Posts by Donna Kastner

Donna serves as Director, Education & Engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, helping conference and trade show organizers on a wide range of business improvement initiatives. Here on the Cvent Event Planning Blog, Donna’s focus is on innovation, as she shares a wealth of ideas to help planners drive more & better results from their meetings. Before joining Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, Donna served as Director, Learning & Development at Experient.  A native New Yorker, Donna now happily calls Cleveland, Ohio home.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Cvent or any other organization or individual.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Cvent or any other organization or individual.

Conference Luncheon Keynotes & How Chewing Impacts Memory

Can Chewing Cause Brand Amnesia? This article by neuromarketing guru Roger Dooley sparked all kinds of thoughts for me about luncheon keynotes.I highly recommend you give this a read. In the meantime, here's one discovery that made me think hard about how we design keynotes that coincide with meals:...read more

Too Many Coming Attractions at Your Opening General Session?

Is it just me or have movie theaters doubled down on the Coming Attractions? Back in the day, you might have seen a few previews before the feature film. Now, there's an endless barrage of trailers consuming 15 minutes or more of the theater experience. Movie-goers ante up $10 or more to catch the...read more

Event Marketing: Could Generic Emails Be a Warning Sign?

In the conference planning realm, there's plenty of data crunching. After all, data is an important piece of the strategy puzzle. Some event organizers are strong in the data capture piece. They're smart about the data they collect and the fields remain fairly consistent from year to year, making it...read more

Why "You Go First" Is No Way to Innovate

Anyone who reads my posts knows that I spend a good deal of time pondering "what if?" scenarios. These often start with a problem that needs fixing, such as: Declining attendance? Education sessions not generating raves they once did? More eyes on smartphones than on that pricey keynote speaker?...read more

Time for a Candid Talk About Gender Bias?

Last Mother's Day, my son gave me a book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. I couldn't put it down. In story after story, Sandberg revealed exchanges (many behind closed doors) and statistics that shed light on the many obstacles that are out there for women.  I know:...read more

Lessons from Two Content Marketing Backfires

Content Marketing works well when you... Dispense valuable insight freely without any expectation of getting anything in return (No Strings Attached) Demonstrate expertise through stories, rather than bold claims Reveal something new and meaningful that the reader hasn't considered before Show up...read more

Attendee Loyalty: How Scripts and Automation Kill Relationships

Most days, I work from my home office. It's a privilege I appreciate and work hard to protect, making sure my home office setup matches efficiencies at the company office. So far, so good - but lately, I've had a few hiccups with phone and internet service. Service outages are happening more...read more

Using Gamification to Spark More Peer-to-Peer Sharing at Events

Gamification is a strategy that's catching more attention in conference and expo circles. Essentially, it's creating a game within the context of an event to increase attendee engagement with a product or service. Gamification is often used to shine a light on sponsors and exhibitors. Things like...read more

Leveraging SMS to Improve Conference Session Q&A

While attending a recent healthcare conference, I observed one general session where engagement appeared to be particularly high. What made me think that? The ballroom was packed, with a good-sized crowd standing at the perimeter of the room. Few if any of these SRO attendees left, even after an...read more

5 Tips To Help Event Planners Tame the Stress Monster

Yet again, Event Planners land a spot (#5) on the Most Stressful Jobs list. We're right up there with military personnel, firefighters and airline pilots.  If only they knew how good we are at managing stress. Nothing like a polar vortex and a dozen other unforeseen challenges to test the limits of...read more
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