May 29th 2020

Team building during social distancing

Team building during social distancing

My team is incredible. Their loyalty and commitment over the last few months have been exceptional. As many of us tentatively head back to our place of work now lockdown measures are lifting, team building within a business has never been more important. But team building during social distancing comes with unique challenges. Let me explain.

It’s clear that our offices will look and feel very different with new social distancing measures in place. Some with physical divisions to keep workers apart. And of course, many companies have taken the decision to continue to work remotely. But within this ‘new normal’, companies are faced with an impossible quandary. How do you bring your team together without, bringing your team together?

Team building during social distancing

Why team building is important in business

Even before most of us even knew what a coronavirus was, team building activities were hugely important. The many benefits of team building include a workforce getting to know one another better. Camaraderie, boosting performance and fostering innovation and creativity.

When delivered properly, team building and staff recognition events can help your workers to engage with your vision and values and become more loyal to your company. Team building will lower staff turnover and boost staff morale. And let’s face it, we all need a morale boost right now?

Team building during social distancing

What can team building achieve?

But don’t just take my word for it. There have been many studies into the benefits of team building and how encouraging a positive workplace culture and fostering an engaged, happy workforce can result in increased profit and productivity.

I read a survey by research-based consulting company, Gallup, for instance, which revealed that engaged employees are 17% more productive with absenteeism reduced by 41%. The same study found highly engaged companies to be around 21% more profitable.

And according to the University of Warwick, happy employees are up to 20% more productive than other workers.

Why do team-building activities while social distancing?

With our teams segregated, these qualities are of utmost importance if businesses are to recover from the coronavirus shutdown. As the world of business regains its focus, the companies that will thrive are those who foster team spirit and bring employees closer during the tough times. Team building during social distancing will allow employees to continue socialising and communicating. In addition to learning new things about one another in order to promote the kind of bonding that makes physical space disappear.

Team Building During Social Distancing Ideas

Here are team building during social distancing ideas that can keep your team focused and motivated during the transition back to work. These team buildings exercises can be adapted to overcome the physical challenges of social distancing, so that when employees return to the office, it’s almost as if they never left!

Scavenger Hunt

Individuals and teams can participate in a virtual scavenger hunt. A perfect team building exercise due to the friendly competition that they bring. Combine different elements of fun, problem solving and interaction in order to bring a team together to meet an end goal.

There are a number of different online platforms for this however with the Scavify app, everything is brought together efficiently in one place. The app includes a list of tasks for players to complete by uploading photos, taking videos, answering questions and scanning QR codes. The app takes the hassle out of organisation with automatic scoring, the ability for individuals to track their progress, real time leader-boards and photo-streams to see completed tasks as they happen. It also allows for social media integration which is so important during this current climate. Try it at https://www.scavify.com/

Fancy Dress Friday

Forget casual wear Friday! Dressing up is the new dressing down. With a lack of variety in our daily lives, weekdays can easily merge into one. Therefore, it is crucial that leaders in a company are able to liven up team meetings and boost morale when we head towards the weekend. Employees are given a different fancy dress theme each week to attend the online meeting in. Prizes are given out for the best dressed. It’s a great way for employees and employers to get to know each other on a different level and have fun. Breaking down barriers that may never have fallen while in the office.

Knowledge Share Training Days

Online training is a great way to further diversify your team’s skills, as well as sharing knowledge between departments. Ask for volunteers to create a webinar or online forum to share some of the transferable skills involved in their job. Or get your team involved in areas of the business they’ve not worked in before like social media. You may even discover some untapped talent.

Team building during social distancing

Alternatively, your team could sign up to a webinar run by a professional in your field. Due to the power and availability of online webinars and the fact that professionals want to share their knowledge so willingly during these tough times. Tthere have been a huge number of webinars run by our favourite professionals. You can run a zoom session alongside so that your team can interact during the breaks or downtime.

And team building during social distancing doesn’t have to stop professional development. Spreading your cultural horizons as a team can still have the same outcome. Famous faces, galleries, museums and performers are giving unrivalled free access to content like never before. So, make an event of it and attend that virtual gig, performance or exhibition together.

Team building during social distancing

Despite our best efforts as a nation, it doesn’t seem that coronavirus will be going anywhere anytime soon. Optimistically though, companies are embracing the challenge of adapting to new ways of working in order to survive. Within that, team building during social distancing should be near the top of the priority list. Afterall, a company’s true resilience and strength to recover comes from its greatest asset: its team.

Social distancing will affect bringing the team together for a company meeting too.  Here’s one way in which you can safely meet: Social Distance Meeting

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 May 22nd 2020

The Sustainable Dilemma

The Sustainable Dilemma

There has been one winner through the coronavirus pandemic; the environment. Changes we never dreamt were possible have happened in a matter of months. And on a global scale. We’ve seen the cancellation of eight out of ten international flights. Waters are clearing of plastic and pollution. Air quality is improving. Endangered species are returning to their natural habitats. In Venice, the waterways are clear. The people of China are able to breath clean air. And in New York, where my daughter lives and coronavirus has devastated so many, the levels of pollution have dropped by 50%. This city epitomises the sustainable dilemma – can we maintain the environmental benefits without the threat of pandemic pain?

The Sustainable Dilemma

 

It may be a miracle amongst the madness, but will we learn lessons for the long-term? Will doubters such as Donald Trump accept global warming as a scientific fact? It was the change our planet badly needed. Yet it may never have happened without a threat more imminent than the environmental catastrophe that has been lingering in our peripheral vision for many years.

The Sustainable Dilemma

 

The Events Industry

 

Within the events industry this raises a huge dilemma; one that I shared my thoughts on in my Conference News column at the beginning of this year. Events are by nature consumers of environmental resources. Energy use for a full lighting production for instance is substantial. Many elements of an event will be single use. Then there’s food waste, plastic consumption, car travel and air miles. Plus, a whole host of other factors to consider. It gives planners the sustainable dilemma – and a challenge!

