Ohio Order of the Eastern Star “WE’VE A STORY TO TELL” Grand Chapter Session

Don’t miss this opportunity to attend the 133rd “WE’VE A STORY TO TELL” Grand Chapter Session of the Ohio Order of the Eastern Star Thursday through Sunday, September 22-25! This is a wonderful chance to meet other Eastern Star members from throughout Ohio and the United States, and to hear inspiring speeches from the most honorable grand officers. In addition, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the order and how you can get involved in its many meaningful initiatives. So mark your calendar and plan to attend the Grand Chapter Session in September 2022. Register today!

Real Connection at Conferences

7 Tips on How to Lose Stuffiness and Create Connection

We’ve all been there. Standing around a high-top table at the post-session networking happy hour, listening to some CEO drudge on and on about their accomplishments, how they graduated from Yale, and, of course, about the three beautiful children at home and their many accomplishments. It’s not that we don’t want to hear about another person’s life. But, we tend to pull out our showy sides in these environments. The air is filled with one-upmanship, and we can’t seem to reveal anything fresh, raw, or honest. The saddest part is everyone attends a conference to learn and collaborate in meaningful ways, but that’s not happening if real, human connection isn’t happening. As an event planner, you can try something different! Let’s check out some ideas inspired by gathering guru, Priya Parker.

If you want to create more connection and meaning at your next conference or gathering, try a small dinner the night before the event. You and your team can create multiple small dinners if you want to include everyone or choose 12-15 people who you think need to connect. Here are some tips on how to create the kind of depth missing from stuffy, puffy conferences through an intimate dinner:

  1. Set a clear goal for the evening. Something like turn off all networking switches, elevator pitches, and help people to connect authentically. 
  2. Focus on normal preparations that support your goal. For example, choose a private space with low lighting, warm candles, comfort food, and good wine. Your invitation should go out to no more than 15 people and explain as explicitly as possible the intentions of the evening. Tell people what they can leave at the door – work accomplishments, resumes, and pre-planned speeches for sure! 
  3. Choose an enriching theme. For example, “nothing related to work,” “stuff we want to say, but don’t,” “what I know now,” or Priya Parker’s famous theme “a good life.” 
  4. Give some thought to the structure of the conversation. Will you encourage everyone to share their thoughts through toasts? Through a game of some kind? Or will you come up with your own creative twist? 
  5. Welcome your guests as they enter, handing them cocktails and making many introductions. This entrance sets the tone for the evening ensuring your guests feel comfortable, appreciated, known, and seen.
  6. Create name cards and consider your goal when establishing a seating order.
  7. Begin the dinner by raising a glass and thanking guests for attending the dinner. Be sure to note the rules for the evening and why you chose the theme.

Here are a few important rules Priya suggests:

-“Leave your success at the door. No need to slip in an accomplishment.”

-“Tell us something that would surprise us.” 

-“Treat this evening more like a wedding than a conference.”

-“Begin each share by telling us a story and signal the end of the story by raising a glass to the lesson or value behind the story.”

-“The last person to share has to sing their story.” (This ensures people launch into stories right away.)

There you have it! A fun and relatively easy way to add a dash of interest and intimacy to the worn-out conference model. We become better people when we both share what is vulnerable and lean in to listen to each other. Human connection creates meaning and meaning creates a successful experience that attendees are sure to remember. For more profound tips like this, pick up Priya Parker’s book, The Art of Gathering. If you’re looking for a warm, private space for your next event at Sharonville Convention Center, The Hyatt Place has many options available. Third Eye Brewery is also a fun space with quiet corners to relax and have a more intimate evening. 

Beat the Heat

Tips and Tricks for Outdoor Events in the Summer 

As the hottest month of the season rolls in, we start to get antsy. The flowers are in full bloom, everything is green, the skies are blue, and all you want to do is be outside – but not sweating through your clothes at a formal event. As an event planner, dealing with hot weather can be tricky. On one hand, everyone wants to be outside enjoying the nostalgic sights and smells of summer. But on the other hand, an event is easily ruined by sweaty brows, mosquitoes, and sunburn. Here are some tips and tricks to help you keep your cool when the temperatures soar.

