Precision Meetings & Events Blog

Where sophistication meets imagination.

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How Décor and Seating Arrangements Can Lead to a Better Networking Experience

How do you provide the best networking experience for an event that has nearly 1,000 guests?  This can be a bit of a daunting question.  No one can possibly network with that many people, and many find the idea of an event that large overwhelming.  Precision recently executed an event of this size and the comments heard were that it was one of the best networking experiences ever because of how intimate it was. This is how it was accomplished:

Through the use of pipe-and-drape and the seating arrangement, we were able to create an inviting, warm dinner party-like atmosphere.  We transformed a 50,000 square foot ballroom into three different ambiences.  Two of the settings were used for receptions, and the third was used for the actual dinner. The draping that was used gave the impression of a smaller area for the dinner than in the event’s past. We then had the stage set in the center of the tables.  This ensured that no one was at the “back of the room”.  No one person was more than five tables away from the stage itself.

With being so close to the stage, and tables all around the stage, it gave the illusion that there were not near as many there have been in years’ past. In actuality, there were more guests in attendance this year than last year.  Countless times, staff were asked about this and then told that the intimate feel allowed for more relaxed and better networking opportunities.

There are a few challenges with this type of seating though.  You must be sure that all of your speakers are comfortable in engaging the entire room in the “round”.  Stage directions and rehearsals are key to the success of a program.  We were fortunate that our speakers were accustomed to this, but it is something that should be pointed out prior to making this recommendation.  This was a successful event for the client and sponsors alike, because of the atmosphere that was created allowing for better networking opportunities while accomplishing the programming that the client desired.

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Excel with Excel

One of our favorite applications to use here at Precision to stay organized is Microsoft’s extremely useful spreadsheet application, Excel. There are an abundance of functions that Excel can serve for event planners. Creating budgets, tracing attendance, organizing payment information, establishing a timeline, and even creating spec sheets are just a few of the useful purposes it serves. However, learning to operate Excel at its full potential can take time and practice. We’ve put together a list of some very simple shortcuts that anyone can use to help them excel at Excel. These tips and tricks among many others have become some of our favorites and we hope they are helpful to you!

1.Organizing Sheets

One of the simplest tricks you can use to stay organized is by renaming sheets. When you open a new excel document, you automatically see three sheets (Sheet 1, Sheet 2, and Sheet 3) at the bottom of the screen. If you double click “Sheet 1” for example, the text becomes highlighted in black and you can retype what that sheet should be called (for example, total budget, food & beverage, audio visual, etc.) If you would like to delete the extra sheets, just right click on the sheet name and you will have the option to delete.

 2. Add Multiple Rows and Columns

Gone are the days of inserting one row at a time! If you’re creating a list and realize that you need to enter more rows of information, hover your mouse over the row number where you need to insert more. Instead of just right clicking “Insert”, drag your mouse down so that it highlights the same quantity of rows that you needed to add. Next, right click “Insert” and the new rows will appear!

3. Sorting a List

Sorting a list multiple ways is a very useful tool – for example, you might need a transportation manifest sorted by arrival time and later by departure time. Be careful to always Select All before sorting your list so that the fields sort properly and still correspond to the correct person. Before sorting, hover over the box in the top left corner between Row 1 and Column A in order to select all. You may also use “Ctrl +A” in order to perform this function with your keyboard.

 4. “Alt + A”

One of our favorite excel functions here at Precision is “Alt +A.” Performing this function on your keyboard allows you to enter multiple rows of information into the same cell. If you’re creating a spec sheet for example and need to list multiple bullets of information in one cell instead of having it appear as one sentence, use “Alt + A” to return/enter down so you can start typing on a new line all within the same cell. To insert a bullet or another symbol to keep this list organized, go to “Insert” on the tool bar, and then select “Symbol” which is represented by the Omega.

5. Remove Duplicates

You may need to send out an event email and want to be sure you are not sending multiple emails to the same address in the event that a couple or a group of colleagues registered under the same email. In order to do this, select the column in your spreadsheet that lists the email addresses you wanted to send your email message to and go to “Data” on your toolbar. Next, select “Remove Duplicates” and it will perform the task for you so that you don’t have to search your entire record for dupes on your own!

Again, these are just a few easy tips you can start incorporating while using Excel, but there are many, many more! Do you have any favorite tricks? We’d love to learn from you about how you excel at Excel!

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Precision—More than Just Meeting Planners!

