Other Services

Strategic Consulting

Strategy is everything when convening major events:  How do you stay on task?  How do you agree on the goals of the event – and have those goals drive everything you do?  How do you measure results?  How to you make sure every voice is heard without losing focus?  How do you get the best speakers?  How do you structure a conversation for maximum impact?  How do you handle dissent?   How do you keep all the players happy, all the egos assuaged?  We will be there with you, with our 20 years experience, helping you answer these difficult and important questions – sometimes with surprising answers.  You need it – and deserve it.

Public Affairs Expertise

The team leaders at Ken Darling & Associates are widely informed generalists on public and community affairs and have working relationships with nearly all the key players in Minnesota, from corporate and political leaders to issue-experts and academics.  We have a pulse on what issues are hot – and who is leading the new thinking in those areas.  And we are quick studies.

Project Management

Nearly every major public event involves a diverse planning team of extremely busy professionals, often with desperate views and levels of interest in the project.  We can help keep the team focused and on-task, developing meeting agendas, scheduling meetings and calls, handling follow-up, providing meeting summaries, etc.  We will begin by fully understanding your goals for the event – and the issues driving it. Then, we will help lead your development process, guided always be your goals and needs.  We are particularly adept at managing and being part of partnerships created specifically for a particular event or longer-term project.

Speaker Management

We have secured Nelson Mandela, John McCain, Alan Greenspan and Colin Powell for major events.  We know how to develop a strategy for securing the right speaker or speakers for your event. We know the ins and outs of getting speakers, whether they are noted experts or marquee-level newsmakers.  We consult on the strategy needed to secure speakers – and we handle all the details, from letters of invitations to peer-to-peer follow-up to staff negotiations to travel and lodging logistics.

Meeting Design

Developing the perfect agenda and the correct flow of a meeting is critical to its success.  We are highly experienced at designing and implementing a variety of meeting formats for all kinds of events.  We can help you use plenary sessions and major speeches to inspire participants and convey information, use breakout groups to accomplish specific goals, combine public events that generate attention with working sessions that generate results, and design reporting-out sessions that won’t put you to sleep. We know how to structure panels that work.  We know how to minimize “talking heads.”  We know how to make sure everyone at an event – not just the “noisy few”– has a voice. We know how to set event goals that are achievable.  Most important, we know how to create an experience that will leave every meeting participant feeling like he or she accomplished something and had a voice in doing so.

Audience Response Technology and Facilitation

Ken Darling & Associates offers an interactive meeting technology, also known as an audience response system.  Each meeting participant has his/her personal keypad, a wireless device resembling a remote control.  At anytime during the meeting, participants can express their views and see the group response instantly, as a full-color graphic display. The results can be cut demographically, on the spot, to allow for a comparative discussion among sub-groups at the meeting, and in a report after the event.  More information and Demo.

Communications and Marketing

The Ken Darling & Associates team is highly skilled at developing all the collateral and marketing materials you need for a major event, from letters of invitation and event brochures to meeting agendas, breakout-group discussion guides and participant packets. We have both writing and graphic design skills specific to meeting communications.  We can advise your planning team on these needs or provide them directly.

Media and Community Relations

Our communication skills extend to media and community relations.  We can help develop a media-relations strategy, to promote an event and generate desirable coverage. We can provide media releases and follow-up with select reporters and editors. We also can help you use other techniques to get your message out. We can advise your planning team on these strategies or provide the products directly.

Audience Management and Event Registration

We are experts at all aspects of event registration for all kinds of events, from conferences to major dinners with paid registration. We can handle credit card and cash transactions.  We can track invitation lists against registration lists.  We also have access to a number of specialized mailing lists for the Twin Cities region and Minnesota and have good relationships with mailing houses, printers and Web registration services.

Logistics Support, Vendor and Event Management

At Ken Darling & Associates, we are also highly experienced at all aspects of event management, from securing an event site; planning meals and room décor; handling all AV, lighting and sound needs; securing appropriate security, even handling satellite hook-ups and other specialized needs.  We can even help provide entertainment and artistic displays when appropriate and do other highly creative things to make your events truly unique.  And we can staff the event, handing onsite registration, seating, material distribution, speaker care, etc. And we do all this as part of our package of work with you, at a much lower incremental cost than hiring a separate event planner.  

Fully Interactive Webcasting

We have also produced dozens of live, interactive Web events that expand the reach of a traditional event to every corner of the globe.  The Web events include streaming video and audio of speakers, Q&A ability, instant polling and other features that go far beyond traditional Webcasting.