By Elise Enloe, MBC™, Attention to Details Weddings and Events in Oviedo and Orlando, Fla

Most members are aware of the Association of Bridal Consultants’ (ABC) Business of Brides Annual Conference held each November, which includes general sessions with featured speakers, breakout seminars, a trade show, off-site dinners, and time with experts. Yet, the ABC offers a full menu of other educational opportunities throughout the year, so there’s truly something for everyone.

For these seminars, formerly known as Expanding Horizons, the ABC has a cadre of select senior Master Bridal Consultants™ who facilitate. The association consistently gets positive feedback for these events that provide small group interaction, skill-based activities, open sharing of experience among attendees, and plenty of time for questions and answers. All seminars include a workbook with additional reading and references, checklists and samples, and a networking lunch. All ABC one-day seminars earn two points in Education and Professional Development for advancement. The fourth, fifth, and sixth seminars in ABC’s Education Series target specialized wedding topics and skills for established wedding professionals. Let’s take a look at these:

Series Four—Networking and Etiquette Revival
Rules of etiquette may have relaxed, but saying and doing the right things are still crucial skills for the dynamic wedding industry. Etiquette skills, like many other skills, need an occasional refresher. So, this seminar is for the novice, service provider (vendor), and seasoned wedding professional. This one-day seminar covers wedding and business etiquette and customer-service skills for all wedding professionals. Facilitated by Master Bridal Consultant™ and Etiquette Consultant Sandra Monahan, this “revival” blends presentation skills, business lunch etiquette, and networking techniques to increase your business through hands-on practicum in persuasive presentations, networking skills, and business dining etiquette.

Series Five—Building and Remodeling Your Bridal Business
This seminar is targeted for those who have their business started but now want to take their business to the next level. Building and Remodeling Bridal Business, focuses on branding, specialization, other events, add-on sales, apprenticeships, hiring and firing, media relations, website enhancement, current software and technological advances, and ethical challenges that are encountered in an established, growing business. This seminar is best suited for regional meetings with gatherings of members at varying levels of expertise. Attendees will learn to:
•    update and refresh a business plan.
•    discuss business growth and development opportunities.
• select current event management tools and technology.
•    describe basic human resources management concepts.
•    review and revise a job description.
•    respond to customer complaints and ethical issues.

Series Six—Taking it to the Top
The most dynamic and eclectic of ABC’s seminars, Taking it to the Top, is customized for Professional Bridal Consultants™, Professional Wedding Vendors™, Accredited Bridal Consultants™, Accredited Wedding Vendors™, Master Bridal Consultants™, Master Wedding Vendors™, and tenured members over 10 years. Facilitated by successful senior wedding professionals, specialized wedding and business topics may include teaching, speaking, presenting, leading, writing, getting published, applying and competing for industry awards, and understanding current social media and technology. With totally customized topics and content, it’s never the same twice. Attendance is targeted to the above senior members; however, anyone can attend.

How Do You Schedule an ABC Seminar in Your Area?
If you’d like a seminar in your area, be sure to ask your state coordinator to bring it to your state. ABC seminars are held in conjunction with state or regional meetings whenever possible. If you help us plan and market an ABC seminar in your area, your registration will be complimentary. The ABC is currently scheduling seminars for fall 2013 and the beginning of 2014.

Q. Can these seminars be developed online?
A. It’s hard to replicate the hands-on, skill-based activities in an online session, especially for full-day seminars. We have, and are continuing to develop, portions of some select seminars for stand-alone online training. For example, Just-in-Time Human Resource Management is a brief, stand-alone mini-course that highlights hiring and firing excerpted from the Building and Remodeling Bridal Business. This portion will be introduced online shortly.

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