Why you should speak during a conference

Public speaking can be a challenge for a lot of us. It’s a little nerve wrecking to have all these people looking at you. And they are listening to what you are saying. What if you forget the words? What if your point won’t come across? Even if speaking during a conference can be scary and takes a lot of time and effort, you should really do it. Why?

public speaking

It’s an honour to be asked
They don’t ask you to speak at their conference because all the other interesting people had something else to do. They are asking you because they see something in you. Something that fits right in with the subject or theme. Are you not sure why they wanted you? Ask! And use it for your speech.

Think outside the box
Speaking at an event can be a great opportunity to do something else for a change. To prepare for a speech you really have to imagine yourself being the listener. What would be interesting to see or hear? How can you bring something new to the table? Preparing for a speech is a very creative process, I am sure you will like it!

It broadens your network
Speaking at a conference is a great conversation starter for others to talk to you. Meeting all these people is great, but if you’re smart you can really broaden your network. Bring business cards and give them to people who are interesting or who could help you in the future. Invite people you recently met for a coffee. Networking is a verb, keep that in mind.

People remember stories 
Nobody remembers the statistics, but they do remember your anecdote about how your company started out and how you transformed it into a success. Such memories are worth a lot, it’s great PR for you and the company you represent!

Have you ever spoken during a conference? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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#IMEX14 Frankfurt recap

I hope that you all are fully recovered from the awesome and exciting days in Frankfurt. It feels like the trade show is getting bigger and better every year, doesn’t it? Back at Holland I am flicking through all the cool pictures, with old and new friends. Since you all contributed to this unique experience, I want to share my favourite memories with you. Here are the best pictures of IMEX Frankfurt 2014.

Let’s meet again at IMEX Frankfurt 2015!

Planning a meeting in a group: tools

Most meetings, conferences and conventions are planned by several people. I’ve collected some great tools for you to keep everybody updated, arrange tasks and make sure your next event is going to be a succes!

working in a team

Asana
Web application Asana moves the communication of your emails to an uncluttered page. Here you have an instant overview of tasks, what other members are doing and you can easily respond to specific actions. Less time emailing, more time getting things done.

Evernote
Evernote business keeps adding functions to her services. which is great, because it’s getting a great tool for business meeting planners! Evernote makes building knowledge together easy. Search through relevant information from other sources and create presentations without other presentation software.

Dropbox
Share and update documents, pictures, spreadsheets and everything else you’d like easily with Dropbox. It’s safe and secure and reachable with your computer, tablet and smartphone. And how great is it to never search again for the latest version of that important document? I thought so!

Skype
Free of charge internet calls and cheap calls to phones all over the world. That is Skype. They also offer a chat function and group calls up to 10 people. No matter where you are! And the great thing is, more and more people are using Skype business-wise. It could save your company a lot of money.

Buffer
Buffer says they are the easiest way to publish on social media. And they are probably right! Not only can you schedule Tweets, LinkedIn, Google+ & Facebook updates with pictures and links, you can also see what is scheduled, create team member roles and look into statistics.

Don’t forget these 5 handy apps for meeting planners as well! Hope you like them as much as I do. Happy planning!

Work more efficiently with these tips

Whether you are working from home or from a cubicle, everybody is busy, busy, busy and trying to get the most out of every workday. I want to share some of my easy to use tips to work more efficiently.

work more efficiently with these tips

Cut your to-do list in half
Do you sometimes start your day with 35 open tasks? No wonder you are getting stressed! Cut your to-do list in half, but complete all of them at the end of the day. You will have a better overview and less worrying about things you might not finish.

Take more (active) breaks
Go for a walk during your lunch break or start the day with yoga. It does not really matter when and how, but make sure you get enough active breaks. Not only will you feel more energised and healthy, you will have more inspiration for your work assignments.

Plan in some me-time
Life is not all about work. Don’t forget to read that book you are curious about, go to that new restaurant in town or go on that beautiful safari in Africa. Some quality me-time is the best way to avoid a burnout and focus on everything that is important in life.

Don’t get distracted
Co-workers gossiping by the water cooler, someone is showing a funny YouTube video? Try to resist! These distractions keeps you from getting into your work flow. How to avoid distractions? You can bring your own headphones to work and listen to your own music. This mutes all the distracting noises.

Have fun!
Working is necessary to make a living, but that doesn’t mean it can not be fun. Create a work schedule that fits you, think outside the box and get to know your co-workers during an inspirational lunch. Having fun at work will lead to successes. Plus, your day to day activities won’t feel like ‘work’ anymore!

Do you have some tips for me? Share them in the comments!

A day in… Rotterdam

The city of Rotterdam has gained a lot of popularity the last year. With a new Central Station and several new venue and building openings Rotterdam made the top 10 in the list of 52 places to go in 2014 according to the New York Times. Whether you are planning your meeting here or just want to explore the city, spending the day in Rotterdam gives you a lot of business and leisure options.

