“Radical Resiliency” is waiting for you at IMEX America with Eileen McDargh – Show 275

Eileen McDargh 228x300 Radical Resiliency” is waiting for you at IMEX America with Eileen McDargh   Show 275


Mike McAllen sits down with Eileen McDargh,opening MPI keynote for IMEX America on Tuesday October 15.  Eileen’s talk “Radical Resiliency”  will get attendees ready for the week of meetings, education and networking.







Eileen McDargh is founder and CEO of the consulting firm, The Resiliency Group (a division of McDargh Communications). Organizations like Cisco, Novartis, Oracle, and Procter & Gamble hire her firm to teach them ways of building resilient leadership teams and workplaces.



 Radical Resiliency” is waiting for you at IMEX America with Eileen McDargh   Show 275

Interview with MPI’s President and CEO Paul Van Deventer Show 265

Live from WEC, a few minutes with MPI’s Paul Van Deventer

MPI’s Paul Van Deventer Interview with MPIs President and CEO Paul Van Deventer Show 265

Live from WEC, a few minutes with MPI’s Paul Van Deventer

 Jon Trask of the podcast sits down with MPI’s new President and CEO, Mr. Paul Van Deventer to discuss where Meeting Professionals International is today, and where it’s headed in the future.  We talk with Mr. Van Deventer about his first three months with MPI, his biggest surprises after taking over as the new President and where he see’s MPI headed.

We pay special attention to local chapters and communities within MPI, educational and professional development and MPI’s plans to find new ways to energize and connect different segments of the membership; from the most experienced planners, to the newest student members.

It’s a great opportunity to hear directly from the very top of the organization exactly where MPI is today, and where they hope to be in the future.


Multitasking, Friend or Foe?

Multitasking, Friend or Foe?

multitask office assistant 300x210 Multitasking, Friend or Foe?

I was watching this commercial the other day “Samsung Galaxy Note II – Office Upgrade” and it got me to thinking, why do we all multitask? If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, it’s about 2 coworkers talking about their new split screen notebook. 1 co-worker is watching a movie and texting, while the other one is watching a report for work and taking notes. While the commercial was promoting multitasking, it make me think about how much I multitask on a day-to-day basis. Does it help us, or simply put us back?

I did a little research to see what other people thought on the matter and if they believe it makes them more productive (like I felt). In one article called “What Multitasking does to our Brains“, from lifehacker.com, the author said “When we multitask, we feel more accomplished. Now most studies all point towards the fact that multitasking is very bad for us. We get less productive and skills like filtering out irrelevant information decline”.

Technology now-a-days are making us more multitaskers and less efficient workers. I miss the good ol’ days when I was a child and focused all my attention on 1 thing. When it was arts and crafts time, I would center my attention on making my bracelet and nothing else. Now that I’m older (and technology has taken over our lives) I can’t just sit and do 1 thing.  If I’m watching tv, then I am also on my phone txting/playing a game/Facebooking. It has become so difficult to concentrate on simply 1 thing at a time!

In the article “How to Relieve Event Planning Stress” (from eventmanagerblog.com), multitasking was one of the main points. Event Planning is ranked number 6 as one of the most stressful jobs (just to put this into perspective, number 5 was a police officer). With having to plan every little detail of an event/tradeshow/conference/meeting it’s almost impossible to NOT multitask. But, like it says above, you become a more efficient worker and actually get more done when you become a single-tasker and focus on 1 thing at a time.

With that said and done, I want to challenge all you event planners/manager out there to try and become a single-tasker for 1 event this year and see how it all works out and let us know! Were you more efficient/productive? Did you feel more accomplished then if you were multitasking? Contact me at christie@grassshackroad.com and we can have you guest blog after your “single-tasked event” takes place!

World Kindness Week

World Kindness Week 

kindness2 World Kindness Week

I noticed that this week is “World Kindness Week” brought to you by The Random Acts of Kindness FoundationAfter I read a few stories from their website of people’s kindness, it inspired me to do the same.

This morning as I drove through the Starbuck Drive-Thru I was thinking about different ways I can help out others with “random acts“. As I pull up to the window to pay for my delicious coffee, I noticed the car behind me and thought “hey, here is my chance to start my day off right”. I ask the cashier in the window to put the person’s order behind me on my credit card and had the Starbucks cashier to tell them it was a “random act of kindness and to simply pay it forward“. Obviously I drove off before getting to see their reaction, but hopefully my random act of kindness put a smile on their face and made their day. The smallest things can make the biggest differences!