 

In recent years, the conundrum has been that people have been eager to reduce their impact on the environment, yet they still want the impact and drama of lavish, glamourous events. As event planners, we’ve been charged with marrying desires that are polar opposites to one another. An almost impossible task. But has the coronavirus crisis given us the beginnings of a solution?

Social Distance

 

In the short term, social distancing measures will go some way towards keeping up the progress we’ve made environmentally. It’s unlikely we’ll be allowed to host large-scale events for some time. While we find our feet in a new world, small is better. We’ll have to throw all of our creativity into making events that are pared back in scale, but NOT in vision.

 

Another consequence of time spent in lockdown, is there has been a renewed understanding that we can survive on less. People are taking joy from the smaller things in life. Events will therefore need to respond and show reductions in energy, food and environmental consumption, honing-in on attention to detail. Small events CAN be beautiful. More thoughtful. More manageable. Clients will however need to invest in the finer details to make them successful. That TLC touch that makes all the difference.

 

Innovation

 

A different question is, can events really become more sustainable while maintaining their scale and impact? On this point, only time will tell. Event planners need to turn to their greatest assets to solve the dilemma: innovation. As I mentioned, I wrote a column about this very subject at the beginning of the year and I’ll leave you with some of those thoughts to summarise now.

 

“We need to tackle the challenge in the way that I deal with every event. I take every individual element and assess how we can deliver it with creativity and style, and now, with a more sustainable edge. Work with suppliers to minimise plastics and packaging. Look at low-energy options. Take care of your team’s wellbeing. Employ local venues, caterers and florists to lessen the burden of travel. For large events, I accept the task is daunting, but it shouldn’t be avoided. Perfect? Your solutions will evolve over time. You may not be able to change everything at once. But every swap, change, new idea and alternative option will make a difference.”

 

THE EXTRA FACTOR

Finally, this article in the Independent takes a closer look at the air pollution rates, and the changes we have seen in just a couple of months: TRULY startling! https://www.independent.co.uk/news/coronavirus-pollution-environment-lockdown-carbon-emissions-charts-a9510636.html

Having also been lucky enough to visit Venice for work and fun, the pictures here of the beautifully clear canals are astonishing and make the sustainable dilemma more apparent: https://youtu.be/HVwjs_D_kRI

The Sustainable Dilemma The Sustainable Dilemma The Sustainable Dilemma

 

-Liz Taylor, CEO. Taylor Lynn Corporation

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 May 18th 2020

Social Distance for Meetings

Social Distance for Meetings

Over the past two months I’ve done a lot of thinking about how we can begin to deliver events again. Most of you will know. I’m not the type of person to just accept that I’m unable to work indefinitely. When I hit a wall, I tend to look for something to knock it down with. If I can’t knock it down, I find a way to climb over it. So, my self-isolation has become a time for reflection. Brainstorming and planning for how we can start to deliver events when the Government begins to ease the lockdown rules.  Embracing the social distance for meetings philosophy.

In this article I’ll present my ideas about how the events industry can begin to recover. Ways in which we can get back to doing what we love; meeting.

As an event planner of 36 years of experience, I know that finding a social distance for meetings solution will only be possible by working collaboratively with venues and clients. I ’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts. Can we make this possible?

social distance for meetings

Beginning with baby steps

My first thought is that restrictions will determine that we will need to start off small. So, my skeleton plan is about how I think TLC will be able to deliver meetings of up to 50 people in the first instance.  Simply put, adopting the social distance for meetings approach will be much simpler with smaller groups.  We’ll need to hone our provision of these smaller micro meetings, then begin to think bigger and better until we can get back to delivering the large-scale wow factor events.

One solution could be to spread an event out over a few days, with smaller groups attending each day. You could even bring everyone who has attended together virtually on the final day with.

Alternatively, in a venue with more than one event room, organise the event content into smaller sub events. Delegates could be moved round the venue in an orderly and organised way. This could ensure that different groups don’t mingle, with each event space being cleaned in between.

All the Ps – protection, preparation, prevention

Staggered arrival times. Sending out pre-meeting safety packs detailing the steps a company is taking to protect delegates. Giving access to easily reachable sanitisation stations. Meetings will be all about thorough preparation to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

And until the world returns to normal, it will be our job as organisers of events to allay any fears and reassure delegates every precaution has been taken to ensure their safety. That means clear communication will be key.

social distance for meetings

Finding the right venue

Finding the perfect space to host your meeting will never be more important. Bigger will most certainly be better for smaller events. Businesses will need to find a venue that’s much larger than needed, so for a meeting of 50, we’d probably suggest a room that can host 250.

Layout within that space will be another consideration – with each delegate (or group of delegates depending on what’s allowed) being given ample space to social distance themselves from other people in the room.

Access to the outdoors is going to be another key factor in choosing to hire an event space. The latest information on COVID-19 shows that it’s easier to prevent the spread of coronavirus outdoors. Giving delegates frequent breaks in the open air will be hugely important also give venue teams time to clean the rooms frequently. But this will need to be staggered and well organised to prevent a mass exodus!

If the weather permits, why not hold the whole thing outside.

Non-Contact Catering

Buffets with precision organisation should be the way forward when it comes to catering at events. I’m fairly certain there will be no sit-down meals for a while, unless we adopt the approach that some restaurants in Europe are taking with clear Perspex screens segregating diners.
My preference would be small plates. There’s no need for service and attendees can help themselves without touching serving utensils – limiting the possibility of cross-contamination between groups of people.

Another idea would be to make up individual picnic baskets with single servings for each person, this could include some gorgeous cakes for afternoon tea, or a selection of cold meats, cheeses and breads for a more continental approach. Blankets could be laid out on a lawn with adequate spacing in between to adhere to social distancing while still allowing guests to mingle.

social distance for meetings

And for teas and coffees why not send out a personalised reusable cup ahead of the event within a delegate welcome pack. Another way to reassure your guests of cleanliness and minimal contact with venue staff.

