What’s your reason for wanting to celebrate? Why are you planning a corporate event?
Maybe it’s for a team-building party. An event to bring your staff closer together and become more cohesive as a company.
Maybe it’s for a product launch. The team has been working hard the past few months, and it’s time for a little reward.
Or maybe it’s an appreciation party. You want to recognize employees’ achievements or build tighter connections with your most loyal clients.
There are many reasons to design and plan a corporate event. But the key to success isn’t the food you serve or the goody bags you hand out. It’s the overall way that you plan it.
You don’t want something no one wants to attend. You want something people are excited to go to. Something they’ll talk about and look forward to when you decide to do it again.
Where do you begin?
The first step in creating the perfect corporate event is deciding the who, what, why, where, and when.
- Who are you planning this for?
- What is your budget?
- Why do you want to bring people together?
- Where will you hold your event?
- When will it occur?
The deeper you dig into the planning phase, the more succinct your corporate event will be. There’s a big difference between a sophisticated dinner party and a team-building event that allows people to play.
The more questions you ask yourself, the more you’re planning will come together. You can decide the types of food you’ll offer—sit-down dinner or buffet? Or how about the activities—interactive learning, or maybe you’ll dance the night away?
Or maybe it’s time to add a little fun to the mix. How about dividing your employees into teams for a game of laser tag? Or having teams work together to complete a high ropes course? Sometimes planning out the perfect event means thinking outside the box.
Corporate events don’t always mean planning the same old meetings. In fact, a recent study put out by American Express, the 2018 Global Meetings and Event Forecast, predicts that the demand for non-traditional meeting space is expected to increase by as much as 3.8 percent. Why do the “same old” event in the “same old” way?
Why not mix it up and plan something everyone will be talking about for a very long time?
As your event theme starts coming together, it’s time to start looking at potential dates. Keep in mind that not everyone will be able to come—there are always a few people who will have extenuating circumstances. But it’s important to get the top players on board and ensure you give people ample time to save the date. That gives you the chance to find the time to plan it right.
Of course, the more people invited, the more time you’ll need to get this right. You should also be on the lookout for other events that might cancel yours out. Think of:
- Work time or off time—can employees bring their families along?
- Industry-specific events—will people be traveling for larger expos or networking events?
- School breaks—will more people likely be on vacation?
- Religious holidays or other cultural events.
Even things like the Super Bowl or local sporting events can have a play in attendance. The rivalry between the Ducks and Beavers in Oregon can influence attendance.
For ample time for all planning, think at least eight weeks out. This gives you enough time to make decisions and reservations, as well as enough time to grow anticipation.
Select the Perfect Location
This is another task where you should consider your options. A weekend away where everyone stays on-site in a hotel is different than an evening out where everyone will be traveling across the city to get to the venue.
The venue should reflect the purpose of the meeting. A sophisticated presentation needs audiovisual technology, a room that can be darkened, and quiet ambiance so you can be heard. But if you’re in the mood to bring the team together, it’s important to have easy access to the things your attendees really want to do. A location like Langer’s Entertainment Center, opening in fall 2019, offers all of these in one location, for example.
- Where is the venue located in the city?
- How easy it is to get there by driving or public transportation?
- What time of day you’ll arrive and leave—this impacts commutes.
- What about parking?
Create the Flow
Most events have several phases along the way.
- Will you be making a presentation—even a small speech must be planned.
- Will you be hosting exercises or team-building events—how will the teams be formed?
- Will you be serving food—or how about an open bar?
- What about special requests?
A good event is never left to chance; every aspect is planned out.
That means you’ll consider what will happen from the moment people leave their homes or the office to attend the event until the moment they drive away. What experience do you hope to create?
This is all about the flow.
You can control that from the beginning with invitations and outlines. The more you can inform people of what expect, the fewer surprises you’ll have on the day of the event. And by putting people in charge of different tasks, you’ll have more ownership among the attendees.
Track It for Results
Once everything is complete and the day of the event arrives, it’s time to enjoy. Make introductions. Tell people what to expect. Engage with everyone who attends in some fashion.
Most importantly, have fun. The more excitement you create throughout the event, the better chance you’ll have of being able to put on another one in the future.
This also means keeping your pulse on what people think. Send out a survey shortly after you return to work. Gather feedback from both people that attended and from people that couldn’t come. What would they have done differently? You can use this for the next time you plan an event.
Be sure to ask open-ended questions, such as: What was your favorite part? Or ask for suggestions, such as: What ideas do you have for the next event?
This will give you a head start for the next time you plan a corporate event.