Check out The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website and read the stories of these amazing people who took the time out of their day to help someone else out. Here are some anonymous stories that really touched my heart. Please feel free to leave your stories in our comments section, we’d love to hear them!

“Craigslist Christmas Tree

We had posted on Craigs List an artificial Christmas tree for $50.00. I had communicated with lots of people, none of which worked out. Then, there was this woman, who sent me a message to let me know she was still interested in the tree, but that she had an unexpected bill come through. She told me should could buy the tree in a few weeks, if it was still available. My boyfriend and I aren’t hurting too bad for money and I decided I would just give this woman a Christmas tree. I don’t know if she has children or a family, but I felt that she or someone she knows would have a better Christmas because of our kindness. Giving to others when they least expect it, is what it’s all about and I am thankful that my mother showed me how to help people.”

“The Debit Card

One Saturday, I was walking through the mall with a bunch of friends. We came down the escalator and I happened to find a debit card with a man’s name on it. I picked it up and thought, wow, if I dropped my debit card and someone with bad intentions found it, I would be pretty angry. I went down to the mall office and told the lady at the desk what had happened and handed the lady the card. Even though it was such a small act, it made my day a little better knowing someone would get a call saying that their debit card was found. You never know who could have found it.”

Never Forget 9/11

Never Forget 9/11/01

Our thoughts go out to those who lost their lives on this tragic day. Thank you to the police officers, firefighters, and our military from those of us at Grass Shack Events & Media and Meetings Podcast.

 Never Forget 9/11

Must Have Business Apps!

Must Have Business Apps:  Must Have Business Apps!

Apps are a great way to entertain yourself. There are games, puzzles, social media…right at the tip of our fingers. Along with all those fun apps, did you know there are great apps to help you function as a business man/woman? Here are some must have apps that will have you wondering how you lived without them this whole time…

World Card Mobile
This app does have a cost, but it’s totally worth it. Download this app and then take a picture of a business card. It takes all the content and pops it into the contact fields which you can edit and then save to your contact list. How cool is that?!

Qrious is free and syncs with an event organizer’s Eventbrite account. Attendees register for your event and then click on a link that opens in the browser on your mobile device. Link it to a social network like Facebook or Twitter and Qrious will scan your profiles and compare it to the other attendees. Within seconds, it gives you a list of the people attending the event who are most relevant to you – ranked in order. It’s incredibly accurate, easy to use, and finally helps make sense of networking events.

Square is free and simple to use – just add the Square attachment to your phone, open the app, and swipe a credit card. The money is deposited to your Paypal account. The attendee gets a receipt via text or email within minutes and everyone is happy!

G-Whizz manages all your Google accounts, such as google docs. It’s great! Definitely don’t expect it to be a good editor, but it’s great for scanning and seeing updates/information.


Connect with Us!

Connect with Us! 

Did you know that Meetings Podcast and Grass Shack Events & Media are now social?! Thanks right! We are now on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AND Pinterest! Connect with us on all accounts for great pictures, podcasts, articles and more from events and conferences!

Grass Shack:Connect with us Connect with Us!





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7 Reasons to Hire an Event Planner

Searching around the internet today I came across this great article, “7 Surprising Reasons to Hire An Event bossandtina 300x168 7 Reasons to Hire an Event PlannerPlanner” by Business in Bluejeans, that points out so many great points as to why you should hire an event planner. Obviously with Grass Shack Events & Media being an event planning company, we firmly believe that hiring a company like ours to plan your company event is a great idea. These great reasons below just prove how hiring us will benefit your event in more ways than 1.

Reason #1: You’ll save time.

There are details that come with planning an event that most people do not think of. Telling your Grass Shack Event Planner exactly what you expect from the event will save you the hassle of dealing with the hotel details, the A/V company, etc. and leaves you to getting your work done.

Reason #2: You’ll save money.

Most people believe that hiring an event planner will have you spend more money, but in reality it saves you money. Event planners will know your budget for the event and can work with the right vendors that will help you stick to your budget. A lot of the time, event planners are able to get better deals with vendors, as well. Being in the industry, they know the in’s and out’s and know how to get a good deal.

Reason #3: You’ll have a better looking event.

Having the right vendors for your event is key. Your event planner will work directly with the vendors in making sure your event looks AMAZING. 

Reason #4: You’ll host your event at the right place.

Who knows the area better than a person who has been planning events at different locations for years and years? Having planned events for over 10 years, Grass Shack Events & Media know the in’s and out’s of the bay area and many other locations.

Reason #5: You’ll enjoy yourself.

