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Episode 91 / March 4, 2024

Corporate social responsibility in events: It’s just good business with Pauline Kwasniak

Tune in to hear Pauline Kwasniak share her expertise on integrating corporate social responsibility into event planning, revealing its benefits for brands, attendees, and society as a whole.

In this enlightening episode, we’re joined by Pauline Kwasniak, a seasoned event professional and advocate for integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) in event management. As CEO at Finedeeds.com — a platform for businesses and events to engage employees and measure their collective social impact — she discusses the importance of CSR in creating memorable and impactful events. 

She emphasizes that doing good is a noble pursuit and a strategic business decision. Through her work, Kwasniak aims to make CSR an industry standard, underscoring the role of events in driving social change and fostering a sense of community.

Here’s what you’ll hear about in this conversation:

  • How incorporating CSR into events boosts marketing, enhances brand image, and meets attendee expectations for social impact
  • Why CSR initiatives must resonate with an event’s audience and stakeholders in a meaningful way to create a memorable experience and amplify social impact
  • The trend toward showcasing social impact footprints and how growing CSR initiatives indicate a greater expectation for events to contribute positively to societal and environmental causes

Mentioned in this episode

Transcript

[00:00:09] Rachel Moore: Welcome to Event Experience by Bizzabo, the podcast where we bring the best and brightest Event Experience Leaders together to share stories, tips, and lessons learned from creating some of the world’s biggest events.

I’m Rachel Moore, your podcast host. 
What turns attendee heads nowadays? Must-see speakers? Topics that keep us up at night? A date and time that works? Yes to all of the above, but there’s something more that audiences look for from events and the brands that put them on. Today’s guest, Pauline Kwasniak, joins us to share how corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is heavily influencing event planning. You’re about to learn how to infuse CSR and social impact into your Event Experience … starting now!

[00:01:08] Rachel Moore: There are so many acronyms in the event industry and obviously in all industries. Of course we have things like ROI. We have DEI, we have all these different things that we focus on in the events industry. And I am so pleased to welcome today’s guest to the podcast because she gets into the acronym CSR. And our guest has been an event host and marketer for over a decade. She’s been an event co-host for Europa Property. She’s also a special advisor for several event industry organizations. And she is the shareholder for CSR technology for Finedeeds.com. I am speaking to, and you are listening to today, Pauline Kwasniak.

[00:01:51] Pauline, thank you so much for joining us here on Event Experience with Bizzabo.

[00:01:56] Pauline Kwasniak: Hello, Rachel and hello everybody. It is a pleasure to be here with you today.

[00:02:01] Rachel Moore: Thank you. And I should mention too, she was in Ireland’s 30 under 30 in 2018 as well. But I’m gonna stop talking there and I wanna hand it over to you. 

[00:02:11] Pauline Kwasniak: Sure. So can I just say that I absolutely love LinkedIn? I think we all should have a profile and grow our network. That I absolutely love the platform. When it comes to, I just wanna touch on something you said. You know, a person who has her feet in many different things. Sometimes it may seem like that sort of person is a little bit crazy, maybe not as serious, you know, trying different things.

[00:02:38] But I was always like that since I was a little baby. I got bored very easily and. You know, having one career, one specific career for the rest of my life was super scary. From the very, very early age, I knew I wanna do a couple of things in my life and combine it together to become even a better professional.

[00:03:00] So just wanna touch on that. You don’t have to do one thing for the rest of your life. It is okay to do different things with yourself and in your life. And to be honest with you, all of the things that I’m doing and everything that you told your audience is kind of interconnected because marketing is super connected with events. It is super connected with startups, and once you get the basis of how to play the game, you can actually apply it across many different industries. And this is exactly what I’m doing. 

[00:03:31] Rachel Moore: Let us get into some, get to know you questions so that our audience can learn a little bit more about you. I would love to find out. And I’ve seen your pictures on social media. You dress to the nines, you are fashionista. What are your go-to event day shoes, though?

