friday favorites – best event ideas of the week

I spent last week in Boston at PCMA’s Convening Leaders, a conference for meeting and event planners. There were 4,000 meeting and event professionals in attendance, over half of them were planners. Can you say pressure? Your audience is full of people who are going to scrutinize every detail. I had a great time in Boston and overall thought Convening Leaders was a great conference. I found tons of ideas that I can’t wait to implement into my own events. While the educational sessions are why most people come to Convening Leaders each year, I wanted to share some of the small details and ideas that I gleaned while there.

#5 – Lamps as branding opportunities

lampshade branding opportunity at events

At the opening night reception at the Boston Convention Center (BCEC), there were small table lamps on the cocktail rounds. They were simple lamps, except for the shades, which had the date and logo for the conference. What a great idea! I have never thought of using lampshades for branding. You could sell this as a sponsorship opportunity, or just use it as a canvas for your own brand.

#4 – Menu posters

menu posters

Also at the opening night reception, there were various food stations. Instead of having tiny buffet labels, the organizers had huge posters describing the menu. Also, vegetarian and gluten-free options were clearly labeled (those are the small icons to the left of the titles). I like this idea for food stations with a small amount of options.

#3 – Volunteer Thank You Display

volunteer thank you display

Okay, I might be biased on this one because I was one of the volunteers that was thanked. But this was such a simple idea – a clean, well-lit display in a well-trafficked area of your event, with a fun design (the different committees look like word clouds).

#2 – Picnic Box Lunch

picnic lunch buffet

Mexico Tourism sponsored the box lunch on the third day of the conference and I loved it (even if the food itself wasn’t amazing). The exhibit hall was set up like a picnic, with various types of tables and seating. Then there were several food stations that looked like food wagons or a market. You were handed a bag that had utensils, salad and dessert already in it, then you grabbed your soup on one table, sandwich on another, drinks at another.  There were specialty stations for special diets as well. I thought it was great, although I understand that some guests didn’t love it.

Speaking of soup, what a cute way to serve it: the soup was in a jar, with a koozy and a spoon stuck in. Love!


#1 – Earth Harp

So I don’t watch America’s Got Talent, but my colleague Lydia had and immediately recognized this guy at the opening reception – William & the Earth Harp. I loved this for so many reasons – his music was beautiful, his harp was huge and actually became part of the structure of the room, and it was paired with gorgeous visuals on a circle-vision style screen. Even if you didn’t recognize who he was (I didn’t) he was definitely a crowd pleaser.

Here is a video from when he was on America’s Got Talent which shows more of his background plus an amazing performance:

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