How to Set up a Panel Discussion

Always start with the goal and objective of the event or meeting. Some meetings pair well with only one speaker at a time or one keynote speaker for the majority of the presentation. In other cases, a panel of multiple members is in line with the objective.

Sponsorship packages and showcasing executive leadership can sometimes be the leading factor in deciding whether or not to set up a panel, but at all times make sure that it is beneficial for the attendees and well-worth their time and attention.

Panel Session

It is not always necessary to set up a panel consisting exclusively of subject matter experts, but you will want to have at least one. Panelists with experience and confidence in public speaking are also important.

In addition to creating a diverse panel with various specialties and backgrounds, you will need a moderator. A moderator should to be skilled at keeping time during the discussion, moving things along when the answer to a question gets tied up, and keep the audience and panelists engaged.

In addition to seeking out and scheduling your panelists and moderator, you should send the questions that will be asked in advance so that everyone involved is as prepared as possible.

WinMock at Kinderton is an ideal location for conferences with ample space for panel discussions and breakout sessions. Interested in learning more about WinMock at Kinderton’s unique setting and full-service corporate event planning? Please contact Angela Carleton at AngelaC@WinMock.com or 339.397.2010.

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Published in: Uncategorized on 10/20/2014 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Celebrate the Season with WinMock

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Book now for extraordinary holiday savings on your event at WinMock! Reach out to Angela Carleton at AngelaC@WinMock.com or 336.397.2010.

Published in: Uncategorized on 10/15/2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

WinMock Featured in The Knot

If you are a Carolina bride or lover of all things weddings, then you must have spotted us in the latest Fall/Winter issue of The Knot Magazine | The Carolinas!

As soon as we found out the exciting news, we were just over the moon with happiness. We were sure to pick up several copies for ourselves just as soon as we could get our hands on it! Flipping through the pages to find the gorgeous photos and special details from Ryan and Matthew’s incredible wedding had us falling in love all over again!

It is such an honor to be included alongside talented event professionals, and we are so thankful for all the hard work from each vendor that went into such an elegant celebration.

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See more photos from the full feature online here!

All photography by Sara Logan Photography

Thank you for the fabulous feature, The Knot!

Published in: Uncategorized on 10/13/2014 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bar Planning Tips

Part of your event planning process is to determine the goal and purpose of the event itself. Once that is figured out, one question off the list is whether or not there will be alcohol served. Be aware of any venue restrictions beforehand–is alcohol permitted, are full bars with liquor allowed, and any other details regarding bartending and serving.

If the decision is to have alcohol, you can choose from a few different options for your event.

Consumption

If your venue provides a consumption bar package, then this is typically the easiest route and best option to take for any corporate event. This takes the “guesswork” off your plate and into the hands of professionals that plan bars on a very regular basis. In a consumption package, the venue will take care of ordering, delivery, storage, chilling, setting up, and serving of the alcohol. It takes a lot off your event planning to do list and prevents any leftover alcohol that you may have had to deal with otherwise. For this option, you are charged post-event for what is consumed only. Just be sure that in the pre-event planning meetings you discuss with the venue manager the inventory process and calculations for the charges.

Ticket Bar

If providing alcohol lines up with the goal and purpose of the event, but you would still like the alcohol amount to be kept under control and limited, then a ticketed bar may be wise for your event. For this option you would administer a certain number of tickets to each guest–either at the door or beforehand–that are collected by the bartender for each drink ordered. Just like in a consumption bar, you only pay for the drinks consumed, but you have put a limit on how much could be served with a cap on how many tickets were administered.

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Cash Bar

For the majority of events you would not want to offer a cash bar for your guests. If you do, though, you will want to ensure that the word is out beforehand, and guests are aware. In this case, the guests are paying for each drink they consume. This is the most budget-conscious option, although you may be stuck with an hourly bartender and convenience fee.

Flat-Rate Package

If you expect your guests to consume a very large amount of alcohol, then this package could be a best fit if your venue offers it. In this case, you pay a flat fee per hour and guest no matter how little or how much alcohol is actually consumed.

Now you know several different bar options–time to get planning!

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WinMock at Kinderton offers bar service options that make planning your corporate event easy. Interested in learning more about WinMock at Kinderton’s unique setting and full-service corporate event planning? Please contact Angela Carleton at AngelaC@WinMock.com or 339.397.2010.

 

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Published in: Uncategorized on 10/10/2014 at 5:24 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 info@sterlingevents.com. No phone calls or walk-ins regarding the position, please.

POSITION DESCRIPTION

TITLE:                       HOSPITALITY STAFF – LEVEL I

REPORTS TO:        Operations Manager/Managing Director

POSITION SUMMARY

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.

DUTIES

  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

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

  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 info@sterlingevents.com. No phone calls or walk-ins, please!

Published in: on 10/03/2014 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Is Your Event WiFi Ready?

Something we all probably take for granted these days is access to wireless internet. When planning an event, you may be focused on the setup and the catering menu, but don’t forget your connectivity needs. The more laptops, iPads, and mobile devices on-site, the larger capacity load you will need available. Meeting and convention attendees expect the same speed and capabilities as they experience at the office, so you will need to be prepared.

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One key way to ensure your event is WiFi ready is to know your attendees and the event type. Is this a “working meeting” where attendees are bringing their laptops to work or is the meeting purely information where they take notes during presentations? Will there be video streaming or access to a remote server? Determine your needs based on the answers to these questions.

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Many corporate events extend beyond the typical meeting and may involve the use of purchasing tools. Will wireless access be necessary for debit and credit transactions or is the client providing their own hotspot?

As an event planner, it is important to find out what bandwidth is available at the venue, and if it could handle the event itself. Consult with a professional in the networking field to ensure that you are fully prepared with the correct number of access points and strength, and that WiFi is accessible throughout the entire venue.

WinMock at Kinderton offers wireless connectivity throughout the entire venue with multiple access points and faster speed with Cat 6 cables. Interested in learning more about WinMock at Kinderton’s unique setting and full-service corporate event planning? Please contact Angela Carleton at AngelaC@WinMock.com or 339.397.2010.

Published in: Uncategorized on 09/23/2014 at 2:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

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.

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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.

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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 AngelaC@WinMock.com 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.

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 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.

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 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 AngelaC@WinMock.com 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 AngelaC@WinMock.com or 339.397.2010.

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