[00:03:48] What are the shoes that you love to wear the most on an event day?

[00:03:53] Pauline Kwasniak: I like heels, but I like sort of, a wider sort of a wedge kind of shoe. I like sneakers as well but I like to have a little bit of class and it will be a cliche when I say try to buy comfortable shoes, but definitely good quality leather. So that your feet don’t sweat. This is important for you to feel comfortable, but I definitely like a little bit of a heel or an edge, sort of a wider heel, not the skinny, skinny stiletto.

[00:04:23] Yeah. Yeah. Don’t do it.

[00:04:24] Rachel Moore: Not the spike heel. That, that I know. I feel the same where it’s I don’t know, I don’t think, I don’t think I’m gonna be upright very long.

[00:04:31] Pauline Kwasniak: Exactly but something nice. People actually look at your shoes and they look at your bag as well.

[00:04:36] Rachel Moore: Oh my gosh, that’s so true. Yeah. It’s all about the accessories. Is there anything that you’re listening to, watching or reading these days that you can’t put down?

[00:04:45] Pauline Kwasniak: I’m actually watching a lot of things on Netflix. I really like the sort of business failure documentaries like Fyre Festival. I actually re-watched it the other day, but I was also watching a kind of a story about a startup a few years back. They tried to actually do a bank link card in order to allow people to get their Bitcoins in a cash sort of value.

[00:05:12] But it was a huge scam. This is a new thing on Netflix. I’m not gonna mention the name ’cause I don’t wanna give them any publicity, but I.

[00:05:20] Exactly, but I kind of love these stories of success, but also failure, I must say. And Netflix is very good for that, I must say.

[00:05:29] Rachel Moore: I think when I first actually started getting back into podcasts I listened to one called Startup and it was about, they were actually starting a podcast company, so it was kind of meta, but but yeah I love those too ’cause you do get all the successes and the bumps along the way.

[00:05:43] Pauline Kwasniak: And I am obsessed with failure stories. I always love these sort of books because as my mentor told me a long time ago, if other people made this mistake, learn from it. Learn they already made it. Just learn from their mistake, which is a really good advice.

[00:06:01] Rachel Moore: It is. Also along that line, is there a particular social post or a piece of media or some hot take about events that you found interesting lately?

[00:06:11] Pauline Kwasniak: I think the whole CSR in event management and maybe I will be a little bit, um. You know, bragging if I say that my posts around CSR in event management, I, I find it very interesting. I certainly get a lot of people commenting on them.

[00:06:26] So trying to introduce corporate social responsibility into events. And the whole conversation around that. I will also mention to people, you know, the LinkedIn articles, the collaborative LinkedIn articles. I’ve been spending a lot of time on them lately. Whenever LinkedIn or any social media platform, whenever they promote a new feature, they actually give you a lot of organic reach.

[00:06:47] So if you want to be visible, if you want other people to see you, to discover you go ahead and try to comment on these collaborative LinkedIn articles that are in your space, like event management, marketing, your own expertise. I’ve been commenting on a lot of corporate social responsibility posts, so I’m, lately I’m really obsessed with those collaborative articles and I met a lot of people via commenting and contributing. 

[00:07:12] Rachel Moore: Something that I think you have gotten way further into, and especially in the last few years, is CSR and I alluded to that acronym, you know, when I was talking, kinda listing those out at the beginning of the podcast. Can you define for our audience – we have event professionals of all phases and stages in their careers listening to this podcast. Talk about CSR. What does that mean? What does it mean to you and how are you trying to help, basically help it take wing in the organizations you work with.

[00:07:44] Pauline Kwasniak: Of course, so we are familiar with nonprofits and charities and the good work that they’re doing for local communities, for societies, bigger charities, of course, with a more global. Impact, and we are all aware that they need donors. So we can distinguish between individual donors like you and me, people just chipping in at the weekends.