Related Topic: How to Put the Wow Factor into an Event

Hybrid meetings

With a limit on numbers, businesses will really have to think about who they send to meetings. Only those who are integral should/will be able to attend. But by embracing technology and with careful organisation, it may be that a mix of virtual and actual attendees becomes the new norm.

Here is where an event planner would be able to add lots of value.  Making those virtual attendees feel as much a part of the event as those there on the day will be a challenge. Interactive elements will need to be handled in a creative, innovative way to bring the room together.

But with the recent VE Day celebrations as an example, it could mean that we reach even more people with events and messages.

By providing people with the means to have their own social distanced garden party at home, organisers believe that thousands more people became involved in the celebrations in their own way, than would have attended any official gatherings.

social distance for meetings

Attention to detail

In a world where smaller gatherings will become the norm (even for a short time), personal touches will become more important than ever.  Small is certainly more manageable when it comes to delivering the right social distance for meetings approach. And small can be beautiful. But companies will have to invest in micro events to elevate them and ensure they’re successful.

So, these are some steps I feel could be taken to mitigate risks of small-scale events and meetings as we begin to get back to business. Some companies may think ‘why would we get an event planner in for a small event?’ As always my answer would be that ‘the devil is in the detail’. But in fact, it’s even more important now to ensure that smaller events are planned to perfection, to allow us to progress further in the future.

social distance for meetings

Can we get people meeting again with the right social distance for meetings approach? Thoughts people? Over to you.

-Liz Taylor,  CEO, Taylor Lynn Corporation

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 May 7th 2020

Coronavirus Lost Generation of 2020

Coronavirus Lost Generation of 2020

Since the beginning of the pandemic employment or indeed the uncertainty has been one of my concerns. New research into youth unemployment has found that 600,000 more young people could be out of work this year due to the coronavirus. With pay and prospect ‘scarred’ for years. INDEPENDENT ARTICLE They will become the Coronavirus lost generation of 2020.

I accept that in the great scheme of things this could be perceived as way down the pecking order. People are dying whilst others are losing their livelihoods. It may be true that some, if not the majority, of young people could go back to live at home with parents and ride out any possible recession with their whole lives to rebuild their careers. But, there’s a bigger picture that many of us are overlooking as we become consumed with the herculean task of keeping our businesses afloat.

If we don’t support and nurture new talent into our sector, they will go elsewhere. For me, a person who has built a business with the help of young event industry talent, this would be a tragedy.

Commitment to New Talent

I’ve always committed to having an intern at TLC. And what brings the current situation into even sharper focus is very personal to me. In 2007 I hired my now Events Director Jess Randall fresh from university. She came to us with such energy, enthusiasm and creativity that I simply couldn’t let her go. She was a raw talent and I immediately knew that with the right guidance and in the right environment she would be a force to be reckoned with. So, I told her that once she had graduated there would be a job for her at TLC. The rest as they say is history.

She’s been with us for 3 years and is an incredibly important part of TLC. Creative. Enthusiastic. Hard working. Brilliant with clients, Jess has proved to be everything you want in a young event director. Developing the next generation of event planners is something I’ve dedicated a lot of my energy to. I love nothing better than delivering my annual lecture to the budding event planners at Manchester Metropolitan Uni. Taking time to share experiences, and my own brand of wisdom.

 

coronavirus lost generation 2020

The Lost Generation of Planners

Unfortunately, the first sector to shut down is likely to be the last to reopen for obvious reasons. The events industry has, frankly, been decimated by the pandemic. But even with all of this going on in the background, the thought of graduates, talented individuals, who will qualify and be sent out into a jobs market where there are no jobs, has been bothering me.

Not only have they had the joy of graduation taken from them. No final exams. Parties cancelled. Post-graduate travels on hold. The final chapter in their academic career simply stopped mid-sentence and carefree university life became a memory. Now they’re being released into an economic wasteland.  However, this is about more than just wanting to nurture new talent. It’s about the event industry as a whole and how we move forward to avoid allowing this crop of talented planners to be remembered as the coronavirus lost generation of 2020!

Our responsibility (with Government support) is surely to ensure that these eager, talented individuals realise their potential within our industry and don’t go elsewhere. They’re the future of the profession we’ve given our lives, hearts and souls to.

The Youthful Solution

I believe that the key to our recovery partly lies within this generation. I’m no technophobe. I may be known to Insta post at 3am, but I wasn’t brought up in a world where I learned to swipe and pinch before I could read and write. Young people coming through are digital natives. And now, more than ever, the events industry needs to harness technology and innovation.

In an industry built on bringing people together, we need to find, new, safe ways of doing so while we ride out the rest of storm.

When I first started out, people just organised their own parties and meetings, much like they are doing now on Zoom, Skype and Google hangout. Then event planners came along with inspiration and creativity and events were elevated to a level nobody could have imagined. It’s this enthusiasm that we need right now – new avenues of thought that can add value to companies finding their way to doing business in the ‘new normal’. The Coronavirus lost generation of 2020 could be a major part of our recovery.

coronavirus lost generation 2020

To Conclude

Finally, what I do know is that as an industry we won’t simply give up. We’re a hardy bunch. It’s taken all my resolve to stay focused and positive, but I have ridden out recessions, divorces and more. It may be a bumpy road, but I’m committed to ensuring that TLC survives and thrives. And when that happens, I will be certain to welcome a new intern into the fold.

For more information on how TLC are staying positive during Coronavirus, take a look here.

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 Oct 30th 2019

Planning the Perfect Christmas Party

Planning the Perfect Christmas Party

Liz Taylor, founder and MD of the Taylor Lynn Corporation, took time out of her events schedule to share her tips on planning the perfect Christmas Party with guests who were invited to a networking lunch at Sheffield’s stunning Whirlowbrook Hall, part of Vine Hotels. Guests had the opportunity to hear advice and anecdotes from this award-winning event organiser. Here’s what she had to say:

“It’s only 90 days away and you can’t take the Christmas out of Christmas.”

