Archive for the ‘ internet ’ Category

Tip-Top Laptop

Business travelers have laptops. Business travelers rely on those laptops to keep them connected with their lives. The whole idea of the laptop becoming dysfunctional during a trip can strike fear into the most fearless of flyers. So, here are some tips on keeping your laptop in tip-top shape.

  1. happy-laptopDon’t put it on your lap. I know, weird right? It is called a “lap” top for goodness sake. However, your laptop will be better off on a smooth surface, allowing for that ever-important airflow.
  2. Don’t leave it plugged in at all times. Let’s say you have a stint of non-travel, but you are so accustomed to plugging in while not traveling that suddenly your laptop is never unplugged. Not ideal. Unplug it a few times each week. Think of it as exercise for your battery.
  3. Power down a few times a week. Though it is tempting to keep your laptop on, it is a good idea to shut it down.  Just like you, your laptop needs some downtime.
  4. While traveling, keep your laptop with you at all times. I know you know this, but we have all been in situations where we are just going to “leave it there for a second to go get a latte.” Don’t. Take it with you.
  5. If you have sensitive data on your laptop, encrypt it. For an on-the-go solution, check out TrueCrypt.
  6. Back up your data. You know this too, but do you do it? Buy an external hard drive and back it up once a week.
  7. No updating or installing while traveling. Sometimes those updates and installations do not go as predicted. Save such activities for when you have time to deal with any bugs that may come your way.

If you have any other awesome happy laptop hints, please do share them with me on my Facebook Page!!!

Insane Inbox

How many emails do you get in an average day? How many of them do you actually read? How many do you automatically delete? Why don’t you just go in and unsubscribe?
I know, I am with you on this one. Our inboxes are inundated daily with little ditties from all of the sites we’ve ever ordered from, subscriptions we signed up for due to a passing interest, and information that made sense for us years ago, but now seems sort of silly. What to do?
Rather than go through each email to find that tiny 5-point font “unsubscribe” link hidden at the bottom, here is an idea that could help you tidy up that overstuffed inbox. Check out Unroll.me. This simple online tool hooks to your Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and more! After giving it permission to link to your email client, it will populate a page with your subscriptions and you can simply unsubscribe from any lists you are no longer interested in.
For example, perhaps you no longer read the weekly Origami Update or the daily email about Hummingbird Migration (no offense to hummingbirds, I happen to be a big fan of the little guys), with Unroll.me you will be able to easily unsubscribe from all the bothersome emails all at once and in one place. Perhaps you would like to keep some emails, but would rather receive them all at one time, you can organize, or “roll up” a group of emails into one email and choose to receive it morning, afternoon or evening.
Now, about that old fashioned inbox that we refer to as a mailbox. PaperKarma is a handy app that allows you take a picture of the junk mail you no longer wish to receive, the mailer will be contacted to remove you from their distribution list. Tada! Less paper mail, less digital mail, more time!
PS. I hope that you found the above information quite helpful and do not choose to “unroll” me.

PPS. Thank you!

*Thank you to Vertical Response for the image!

Pin It!

“Pin it and they will come.” I think this may have been what Pinterest had in mind when they started their on line digital pin board site. By the way, they did come! Pinterest ranks #3 among the social media sites and it does not look as if things will be slowing down anytime soon.

Pinterest allows you to share who you are, what you like, what catches your eye and more.  It provides for a visually stunning way to share and it is much easier than anything involving scissors and glue.  In fact, the site offers a Pin It button that is easily installed on your browser. When you come across a picture you like you simply click on the Pin It button, choose the picture you wish to pin and on which board you want to pin it. Add some thoughts, if you wish, and pin! It is that easy.

Though the site does offer suggestions for naming your boards, you may choose your own names and subjects. I have boards that reflect my love for shoes, the strange Angelina Jolie leg bomb phenomenon, interesting photos that go along with my blog and my adoration for meeting planners, of course.  As one who loves to share on the digital landscape, this site had to come into play for me. Has it come into play for you?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then people are saying a lot on Pinterest. Look me up and let’s follow along with each other! To find my boards click here. Happy Pinning!