[00:08:08] You can also have more philanthropic donors like Bill Gates and for example, or you could have corporate donors. Basically companies and their stakeholders and their employees or clients who are chipping in. So 

Understanding the definition of corporate social responsibility and environmental, social, and governance policies

[00:08:24] Pauline Kwasniak: this is really where corporate social responsibility came from, it was businesses donating or doing something for nonprofits.

[00:08:35] And of course, in the last few years, it has grown beyond just nonprofits. Because we also have social enterprises who are doing a lot of goodness. We have a lot of diversity initiatives, a lot of wellness initiatives, which would also somehow be included into corporate social responsibility.

[00:08:55] And then again, we also have ESG. Which also is about caring for the environment, reducing your carbon footprint. And the S in ESG is also very closely connected with corporate social responsibility. So we have a lot of acronyms, we have a lot of, you know, words and keywords. But really what I like to always say to people is doing good is good for business.

[00:09:24] So basically it’s business is doing goodness. 

[00:09:27] Rachel Moore: You know, we’re an events industry. We’re based on humans, right? I mean, we’re all about connecting humans. But particularly in events, if you really are trying to be inclusive and bring as many of your audience in as you can, you’ve got people from different backgrounds, all kinds of different backgrounds.

[00:09:44] They’re living in different countries, they’re living in different parts of those countries. They’re living in different socioeconomic situations. You could get two attendees, whether it’s in person or at a virtual event, sitting side by side. They’re there together. They could be worlds different and have a completely different experience. And some of that’s negative right there, there are absolutely things in our world and in our planet, in our societies that need help.

[00:10:11] Pauline Kwasniak: I always said that, and I think we spoke about it previously, that 

Thinking about events as a mini business

[00:10:16] Pauline Kwasniak: I always treat events like mini businesses almost as if I was promoting a product. So I absolutely believe an event should have corporate social responsibility initiative because it also has stakeholders. It also has clients. It also has a concrete product, and it creates an impact. And so if we can reduce the carbon footprint of an event, we could and should definitely create a social impact with that event.

[00:10:46] Rachel Moore: Do you find that you are sometimes introducing those notions or those ideas to companies like new ideas where they’re like, we never would’ve thought that we can be more sustainable by doing X, Y, z, or something like that.

[00:10:58] How do those conversations go?

[00:11:00] Pauline Kwasniak: Absolutely. You know, events and businesses alike, they need ideas, they need expertise. And that comes from a person that knows about corporate social responsibility, has those ideas, which is a creative person. You definitely have to be creative, but you also have to have a very good knowledge of various causes and what’s going on with the world.

[00:11:21] And marketing is really important in branding because yes, we do want to create a great impact. 

Understanding the marketing behind corporate social responsibility policies

[00:11:28] Pauline Kwasniak: We do want to help local global communities. But that has to go in pair with the event audience, with the event branding, with what they want to promote. And so if we are doing a medical event about fertility, let’s say, it would be wise to certainly aim for social impact that is very well connected with that. And so this is key. This is always, and a lot of people, you know, it seems very obvious, but a lot of people forget about that. 

[00:11:58] This is step one, and step two really is what the people, your attendees, your stakeholders care about. Of course, it’s important what you care about or how you want to help the world and what impact you want to create, but they are attending.

[00:12:11] They need to be engaged in that impact. So it’s very important to really do some research on that topic.

[00:12:18] Rachel Moore: Are you finding that more and more attendees are actually saying Hey, this is important to me that your event considers this and looks at these things.

[00:12:27] Pauline Kwasniak: Absolutely, and especially younger audience, they are super, I would say even addicted to that, to the impact of the world. They are super conscious, super addicted, so definitely first of of all, they would brag about the event more, they will feel better about attending the event, nevermind buying the ticket ’cause that can also influence the price. If you were to attend an event in New York and you knew the price of the ticket that you bought, a portion of it is going towards something that is close to your heart, surely that would help with your purchasing decision. The same when it comes to tagging on social media, bragging about the event, telling other people to attend the event. It’s all about that empowerment and the feeling that you are doing something good. You are attending for business purposes, lead building purposes, networking purposes, but there’s something extra on the side and people do care about it.