But everyone does have a different perception of Christmas and there is no right way or wrong way. What is essential is that in planning the perfect Christmas party, you take a drop of eggnog, a bunch of mistletoe, raise the curtain and kiss goodbye to the old, as you celebrate bringing in the new. In any event, expectations are high – especially in my world, where the client has turned to a professional to create the theatre.

corporate event planners in manchester tlc limited

Festive Trends

As founder and MD of the Taylor Lynn Corporation, I have been planning and producing corporate and private events for over 30 years. The 5am starts and the 2am finishes. The constant challenge to reinvent, reinterpret and re-energise an event. The bigger the challenge, the greater the sense of achievement. I am passionate about what I do. I want to share with you a little of the theatre, drama, passion and backbone; with my tips to planning the perfect Christmas party.

I often get asked early in the year what the coming trends are for this much anticipated time. This year I am in the middle of designing and delivering a Christmas dinner for 80 guests in a marquee immersed in chocolate brown velvet, pull out crackers with menu details and guests names at each place setting printed in a lush copper plate. A deconstructed Christmas tree decorated with bronze and copper foliage and baubles – all built on a square truss overhead, so it becomes the roof of the dining space. A gospel choir during reception entertaining with Christmas favourites, and a band from Paris to rock the room. So, I’ve taken some traditional and mixed it with a variety of colours and textures to give it that touch of TLC.

Planning the perfect Christmas Party inevitably attracts trends. We have provided the décor for private clients where they have spent circa £50k on dressing door frames, trees, banisters. These had to reflect the traditional New York and American movie vision of Christmas that we soak up in those old films.

Then there is the contemporary – where you select ice baubles and use them as name places, throw faux skins over the back of chairs. Then put the light-up reindeer in the front garden. Twee? Maybe. But providing it’s tucked behind a tree, it’s fun.

Be bold with colours and dare to be different. Teal, deep reds, copper, gold, orange shades – the rich hues that can be found in winter flowers and foliage.  In this vain, I’ve just bought 24 copper water glasses which are amazing for £1 each. They will sit at my table on Christmas Day amongst the wood, the bark and tiny tea lights; offering a rustic feel. My Christmas this year is natural bark – baccara roses and candles.

But what of corporate Christmas. For me, there are three vital ingredients that contribute to the TLC wow factor in planning the perfect Christmas party, and are the basis for a successful event – exclusive imagination, individuality and that moment least expected. Let me explain……

Exclusive Imagination

Its allowing someone to think out of the box and take a concept and create magic. Here’s an example. A 21st birthday – the girl who still had the magic of youth and wanted Narnia. And Narnia she got.

Set designers descended and built a magnificent wardrobe door. Creatively lit this was the focus as guests drove into the car park. Our Narnia queen guided them in – through a wardrobe of mink coats that touched the sides into a walkway of characters on stilts and a pathway of leaves. As they walked along the path, they turned a corner with two huskies on a sleigh guiding them into Narnia. Continuing their journey through the snow – with snowflakes falling from the ceiling, before eventually arriving in Narnia. Perspex tables with magnificent white birch trees growing out of them, and a multitude of candles against crystal glassware and opaque crockery. A combination of Narnia and a white Christmas. Anticipation, exclamation and exclusive imagination in abundance.

Exclusive imagination – of ideas, of concepts, of entertainment and of venues. Infusing your Christmas event with some exclusive touches can make all the difference. Take this venue, here at Whirlowbrook Hall, as an example. Exclusive hire means you can party here until the early hours without worrying about the DJ upsetting anyone next door. Hire the space, and you are lord and lady of the manor. Dress the space to your own taste and you’re assured of the staff’s full attention – no sharing them with other companies.

When it comes to entertainment – invest in the best. I only work with exclusive entertainers – phenomenal ensemble bands and the best DJs from the continent. Companies will often ask me to just book their Christmas party entertainment because they know that we don’t offer average. My belief is that this is an area where a little more should be invested. When we orgnaise parties and clients ask if we have a DJ for £150, we don’t. You get what you pay for and mixing music is an art in itself.

 

corporate event planners in manchester tlc limited

Related Topic: Can you Host a Christmas Party in January?

Individuality

Individual interpretation is a bit part of planning the perfect Christmas Party. As I said before, you can’t take Christmas out of Christmas, but you can interpret it in a unique style. Take every element of the party and re-imagine it. Food is a great example. We fuse food and theatre to great effect. The rise in informal catering has allowed us to be imaginative. Sushi bars. Gourmet pizza. And a traditional fish and chip van as guests depart. Food stations merging into theatrical props. For a more formal meal – take the traditional Christmas turkey and transform it into individual pies served miniature jugs of gravy on the side. Sticky toffee pudding served in shot glasses. And Christmas pudding – serve as a martini. Yes, it is a cocktail!

My most inspiring moments are honestly on my treadmill every morning. With my eclectic mix on full blast music takes me into a most creative corner where I find the impossible. For a Wizard of Oz inspired party, we offered a 10-foot witch greeting guests – and I mean greeting them. A custom-built animated statue guided them into a wicked inspired set, and then at the appropriate time, the entire wall dropped and there was the yellow brick road. The detail in the room and on the tables was insane, with Perspex tables resting on large ruby red shoes. The entertainment … Diana ross and a serious DJ! Now that’s wow.

Putting your own mark on an event is all about the details.

The Moment Least Expected

This is the greatest wow factor moment planning the perfect Christmas Party. When a wall drops on a drum roll … when pyrotechnics burst into the room to announce employee of the year or when a ceiling drops hundreds of hidden petals when they say, ‘I do’.

