If you’ve been tasked with planning an event for your company, then you know how overwhelming it can feel—especially if you’ve never done it before! Where do you begin? Take a deep breath and read on, because planning your first-ever corporate event isn’t as difficult as you may think.
What it takes to pull off a successful corporate event the first time really involves a lot of common sense, organization, and creativity. And where you are lacking, the five expert tips listed below will help you fill in the gaps.
If you’re ready to start planning your first corporate event, then read on for five tips that will get you from the start to the finish—and will keep your employees happy.
Tip 1: Understand Your Task
Make sure you are clear in your direction before you begin planning. This begins with pre-planning period with the key people at your organization. What is the purpose of the event? Do you have a budget? What are their individual visions for the event? If they could describe a “home run,” what would it look like?
By first getting a sense of expectations from the decision makers, you’ll be setting yourself up for success as you move into the actual planning process. You don’t want to get too far into the weeds of planning and realize you don’t have buy-in from your top people.
Tip 2: Research the Venues
With direction, you’re ready to begin the first step in the planning process. The venue is the most important first step in your decision-making process. The venue will set the tone for everything else that follows—the party, the theme, the furniture, the decor, and the flow of the event.
Start by making a list of local venues within driving distance of your company. Visit the venues in person so that you can get a sense of space and flow. Talk to the venue manager about pricing and hidden costs. Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate the price of the rental fee. When you have choices, you have power and leverage, so you can get a great deal for your company just by asking.
Tip 3: Let the Program Guide the Event Space and Flow
Make sure you understand the different parts of the event. What will be involved? Will there be a cocktail hour followed by a sit-down dinner? Will there be dancing and mingling?
Whatever the program is, you’ll need to incorporate it into the event planning. Most importantly, the program should guide the setup and the flow of the event. For example, if you are planning a holiday party in Florida that involves heavy hors d’oeuvres followed by dinner and singing holiday songs, you may want to start your evening outside as the sun is setting and then move into an indoor space for the more formal parts of the program. Think about the experience the guest will have in the space through each interval of the event.
Tip 4: Send Invitations
To plan an event well, you need to know how many guests you’re going to be expecting. So don’t skip out on the invitations. Remember that a physical invitation is something that employees will take seriously, so if there is a budget for that, send them. Make your invitations a little more special by adding colored envelopes or translucent vellum sheets. You’re communicating the aesthetic and tone for your event with your invitation—and you’ll make your employees feel appreciated along the way.
Tip 5: Add an Element of Surprise
Every corporate event needs an element of surprise. This keeps the guests guessing and will give you something to tease in the reminders. Maybe your company decides to do a raffle of cool prizes or invites a surprise entertainer. Whatever that element of surprise may be, it will keep your guests in suspense and give them something to talk about once the event is over.
Embrace Planning Your Event Today!
Feeling inspired yet? Your first corporate event can be a success. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve never planned one before, because you now have a guide that can get you there. By following the five pro tips for executing your company’s next event, you’ll be able to navigate the details like a professional and impress your attendees with your organization, attention to detail, and creativity.
Who said you’ve never planned an event before? Take the corporate-event-planning process step by step, pace yourself, and don’t get overwhelmed by the details. In no time, you’ll be welcoming guests and moving on to planning your second event!