[00:13:19] Rachel Moore: Yeah. I would imagine a lot of our event planners listening are finding that those kind of queries in a survey or even having an aspect to your event, maybe you have a vendor where it’s hey, here’s how to learn more about how this event is supporting corporate social good and things like that. I wanna ask you I know we I mentioned it earlier, Fine Deeds and that was something you really threw yourself into over the last few years. How particularly is that organization helping, you know, really promote CSR amongst the organizations you work with?

[00:13:52] Pauline Kwasniak: Sure. Finedeeds.com is a corporate social responsibility platform, technology platform for businesses. Also for events where actually every single employee is engaged on the platform and can contribute towards special campaigns. Everything is then being measured. Because, you know, companies do have corporate social responsibility strategies, but one problem is that they cannot engage the employees.

[00:14:23] Anybody can measure, anybody can donate. That’s easy. But how do you actually engage your employees, your stakeholders, in corporate social responsibility activities and campaigns? So that’s first of all, and second of all that measurement. This is really important, especially if you are a global organization like some of our clients and you have a lot of offices across different locations.

[00:14:46] You wanna measure the collective impact that you’re making with your entire organization. And again. Finedeeds provides you a structure like a tree where everybody can join different offices, employees under those offices. And then the third aspect really important is gamification. So actually employees having a profile, donating or giving their time or doing different activities, but actually being rewarded with different badges, with different gamification methods that we use for Finedeeds.

[00:15:17] Rachel Moore: That is such a human thing to think about too. You know, of course we have event technology and events that do the same thing, right? There’s leaderboards or there’s incentivization going on. 

[00:15:29] Just get that instant gratification, you know, good is gonna be done, but then as a human you’re like, yes. But I wanna kind of feel that prompting too, that I’m being active and there are other people being active with me. It’s almost like really positive peer pressure.

[00:15:42] Pauline Kwasniak: Absolutely. And like on LinkedIn, you have all your work experiences. On Finedeeds, you have all your CSR experiences and every good deed that you have done is actually being recorded for future for your own reference, but also for other people to see. And our kind of philosophy is that creates a ripple effect of goodness.

[00:16:00] I want my colleague Rachel, from the company, to be a shining example to other colleagues, to inspire them in order for them to do more goodness themselves. And this is very powerful and certainly technology allows us to do it.

[00:16:15] Rachel Moore: Are there other things you’re seeing events focused on where it’s oh my gosh, that plus CSR is going really hand in hand and it’s something you’re seeing be more prevalent.

[00:16:22] Any examples for that?

[00:16:24] Pauline Kwasniak: Sure. Recently I was in Italy at a large shoe expo. I was taking care of a delegation. Something really exciting, what they did, is not only focusing on corporate social responsibility, but also on the social business aspect. They actually had an area with exhibitors that were actually in that industry doing a lot of goodness.

[00:16:44] So some of the innovative startups, social impact businesses, that would never ever go to that sort of event because obviously it’s like expensive to to present or to buy a booth, but that was part of the corporate social responsibility that these businesses were being invited. They were given booths either for free or at a very low price.

[00:17:06] And that they were able to showcase their technologies or their innovations in that industry. But that was all connected with the social impact, and I really really loved it, ’cause it’s not only about, you know, giving money all the time. Corporate social responsibility is not just about giving money, giving donations, giving ticket sales.

[00:17:24] There are so many other things that you could do.

[00:17:28] Rachel Moore: Yeah. And I think economy is always something front of mind. We talk always about budgets for events and things like that. But you are getting into the area where it doesn’t have to be about money. It can be about action. How many times do we visit like a website where it’s like, Hey, if it’s a cause we believe in you know. Here are the things you can do. Certainly you can always donate money, but there’s usually some other aspect saying do you wanna take some action? You know, is there something else you wanna do that maybe it’s through effort instead of donation. Or like donating your time, donating your energy rather than funds.

