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How Special Events Can Help To Benefit Your Business

How Special Events Can Help To Benefit Your Business

Hosting special events is a great way to boost your business – both internally and externally. Special events can produce a wide range of positive effects, including motivating and rewarding employees, gaining new customers, increasing brand exposure, and showcasing what your business has to offer.

For companies of all shapes and sizes, hosting such events provides a tangible business benefit. Here, Ofer Yatziv of special events experts Better Venues shares some insights on how to run special events effectively.

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What are special events?

Well, I guess the clue is in the name. Special events are not run-of-the-mill functions. They’ve got bite. They’re grand openings, big exhibits, multi-media displays, gala dinners, music events, and more. If it’s big, sassy, glamorous, and just that little bit different, then it’s probably a special event. According to the International Special Events Society, worldwide spending on special events now tops $500 billion a year.

Why run special events?

Special events are used for three main reasons:

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  • Public relations
  • Community and charitable causes
  • Corporate team building

And, generally speaking, they’re designed to:

  • Launch or promote a product, showcase it to the world, and gain publicity.
  • Raise awareness about a charitable cause or community event.
  • Make money – special events can be used to raise funds in the short and long term.
  • Improve morale and wellbeing – special events can easily be team-building days and corporate away days, designed to invigorate your team’s attitude.

Here are the three top tips for hosting a special event:

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1. Don’t do a special event if it isn’t a special event

Ever been to a special event that, when you got there, actually wasn’t all that special? I have. Special events should not be done just for the sake of doing them. And they shouldn’t be something small and ordinary dressed up as something big and important. People will see straight through it. The value of a special event lies in its rarity. Only run a special event when you’ve really got something to shout about or have an issue you desperately want to press.

2. A special event calls for a special venue

In my experience, the venue is what makes up 90% of a special event’s success. If the venue is poor or, perhaps more pertinently, not right for the occasion, then don’t be surprised if it fails. Special events call for remarkable venues, so don’t plump for the community hall down the road (unless, of course, you have a good feeling about it – there’s nothing wrong with community halls in the right setting).

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Depending on your event, remember that there are historic buildings, listed buildings, contemporary corporate venues, and lots more at your disposal.

3. Special events don’t have to be expensive

I’ve been talking about glitz and glamour but, believe me, special events don’t have to be expensive. While the biggest outlay will almost certainly be venue hire, this itself needn’t be too costly. There are plenty of exciting venues for hire within reasonable rates.

You may also want to provide food and drink for your guests, and catering costs can add up – but there are ways to keep them low. For instance, a few impressive canapés can feel more “special” than a bog-standard buffet. Really, the investment you need to put in is not from a financial perspective. It’s from a thinking perspective. Plan it right, market it well (you can do a lot of this for free), invite the right people, call on friends and family for help, and your special event won’t break the bank. But it’ll still do a great job.

Ofer Yatziv is sales and marketing manager at Better Venues. An events expert, he has over 15 years’ experience in the events industry and his articles have been featured in Talk Business, We Are The City and Hospitality & Events North amongst others.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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