Take a festive party for a financial services client. Guests ferried in private cars to a farmer’s field in Surrey [a surprise in itself for the well-dressed guests]. Walking on a purpose-built footpath carved through wintry woodland – and then – a stunning marquee nestled in the landscape and sprinkled with TLC’s winter magic. Oversized frosted trees. A spectacular lighting production bathing the rustic wooden bar and tables in light. This surprise venue created out of a challenge. We scoured the county for the right venue – no luck. When I hit a brick wall, I start digging. If we don’t have a venue – we build one. We hired a farmer’s field and erected a fabulous marquee. We cut back the woodland to create an entrance walkway – placed hundreds of candles along the way and voila! A wow moment for festive party goers that they will remember.

corporate event planners in manchester tlc limited

And let’s not forget one of the most surprising moments at any Christmas party. When the Duke of Cambridge bounds onto a stage to sing Livin’ on a Prayer with Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift. A charity event that I was involved with on just two weeks’ notice. Dr Zhivago inspired. Kensington Palace the venue. The guest list a Who’s Who. The photos of the Prince and the Rock Stars went global.

Exclusive imagination, individuality and the moment least expected…. three of my top tips in planning the perfect Christmas party.

All well and good you might say – these sound like unlimited budgets. My mantra is that it’s never how much you spend, but how you spend it. If you have £500 to throw into a reception – don’t invest it in an inexperienced and underrated musical act. Invest it in a ten-foot vase filled with an abundance of flower heads that takes the breath away. Or a bar full of festive inspired cocktails served in a milk bottle that oozes dry ice and sustainable branded straws! Paper of course!

planning the perfect Christmas Party

At home, styling can be simple but effective too. Take the festive lunch table. Here’s three different styles you could choose from:

Contemporary Chic

If you are opting for linens, a contemporary feel should use a plain, white, crisp tablecloth as your starting point. Bring your table to life with a gorgeous electric blue silk table runner. Use clear and blue ‘crackled effect’ glassware to enhance the colour scheme. Place tall candles into crystal or glass holders and put chunkier ones straight onto mirrors down the table centre. Dress with frosted ivy, twigs, pinecones and leaves. Crockery and cutlery are always best kept simple with contemporary white linens, so opt for silver or chrome cutlery. Add lots of miniature ‘snowflake’ crystals for sparkle and you’ll have an elegant, contemporary table.

corporate event planners in manchester tlc limited

Downton Inspired

Or go more traditional in planning the perfect Christmas party. Downton Abbey is influencing styles again with its recent reincarnation at the cinema. Black Watch Tartan linens and deep purple napkins tied with a gold napkin ring. Add some traditional glamour to this look by using gold candelabra on the table, or some of the fabulous deep gold candles now available. The gold in this style should be deep, and rich, not the highly polished commercial look. You are creating a very traditional and slightly vintage feel, so a more burnished gold is better.

Handmade or Homemade

Let’s not forget, and TV’s Kirsty Allsopp would be proud of me here, that the ‘handmade’ family Christmas style is still popular. Choose a very simple red gingham cloth and then adorn with homemade décor items. Create a table centre out of a three miniature gingerbread houses filled with chunky candles, or hessian wrapped bowls of nuts, cinnamon sticks, dried oranges and pinecones. It’ll be wonderfully scented. Just add simple tea lights and red napkins tied with raffia to complete the look.

Glassware is something that really shows quality – don’t leave the crystal in the cupboard, get it out and enjoy it! A simple tip is to tie matching Black Watch Tartan ribbon around the stem of each glass; you could even add a delicate sleigh bell for additional tinkle! For a more earthy Christmas style, add a hessian bow to some of the chunkier wine glasses to reflect the less formal feel of the table.

Personalise your table for maximum effect. The first way to do this is with your crackers, which must be quality whether that is bought or homemade. Try using different paper or materials to craft them with personalised gifts inside.

The other key personal touch is your place settings. You could get your children to craft gingerbread name plates with iced names written on top, or simply write names in gold pen onto holly leaves or a plain glass bauble that matches your colour scheme. Simple. Inexpensive.

Christmas parties arranged by the Taylor Lynn Corporation the party planner in Manchester

To Conclude

I have said this before, but it’s truer now than ever. After 30 years I get up event morning, decide what diet I am on that day, and then embrace the madness. I love it. I am lucky enough to have worked in my dream job. My team inspire me. My events challenge me still.

2020 marks TLC’s 25th anniversary – a time to reflect, celebrate and innovate. We have plans. Big plans. No sitting on our laurels. We are forging into 2020 with a healthy order book, unlimited imagination and a hunger to take the company to new levels. Bring it on!

www.whirlowbrook.co.uk

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 Aug 20th 2019

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Home of the Beatles, arguably the most successful footballing city in the UK (although I am not sure this Manchester girl can agree on that!), a unique maritime heritage and stunning period architecture. Liverpool has a lot to offer. And it seems that every week there is a new bar, restaurant or hotel opening in this vibrant city. Luckily, TLC’s Frankie Lyons has the lowdown on the best places to visit and shares them here in her Destination Guide to Liverpool.

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Having worked as PA to TLC’s founder and managing director Liz Taylor for over fifteen years, I have supported the team on many events and been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing destinations.

There is one northern UK city that I love for its unique energy and scouse humour. In my Destination Guide to Liverpool, I am bringing together some of the places that I love to visit for both business and pleasure – enjoy!”

Best airline: Private Jet

Ryan Air and Easy Jet are the main airlines operating from Liverpool airport, so it’s an easy and affordable place to fly from destinations all over Europe. For those who prefer a little more privacy and luxury, the XLR Executive jet centre at Liverpool is a discreet and efficient service for VIP passengers and private aircraft owners. For that reason, it would definitely be my choice of how to travel in style.

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Best hotel: Titanic

https://www.titanichotelliverpool.com/meetings-events-spaces-liverpool

First of all, although it’s situated a little out of town, the Grade II listed former warehouse that’s now known as the Titanic Hotel is worth a taxi ride. It boasts 153 extremely spacious and distinctive rooms. Many come with impressive vaulted ceilings and all of them have supremely tasteful décor. It’s completed by an amazing subterranean spa. And within the boundaries of this cavernous hotel are two unique and inspiring event spaces. Also ideal for corporate events and weddings alike. The beautifully renovated 1950s Rum Warehouse hosts up to 500 guests, where characterful West Bay, with its steel pillars and stone floors, can hold 180.