One of Precision’s core values is that we are passionate as planners. This means that we go above and beyond our call of duty to make sure everyone—clients, attendees, and even strangers are provided what they need and more. In doing this we take on many different types of roles than just the average meeting planner. We could be chauffer, waiter, and directional, whatever the challenge might be.

We always joke at Precision that everyone expects us to know all the answers (and for attendees this is true). However, there are many times when strangers will approach us and ask us where a meeting is that we are not in charge of, where a specific room in a hotel is, questions about the museum we happen to have an event at thinking we work for the hotel or venue we are at. Typically we can answer all their questions and we just chuckle to ourselves knowing they have no idea we do not work for that hotel or venue.

In our recent travels my colleague and I have had to act on our feet as a medic for complete strangers. Luckily, because we are used to taking on all these different roles, we know how to think quickly and take action. I was on a flight on my way home from San Francisco sitting next to an older lady. I happen to wake up was overwhelmed by how hot it had gotten on the plane, although I thought to myself, it is probably just me and the heavy jacket I had on. I was in a daze when all of a sudden the woman next to me started tapping me and I look over and realized she could not breathe. I quickly called the flight attendant, who of course had to guard the pilot door as it was open and this is mandatory that they watch it. He kept giving me the please wait look and finger and I kept waving him over. He finally sensed it was an emergency and left his post (hopefully he won’t get in trouble for this) and rushed over. I explained that it was very hot and the lady next to me could not breathe. He quickly brought her to the front of the plane. The temperature on our flight had quickly risen and the flight attendant did not notice. This had caused a decrease in oxygen which is why the woman had difficulty breathing. Luckily the temperature was lowered and she was brought to the coolest part of the plane to allow herself to catch her breath.

My colleague was in Canada recently for a site visit. She had left her charger in a rental car the night before so her phone had died. She went down bright and early to fetch the charger before she began her day. She noticed a front desk attendant casually on the phone. As she waited for the Valet to return and the Front Desk Attendant to finish her phone call she glanced around the hotel and noticed she was the only one downstairs. She heard a thud and when she turned around the front desk attendant had disappeared and the phone was semi-swaying. She ran over the front desk and could not see anyone around. She thought that maybe she was semi-dreaming as it was extremely early and she hadn’t had her coffee yet so maybe she was overthinking. She called out to the front desk attendant but received no answer. She just had a weird feeling so she ran to the gift shop that happened to be open and found the saleswoman and Manger on Duty having a meeting. As she explained what happened the Manager went straight behind the desk where indeed the front desk attendant had collapsed.

Although these happenings make great stories now, they were scary in the moment. As planners, it is always good to be prepared and ready to make vast decisions. Always be ready for an emergency and who to contact if something were to happen. Although these were strangers and not associated with our meeting, it could always happen to an attendee and it is our job to know how to react and who to call.

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With being a part of a company made up of less than ten employees, there are many challenges that arise from day to day. As Precision is in the midst of another busy time, it can be tough to stay afloat with all of the work that must get done. With travel and multiple accounts having events at the same time, being a multitasker sometimes just isn’t good enough. Good thing Precision Meetings & Events is lucky to call itself “Team Precision”.

Precision’s largest event of the year is right around the corner, and we have been utilizing our “teamwork” more than ever.  Thankfully, the tasks for this event are pretty self-explanatory on what needs to be done, but other events are a little more difficult to just jump right in and help out. With being a part of a team, it is crucial for everyone to know what is going on—even if it is just a brief description at a weekly meeting. If someone has multiple events going on, it is a smart idea to have more than one person working on the event in case the lead coordinator gets tied up. In this case, it is best to work as a team throughout the whole process to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

Key characteristics that make up an effective team:

  • Common Purpose: What are the expectations and responsibilities? What are you trying to accomplish by working as a team?
  • Performance Goals: Again, what are you trying to accomplish? When will you know that you have reached success? What is the “game plan” for getting to the end goal?
  • Balance: Reaching a goal can be achieved more successfully with a good balance of diversity in the workplace. Bringing different people together with a variety of skills, experiences, creativity and innovation can create a more successfully executed end goal.
  • Strong Communication: Communication is key when it comes to collaborating together on a project or event. Interacting together will help the process run more smoothly and effectively in order to stay on track.
  • Trust and Commitment: It is impossible to work as a team if you don’t have trust in your other team members. Trust is what motivates others to do their best. If there is no trust, it can result in a lack of productivity. This goes both ways. As a team member, you have to be committed to helping your team out as well and showing that you are there for support.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” –Henry Ford


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