How to Get the Most Out of Your Meetings

Meetings take extensive behind-the-scenes planning to put on, but how do you ensure you’re getting the most out of your meetings? First, you need to identify what type of meeting you are holding. There are several different types of meetings, but most can be found under these three main categories–Problem Solving, Informational, or Brainstorming.

After establishing the type of meeting you are having, it is always key to create a goal or set of goals–what exactly do you want to accomplish? With that in mind, an agenda can help you pull all of the ideas together to one succinct direction for the event.

download (11) (2)

Once your objective has been decided, consider meeting off-site to eliminate distractions and offer a fresh perspective for your team. WinMock at Kinderton offers multiple meeting spaces in a unique setting that is ideal for all types of small meetings and large conferences.

With a goal and location in mind, revisit your purpose. A meeting focused on Problem Solving could use the following steps to ensure a successful session.

1. Pinpoint the Problem. Letting your attendees know in advance what the problem is in advance is key. Your attendees feel prepared and, at best, have given thought to the issue at hand.

2. Determine the Root. What is causing the problem to arise and continue?

3. Identify Solutions. What are the available options to overcome the problem?

4. Focus on One Solution. Choose the best option to overcome the problem, then move forward on ways to feasibly rid your company or organization of the initial problem.

With an Informational meeting at-hand, choose the best form of delivery for your crowd. If your attendees prefer a casual event, then follow suit. If your group tends to lean on the formal side, then ensure an event that makes them feel the most comfortable. As always, create an agenda in advance, and take your conference or presentation to the next level with hands-on activities and a bit of downtime to digest the information.

Brainstorming meetings are typically a bit more casual, and it is best to share the topic prior to the start of the event. A facilitator is necessary to keep the flow of thoughts streaming and to offer structure to an otherwise loose schedule.

download (90)

Post-meeting follow-up is another essential tool to ensure you are getting the most out of your meetings. Provide feedback, delegate the actionable items, and plan a follow-up meeting, if necessary. Again, having a clear objective with a concise agenda make for easier planning and effective meetings.

Interested in learning more about WinMock at Kinderton’s unique setting and full-service corporate event planning? Please contact Angela Carleton at or 339.397.2010.

Published in: Uncategorized on 08/26/2014 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Keep It Local

As mentioned before (see here and here), going local is a trend that is here to stay. We believe that it can be the cornerstone to a successful meeting or retreat, and there are lots of ways to achieve the “local” influence.

Going beyond hotel “heads in beds” which contributes direct tax dollars back into the community, you can source and stay local. This brings countless positive impacts for your community by way of tax dollars and exposure, and the benefits reach the traveler as well.

Hampton Inn BR

 Hampton Inn Bermuda Run

One substantial way to stay local is to source local farms, chefs, and restaurants. Providing food that is not only prepared locally, but grown, harvested, and processed locally creates the desired farm-to-table style that will thrill your guests.

While the menu may be one of the most exciting aspects of your event, there are ways to keep it local in other facets as well. Book a visit to a regional winery to organize an out-of-the-box experience, and rent event items such as tables, chairs, linens, and audio/visual services from a homegrown company and hiring photographers and speakers from neighborhood companies.


 RayLen Vineyards and Winery photo via

Ready to take “going local” at your meeting to the next level? Try a teambuilding approach that focuses on volunteering for local non-profits, charities, or causes. Trash pick-up at a park, building bicycles for the children’s home, or even scripting performances for nursing homes are all ways to incorporate and positively impact local facilities all while enriching the attendees’ experiences.

Interested in learning more about WinMock’s available meeting spaces and how we can help “keep it local” for your next event? Please contact Angela Carleton at or 336.397.2010.

Published in: Uncategorized on 08/11/2014 at 5:36 pm  Comments (1)  

Top 10 Tips for Planning an Event

1. Know your mission and goal

The most important part to start with when planning any event is realizing the mission and/or goal. Everything you do and incorporate should then be a means to reach your goal—whether that is team building for staff, an incentive retreat for top sellers, or introducing your re-brand to the community.