Best venue for a corporate event: Royal Liver Building

As Liverpool event venues go, they don’t come more iconic than the Royal Liver Building. Famed for the mythical creatures that roost on its rooftop and with panoramic views of the river Mersey. This venue embodies the spirit of Liverpool. Two contemporary gallery style rooms are available for events, complete with a private Royal Balcony overlooking the waterfront. Each has tasteful, neutral décor that’s a blank canvas for corporate messaging or wedding décor. For that reason – you can let your imagination run wild.

https://royalliverbuildingvenue.co.uk/

Best rooftop bar: Goodness Gracious at Oh Me Oh My

My Destination Guide to Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without this. A beautiful hidden venue in the heart of downtown Liverpool, Oh Me Oh My is described as ‘a casual and creative space’. By day it operates as a café and tea house with a laid-back Parisian vibe. By night, it transforms into a unique event space available for private hire. It also frequently opens its doors to the public for evening ‘secret sessions’. The jewel in the crown of this enigmatic venue is Goodness Gracious. The rooftop terrace with a bird’s eye view of Liverpool’s Three Graces. It’s open whenever the sun shines from March to October.

Best lunch spot to wow a client: Panoramic 34

Breath-taking views and fine dining within easy reach of Liverpool’s central business district. What more could you ask for? As the name suggests you can enjoy 360° views of the city along with menus inspired by the seasons that evolve daily.

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Best restaurant for a business dinner: The Art School

In the unlikely setting of a former home for destitute children (which later became an art school), celebrity Chef Paul Askew’s 50 cover restaurant is certain to impress clients. In fact, it’s Liverpool’s first ‘Michelin star contender’ according to a recent review from Cheshire Life magazine. Therfore, a perfect choice for TLC clients.

https://theartschoolrestaurant.co.uk/

A ‘hidden gem’: Dirty Little Secret

Hidden in every sense of the word. Consequently, you have to be very committed to visit this place. But oh, is it worth it! Dirty Little Secret is an intimate and atmospheric speakeasy bar that’s well concealed from partygoers. It’s located by ‘finding the key on Wood Street’. And once inside it’s renowned for even more surprises. Customers have been treated to random ‘free bar’ nights on more than one occasion.

What interesting fact could you tell a client?

Finally, Liverpool has doubled for Paris, London, Dublin and Moscow in numerous feature films and TV shows. A thriving film industry ensures its continued popularity amongst film crews. With Sherlock Homes, Creed, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Tolkien, Harry Potter – The Deathly Hallows, Captain American and The Fast and The Furious just some of the films that have been shot in the city.

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 Aug 14th 2019

Liz Shares Outdoor Event Planning Advice

Outdoor Event Planning Advice

Event professionals said they were ‘bowled over’ by the fantastic surroundings of the newly refurbished Emerald Headingley Stadium. Home of Yorkshire Cricket Club and Leeds Rhinos, this was the perfect venue for the CHS Summer BBQ on Thursday 8th August 2019. At the event, TLC’s MD, Liz Taylor, shared her outdoor event planning advice.

The Event

In a change of pace, the team behind the Conference & Hospitality Show hosted a laid-back, summertime networking event. This brought together 32 hotels and venues from across the UK with event and conference organisers, PAs, EAs and conference agents.

Guests were greeted with sizzling summer food and drink on the terrace overlooking the world famous Headingley cricket pitch. Before mingling with exhibitors and adding to their little black books with the latest “tap” technology. All courtesy of Blendology interactive events solutions.

Liz Taylor, Managing Director of Taylor Lynn Corporate (TLC), was guest speaker for the day. Liz shared outdoor event planning advice and insights of pushing the boundaries of design, technology and presentation. All gained over a 30-year career at the forefront of the events industry.

‘CHS events provide a unique platform for independent and branded venues and buyers to connect.
I was thrilled to be invited to speak at this summer’s event. After 30 years of planning some of the county’s leading events, I was delighted to share my advice on planning an outdoor event to remember….whatever the weather!’

Outdoor Event Planning Advice

The Feedback

Exhibitors and buyers alike thoroughly enjoyed the event.  Yorebridge House wowed the room with details of their Laurent Perrier cellar. This is perfect for private dining. And, the news they will soon be launching the world’s first Laurent Perrier bedroom. This offers stunning views over the Yorkshire Dales and a private outdoor hydro pool.

Jan Denning of NHS Digital said;
‘I have been a key supporter of CHS for several years and enjoy the professionalism of their events. I feel it is important to constantly develop oneself professionally and personally and enjoy being in a room full of likeminded individuals. I gain much more than just contacts at these gatherings and have established many strong working relationships ‘

The summer BBQ was the first of a number of new events planned by the CHS Group as they begin a period of growth.  Emma Cartmell, CEO of CHS said:

“We’ve had a fantastic year so far as we celebrated our 10th anniversary of the Conference & Hospitality Show and our 5th CHS Awards in 2019.

“We’ve got some really exciting plans ahead for the remainder of this year and are well into our 2020 plans and beyond. We’ll be announcing details soon, so watch this space.”

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 Jul 11th 2019

How to put the wow factor into an event – Confex North

How to put the wow factor into an event – Confex North

TLC’s founder and MD, Liz Taylor, was delighted to be asked to host a fabulous cocktail reception and presentation at Confex North.  Transforming the Luxury Pavilion at Victoria Warehouse into a presentation looking at ‘how to put the wow factor into an event’. Followed by drinks – with a little added TLC style!  Here’s a snapshot of Liz’s presentation, and a few secret ingredients to adding those crucial elements that takes your event from average, to stunning.

It’s that million-dollar question. And sometimes quite literally. How to put the wow factor into an event? With the ever-growing necessity to invest in recognition and motivation, with clients accepting the value of why events are the advertising of today it is essential that your event is bespoke – it has the wow factor to stand alone.   Everyone has their own perception of the wow factor …. Today I would like to share mine. It may not be gospel and you may not agree, but it has served TLC well over the last twenty-five years!