[00:18:00] Pauline Kwasniak: Absolutely. And also this can be combined with wellness. We know a lot of events, especially. Bigger conferences. They organize runs. They organize wellness marathons and everything that can also be very closely linked with some donations, with some goodness, so we can mess around and play around with various things during events.

[00:18:21] Rachel Moore: As far as like wellness, wellness is a consideration for just about everybody out there. Pauline I’m sitting here in my, I’ve got my basement office here, my studio. I have a standing desk. I’m not standing right now, but that’s part of my wellness, to not be sedentary all the time. I’m planning to work out later today. It’s part of my wellness. Are you finding that coupling wellness with CSR is a winning combination?

[00:18:44] Pauline Kwasniak: Absolutely. This is a global trend. We even have a global client with 500 offices all over the world, and they are actually doing this year a huge campaign combining wellness and CSR, where their employees are running, they’re swimming, they’re doing various activities, but there’s also that donations going on the side that the company will match.

[00:19:07] So on one side you have that wellness employees are encouraged to run, to do various activities, but that is actually combined with the social ambition and their corporate social responsibility. And they’re using Finedeeds technology to measure it, you know, and facilitate that. But there’s many different things that you can actually combine.

Donating time a path for CSR policies

[00:19:27] Pauline Kwasniak: You know, a lot of companies are giving, let’s say two hours or three hours of their work week towards employees and they allow them to do various things with charity. So I can take my three hours as a graphic designer and actually design a logo for a charity and still get paid with my working hours.

[00:19:46] That is also amazing. And wellness, sometimes it’s not just about the physical, but also about the mental and how you feel, but certainly physical wellness in the workplace and corporate social responsibility go hand in hand. There are hundreds of ideas that can be used for that, you know, to do it.

[00:18:21] Ad Break Intro: We’ll be right back with more Event Experience after the break. 

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[00:18:21] Ad Break Outro: We’re back with more Event Experience to ask Pauline Kwasniak how event planners can get buy-in from stakeholders for CSR.

[00:21:02] Rachel Moore: Let’s talk about like our listeners who they know deep down that, and maybe they know it from the data they’re getting from their audience, right? That they need to implement more CSR into their events. But they have stakeholders who they might have to convince of that. Where should our listeners start if they’re like, okay, I wanna do this, but I got some convincing to do. What are my next steps? You know, what’s the best way to go?

[00:21:28] Pauline Kwasniak: Sure. So it’s actually not a coincidence that I was introduced to CSR, corporate social responsibility as a marketeer. And that’s because the companies that I was working for saw an opportunity in partnering with local initiatives, social impact startups or charities in order to up their marketing game because again doing good is good for business. So 

How to convince stakeholders CSR in event management is good

[00:21:52] Pauline Kwasniak: I would start in presenting it from the marketing perspective. Maybe it’s not the most noble thing, but certainly if you wanna convince your stakeholders or blockers as I call some people you definitely have to show the benefits of it. The benefits in terms of branding, the benefit in terms of what it’ll do for our employees or our team members, but also what it’ll do for our customers and how it would present our company in the public eye, especially nowadays where every single company should be doing some corporate social responsibility. The public expect it, the clients expect it.

[00:22:31] The law now as well in European Union, in the United States, in certain states as well, also expects it. And that dependence will grow and grow. So definitely show the marketing perspective and the benefits. And then of course we can go a little bit deeper. Again, wellness, what we’ll do for our employees, our stakeholders for talent retention.

[00:22:53] But start with a very dry, I’d say business approach that is needed. You know, we are all busy. Stakeholders are often investors. They have to make business decision. Bottom line has to look good as well. So what’s in it for them? 

[00:23:08] Rachel Moore: Even the name of this podcast is Event Experience and you want audience to come away with a great event experience. I think you alluded to it earlier, let’s just take wellness for example. It’s not just about physical. That’s about mental, spiritual, emotional. Same thing for our audiences at events, I mean. Maybe you have a marketing conference you’re putting together or a webinar and they’re gonna come away with tech takeaways from that which is great. And maybe they’re like, great, I’ve got what I expected to know out of that webinar.