2. Delegate

Although you may be working on the bulk of the event logistics, putting key players in those important positions is helpful from the start. Organize who will be the liaison for vendors, guests, and other involved parties. Delegating to these individuals early on in the process can prevent confusion and save time.

3. Spread the Word

When marketing the event whether it is via e-mail, social media, posters, or mailed invitations, make sure you are as clear as possible. This is typically the first component of the event that your attendees will see, so make sure it invokes excitement, provides a hint of what is to come, and is informative with all of the pertinent event details that your guests need to know.

4. Set a Budget

There are few things more disappointing than coming up with a great event plan then having to cut back exponentially due to budgetary reasons. Set a budget from the beginning and don’t be afraid to negotiate pricing.


5. Choose the Right Location

This goes beyond the venue selection to choosing the right city, state, or event country. Remember your mission and know your attendees. For more on selecting the right location, see our blog post How to Find the Right Location for Your Event.

6. Event Logistics

From power to room configuration to your audio/visual needs–a successful meeting has these details hammered out in advance with a back-up plan (or two). Arrange your meeting space around the event needs, host a catering menu that is outside of the box, and design an event with a cohesive look from centerpieces to banners.

Photo 8


Game night theme at WinMock

7. Compile an Agenda

Once you have an idea of how you want the event to look, feel, and flow, create an agenda. When contacting vendors, keep in mind the event schedule and ask important questions like how much time they might need for set-up, for the actual activity, if breaks are involved, etc. Staying on track with a set agenda is important for you, your vendors, and your guests.

8. Think of Everything from Every Angle

Now that’s heavy! Go through the event as an attendee from arriving at the facility (are there visible signs for parking, entry, registration) to using the restrooms. Then go through the event behind the scenes and as each vendor–this will help you see any missed details like extra power, additional amenities located in restrooms, or even the need for parking attendants.

9. Be Prepared

Create a Plan B and even a Plan C, where necessary. Don’t get stuck thinking that your event isn’t susceptible to last-minute changes and uncooperative weather.

DSC_0808 (2)

10. Follow Up

Requesting feedback from planners, guests, and those behind the scenes is essential, especially if the event will occur again in the future. The follow-up process can even begin prior to the event beginning–reach out to guests to ensure their RSVP status and to make sure they don’t have any questions. Establish a guest services experience that is sure to please from start to finish.


Published in: Uncategorized on 07/28/2014 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Find the Right Location for Your Event

1. Use your set goals and objectives

The type of event you are holding will help determine what type of venue to begin looking for. If your event is truly informational with no time set aside for any social events, then a more secluded university or general conference center might be best. For an event where attendees may bring along their families and make a getaway out of it, a resort type of location would be a great fit.


2. Be aware of space requirements

Keep in mind event history and past numbers along with how many attendees will be invited before searching for venues. There is no point investing time and thought into a venue that would not be able to accommodate your entire guest list. Also be sure that all of these attendees will be able to fit in one room if needed, unless you are interested in offering satellite rooms where attendees would interact via a large screen instead of in the room with the live presenter. If you need additional space for team building experiences, mealtimes, or breakout sessions, be sure that the location can accommodate this as well.

3. Know your attendees

Become familiar with who you are inviting. Would they prefer a historic site with lots of character, a sleek and modern feel, a location with family recreation and accommodations, or even multi-lingual staff and services.

4. Create your budget in advance

With any event, budget is important, and staying within those budget limits is key. Know what the budget is in advance, with dollars divided out between each aspect of the event—location, catering, incentive items, travel, etc. Overspending on the venue location means you are forced to cut back elsewhere on the overall experience.

Conference Room1

5. Proximity to overnight accommodations

Some conferences and events require out-of-towners to take roots overnight. Be aware of proximity to hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts along with travel hubs such as airports and bus depots. With a large number of attendees for a multi-day event, consider a venue that offers on-site overnight accommodations for guest ease. If you plan to offer transportation to and from accommodations to the venue then be aware of mileage and any additional costs if the distance is over a certain threshold.

6. Additional amenities and perks

Whether or not you offer an opening night cocktail party or social gatherings, placing the event in a central location with quick access to restaurants, shops, and entertainment is a special touch for your attendees. Look into what the venue has to offer like full-service event coordination, team building management, transportation options, or even rental items. WinMock at Kinderton, for example, offers packages and services that cover all of these event extras.

