Getting to Know You (page 4)

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The Day of the Event

Plan to arrive at least an hour before the event is set to begin, if not earlier. There are always a few overeager attendees who will show up well before the scheduled time! Ensure that your event room is set up the way you want it. For example, any educators who are planning to run gel demonstrations will need tables near an electrical outlet for UV lights, the air-conditioning may need an adjustment, etc. Before attendees arrive, set up a sign-in sheet (with pens) so as you greet them they can sign in and take a name badge. Some organizers give out goody bags at this time, although it tends to be less distracting if attendees get their goodies at the end of the day. That decision is up to you.
There really is no set formula for a successful networking day. Your job as the event organizer is to ensure that everyone who attends has ample opportunity to spend the day however she sees fit. You can format your event as a more structured day, with scheduled guest speakers and demos, or you can have a free-form event where attendees mingle and visit with educators on their own time. Both work just fine, so go with whatever plan makes the most sense to you.
Once everyone has arrived and is assembled, take a few minutes to introduce yourself and provide everyone with pertinent information, such as the location of rest rooms, as well as a rough idea of the day’s agenda. In order to promote an atmosphere of camaraderie—and if the size of your group allows it—everyone can introduce herself. It’s always a lot of fun to put a name and face together, or just meet someone new. After this initial introduction, if your event is featuring manufacturer educators and/or a guest speaker, introduce her at this time. At this point, the group can disperse to the educators’ “stations” to start picking their brains—and the fun begins!
That should apply to you as well; with all of your hard work behind you, enjoy the fruits of your labor and dive right into the mix of education and solidarity that you’ve helped to create. Take pride that you were able to plan an event and get like-minded professionals to work together and advance the industry through education and networking. And remember, the real payoff comes when you hear from those who attended that they can’t wait to come next year!

Acknowledgments: The author gratefully acknowledges and thanks the following networking day organizers for their input: Debbie Doerrlamm, webmaster, BeautyTech.com; Darlene Donovan, Nail Creations at Bamboo Salon & Boutique, Londonderry, New Hampshire; Laura Campos, Southern Accents Salon, Gainesville, Florida; Bethanne O’Neil, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and Tammy Warner, The High Road to Education, Amherst, New York.

NAILPRO advisory board member Mindy Borrego is the former owner of Mindyfingers Salon in Granby, CT. She currently teaches nail technology at the Kay Harvey Hairdressing Academy in West Springfield, MA.