How to put the WOIW factor into an event

So, how to put the wow factor into an event. There are three vital ingredients that contribute, and here they are:

Imagination

It is never how much you spend but how you spend it. Its allowing someone to think out of the box and take a concept and create magic. So, when I was asked some years back to create a circus theme for a twenty first birthday, I ditched the predictable red and yellow and designed a revolving vintage carousel. With a skilled design team, I poured over Victorian carousel images, and in a modern touch we built the turntable into the floor of a marquee. Guests slowly circled around the carousel picking up their goldfish in a plastic bag filled with vodka and tonic, and a popcorn cocktail served in a popcorn carton.

How to put the WOIW factor into an event How to put the WOIW factor into an event

event agencies manchester

 

Individuality

Individual interpretation … The clients favourite show was ‘Wicked’, so we were tasked with bringing it to life off the stage. My most inspiring moments are honestly on my treadmill every morning … with my desert island discs on full blast music takes me into a most creative corner where I find the impossible. A 10-foot witch greeted guests – and I mean greeted them. A custom-built animated statue guided them into a Wicked inspired set – and then at the appropriate time, the entire wall dropped and there was the yellow brick road. The detail in the room and on the tables was insane with Perspex tables resting on large red shoes. The entertainment … Diana Ross. Now that’s wow.

The moment least expected

Is the greatest wow factor of the event. A wall drops on a drum roll. Pyrotechnics burst into the room to announce employee of the year. A ceiling drops hundreds of hidden petals when they say I do. The key to this is to choreograph the visual feast accordingly. So, you will know where the guests will be looking, and it’s the perfect time to capture the moment. There’s no point in a surprise where they can’t absorb the magic!

Some moments just happen. They evolve and I’d like to take all the credit, but by having an experienced producer throughout the event last minute decisions can change the entire direction of the night. When a CEO makes an impromptu announcement and you jump on an appropriate piece of music. When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is escorted into an MUFC Christmas party as the new manager with one moment’s notice, the band strikes up the glories. I often have certain tables at events reinforced, so that artists can jump on the tables and perform during dinner – a lesson learned when I hadn’t had them reinforced and they jumped on them anyway!

Imagination, individuality and least expected …..

Key messages to consider in every event. Whether you are the producer or whether you work with an events team – two heads are always better than one.

All well and good you might say. These sound like unlimited budgets … but my mantra .. It’s never how much you spend but how you spend it.  You have £500 to throw into a reception – don’t invest it in an inexperienced and underrated musical act. Invest it in a ten foot vase filled with an abundance of flower heads that takes the breath away. Or a bar full of cocktails, served in a milk bottle that oozes dry ice and sustainable branded straws!

RELATED TOPIC: Planning the Perfect Awards Event

How do we at TLC deliver the imaginative, individual, least expected moments ……..

The infrastructure at TLC is simple. We are a team of 5 and we are surrounded by a loyal band of suppliers who have supported my journey for thirty years. This enables the team to play on individual strengths. My bag is the wow … my background is creative. From the age of four years I studied music and played the piano to grade 8 and GCSE level at 16. Then after A levels, I pursued a career in fashion retail until the age of 29. It was then that I fell into the industry.  Creating the wow is my strength. I have the most ridiculously bonkers Pisces inspired ideas, that I can make happen. I believe that this sets TLC apart from the competition.

 

If you went to invest in something special, you would look for advice from an expert – someone who could support you in your vision. Whether it be a product or something intangible, perhaps for your home. I have endeavoured over the years to provide that support to a discerning corporate and private client portfolio – pushing the boundaries and delivering the impossible. And that’s what makes it and us wow ……

So, to summarise …. how to put the wow factor into an event.  Imaginative. Individual. The moment least expected … they are the three to remember!

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 Jun 19th 2019

Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties

Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties

Warmer weather is the season for enjoying TLC’s open-air celebrations and stylish outdoor parties. But when your guests have seasonal allergies such as hayfever, the thought of spending time outside can bring visions of sneezing and wheezing rather than having fun! If you’re hosting an outdoor party this summer, our Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties can help to ensure a good time is had by everyone, even those with summer allergies:

Timing is Everything

Pollen counts are highest in the morning (5am-10am), so plan your party for later in the day or evening. Or go a step further and try to hold your celebration on a day that should have a low pollen count. Most summer weather forecasts detail this, but to plan further ahead, check out the Met Office forecast.

Knowledge is Wisdom

Allergy medications are more effective when you take them before you have symptoms, Telling your guests in advance that your party is outdoors gives them the opportunity to take their allergy medication before they arrive. It also serves as a reminder for them to bring any emergency medication with them.

Location, Location

Sea breezes blow pollen inland, so choosing a more coastal location for your party can help hayfever and summer allergy sufferers. Beach front venues, or the beach itself, can provide an inspiration backdrop and enhances the ‘endless summer’ vibe of any outdoor party.

Super Shady

Third on our list of top Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties is both practical and stylish. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce, but not totally prevent, pollen from getting into your eyes and making them water and itch. Embrace this with bespoke sunglasses for your event. These can be given as a gift or used as a place marker on tables – a little tag attached does the trick.

Trim and Tidy

Remove weeds and prune borders, where triggers can lurk, well ahead of the party. Mow a day or two before, and not the day of. And use any garden blowers well before the party, as can stir up dust and mouldy leaves. Think about the placement of the event too. Are their surrounding fields with high allergens such as rape seed plants?

Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties

Inside Out

Choose a high-quality marquee, Yurts or gazebo structure (preferably air-conditioned) to provide shade from the sun, but also offer an indoor space where guests bothered by pollen can go. Going indoors will be important for anyone who develops an allergy attack despite their, and your, best efforts. Once an attack has begun, an air-conditioned environment is best, as this filters out any pollen; so have an indoor chill-out space at the ready.

Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties

Floral Fabulousness

When choosing the floral design for your party, opt for flowers that produce little to no pollen. Daffodils, lilies, pansies, petunias, roses, snapdragons, and tulips for example are all less likely to aggravate allergies. Beware of summer standbys like sunflowers, daisies and chrysanthemums that are in the ragweed family and can trigger pollen allergies.

Private Parties organisers Decor tlc limited

 

Related Topic: Top 5 Summer Cocktails

 

Foodie Fun

People with seasonal allergies can experience a tingling of the mouth or itchy throat from oral allergy syndrome. There is evidence that this happens after eating certain fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. As a party host, it will be important to know what the guest’s specific allergy is, and ensure a meal is prepared that minimises any reactions. Not forgetting other allergies and intolerances, such as dairy, wheat and gluten. All of which, with TLC’s team of creative chefs, need not be a problem. Modern catering allows for an innovative menu to suit all guests – it just needs careful planning and some theatrical presentation. Allergy UK have some excellent advice on their website.

Private Parties Caterers in Manchester

Last, but not Least

So regardless of your summer allergies, there is no reason for you to miss out on the summer fun. A great host will have soft tissues to hand (branded for a wedding or special party of course), large sun hats and a ‘standby’ box with anti-allergy creams and something to soothe stings. It is also though that a splash of water on the face will dislodge any pollen, so offer facial spritz as a table gift. Ladies may be reluctant at first – make up considered – but we love this Vichy Thermal Mineralising Spa Water…and your guest will too. Always be prepared!

 

I hope our Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties has helped with your planning!

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 May 14th 2019

Future of Event Design

As we look back to the 10th Anniversary of the CHS Show in Leeds, our MD Liz Taylor wanted to share the highlights of her presentation, The Future of Event Design, delivered to a packed audience in the Leeds First Direct Arena.

Focussing around the Future of Event Design, Liz shared stories, anecdotes and advice to newly appointed event planners, and the more established event professionals who attended the event.

Entertaining. Inspiring. Motivational. The three essential ingredients to any successful event.

 

The transformation of Victoria Warehouse into a wedding overflowing with canopies of floral fabulousness and a sea of candle lit warmth. Credit: www.thelastword.tv

As you can see from the video clip, TLC work at a breakneck pace with a team of trusted suppliers to deliver productions that fulfil these three key elements…… and more. Creating the biggest showcases for a company brand or private individual , the TLC team work tirelessly to design and produce the very best. From large to small, the input of ideas and passion are the same. And the devil is very much in the detail. Let me explain…..

As MD of the Taylor Lynn Corporation I have been planning and producing corporate and private events for over 30 years – during which time the industry has obviously changed significantly! In the next 10 minutes I will give you the whistle stop tour of where I feel we have seen the biggest developments, and what to expect for the future of event design.

The TLC approach to event design is, in a word, holistic. When it comes to design plans, we look at the whole event and how individual aspects can work in synergy together. We see every individual element as an opportunity to reflect our uniquely creative design touch. Every detail, no matter how small, is thoughtfully crafted to reflect the theme and goal of the party. Venue to entertainment. Catering to décor. Each element being an integral part of the guest’s journey into our imagination. This combined with theatrical production and a keen eye for detail. From brand launch, to private celebration, a well curated design can reflect a business or personal message in a unique and, more importantly, eclectic way. Its what we do. And with an 85% repeat business rate and an order book stretching into 2025, I feel we do well.

But this is my time to share some of that experience and knowledge, which I hope you will find helpful in planning your events. For the sake of time today, let’s break this down a little and focus on just three of the key elements in designing an event; theming, entertainment and catering. And look at how this has evolved and what the future holds…….

Raise the Curtain

30 years ago, party décor was more literal. We took our inspiration and made incredible designs completely reflective of the idea. It was more, obvious, in its interpretation perhaps. Now, it’s is subtler and more styled. We focus less on themes and more on creating a stylish ‘journey’ for guests. Immersing them in the experience of the event; whether it be influenced by a corporate brand or lifestyle. And this is set to continue.

Let me Entertain You

From the DJ of the 70s, tribute acts of the 80s, Pop Idol contestants of the 90s to party bands of the 00s, the future certainly holds a more diverse range of entertainment. Artists immersed within the audience. Surprise elements that place the spotlight on talented artists of all kinds. Bespoke bands that blend international artists and musicians; for one night only.

Tempting the Taste Buds

The trend for less formal catering forges ahead. Catering is merging with theatre. Over the next few years, planners will be finding new ways to make food and drink more than just aspect of the design for your event – it delivers a creative message with drama and WOW factor. An example is:

There is one underpinning factor for all these elements, and indeed the future of event design; delivering a feeling of excited anticipation. If you take one thing home from my message today, remember this…. the future of event design will very much be focussed on delivering the unexpected.

Tales of the Unexpected

As an event planner, when you hear those gasps of excitement and mumblings of ‘wow – look at that’…. you know you have achieved something special. This is about generating a sense of engagement with the attendees from the beginning, to curtain call. Creating an eagerness to attend. And an excited anticipation of what is to come. Fulfilling their expectations on the night…. yet, leaving them contently wanting more.

Bespoke invitations that give a hint to the event design is akin to the opening chapter of a book. Room dressing. Lighting, Catering. Drinks. Entertainment. All elements to delivering a unique experience. And at the end of the event, a branded paper bag with carb filled savouries, fish and chips or kebab vans in situ in the car park to soak up the night.

Catering, entertainment and décor will certainly embrace the next 20 years and all it offers, but it is in this sense of anticipation that I can see the biggest development. Planners will be turning the cogs to develop bigger and bolder ideas to whet the appetite of delegates and revellers. As for TLC, well we are already working with the latest technology to look at holographic walls that separate reception and party – ready to explode as the band strikes up – yes, it’s not just in Star Trek!

After 30 years I get up event morning, decide what diet I am on that day, and then embrace the madness. I love it. And if you are in any doubt, the party is most definitely not over

For more TLC event inspiration, take a look at this ‘high octane’ idea!

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