Rotterdam skyline

Facts
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands
Rotterdam has the largest port of Europe
Motto: Stronger by struggle
Population: 618,467

Getting there
Rotterdam is easy to reach by car, plane or public transportation. Rotterdam has an airport just a few tube stops away from the city centre. From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol you can take the fast train Intercity Direct (26 minutes) or go by car (45 minutes). Coming from France? Take the Thalys train (2,5 hours) from Paris. You can even visit Rotterdam by boat. The Stena Line Ferry takes you from Hull or Harwich in the UK to the Rotterdam area.

Meeting and business venues 
The city offers a wide variety of meeting venues, hotels and inspirational conference rooms. With it’s modern architecture and beautiful skyline it will be easy to find a venue with great views and an urban feel.

New
In the last year hotels nhow Rotterdam and citizenM Rotterdam opened their doors, in August ibis Rotterdam City Centre will follow.

Classics
Staying in Rotterdam? You might want to consider the Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam. They are located in front of the new central station and are well-known for their great kitchen. If you are looking for a venue for a large group of people (up to 15,000 pax) you could have your meeting at De Doelen, Beurs WTC or Ahoy Rotterdam.

Hidden secrets
How would you like a meeting in a mill or old coffee factory? There are many more inspirational and special venues in the port city. On our hidden secret page we collect all of them for you.

After your meeting
Rotterdam is a great place to spend a day. They have a broad range of museums, shopping areas, restaurants and sights.

Museums
City’s main museum – Boijmans van Beuningen
Modern art – Kunsthal
Photography – Nederlands Fotomuseum
Architecture – NAI
Maritime – Maritiem Museum Rotterdam

Shopping areas
Beurstraverse (koopgoot) – In this street below Coolsingel street you can find an entrance to the high-end department store Bijenkorf, but also chains of various fashion stores.
De Lijnbaan & Coolsingel – On these main shopping streets you can find most of the stores
Meent – The Meent is a long street with high-end brands, galleries and lovely places to have lunch like Dudok (famous for the architecture and apple pie) and Guliano (Italian).
Nieuwe Binnenweg – A broad range of design, life style, fashion and trendy food can be found on this long, long street
Witte de Withstraat – Hipster street with galleries, fashion, sneaker stores, bars and terraces
Rotterdam north (rondom het Zwaanshals) – If you are into vintage shopping, chocolat, design and handicraft you should stop by and visit this area.

Restaurants
Casual or Michelin star restaurant? Urban vibe or intimate setting? A view at the skyline or from the skyline? Rotterdam has it all. In the Witte de Withstraat and Westelijk Handelsterrein you can find many restaurants. But these restaurants are very popular:

FG restaurant (before Ivy) – Michelin star / creative / molecular / urban
Wereldmuseum restaurant – Michelin star / set in museum / mediterranean
HMB Restaurant – Inside the new ‘de Rotterdam’ building / view on river / classic dishes
De watertoren – inside a water tower / views / casual / French /
Hotel New York cafe restaurant – casual / hotel / inside the former Holland-America line office / view on river / terrace

cube houses

Cube houses

Sights
When you are in Rotterdam it is almost impossible not to spot the famous bridges (Erasmusbrug, Willemsbrug, Hefbrug) and high buildings (De Rotterdam, Maastoren). Go up in the Euromast and enjoy a 360 view of the city. You can even go abseiling here! Don’t forget to check out the bizarre cube houses by architect Piet Blom. And if you really want to know what Rotterdam is all about you could go to the port area.

A day in Rotterdam.. 
With all these tips I am almost sure you need a few extra days of stay in Rotterdam. Have fun and let me know your favourite part of Rotterdam!

May bike month: etiquette of riding a bike

May is the perfect month to explore the country by bike. The weather is lovely, the flowers are blooming and it’s just nice to be active and outside. But before you go off on your pretty orange rental, I want to give you some bike etiquette ‘rules’. For your own safety!

orange bike amsterdam

Use the bicycle lane
In Holland we have a lot of lanes especially made for bikers. They are usually red and have white painted bicycles on them. They are placed between the sidewalk and freeway. If there is no bike lane you can use the normal road. Do not use the sidewalk, you’ll get a ticket!

Stay on the right side of the road
In Holland we drive on the right side of the road. Since we are all quite experienced bikers we rode our bikes, fixies and bike trailers pretty fast. Staying on the right saves you from collisions with other bikers and… angry looks.

Use you hands
Want to go left or right? Use your hands to let other people know where you are going. Always check your blind spots before doing this, you don’t want to hit someone in the face.

The bell, use it wisely
It’s the soundtrack of Amsterdam, ringing bike bells. They are used for several purposes. 1) Watch out, here I come! 2) Go out of my way! 3) I am trying to pass you. 4) Hey, I know you. (This usually includes a wave) 5) Let’s hear if there’s an echo in this tunnel.

Have fun
Biking wouldn’t be so popular if it wasn’t fun. So, go out, explore and enjoy your time. Don’t forget to bring a map, sunscreen and a cap! Bring a basket with some treats and make a day out of it. Have fun!