– Plan for the heat: If your event is during the hot summer months, make sure to plan accordingly. Choose a venue that is in a shady spot–this will help keep your guests cool and comfortable. Renting a tent is also a good option as it can provide some relief from the harsh sunlight.

-Schedule your event during cooler hours: If possible, avoid scheduling your event during the hottest hours of the day. Plan for it to start earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the temperature has cooled down.

– Prepare your guests: Send out invitations with a dress code that reflects the heat. For example, ” cocktail attire” or ” summer chic.” Encourage guests to wear light-colored clothing and comfortable shoes. Add a note on the invitation about bringing sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and hats.

– Keep everyone hydrated: Have plenty of water on hand and make sure that waitstaff are circulating with drinks throughout the event. You might also want to offer refreshing fruit juices and iced teas. And don’t forget the ice! Serve food that is cool and easy to eat, like salads, chilled soups, and sushi. Set up special areas where guests can get relief from the heat, like cooling stations with fans or mist. 

The summer weather should be enjoyed not endured especially at fun social gatherings. 

With a little extra planning, your event can become the highlight of the season!

Council/Forum on Aging

Hundreds of professionals from southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky will convene at the annual Forum on Aging conference on August 24-25th. This two-day event will offer 12 continuing education units for social workers, nurses, activity professionals, and nursing home administrators. Topics of discussion will include creative approaches to elder care, emerging trends in the field, and best practices for promoting independence and quality of life for older adults. The conference will also feature a variety of interactive sessions and networking opportunities. Register today to reserve your spot at this important event! https://www.help4seniors.org/News-Events/Events/Forum-On-Aging  

Christmas in July

Procrastination is often lauded as a sign of genius or creativity. After all, many of history’s greatest minds were notorious procrastinators. But the truth is, procrastination is seldom a flattering trait. More often, it’s a sign of perfectionism, stress, or anxiety. And while it may seem like putting off a task will take the anxiety out it, in reality, procrastination just makes the task more difficult and stressful. So if you’re looking to avoid the downfalls of procrastination, try to start your next project sooner rather than later. For example, what if you started planning your holiday party now?

December will be here sooner than you think, and the season will inevitably be stuffed with a million obligations. There will be extra gatherings and activities with family and friends, shopping for the perfect gifts, and preparing a feast for the extended family. This year, you can take the stress out of holiday entertaining by letting the Sharonville Convention Center help you throw an unforgettable party.

From our convenient location to our award-winning chef and dedicated event staff, we have everything you need to make your holiday gathering shine. Plus, our complimentary room rental, champagne toast, and holiday centerpieces will help you save money so you can spend more on the things that matter most this season. Don’t wait until the last minute to start planning your holiday party. Contact the Sharonville Convention Center today and let us help you deck the halls in style!

10 Tips to Make Event Planning Less Stressful

10 Tips to Make Event Planning Less Stressful

Let’s get real, event planning is stressful. At any given time, you’re bombarded with multiple projects and deadlines, and you end up feeling like every detail comes down to the wire. This is when you start chugging Diet Cokes at 10 pm to stay sharp and finish up last minute to-dos. If you’re an event planner, a little stress is inevitable, but panicked overwhelm is unreasonable. Here are a few tips we found to make your job easier:  

1. Start Early

Planning an event is an enormous task. Give yourself as much time as possible to collect everything you need to make the event run smoothly. This will also allow you to jump on your client’s top choices for everything from venue to caterer. 

2. Use Event Software

If you’re looking to maximize event ROI, try using event software when planning and managing your next event. These tools can save you time and create an integrated brand experience for your attendees. 

3. Use Event Tools

Other important event tools, such as, the project management app, Trello, and marketing automation tool, Hubspot, allow a much calmer event planning process. Do a little research and discover the best kind of technology for your event planning needs. There are so many exciting options available.

