Meeting and Event Designs that Produce Results

Tips to Supercharge the Effectiveness of your Next Meeting

Implement the proven process of distilling creativity into investment. Close your eyes and imagine your have just produced the most successful event ever and you have the luxury of polling the attendees as they leave.  What did they say? I really learned a lot or I feel appreciated.  Those desired answers are the foundation of your program goals and core mission objectives.  Every element of your program should

The Evolution of Experiential Learning Environments

Can you recall the story of the original door to door salesman, who for all of his hard work and due diligence was awarded the highest honor his company knew to give him. A box of chocolates, a set of luggage, or the most coveted of all, the gold watch. Over time, meeting industry pioneers saw that chocolate gets eaten, luggage gets worn and watches can break. But, if you reward your top performer with an experience instead of something tangible,

Press and News

Get More Bang for your Buck with Strategic Special Effects

Are you getting the most out of your special effects? Here’s how to ensure every dollar counts

by Rachel Globus | Published in April 2009, Event Solutions Magazine

For all the different tricks and technologies they use, special effects experts can agree on one thing: They don’t like the term special effects. And if there’s one thing planners should learn from them, it’s that.

Steven P. Simmons, a certified meeting professional and president and CEO of StagingOptics, prefers to talk about moments of impact.

It’s more than just a semantic shift, according to Simmons.  We don’t know what we want to do, but we want it to be cool is usually how the discussion starts with new clients, he says.  They don’t know why, they just want it to be powerful. But Simmons coaches planners to look at special effects in a different way: as moments of impact that support your core mission objectives. Then, the discussion about which effects to use and how can be framed in a more targeted fashion.

If we spend a dollar and it gets us closer to achieving our core mission objectives, then it’s an investment, he explains.  If it doesn’t get us closer, it’s an expense.

Case Study: Can the Super Bowl Supplant the Olympics?

{the event} A Detroit Salute

{core mission objectives} The Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee had big goals in mind for its kick-off event.  The Salute was an opening ceremony for Super Bowl week, so we wanted an event that fit that week. When you say opening ceremonies, there are distinct visuals that people think of, most likely aligned with the Olympics, says Michele Lewis Watts, a host committee producer.  We wanted something very momentous that would be memorable.  As part of that goal, the committee wanted the audience to know who the sponsors were and for it to be seen by as many people as possible, adds Simmons, who provided the special effects.

{special effects’ role}  What Steve and his staff were able to do was create a moment that had never been created before, taking people through a visual driving experience and then switching it seamlessly to the [CEOs of the Big Three automakers] stepping out of the vehicles, says Lewis Watts.  So it went from a virtual experience to a real-life experience.

{analysis} Special effects supported the ultimate goal of making a strong statement with the opening ceremony and memorably integrating the sponsors.  It was very impactful and definitely achieved our objectives, says Lewis Watts.  More importantly, they made it fit within our budget. When you think special effects, people think it’s really going to cost a lot. But there’s way to do it and make it an investment within your event.


Steven Simmons CMP Steven P. Simmons CMP

Steven has been an Executive Producer in the meetings industry for more than 17 years, and is known throughout the live events industry as the innovator and creator of STAGINGOPTICS.

As a member of Meeting Professionals International and a Certified Meeting Professional, Steven’s aptitude and expertise integrate both the creative and technical sides of the industry.  This enables Steven to bring extensive and comprehensive knowledge to each meeting, event or promotion he produces.

Steven has been called upon to be the Creative Director and Executive Producer for many of the highest profile programs in our industry.  His vast experience includes successfully producing what is believed to be the largest single night charitable event ever.  In addition, he has experience working with the White House, as well as directing Leadership Communications for what was then the largest IPO in history.

He is a Meeting Professionals International 2006 Global Paragon Winner, a 2007 Finalist and 2008 nominee and 2009 Winner, The Robert Bottoms Stage Set Award and 2007 and 2008 Nominee for Event Producer of the Year from Event Solutions Magazine. Most recently, he won a 2010 Special Events Gala Awards for Best Event Produced for a Corporation or Association for his work with the Heinz Company.

Steven has been a featured Speaker at the 2007 Meeting Professionals International’s Professional Education Conference; the 2008 Special Event Conference sponsored by Special Events Magazine, and will speak at the 2010 Special Events Conference.  Steven has also been recognized as a leader in Emergent Technologies by Meeting Professionals International and is a contributing author for Event Solutions Magazine.

lesher-150-150 Scott Lesher

As one of the principals of OPTICS, Scott has helped create a comprehensive, full service scenic and stage design company that also specializes in the planning, development, coordination and production of large-scale meetings, events, and promotions.

With Scott’s efforts, OPTICS’ customer base continues to grow at a steady rate. Scott has produced meetings and events for many clients including SAE , both International and Detroit Section, the Super Bowl XL Host Committee, General Motors, XM Satellite Radio, The Parade Company, and the Detroit Auto Dealers Association.  Having a Project Management background, Scott is able to understand the goals and objectives and customize project flow which achieve the clients desired end results.