7. Venue restrictions and requirements

While some venues may have less rules and restrictions than others, be sure to ask for any contract details and additional guidelines up front. If you had planned on an open full bar for your attendees, you will want to make sure that the venue allows for this. Don’t count on fireworks if your venue has strict guidelines against these types of activities, regardless of proper permitting. Talking about these types of rules and agreements upfront reduces confusion and disappointment later on in the planning process.

8. On-site staffing

Although you more than likely will have at least one dedicated committee for the event, see if the venue offers event staffing—whether it comes with the venue package or not. Having additional staffing at your fingertips is necessary, no matter how small or large your event may be. Janitorial services and even registration may be roles that could potentially be filled with venue event staff.

9. Site visit

While this may not always be possible due to travel and budget cuts, it is ideal to make time for an on-site visit to see the facility in person. If this is out of the question, try for a 360 view online and be sure to ask if there have been any changes or renovations since the video was uploaded. You could always use new technology with face time and video chats with the site contact to see the venue in real time. You want to be as familiar with the facility as possible in order to curb any future surprises.



Photo by Amanda Castle Photography

Interested in learning more about WinMock at Kinderton’s unique setting and full-service corporate event planning? Please contact Angela Carleton at or 339.397.2010.

Published in: Uncategorized on 07/14/2014 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Now Trending: 5 Food & Beverage Trends We Love

Fads and trends in events are ever-changing, but here are the top 5 trends we see sticking around for a while!

1. Local Goods & Food Trucks

It is certainly no secret that locally sourced foods are part of a huge, trending movement right now. As mentioned in our last blog post, a farm-to-table style gets guests excited and generates a sense of community pride. Bringing menu variety to your event with food trucks, specializing in locally sourced food no less, creates the ideal urban culinary experience.

Food Truck


2. Smaller Portions

Healthier lifestyles are becoming the focus, and smaller, bite-sized portions can be offered from snacks to appetizers to full meals. Sliders and food options that fit on the end of a single utensil offer guests diversity without filling them up with each item. Try mini grilled cheese bites with a single serving of tomato soup, tiny tacos, or an hors d’oeuvre that fits perfectly in the bowl of a spoon.

Grilled Cheese




3. Food Bars

Turn unusual items into food bars like mashed potatoes, cheesecake, candy, and Southern style biscuits. Taking a classic item and introducing variety is sure to please the individuality of your guests.  Instead of serving mashed potatoes by the chafer-load, spread out the toppings and extras for guests to make their own concoction. For the ultimate biscuit bar, offer various honey flavors, jams, fresh fruit, and butter. Guests love the opportunity to make a food item that’s truly to their taste, and this ensures that they’ll love every bite!

Mash Bar


4. International Cuisines

Meals are going beyond our borders with Asian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern influence. Take sriracha, for example—it is quickly catching on and can be seen on potato chips, in mixed drinks, as a hidden ingredient to raise the spice level, and on its own as a dipping sauce. This hot sauce made predominantly from pepper paste is a native of Thailand and has hit America by fiery storm.

5. Specialty Diets

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and belief-based diets are becoming more and more the norm in today’s society. Being able to cater to this specific clientele is a must, so concentrating on creating menu items that are vegetable-based or celiac friendly is key.

Interested in learning more about WinMock’s available space and flexible catering policy for your organization’s next event? Please contact Angela Carleton at or 336.397.2010.

Published in: Uncategorized on 06/30/2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Now Trending: Event Design Trends We Love

Staying ahead of the curve and ahead of the industry trends is more necessary than ever in this day and age. Not only is technology advancing, but so are food options and client’s expectations.

Keep it Local

One trend that continues to be on the rise is sourcing local for not only your venue and vendors, but specifically your food and beverage. The quality movement pushes for locally grown, raised, and processed food items with a farm-to-table style feel. Sustainability and organic practices are almost expected, and specialty food trucks are game-changers. Adding local flavor and flair with the area’s diverse food trucks is a way to bring in the unexpected in an innovative way.