You know what people tend to forget when planning an event? While your running around trying to monitor ever little detail during you’re event, you wont have time to enjoy yourself. Sit back, relax, and have a good time at your own event. Let us do all the work! 


Movies on the Water

Outside venue 229x300 Movies on the Water











Came across this picture today and thought about the logistics, safety and production of this watery theatre in Thailand.  Sure looks fun though.



5 Ways Event Organizers can Learn from The Burning Man Festival

Burning Man 300x298 5 Ways Event Organizers can Learn from The Burning Man Festival 5 things successful event organizers can learn from The Burning Man Festival

This months Burning Man festival is a momentous year for the event.  The yearly gathering of the burning man tribe builds a temporary city in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. This years event is its largest ever for the event planners. If you haven’t heard of the festival take a quick look at the Wikipedia page The Burning Man and you will get a plethora of information.

Event organizers can learn a few things on how to build a successful event from Burning Man which has grown in huge numbers since 1986.



1) Set up your event principles.
Conference organizers should set up a list of things, goals that they want to happen at their event.  Take aways from attendees.  This also is a good time to set up a few archetypes of your attendees, so you can build your goals.  When making decisions look at what these attendees will want.   The Burning Man has The Ten Principles which drive the community. Burning man looks and listens to the community and these archetypes.  It is a good idea to know who is coming to your event or meeting and give them what they want for content and experiences.

2) Be careful when ticketing.                                                                                                                                                  

This years Burning Man had a large fiasco trying to accommodate the growing community.  Last years event was a sell out and this year they held a lottery to sell the tickets .  Many long time “Burners” decided not to go just because of this.  So make it easy for your attendees to get tickets, and make sure your community can afford them.  Also think about who you want in your community.  Burning Man has some tickets set aside for lower income folks.   Maybe think about students that might be interested in your conference or industry.   For corporate events take the time to figure out good dates for your attendees that way they will be able to more readily attend. Think about vacations, other industry events, what else is going on in the city or venue, religious holidays and depending on the audience large sporting events.

3) Capacity and Production Elements.
This years Burning Man will be well over 61,000 people so infrastructure will be a huge obstacle for making it work smoothly.  Bathroom locations, medical, power, water, ice, art installations, theme camps. The actual Burning of the Burning man which brings up line of sight issues, crowds etc…  For your meeting think about the capacity.  Is your venue holding your attendees comfortably?  Is it too cavernous or crowded.  Can everyone hear and see the content.  Has the audio visual been vetted? Is the temperature comfortable?  Are the bathrooms and breakouts sessions close by?

4) Communications.  
Being out in the middle of the desert the communications for Burning Man with the outside world is pretty dismal.  But  the volunteer community takes over. To unplug, create and collaborate. Burning Man is an experiment in a temporary  community. Communication is done differently.  The Burning Man has Rangers who are volunteers to help people get answers, they have a radio station BMIR 94.5 which can give emergency broadcast information, they do have a computer system so people can find theme camps and send messages, (but no internet  access) and a central place to find information at the Playa information in center camp.   Meetings and conferences are also small communities.  Good event planning delivers your attendees as much information as they need and in different delivery methods is a good way to keep them happy.  New technologies come to mind, event apps, games to distribute content but dont forget printed materials which are not very green but essential depending on the demographic of your attendees.

5) Spectacle and emotion.
Obviously, burning man is the spectacle of all spectacles of events.  The whole event revolves around burning a giant wooden man in the middle of the desert.  The burning man is not the only spectacle. The attendees are.  The temporary city also enjoys fantastic art installations and the attendees dress the part: post apocalyptic to the just plain nude.  Emotions also run high at burning man.  Some make a pilgrimage ever year. They call burning man their church.  I met a man yesterday who told me he was going because his neighbor committed suicide and he wanted to just go  and be part of the community.    Event organizers should keep spectacle  and emotions in mind when designing events and meetings.  At Grass Shack Events & Media we have produced  large opening corporate theatre or engaging opening videos to set the tone for the event or meeting.   In past years these spectacles were welcomed by audiences who want to feel part of something.  It builds the community  for attendees.  If you can infuse as many emotions into your creative throughout your event you will build something memorable. If you don’t have a large budget consider storytelling.  Work with presenters to build spectacle or emotions in their presentations.   I promise this type of work will will drive attendees to do some sort of action. Even if it is just going home and telling your spouse.  “That was the best meeting I have ever been to.”

Call us if you need help with your meeting productionGrass Shack Events & Media would be happy to help you build on your companies meetings or events.

 5 Ways Event Organizers can Learn from The Burning Man Festival