[00:23:39] But what if they also come away with feeling good, with knowing, hey, I attended and part of me attending actually went and helped this other thing. You’re just adding onto what the full experience is and more than just getting what they said they were promised, they would come away, they feel more. 

[00:23:58] That seems like that is something that does lead back to ROI. Maybe it’s a little harder to quantify, but it’s there, right?

[00:24:06] Pauline Kwasniak: Absolutely. And we also have to remember it’s whenever, let’s say an investor opens a new hotel in an area, everybody’s happy. But how do you actually impact that local community? And the same with events, especially larger events. 

Showcase local communities at larger events

[00:24:18] Pauline Kwasniak: We all know that large events have the power to transform economies. You know, various UFA championship leagues and why every country fights for the Olympics. But when you have conferences, when you have various events, they do help the local communities and you can choose to profile that local community in that specific city or choose charities you know, located in those locations and support them, which, which makes a lot of sense.

[00:24:46] Rachel Moore: So if our event planner is going to, you know, Hey, we are gonna do this event in, I don’t know, Las Vegas, Nevada. Where would you suggest that person reach out to explore those avenues to say, okay, I know we want to add the CSR component to this event that’s gonna be in this location of Las Vegas, Nevada. Where should they reach out, do you think, that could help them get off the ground with that?

[00:25:11] Pauline Kwasniak: We have lists of charities where you can actually create your campaign, that being an event, and connect to local charities in that area. I would always say look at small and medium charities, because often they are overlooked.

[00:25:25] They need help. Global charities are like global businesses and they are very important, but they obviously have the budgets. They have, you know, corporate donors, they have philanthropic donors, but a medium charity might be a great partner for you. A simple Google search would do. Talk to the people as well in the area that you know and talk to your employees.

[00:25:45] You would be surprised, every single company that I worked for, and I worked for Volkswagen, I worked for Sayad, I worked for different brands. It was the employees who were voting who to support and who to give money to. And so as a result, we gave a few cars away to a cancer charity because we had people in the company that was actually so affected in their families and they voted that they wanna support that.

[00:26:10] And also an autistic children’s charity because we had a couple of people who are dealing with that. And every single time you would see the engagement being risen by a hundred percent. So if people care about it, if your employees care about it. So feedback: listen to them, ask them, do some research, and definitely use technologies and platforms such as Finedeeds.

[00:26:33] Rachel Moore: I know I’ve worked for companies before too, where they ask employees like, what are some of the charities that are near and dear to your heart? And a lot of times it’s ones you may never hear about, and it’s always that word of mouth is super awesome. Plus it seems like too, if you do that at the events and let people kind of share give them space to share about those things, they’re gonna learn about those new entities too, that they’re like, Hey, that can be something that’s worthwhile for me to get involved with.

[00:26:56] Pauline Kwasniak: Also, I wanna mention that it is extremely difficult to actually have a partnership with a larger, very large global charity. It’s about their branding. They need to double check. Obviously we all wanna do due diligence, but sometimes it can take so much time with those super, super large charities that you’re actually better off targeting medium charity.

[00:27:15] They will be a great partner. They will appreciate it, and they will give you all the materials possible.

[00:27:22] Rachel Moore: Are there any other areas you think are gonna be trends we’ll see in the near future as far as CSR, corporate social good in focus that companies are making on?

[00:27:30] Pauline Kwasniak: You know, a lot of events or a lot of event planners brag about the ESG and the, you know, carbon footprint of the event, reducing it. I definitely see a trend of the social impact footprint being one of the USPs of the event, I definitely see that as a trend, almost you know, splashed all over the event websites.

[00:27:51] Yeah. Come to our event either virtual or in person. And this is the impact we are making. I definitely see that growing. I see artificial intelligence being used as well with you know, with goodness, with the social impact. And we can combine that with event management, with marketing.

