business - of Give and Take - Meetings & Events | Cvent Events

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Meeting Planners Can Learn from the Groupon Fiasco at the Super Bowl

Read this and watch the video to see how to NOT make these mistakes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Interesting article on why face-to-face trade shows still matter.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Conference News - Event Management Compaines - PCMA's 55th Annual Meeting Sets Attendance Record - Successful Meetings

Great article about the integration of hybrid meetings

Conference News - Event Management Compaines - PCMA's 55th Annual Meeting Sets Attendance Record - Successful Meetings

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Training location - Corporate Events - Eventective Forums

Ideas on how to choose a Training Location.

Training location - Corporate Events - Eventective Forums

Thursday, January 27, 2011

25% off Telephone and Email Consulting for Meetings and Special Events - Promotions - Eventective Forums

25% off Telephone and Email Consulting for Meetings and Special Events - Promotions - Eventective Forums

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Makes A Party Meaningful and/or Fun? - Parties - Eventective Forums

Check this out!

What Makes A Party Meaningful and/or Fun? - Parties - Eventective Forums

Training location - Corporate Events - Eventective Forums

Some good ideas on training locations

Training location - Corporate Events - Eventective Forums