Carrying out the local theme means taking it to the bar as well. Craft beers and original cocktails are all the rage with interesting ingredients like lavender extract, exotic fruit syrups, edible flowers, cucumber, and spices. Make your beverages stand out with small batch brews and signature event cocktails.

Craft Beer



Creating presentations and events that are tailored to each individual attendee is in line with the new cutting-edge education. Customized seminars that focus on each different form of learning—visual, auditory, and touch—is a fascinating way to engage your attendees and hold their interest. Interactive models and tailored topics make for an ideal environment for specific trainings and corporate functions.


Event apps and social media can be primary ways to engage your attendees by ensuring they are updated in real time on upcoming events, news, and exciting discoveries as well as increasing and promoting social engagement. Using mobile apps and social media that encourages the use of an event hashtag, the asking of questions, sharing of interesting topics and learned takeaways, and even pictures and comments from the event builds excitement and establishes a sense of bonding and community.

SBD Steampunk

Sterling by Design’s Award-winning “Steampunk”


In terms of events, small or large, décor goes much deeper than a few choice colors and flower arrangements. Events are planned from the get-go with specific themes or storyboards in mind. Putting together an event with a common look from invitations to posters to the water bottle labels helps deepen the hold of the event in your attendees’ minds. Without the use of over-the-top, in-your-face designs you can form a memorable event style.

Pulling inspiration from the latest hit television shows or box-office standouts like The Great Gatsby are fun and exciting for any crowd. Another huge décor trend happening now is using color to tell a story. With Pantone as the leading color experts, mold the event theme around the official color of the year or season. Pay attention to the media—what are the trends that they love? Rustic hardwoods, metallic, and rich neutrals added to the mix add interest to any set-up.

SBD Great Gatsby

Sterling by Design created an art deco Great Gatsby soirée!

SBD Colorful

Sterling by Design using color in innovative ways!

 Interested in learning more about event decor and styling as well as available space at WinMock for your organization’s next event? Please contact Angela Carleton at or 336.397.2010.

Published in: Uncategorized on 06/16/2014 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Now Hiring in Clemmons, NC | Hospitality Staff

We are excited to announce that due to an expansion in business we are looking to hire additions for our Hospitality Staff! See the below Position Description for more details. Please e-mail resumes and any questions to Dawn Siverson at No phone calls or walk-ins regarding the position, please.


TITLE:                       HOSPITALITY STAFF – LEVEL I

REPORTS TO:        Operations Manager/Managing Director


This part-time position is designed to work closely with the leadership team of WinMock in performing numerous tasks required to prepare for, execute, and complete a successful event.  We will host both professional and social guests – our hospitality staff is expected to serve those guests with prompt, professional service with proactive hospitality and efficiency.  Excellent service and communications skills are required for this position on a daily basis. This positions is primarily scheduled for night and weekend event work.


  1. Under direction of the Managing Director or Operations Manager, provide set-up and strike of event chairs, tables, equipment, and other supplies and equipment as instructed.
  2. Interact with guests as required to provide directional assistance and other hospitality assistance in a warm, friendly, knowledgeable manner
  3. Provide occasional light maintenance and clean-up assistance to keep WinMock in the best possible condition for our guests.  Look for opportunities to improve our facility on a daily basis in regards to its condition, state of repair, and presentation to our guests
  4. Provide assistance with trash removal from events as required
  5. Assist with other projects as requested by leadership team of WinMock


  1. Positive attitude required and ability to work well on a team
  2. Comfortable working under deadlines and time constraints
  3. Comfortable in assisting, greeting, and serving guests in concierge-type role (i.e. coat check duties)
  4. Ability to lift 50-75 lbs. and move tables, chairs, staging, and other equipment
  5. Ability to work indoors and outdoors in a variety of seasons
  6. Must be available nights and weekends
  7. Must be at least 21 years of age (due to presence of alcohol at some events)

Please send all resumes to No phone calls or walk-ins, please!

Published in: Uncategorized on 06/12/2014 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Plan a Successful Company Team Building Event

According to Executive Coach and New York Times best-selling author Christine Comaford, the most productive group experiences combine both team building and team bonding.