4. Create a Timeline

Create a timeline and stick to it. Having a clear timeline of what needs to be done when will help keep you on track and prevent last-minute scrambling.

5. Delegate! Delegate! Delegate!

Delegate tasks to trusted individuals or teams. Trying to do everything yourself will only lead to burnout. Spread the load by delegating tasks to others who can help you execute your vision.

6. Create a Budget

Make a budget and stick to it. One of the quickest ways to blow your event budget is by impulse buying or not keeping track of expenses. Know how much you have to spend upfront and then stick to that number as closely as possible.

7. Keep Your Attendees in Mind

Keep your attendees in mind. As you’re planning your event, always keep your attendees in mind. What will they want to see and experience? How can you make the event memorable for them?

8. Focus on the Priority

Be sure to prioritize your time and efforts to maximize productivity. The more focused you are on the right projects at the right time the more successful you will be. Try to set aside projects that don’t require your full attention at that moment.

9. Find Volunteers

Not every event staff member needs to be a hired one. Finding event volunteers is possible especially if your event is hosted by a non-profit organization or if it’s for a charitable cause. 

10. Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations

Not everything will go according to plan and you should plan for that! Set realistic boundaries and expectations for yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically and stick to them. 

By following these tips, you can make event planning much easier and less stressful. Streamlining the process will allow you to focus on executing a successful event that your attendees will love!

Stitch-Con 2022

Stitch Convention

Don’t miss a chance to visit your one-stop-shop for all things cross stitching this month! Stitch-Con is the premiere ‘FlossTubers & Fans’ cross stitch retreat that highlights the FlossTube Community, both video creators & viewers alike. We’re proudly co-hosting this event with Keepsakes, a needlework shop in Cincinnati, owned by Barbara Hils. We’re just a few weeks away from Stitch-Con 2022 and we’re beyond excited to see all of our wonderful attendees back here in Cincinnati! Each weekend hosts 300 stitchers from all corners of the stitching community!

Once again, we’re having TWO back-to-back weekends of Stitch-Con:

Stitch-Con A will be June 9th – June 12th, 2022

Stitch-Con B will be June 16th – 19th, 2022

Preparing People

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means many of you are preparing to host a meaningful gathering with family and friends. The holiday season is always stuffed full of planning and logistics. There are grocery lists to make, invites to send, decorations to buy, and crudites to fuss over. In all the hustle and bustle around the “things” that make a great party, don’t forget about the human beings that will fill the party. They deserve preparation too! As Priya Parker notes in her book, The Art of Gathering, “Your gathering begins the moment your guests first learn of it.” Here are some tips on how to prime your guests before they show up around your table:

Include Your Expectations

When you send out your invitations, be sure to include an essence of the evening you imagine. If you imagine a house full of raucous activity with lots of people and kids laughing, maybe host a buffet-style football kind of Thanksgiving and send a text message invite with notes like “bring your favorite beer” and “kids are welcome.” Your friends will know exactly what to expect with an invite like that. They won’t bring a bottle of wine, get a babysitter, or wear a nice blouse. What if you envision an intimate gathering that is cozy with a touch of formality? Send out paper invites with the aesthetic you imagine, like plum and antique gold. Include details about “carefully selected guests” and “a moment to honor those you’re grateful for.” These details give your guests a sense of what you expect out of the evening and what kind of expectations they are allowed to have too.

Send Special Instructions

Along with your invites, ask your guests to bring something special. It could be a stack of thank you cards to trade with other guests or a poem about something they are particularly grateful for this season. They could bring a song that helped define their year or a unique dish that tastes like home. Sending special instructions gives your guests the opportunity to co-create the evening with you and sparks deep conversation. In this way, your guests will already feel welcomed, included, and even inspired before they arrive at your warm, glowing house. 

Send Texts and Build Trust

Reinforce your connection with each guest by sending personal text messages, emails or making individual calls. Give your guests a sense of what the evening will be like and who they will meet. If you haven’t been in touch in a while, ask them about their personal lives and share with them what you hope they can take away from the gathering–rest, connection, new energy, or new ideas! Also emphasize why you are excited to have their presence and energy in the space. 