Must Have Technologies for Meeting Planners (and the next must have step to take)

There are many technologies that will make your meeting planning life so much easier. If you are not up on these technologies, then here is a soft nudge to get you moving in the right direction.  Don’t get left behind!

Smartphones: If you are not packing a smartphone in your tote, then what are you waiting for?  Smartphones have moved into the must-have arena. If you are still running around looking for house phones in the meeting room and waiting for the concierge to give you the name of the closest florist – yikes! A smartphone can turn the things you need right now into a close at hand reality. The next step: Get your hotel contact and meeting team to download the Voxer app to their phones. Now you can do quick messaging back and forth, while running around creating meeting magic!

Virtual Events: Okay, sure, lots of reports on budgets are coming back on line so meetings can happen. But the recession gave us some great lessons in streamlining. Webinars and on-line events can be a fantastic time and money saver for all involved. Get your feet wet in the virtual world today and put on your own online show. The next step: check out Join.me, it’s free (pro accounts with additional features are available), you can invite up to 250 people, they can even attend via their tablet or smartphone with the mobile app!

Social Media: Of the too-many-to-list here talents that a meeting planner must have, ranking close to the top are amazing communications skills and the ability to connect people with people, products, concepts and more. Social Media could not be a better fit! It’s easy to communicate your message in short, interesting, relevant bites and nothing connects further or wider than social media! The next step: create a Facebook Group and a Twitter Hashtag for your next Event!

Ipad or Tablet: There was a time where the meeting planner was pretty easy to spot; just look for the person carting a wheel barrel’s worth of paper around with them. Now those reams of paper can be digitally translated into a tablet. The next step: Get awesome apps to streamline everything. Here is a great place to start.

Cloud Service: Having an Ipad or Tablet naturally leads us to “the cloud,” as we cannot store our documents and such on a tablet, but we can store it and access it from a cloud storage service. Top picks are Dropbox, Apple’s iCloud, and Google Apps. The next step: Becoming comfortable with using your tablet like you would a laptop, and for this you will need a slick keyboard like the iType from ION.

I am extending my Happy New Year Contest! Make sure to comment for an entry. How many of these technologies do you regularly use? Which do you like or not like? If I am missing something vital, then please tell us. Let’s hear from you!

The Meeting Planner Technology Report

I have written about the important technologies available to today’s meeting planner. It is astounding the amount of information that can be found right at our fingertips. Here is a nice checklist for you on what you need to be aware of, working on and considering.

  •  Social Media. Are you on it and active? If not, why not? This is how business is done at this time. The younger you are the more likely you are to communicate via social media platforms and texting than by the traditional voice phone call. If you or your company is behind, then by all means get going! Need help? Make your mark on social media by hiring a professional. My favorite is 100th Monkey Media!
  • Web sites are great, but if they are not being updated, then they may not ever be found. This can easily be remedied by adding a blog to your website, and making sure to update that blog at least once week.  Also, utilize your social media to continually point people to your website. Watch out for this new trend – websites being built into Facebook Fan Pages (you heard it here first).
  • Speaking of web sites, do you have a mobile web site? If not, you probably should. Talk to your web site developer about adding in the line of code necessary in order to make your site mobile-phone friendly. This is how most people now access the web! Meet them where they are. For more info, click here.
  • QR Codes are everywhere and can be used in so many interesting ways. Use them on all print materials to enhance the information, a QR code outside a meeting room can contain the schedule and information about the speakers, a QR Code on your business card or tradeshow booth can contain your contact information.  You can make them in your sleep! Apps are available for your smart phones or try an online generator like Kaywa.
  • Make your life easier with technology (of course your most helpful value add site selection manager can also make your life quite a bit easier, like um, me for example [Symbol]). Check out these sites for amazing tools:
  • Floorplan Genie is free and makes planning and managing your tradeshow space a breeze.
  • Mobile Apps for Meetings has attracted a number of options. For a full list go here.
  • For those that cannot make it to your event but still wish to “attend,” offer them a way to check out the talks and workshops at Livestream.
  • Don’t forget Twitter! Check out my earlier blog to see how to use Twitter to enhance your event.
  • While at your conference, make sure to record some testimonials and upload them to a YouTube channel.  It is very easy to create your own channel, just check out Ehow to learn how.