Team building can come in various forms such as a weekend retreat, a day on the golf course, in-depth exercises at a conference center, or an afternoon spent learning trust and unity at a challenge course. In order to get the best results out of these events and from employees, it is necessary to keep a set goal in mind from start to finish.

team building



Without ways to incorporate the learned techniques and tools into their everyday work, the team building experience remains as a “fun memory” left behind. When done correctly, team building exercises can strengthen the overall effectiveness of a team by creating and developing a strong sense of unity.

team build


When planning your next team building experience, create clear expectations first. What is your team currently lacking—leadership, a collective focus, creativity, customer service, communication, unity between each member? Create a goal from the realized needs of the group, then each planning step taken after laying out your expectations should aid in meeting this goal.

There are many resources and organizations that offer team building experiences, but one way to get the most out of your event is to host the team building exercises off-site for distraction-free bonding.

team building2


WinMock at Kinderton is a unique conference center that has a variety of distinct meeting rooms and spaces ideal for off-site team building experiences. WinMock features a stunning Loft Ballroom excellent for general sessions as well as dinners and receptions, Forsyth and Davie Dining Rooms that can accommodate any room configuration for smaller numbers, Yadkin Meeting Rooms capable of breakout meeting spaces and presentations, and the separate Granary facility, which makes for an exceptional private retreat.

Interested in learning more about team building options available at WinMock for your organization? Please contact Angela Carleton at or 336.397.2010.

Room Design: How to Match Content with Configuration

There are many ways you can set up a meeting or conference as we’ve shown in Room Configuration 101, but how do you decide which setup is best for your particular needs? Take these simple items and tips into consideration to ensure a successful and easy-flowing event.

1. Avoid straight-row seating

Although a straight set is easier to place and allows for the most seating, it can be difficult for guests to see the presentation over the heads of the people in front of them. Try setting the room is a semi-circle or chevron pattern as shown below in the Theater and Classroom Style.

Chevron Theater StyleChevron Classroom Style

2. Present on the long side of the room

When utilizing a long, narrow space it is ideal to set the presentation or stage on the long side of the room. This allows for as many guests as possible to feel close to the speaker and sound as possible. With a very large number of attendees, seating to face the shorter side of the room may be your only option, but consider your audio/visual needs for the audience all the way in the back.

3. Audio/Visual

Keep in mind your audio/visual equipment when creating a diagram of the room. If your projector is on the floor rather than hung from the ceiling, be sure that no tables or chairs are in the throw distance between the projector and screen. Also, make sure there that even the farthest seats are able to view the screens and hear any sound from the speakers. If necessary, add additional speakers and screens so that all of your attendees receive a great experience.

4. Minimize distractions

Be aware of any exits, catering doors, and restrooms when figuring out the best setup for your event. Putting the presentation area right beside any of those doorways can create major distractions no matter how interesting your speech may be.


5. Lighting

Natural light is a wonderful thing, unless it’s shining directly onto your screen making it next to impossible to see. Talk with your venue coordinator about when the light shines through and what shade options you have available such as blinds, curtains, or temporary covers.

Matching content with room configuration can easily be done when you keep in mind details of the event and venue and are familiar with the variety of different set-up options.

WinMock at Kinderton is a unique conference center that has a variety of distinct meeting rooms and spaces. WinMock features a stunning Loft Ballroom excellent for general sessions as well as dinners and receptions, Forsyth and Davie Dining Rooms that can accommodate any room configuration for smaller numbers, Yadkin Meeting Rooms capable of breakout meeting spaces and presentations, and the separate Granary facility, which makes for an exceptional private retreat.

Interested in learning more about the flexible room set-up options available at WinMock for your next meeting or event? Please contact Angela Carleton at or 336.397.2010.

Published in: Uncategorized on 05/20/2014 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

5 Tips for Planning Outdoor Events

There is no doubt that outdoor events can be a huge hit for multiple types of occasions. Whether you are planning a carnival for your associates, an afternoon picnic on the lawn, or an upscale reception on a terrace, these tips are sure to help you out when planning your next event.

