Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working with Images in InDesign

As the primary graphic designer for RDL, I get the opportunity to work on many different design projects from creating signs, brochures, and name tags to creating conference registration packets and programs. As the office “expert” in Adobe InDesign, I am frequently called upon to help with InDesign-related questions and assistance. I would have to say that one of the most common issues is placing and re-sizing images. So, here are the basics of how one would place and resize an image in the InDesign program.

Placing an image directly on the page
To place an image directly on the page, you first need to make sure that you know where on your computer the original file is stored. Make sure to give the file a name that allows you to easily distinguish what it is.

Next, make sure that you have selected your selection tool from the tool palette.

Now select File > Place (Keyboard Shortcut: Command +D)

A dialogue box will pop up and you will then need to locate the file on your computer.

After selecting the file you wish to place, click Place in the dialogue box.

You will now see a small version of your image on your cursor. You can move the image to where you want to set it on the page, click once with your mouse and the image will appear on your page.

Resizing an image
In many cases, images need to be resized after they are placed on the page.
First, select the image with your selection tool.

Next, hold down the shift key and click any corner or the image to either increase or decrease the image size. (Holding the shift key while resizing is important because it constrains the image.)

Be sure to release the mouse before releasing shift.

Now depending on whether you made your image smaller or larger, you will either see some extra white space in your image box or it will look like your image is cut off. This is an easy fix.

Make sure you have your image selected with your selection tool and then select Object > Fitting > Fit Content Proportionally (KS: Shift + Option + Command +E)--

~ Carmen Zorick • Graphic Designer, RDL enterprises

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Work-Life Balance 3

In this series of articles by Molly Gordon, MMC, (geared towards small business owners) there is information that may help you find a process that can help you balance your work time with your business and your life. I have found these to be both interesting and helpful. Each article can be read about in more detail here – and each strategy is highlighted with additional information that is worth a read.

Articles On Work Life Balance
By Molly Gordon, MCC

* Work Life Balance - 9 Strategies to Help You Regain Your Equilibrium
If you are a small business owner, you may have noticed that the relationship between personal and professional life can be rocky. Developing and maintaining a healthy work life balance can be tricky. I know pat success formulas don't help. I also know it is possible to take care of ourselves and our businesses if we are willing to do the work. Read about nine strategies that, taken together, can help you change course without abandoning the destination and help you restore work life balance.

* Work Life Balance And The Power of Positive Thinking
Can we learn how to respond optimistically and hopefully to events that challenge work life balance? According to psychologist and researcher Martin Seligman, the answer is YES. While some folks appear to be hardwired to respond optimistically to ups and downs in life and work, others are wired for pessimistic responses. Fortunately, you do not have to settle for the wiring you were born with. Find out how you can improve your resilience and your hopefulness by acquiring solid positive thinking skills.

* Refine Your Work Life Balance by Setting Healthy Boundaries
Do you think of boundaries as ways to keep something or someone out in hope to maintain your work life balance and protect your time, energy, and resources? What do healthy boundaries look like, and how can you know where and how to set them? Let's take a big breath and take another look at this business of setting boundaries.

* Work Life Balance: Adding White Space
You most probably heard that work life balance is called the ''holy grail of the 21st century.'' In bookstores, the bookshelves groan with books devoted to the topic, yet ironically enough, quite a few people just can't find the time to read them. May this article help you cast a fresh eye on what work life balance means to you and take a further step towards balanced life.

* Work Life Balance: The Gift Of Too Much To Do
People are always asking me how I get everything done. How do I find the time to read so much? How can I travel and attend trainings while keeping up with my practice? How do I manage to write my blog and Authentic Promotion newsletter? How do I maintain work life balance that has become the Holy Grail of our times? In this article, I am gladly sharing one of my "secrets."