And BTW, if you are not providing free wifi to your attendees, they will be less than pleased. As well, make sure it is easy to access. This is good business.

What new and interesting technological nuggets have you uncovered as of late? Please share it with us!

Speaking of Speakers

When you are choosing a speaker for your event, you are setting a tone, conveying a goal and sharing a timely message. And all of this is to be done in an entertaining, professional and inspiring manner. It is no small task. So before you hire your next speaker, here are a few items for you to consider.

1)     Clearly state your objectives so that nothing is left to translation. These objectives should be expressed in both the written and spoken word.

2)     Know who is being spoken to – who is your audience? Can you aptly describe the “culture” of the group or business that will be addressed?       This will go a long way in making the best choice. If need be, consider surveying your audience ahead of time to make sure you are in line with their expectations.

3)      Think about what category of speaker best fits your audience. Are you looking for a humorist, a motivational speaker, an industry leader, a celebrity?

4)      Use social media! Check in with other meeting planners via Facebook or Twitter and find out who they have hired. There is nothing better than a direct recommendation.

5)      Check out the following websites:

6)      Once you have narrowed down your choices, have them send you an outline of their program, as well as a video presentation of their work. Better yet, see if you can view one of their presentations live!

7)      Finally, go with your gut! Sometimes we forget how right on our own radars tend to be.

 

Please share with us some of the speakers that you would recommend

Who to Follow

Last week I talked about the Tweetable Meetable and how to use Twitter to enhance your attendee’s meeting experience. So, are you on Twitter, yet? By all means, do sign up! Not only is it a great way to gather meeting information, but you can also connect with other meeting planners to learn and share. Keep in mind that you can create more than one Twitter account; you can have a personal account, using your home email and information, as well as a work related account using your work email and information.

Many people who get onto Twitter are looking to be followed, but others simply wish to follow a few choice accounts to keep up with what’s new, as well as provide them a platform for communication with other individuals in their industry. It’s easy to create your account, just go to Twitter and fill in your information.  Now Tweet!

To get you started, here a few to follow:

  • @HotelChatter shares information on new hotels along with what is new in the hotel industry.
  • @TodayInTheSky  provides the latest airline industry news from USA TODAY’s Ben Mutzabaugh in his Today In The Sky blog.
  • @HotelsHotel brings you the latest in hospitality happenings, hotels news, lodging/travel & more!
  • @EyeForTravel says they are the world’s leading online travel news, events and research publisher.
  • @LHMagazine is brought to us from Lodging Hospitality Magazine and promises to share breaking hospitality industry news.
  • @SuccessfulMtgs is another magazine tweeting about on Twitter, educating and providing resources for all levels of corporate, association, and independent meeting managers and buyers.

Also, there are several hotel chains you can follow: @StarwoodBuzz, @HyattPR, and @HiltonOnline just to name a few.

Last week we also talked about how to do a Twitter Search in order to look for buzz on various hashtags. Some popular Twitter Chats to follow for meeting planners are:

  • #eventprofs – the first Twitter chat for planners, this is a thriving community of event tweeters.
  • #meetingplanners – to connect with your other meeting planner tweeters.
  • #TTOT – a social media travel event taking place every Tuesday, twice at 9am and 9pm GMT.
  • #engage365 – event professionals interested in social media for events/conferences, Fridays at 1pm ET.
  • #assnchat – chat for association professionals discussing current industry trends, technology and strategy, Tuesdays at 2pm ET.
  • #speakchat  – event planners, professional speakers, and speakers bureaus discuss a variety of industry related topics and issues, Mondays at 9pm ET.
  •  #AVchat – to learn about AV, a key ingredient for many successful events, Thursdays at 7pm ET.

For other hashtag definitions, check out #tagdef.

So why not give Twitter a twy? You may just become Twamous (widely known, or honored for achievement on Twitter). Just don’t work yourself into a Twance (in a Twitter trance). For more notable twitter language check out the Twictionary.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to follow me at @jillstonehb.