The Basics of Event Planning

At some point in our lives, event planning becomes a necessary skill and unless you are planning to outsource it – you will need to throw one for something! A child’s birthday party, dad’s retirement party, fundraiser for your local school, New Years Eve party… The list goes on. Here are some key steps to start planning your event:

What do you want to accomplish with your event? Are you throwing a fundraiser? Are you celebrating something/someone? i.e. Wedding, Baby Shower, Retirement. Is this event just for fun? Perhaps a holiday party or theme party.

Who is your ideal guest? The importance of knowing your audience. I can’t imagine a situation where this advice isn’t applicable. If you want someone to attend, what would that person appreciate?  This will effect 90% of your decisions. If your attendees all prefer to drive, does your venue have parking? If they are the kind of people who go to bed at 10 on the weekdays, maybe a weekend event is more preferable. Can they afford to attend your event (if you are planning to charge)? Is it a family event? Weekends during the day may get you more attendees. The more your event can accommodate your ideal guest, the higher your attendance rate will be. Are your guests the type of people who go away on holiday weekends? Maybe a Labor Day Weekend event isn’t in the cards for you.

What can you spend? Establishing a budget. At the end of the day, what you can afford gives you the final say on everything. It determines how many invitations you can send, the venue, any activities you have, food and beverage, and decor. What can you realistically spend to pull this off. Based on your audience you can determine things you can skimp on and things that should definitely be included.

After you have these three questions answered you can worry about the details. How do you want the invitations to look? What kind of centerpieces are you interested in? What favors you give out? Theme, decor, dress code, etc.

Suggestions? Questions? Comments? Leave Below

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Gossip Cop and “Friends” at Work

At work it can sometimes make things seem more bearable to talk about what’s going on in your coworker’s personal lives or personnel issues in the office rather than work or fluff conversations about the weather or what you did this weekend. We have all fallen into this trip whether it was intentional or not. Although, it may seem nice to know everything that’s going on around you: if so and so received a warning or blah blah is having issues with another coworker. It may make you feel good to know that you’re not the only one with issues in this work environment. It may make you feel somewhat empowered to know that you are not in this bad situation.

Whatever feelings it makes you feel, positive or negative know that there is absolutely no benefit to participating in office gossip and more than like, it can get you in trouble. If you know something you are not supposed to and make the mistake of mentioning it to the wrong person, it can make things seriously worse. If you have a connection with an Executive but are working for his/her direct report it may cause them to worry about their position and change their attitude towards you. They may feel threatened or uncomfortable which will trickle down to you. Or they may treat you differently in order to look good to their boss, only to have your coworkers resent you for it.

Any personal relationships you maintain at work can eventually even be a risk and in general, it’s better to not talk about work at work or home at work with your coworker/friend. It is very important to keep things professional in the office because you never know when your “friend” will become your boss or when you will become your friend’s boss. You don’t want to have to fire someone who is your friend, because that will hurt your relationship.

If you start at work with no connections, its best to make sure that throughout your time at this organization/office you keep your friendships to a certain level of closeness. When one of you moves on, you can develop the relationship without all of the added risks.

My advice, keep your lips sealed when the gossip starts and keep a distance from your work friends (until you or they move on of course!). If they are good enough to keep around, they will understand this mentality and it will help you keep things professional in the office. It’s a tough decision to make but ultimately, it’s for the best.

Advice? Questions? Comments? Leave Below.

standing up for yourself

Hello Everyone,

Today is #BossLadyWednesday and initially I struggled about what to post. Yes, I am new to blogging and my editorial calendar is still very much in the works. What I have promised myself is that at minimum I will post my Boss Lady Wednesday posts every week. So as I was sinking about what to write to you on my weekly post about how to be a boss lady, I realized that there was an issue in my professional role that I needed to address recently.

After the issue was mentioned to me – I immediately reacted but it did not express my true sentiments about the situation to the person who brought it up. I got on the train, read my book and on the walk home I realized how much this issue upset me. It served as a reminder to me that even though we have no formal rules against X, because you are one to bend when we ask, we are asking you to limit doing X.

I was pissed. I spoke to B about it and decided that I would write an email – which he attempted to convince me not to do. Then, I spoke to my mother about it. Finally, I sent an email that I would not regret. The response I received lacked heart but addressed that the issue should have never been brought up in the first place, as it was not an issue with our organization.

There was no negative backlash, no dramatic results, just an admission that “hey this should not have been brought up to you when there is no formal policy about it”.

It is hard to stand up for yourself, especially when it means standing up to a supervisor or even a higher entity, but it is so important to address something that makes you uncomfortable, or is inappropriate as long as you handle it in the appropriate manner. If you have an issue with your boss and it’s the first time this has happened, I think it is important for you to talk to them about how you are feeling. If it’s the second time, I would bring it up to them again in an email where you reference that this is the second time the issue has happened. Email trails can help you if anything goes sour one way or the other but we are hoping that this issue is minor. If it comes to this, three strikes and you are out. I find it would be most appropriate to speak to your HR department and if you don’t have one, I imagine that their boss would be the next place to go.

Standing up for yourself is not easy but it will help you appreciate yourself, be appreciated by others, and most importantly keep you happy. Stewing over an issue without addressing it will cause you extra stress and is bad for your overall well being. So if you are reading this and realizing that there is something that you need to take care of, use this as a source of inspiration to make things better in your life. If you have any questions about how to handle a situation, please feel free to comment below or email me.

Thanks for reading!

Management Lessons 101

Although I have only been a “Manager” for a couple of months now and most of my job doesn’t involve direct managing of employees, I have definitely experienced “managing” enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Here are some quick tips for managers who need a refresh.

  1. If you make a mistake, own up to it. It is disheartening to watch your manager blame or use a “we” when everyone in the room knows whose fault it is (not that your m.o. should be the blame game). If you are honest about your mistakes, your employees are more likely to feel comfortable being honest about theirs and they are more likely to respect you – we are all human here.
  2. Be an active participant in what your employees are doing. You should know all of their jobs inside and out, so when a problem arises you can be the most knowledgeable on the subject, not the other way around. Also, when an employee leaves you will know the work and the kind of person you want to be their replacement. The more you need your employees for every little thing, the less valuable you are as an employee.
  3. Keep your direct reports in the loop. When you can share some information about upcoming company-wide issues or successes, let your team know so they can distribute the information downward. Letting your employees know about wins and losses lets them feel like they are part of a team not just a stiff company.
  4. Offer to help. If you see an employee that looks like they are overly stressed offer to help them but actually provide assistance. Maybe you know a better way to help solve a problem they are having or can take something off their plate to help them meet a deadline. Even if you don’t, they will feel like you are concerned about them, in a positive way.
  5. Acknowledge their wins. If someone on your team is promoted, announce it. If an employee receives a letter of thanks from a client, share it. This will help to create a culture where your teams wants wins. Appreciating your employees will go a long way.

These 5 tips will definitely help you encourage a positive team environment with growth for both you as a manager and for them as your employees.