We hope these tips make your Thanksgiving extra meaningful this year. No matter who is around your table or what kind of food you serve, a primed guest is a doorway to the gathering of your dreams.

In Case you Missed It…

During the month of September, Sharonville Convention Center welcomed the Ohio Grand Chapter for their Order of the Eastern Star event from September 23rd to September 25th. The Ohio Grand Chapter is “a fraternal organization of men and women that welcomes adults of all ages trying to better themselves and the community around them!” Their mission is to “provide a means by which fraternal and community relationships can be encouraged and improved!” We loved having them here to connect with everyone!

We also hosted the annual Grand Lodge of Ohio, Free and Accepted Masons event from October 14th through October 16th. This event serves to rotate around the state to transition the Grand Master out of their position. The transitioning Grand Master this year was Rich Dickerscheid. Rich was the 165th Grand Master and he held his final dinner with an attendance of 600 people. The Ohio Grand Chapter honored new Grand Master, Tim Wheeland, who is now the 166th Grand Master. His induction dinner included 500 attendees. This is the second time we’ve had the privilege of hosting this large event at the Convention Center. This is an event that not only uses our facility but also utilizes the surrounding hotels for lodging and hospitality rooms. We really enjoy having their events here at the Convention Center and look forward to next time!

In Community We’re Stronger

The COVID-19 crisis stole many aspects of our lives that are important to our health. Of course, the obvious loss has been our sense of physical health and safety, but what about our mental health? For many of us, COVID stole the things we gather around. It stole our concerts, our wine nights, our dinner parties, our exercise classes and our church services. It stole our community and our connections. As a result, many of us desperately grasped opportunities to meet outside at backyard dinners and outdoor potlucks. But, it turns out establishing and maintaining community no matter where we have to plop down is always going to be a good choice for our health.  

An article last fall from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Health), discussed the importance of community on mental health. We’re social beings, states the article, and we are not meant to live in isolation. Our nervous systems are hardwired to depend on each other, according to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. Even species with a primitive brain, such as ants, show this tendency. The journal also stated that given the importance of social interactions for humans, it is not surprising that most psychiatric disorders involve some disruption of normal social behavior, and that in several disorders abnormal social functioning is one of the central symptoms. Community plays a crucial role in our ability to thrive as human beings, especially for those who already struggle with mental health. NAMI identifies three main reasons why this is true…

Community is beneficial because it provides a sense of belonging. When you feel like you are a part of a community that understands you; you can relax, unwind and be your true self. Community also provides support. This idea goes back to our nervous systems; in order to feel stable, we need people we know we could count on if we found ourselves in danger. Lastly, community provides purpose. When we are a part of a community we are given a significant role to play. According to neuroscientist Dr. Jordan Grafman from the National Institutes of Health, humans are actually biologically “wired” for generosity. Generous behavior activates the same neuropathways triggered by sex and food—a correlation that may help to explain why helping and giving to others feels good. 

According to NAMI, those who are looking for community can usually find it using one of three aspects of identity: interests, values and beliefs. No matter where you find community one thing is for sure, you must find it! Whether big or small, community is critical to maintaining good mental health and overall well-being. This September the Sharonville Convention Center held, An Evening on the Patio, events every Saturday to help our community experience the benefits of a safe, outdoor gathering. We loved watching people come together, laugh together and make memories. Everyone seemed to forget their worries for one special night and we aren’t giving up on the fun just yet! Beginning October 18th, join us every Sunday afternoon for Big Sunday Brunch in our spacious Northern Lights ballroom. These events are what make Sharonville Convention Center and the events we hold so special. People get to escape the harshness of reality for a while and unwind doing something they love with people they love. At SCC, we are committed to keeping community happening!

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2019/The-Importance-of-Community-and-Mental-Health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2527715/

https://generosityresearch.nd.edu/news/hard-wired-for-giving/