* Work Life Balance: 9 Quick Tips for Managing Overwhelm
If you feel that your work life balance is teetering on the edge; isn't it time to make changes before the problems overwhelm you? Whether or not you own your own business, life is often overwhelmingly rich. I wish you joy in the dance as you move with order and disorder, discipline and insight, gracefully maintaining work life balance.

* Your First Step To Balanced Life: Make Room for Enough
Here is the secret that underlies all life balance.

* Calling Your Energy Home
Find out about two main reasons we run short of energy we need to maintain work life balance and call your energy home with an energy inventory offered in this article.

* Work Life Balance: Self Care, Whether You Deserve It Or Not
Answering these simple questions will help you start or resume your journey toward real work life balance.

* Transition to Balanced Life: Do You Have Your Instrument Rating?
There are times in life and in business when it's just not possible to know what to do next based on your usual sources of information. Read about the ways that will help you avoid error, achieve more, and enjoy a balanced life.

So in your busy lives of working and living, I do hope that some of this information that I discovered is insightful and will help you in creating your balance.

~ Cyndy Hutchinson • CFO, RDL enterprises

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Food and Beverage Minimums in Contracts

Those of you who have been in the industry a while will most certainly come up against food and beverage (F&B) minimums at some pointing your career and how you have handled them will likely have been determined by your client’s needs and the particular event’s specifications. For those of you who are new to meeting planning, F&B minimums can be a bit daunting.

So what is a food and beverage minimum and why would I allow them into my contracts? Well, the term itself is pretty self-explanatory – it is the minimum amount of food and beverage your group is committing to in the contract – but does not go far enough to capture all that the clause entails.

F&B minimums in a contract will nearly always be spelled out in terms of dollars to be spent on catering for your event. You are spending at least that amount of money, regardless of what you order or how many people actually attend. If I have an F&B minimum of $15,000, then my final catering bill will be at least $15,000. It is important to note, too, that the minimum is the base price, exclusive of tax and service charges. (For more on these “hidden charges”, check out this post.)

The hotel calculates the minimum based on the meal functions that you have planned and secured space for at the property. They also look at how many people are projected to attend those events. If the number seems unreasonable to you, do your own calculations based on your best information about the group and using the hotel’s own menus, then make a counter-offer to the hotel. Remember, like nearly any other clause in the contract, you can suggest changes and negotiate terms. When I see an F&B minimum in a draft contract, I will always do my own (realistic!) calculation of what I think my group will order – and try to get a lower number in the contract. This leaves me some “wiggle room” in case my numbers are not as high as I expect or if the client reduces the size of or cancels any particular function.

So why are those clauses even in the contract? Basically, this is a bit of self-protection for the hotels that arose out of the days when planners would book the sun and fail to deliver even the moon. Hotels needed to protect themselves from the unrealistic projections of planners. (OK, not all planners did this but enough did that the trend was very disturbing for hotels.) As a result, the F&B minimum was “born”. It allowed the hotel or caterer to make the planner be realistic in their projections of how much food they would actually order once the meeting occurred – and they enforced this by making the planner put their money where their mouth was. If you tell the hotel that you are doing a banquet for 100 people, then you need to be willing to commit close to that amount as the minimum. Planners quickly learned to look at their events a little more critically so that they could be more accurate in booking those events.

Don’t get upset when you see an F&B minimum in the contract, though do check the numbers carefully. Just as we as planners want certain protections in there, so, too, do the hotels and this is one protection I agree with. Though, as I mentioned earlier, I do work to ensure that the minimum requested is a realistic target for my group to hit. If I know my group is only likely to spend $5,000 in F&B, I will not sign a contract for any higher amount. Neither will I argue if the hotel wants to impose a $2,500 minimum, especially if I know my group can easily make that level.

~ Karl Baur, CMP • Project Director, RDL enterprises

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What is Happening with Federal Travel

Recently the Federal Government issued a Federal Travel Regulation Bulletin (GSA Bulletin FTR 10-6) regarding Travel Policies and Practices. The stated purpose of this bulletin is to “enhance travel cost savings and reduce green house gas emissions.” This travel policy was established in response to the President’s Executive Order requiring heads of agencies to consider reductions associated with “implementing strategies and accommodations for transit, travel, training, and conferencing that actively support lower-carbon commuting and travel by agency staff.”

