Corporate event planning has all eyes on you. You want to ensure everything runs smoothly, and more importantly, leaves a positive, lasting impression. Many things can go wrong if you aren’t diligent when planning. Every step you take should be carefully considered and perfectly executed.
Here are the dos and don’ts of planning a corporate event to ensure your event comes off without a hitch.
DO Set Objectives and a Theme
If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that every corporate event has a purpose. Make sure you understand what your executive management team is expecting to accomplish from the event. Is it a team-building event? Is it to promote products and services? Is it for employees? The media? Who is your audience?
Setting objectives ensures you make the right decisions down the line, from the event venue to the invitations and the activities, to the food served. Every resource is considered so you can meet your objectives and have proven results to show management. Once you understand your goals, you can develop a theme or concept for the event that makes it more engaging and relevant to attendees.
DON’T Go it Alone
Even if you are a team of one, you can still find ways to raise a tiny army to assist you. If your budget allows, consider hiring an event planner. If not, can you recruit representatives from other departments who might be willing to lend a hand? Is there a way you can involve volunteers who can benefit from being a team player? Get creative to find people to take on some responsibility and ensure your event is a success.
DO Plan Early
Although in some cases management might not give you much time, as soon as you know an event is on the horizon, start planning. No matter how big or small the occasion, the sooner you get started, the better the outcome. You will have more choices for the corporate event venue, secure the best speakers, and get the caterers you want. When you take advantage of the extra time, you stay organized and in charge of the situation.
DON’T Underestimate the Importance of the Corporate Event Venue
The corporate event venue must be able to meet your needs across the board. When you compromise on the venue, you compromise on everything, including your budget. A corporate event venue needs to offer the following:
- An easily reached location
- All the services and amenities you need such as audio/visual capabilities, adequate space, parking, in house catering, access to event planners
- Corporate event experience
- Be within your budget
- Wireless and wired high-speed internet with at least 100 Mbps symmetrical fibre optic dedicated internet access available throughout the complex
- Ability to split up guests into smaller groups to perform specific tasks such as smaller conference rooms
- Easy transition from business needs to the entertainment or dining part of the event
DO Remain Budget-Focused
Make sure you understand your budget limitations and use a budget sheet to track your spending. Have a slush fund to put towards additional expenses that might pop up. Ensure you discuss all costs for all vendors, entertainment, catering, and venue, to ensure you don’t end up over budget. See where your venue can assist with elements of the event to help save time and money.
DON’T Forget Your Checklist
Using project management software or a checklist allows you to stay on top of everything in the works. As new tasks come up, add them to the list, and check off tasks as you complete them.
Assign dates to tasks to help keep you moving forward, but don’t be afraid to adjust dates as required. This ensures you are always aware of event planning status, and you can share timing with management and others involved in the planning.
DO Visit the Corporate Event Venue
While it can be tempting to save time by skipping a visit to the corporate event venues you are considering, this is a big mistake. Online images and even reviews should not be taken at face value.
Instead, arrange to visit any venue you are considering to confirm everything is up to your standards. This is also the time to ask questions and discuss roles and responsibilities the venue staff are willing to take on.
DON’T Assume Anything
Whether it is who is doing what, what is included in the price, or when you can expect deliveries of prizes, products or print materials, never assume anything; instead, get everything in writing with an email trail that records all discussions and confirms all agreements. This is the only way to avoid misunderstandings.
DO Get Quotes
As with above, never assume anything when it comes to prices. Make sure every service, vendor and venue provide full quotes, with itemized pricing for all deliverables. This allows you to keep on top of the budget and look for red flags or opportunities to use the money elsewhere.
DON’T Book Events Near a Holiday or Known Events
Timing is everything not only for effective planning but also for choosing the right date for your event. Avoid booking near long weekends, holidays or other industry events that might trump yours. This ensures the best turn out.
DO Create a “Day Of” Schedule
The final stage of planning is ensuring you have a schedule for the day of the event. You want to ensure everything is perfectly coordinated, so you can manage the mad rush when you are in the final legs of planning.
Work out deliveries, discuss staffing available to assist at the corporate venue, ask the venue for a schedule of when they will have each task complete, let the venue know when people are expected to arrive, etc. All of this scheduling might seem a little much, but it will allow you to see the event planning through to the moment guests start arriving.
DON’T Forget to Use Social Media
Create a plan to use social media to share the experience online. Whether you create a special Facebook or Instagram account for the event, use event hashtags people can share for their posts, or even consider doing a live stream of aspects of the event, social media provides testimony for your event’s success.