[00:28:10] And I would 

Creating a standard for CSR in event management

[00:28:11] Pauline Kwasniak: this is my dream that every single event we definitely need to create a scale for the industry and some sort of standard that you know, I don’t wanna go to that event ’cause it doesn’t have any social impact. It’s not good enough for me. If you wanna be a good event, if you want to be an event where people are paying to come to you definitely need to have something like that.

[00:28:34] I’d love this to be an industry standard and it is becoming so.

[00:28:39] Rachel Moore: We’re talking to the right audience here. We have some people who listen to this podcast who can influence that kind of stuff and give, a venue, give a space, give a microphone to these different efforts, whether it’s with subtlety or not but can really be putting these into the æther for our audiences and sponsors and stakeholders and, you know, vendors and all that stuff.

[00:29:04] The more we know the rising tide raises all ships and let’s raise the tide here a little bit.

[00:29:10] Pauline Kwasniak: What’s also important to remember, 

CSR in event management is a wise business decision

[00:29:11] Pauline Kwasniak: this is not some sort of cute, nice to have, oh, it’s nice to have some social impact. This is a wise business decision. It will impact your bottom line. It will impact your marketing. It will impact engagement. It will impact how people talk about your event, how they feel about your event.

[00:29:30] So it’s a wise and very logical business decision from that perspective, not just something cute and nice to have.

[00:29:38] Rachel Moore: Where can our listeners find and follow you online?

[00:29:42] Pauline Kwasniak: Definitely LinkedIn. This is my favorite social media platform, Pauline Kwasniak. And also I’ve been experimenting with Instagram. Again, I have around 3000 followers, which is not a lot, but certainly you can be already considered a mini influencer. I was very active on Instagram during the lockdown, and then I kind of let it go.

[00:30:05] I invested a lot of my time and effort into LinkedIn. But lately I’ve been doing some stuff on Instagram and I intend to spend my time on Instagram again. So again, Pauline Kwasniak, on Instagram.

[00:30:29] ​ Rachel Moore: For our SkillUp segment with Pauline, we’re teleporting ourselves to our next gathering with loved ones, giving us a solid goal for the attendee experience.

SkillUp: Make your guests feel at home — like family

[00:30:39] Pauline Kwasniak: Whenever you are planning events, make sure that you treat your guests as if you were treating family members. Make sure people feel at home. Make sure they feel very welcome. Make sure that they know where they’re going.

Make sure that when they arrive at your event, they feel as if they were entering your household and you were this most amazing host looking after them. Because luxury service or good customer service is all about taking care of people and it seems silly. Almost, you know, a child will know it. But can we all think back to so many events that we attended where we didn’t know where we were going?

We couldn’t find the reception. People were not nice to us. We couldn’t get a glass of water. And then think back to those events that made the difference where you felt. My God, I’m really being taken care of. From the moment I got my ticket to the moment I got the maps, I knew where I’m going all the time.

I had someone to contact. I really felt I was being taken care of. So content is important, food is important, but make me feel like I am being taken care of. So important. I guarantee people will be talking about your event for years.

And having information, so key, having the right amount of information easily available. It really I’m always so pissed off at certain events where I don’t know where I’m going. They didn’t give me any advice or last minute sort of location. I had a situation a couple of weeks ago where some of my clients were attending an event, and the hotel was closed down as they arrived, and they were walking around for an hour trying to locate the receptionist.

You know, so little mistakes like that, but how does it make you feel as a guest who have arrived for three days, this beautiful location? The hotel is just shut down in your face. You would be surprised how many people make that mistake because maybe they didn’t want to hire someone at night. There was no budget.

They couldn’t find someone. But if you had people coming to your house, wouldn’t you wait for them? Wouldn’t you embrace them, welcome them? It’s just imagine. Imagine how you would behave and then do it at your event.

[00:32:58] ​ Rachel Moore: Thanks again to Pauline Kwasniak for joining us on Event Experience, and thank YOU for listening. 

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On behalf of the team, thank you. We’ll gather again soon for a new episode of Event Experience.

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