The travel bulletin goes on to say one of the ways to enhance cost savings is by reducing or eliminating travel. The new guidance encourages eliminating travel when possible by utilizing technology in lieu of travel. Agencies are encouraged to use teleconferencing, video conferencing, webinars, social networking options, etc. We have heard all of this before. It will be interested to see if we see an increase in demand for electronic conferencing.

Both travel costs and carbon reduction strategies are encouraged in the guidelines when planning any travel. Suggestions include traveling lighter (less luggage), using public transportation, and ridesharing and or walking, to and from lodging and meeting sites. When cabs are used, the traveler is encouraged to use cabs that use alternative fuels. If rental cars are required, the traveler is encouraged to use the smallest, most fuel efficient vehicle or if available under a government agreement, use alternative fuel or hybrid rental.

Lodging should be “Green”. Travelers are encouraged to look for lodging that is LEED certified, or has an EPA Energy Star rating or participates in EPA’s Waste Wise and Watersense program and has a stated commitment to practicing environmentally preferable purchasing in the products and services used. The guidance also asks travel to participate in the hotels reuse of linen to conserve water and recycling programs. It also encourages turning off AC/Heat, radio and TV in the room when leaving. These are good suggestions for all us as we travel for either business or pleasure.

When hosting meetings and conferences requiring travel, the guidance encourages strategies such as offering an alternative for remote conferencing, ensuring the site is easily accessible to public transportation, assuring the property incorporates green principles, and that if possible, schedule concurrently with other meetings so attendees can overlap their attendance and avoid multiple trips.

What does that mean to both government planners as well as independent planners? I think this is the wave of the future and we should all consider these guidelines when working with all of our clients and planning for our future events.

~ Linda Begbie • CEO & Executive Director, RDL enterprises

Ed Note: If you are traveling in or to California, check out this web site for a list of green-certified hotels and learn what it takes for them to become certified. - KB

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Plan a Gala - Outsourcing for Vendors

I recently finished planning a 28th annual gala in San Diego for one of our clients. About a year ago, I wrote a blog about how to plan a gala, using the same client’s event as the example. I offered some basic tips, depending on the type of venue being used. This time around, I would like to highlight and discuss a few details I did not mention in my previous gala blog.

Outsourcing for vendors was one of the main tasks this time. San Diego has a huge market so competition was stiff and, in today’s economy, everyone wants a piece of the pie. In sending out the request for proposal (RFP), I noted important aspects of the event, i.e., date, time, location, food & beverage requests, audio-visual, and other considerations. Several venues in the downtown area of San Diego responded. After learning about each vendor’s policies and procedures, the type of space provided, and rates, we made our selection. However, the venue finally chosen did not provide many elements needed for the gala. First, I needed to hire a catering company. Typically, venues have a preferred vendor list for special events. It is helpful knowing these companies have created a great working relationship with the venue, understand the space really well, and can offer discounts. Second, the event needed a professional DJ for the entertainment portion. And third, we needed a beverage vendor to provide bar service. Now, this is working with three different companies, three different negotiations, and three different contracts – outside of the venue contract. Thankfully, the catering company provided tables, linens, chairs, flatware and glassware. That could have been yet another element.

Dedicating enough time to such coordination is important. I started planning 6-8 months prior to the event, due to its size and complexity. Each vendor was extremely helpful offering suggestions to create a smooth and easy event. Overall, I found working with many different vendors was easy and enjoyable. All of who did an exceptional job. The venue coordinator was among the best I have worked with. I am looking forward to planning the 29th annual gala in Atlanta, GA.

~ Tess Conrad • Meeting & Conference Planner, RDL enterprises