5 Tips for Planning Outdoor Events / WinMock BlogImage

1. Weather Plan: Don’t think that rain or bad weather won’t happen. Your local forecaster will be the first one to tell you that weather can be very unpredictable. Be sure to always have a “Plan B” when you have any part of your event outdoors. If you don’t have the option of a back-up indoor location, then have a tent on-call or even on-site, know where your DJ or entertainment will go, and ensure that your vendors have back-up plans as well in regards to power, rides, or outdoor games.

Unfortunately, bad weather doesn’t always mean rain. High winds and even lightning should be part of your “Plan B”. Some tents have sides that can be let down to reduce wind impact underneath the tent, and be sure that all tents and inflatables are staked or weighted securely to the ground.

5 Tips for Planning Outdoor Events / WinMock Blog

2. Logistics: One of the broadest areas of planning for an outdoor event will be the logistics. Logistics includes parking plans, restroom facilities, designated shade areas, pest control, event permits, safety precautions, and everywhere in-between.

For large events, and especially events open to the general public, be in constant contact with your local authorities and emergency services. Some municipalities and venues may require you to have emergency services on-site, and they may even have certain noise ordinances and attendance limits.

Create a master timeline for the event beginning with initial deliveries or set-up and ending with the final car leaving the space. Know when you expect each team member, volunteer, and supplier to arrive so you can keep track of your schedule. All deliveries should be made and finished before your first attendee arrives.

Get familiar with restroom facility load limits and requirements, power usage and availability, as well as any lighting needs for the area. In the occurrence of a power outage or short, having a back-up supply of power will be an event-saver. Consider the power needs of each vendor, and be aware that items such as coffee pots and inflatables typically use a great deal of power, and should be spread out as much as possible between circuits.

Be sure you think through communication with your crew, vendors, and client. If you are in a remote location, doing a run-through with your walkie-talkies or cell phones is a must.

One of the most wise preparations you can do to help make your event a success is create a detailed diagram for vendors, volunteers, and staff. Oftentimes a less-detailed version is available to guests and attendees, depending on the size of the event. The less confusion on where the food trucks or restroom facilities are located, the better for everyone!

Don’t forget your staff, either. They will need restroom facilities, hydration, and in some cases even rest areas and energy snacks. Your crew is very important and will be the backbone to any successful event.

5 Tips for Planning Outdoor Events / WinMock Blog

3. Guest Amenities: If the event is held in hot weather, consider guest comforts like fans or portable air conditioners, accessible water and hydration, as well as shade areas. Cold-weather events may call for portable heaters or even bonfires staged throughout in metal barrels. Extra services for your guests may include hand wipes, sunblock, and even bug spray.

4. Lighting: If your event is a daytime event, lighting isn’t as much of an issue, but what about early-morning deliveries and late-night load-outs? You may need to think about street lights, string and spotlights, or even bringing in light towers where necessary. Better safe than sorry to provide lighting where people will be driving, walking, and setting up. You don’t want an accident that you could have prevented on your watch.

Any event held after the sun sets will need lighting for all walkways, exit paths, and parking for not only safety, but convenience. For dimmer lighting options, try lanterns, low-watt bulbs, or even candles. For funky events, go for colored and strobe lighting, and add mirrors or disco balls for fun effects. Taking advantage of different lighting options can create the perfect mood and atmosphere for your event.

5. Set-up & Strike Details: Keep in mind what time the venue will let you start setting up. Allow plenty of time for vendor load-in including time for power, special deliveries, and any last-minute adjustments, including a run-through and sound check. This is where your event diagram and timeline will come in very handy. Have rolling carts and dollies available for vendors and staff—these extras will make your job easier and ensure happy supplies that are willing to come back time after time.

A mistake for some may be forgetting the importance of sanitation and leaving the venue in great shape. These components are key, and are in addition to mere clean-up of waste post-event. Make arrangements with local trash and recycling companies for pick up and disposal, and ensure the pick-up time for the restroom facilities. It is common for vendors to not operate on the weekend, but many venues require items to be removed by the end of the rental period or the next day.

5 Tips for Planning Outdoor Events / WinMock Blog

Interested in learning more about the spacious outdoor areas that WinMock at Kinderton has to offer for your next event? Please contact Angela Carleton at or 339.397.2010.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 128 other followers

%d bloggers like this: