Have you ever been put in charge of creating an event for your company? Depending on your personality, the prospect could either fill you with absolute dread or unbridled glee. If you’re an extrovert and you love planning things, then the idea of creating an event exactly to your specifications seems endlessly thrilling. If not, then you’re probably floundering and wondering how you’re going to get through the next few weeks of grueling planning and preparation.
Don’t worry – we’re here to help you. These five secrets for creating a memorable business event will give you inspiration. You may not have any concrete ideas in place yet, but that’s fine – whether you’re at the very beginning of your event planning journey or you’re nearing the end and wondering how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, these will come in handy. Without further ado, here are five ways you can supercharge any business event.
1. Make the effort to be different
Many business events follow a particular formula. There will be snacks and coffee in the main exhibition room, perhaps a banner outside, and a couple of talks by company professionals. That’s fine, but it won’t help your event to stand out among the hundreds and hundreds of similar events that get thrown by companies each and every year. When you’re planning your event, it pays to think outside the box and give people something to remember.
There are lots of ways you could go about this. For a particularly wacky touch, you can buy giant inflatable animals and display them around the event grounds. You could also create an event theme that people will remember, something that pushes the boat out and creates a lasting impression in people’s minds. Possible themes include holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, as well as elemental themes like fire and ice. Don’t let your creativity be stifled!
2. Allocate a budget and stick to it
You need to be realistic and sensible about money if you’re going to plan a great corporate event. Don’t think your money will never run out, but also don’t feel pressured to not spend anything. The perfect event sits somewhere between complete blowout and budget disaster. You need to be savvy when you’re planning. Create a top-to-bottom idea of exactly what everything is likely to cost and make sure you revise it accordingly when things change.
It’s also very important to use free tools when you can. Social media is an excellent way to promote your event, and it’s usually completely free to do so. If your business has lots of followers on social media – if you’re maintaining a good social media strategy, as all businesses should – then you’ll find a ready-made audience for your event, especially if you count a lot of other businesses among the faithful. Don’t be afraid to look at all your options!
3. Plan ahead for time
It’s very important to know exactly when your corporate event is going to take place. This might not necessarily seem like a crucial part of the process, but trust us when we say that timing affects more than you might think it does. First off, you’ll want to consider when in the year you want to hold your event. It’s probably best to avoid times when people often have time off, such as summer and winter. In America, some of the most common times when people take holiday are Christmas and Thanksgiving, for example.
It’s not just the time of year you need to take into account, though. It’s also important to hold your event on a day when people won’t be too checked out to pay attention. According to some studies, Tuesday is the worst day of the week, and we all know how people feel about Monday. It might be best to plan your event for either Wednesday or Friday; everyone will be feeling good on the latter, and the former is early enough in the week that people will still be engaged.
4. Decide what the event is about
Naturally, the most important people at any corporate event are the attendees. Even if you’re essentially gathering people together to tell them what your corporate strategy is going to be for the next financial year, that doesn’t mean the event has to be boring or staid. Choosing a great keynote speaker is crucial when you want to keep people engaged and interested in what your event is about. Don’t think this is an expense you can skip, as the difference between good and bad public speakers is immense.
After you’ve booked your speakers – well in advance, remember – you need to think about what you’re going to talk about. What is the purpose of this event? Are you holding a conference to reveal a new product that you think will change the world? Do you want to inform investors of a new development? How can you structure that content so that it’s interesting, informative, and engaging? Use all the tools at your disposal – humour, eloquence, and wit never go amiss.
5. Have fun
We know that it can sometimes seem impossible to have fun at corporate events, but the bottom line is that you’re there to celebrate your company or to represent them, so if you’re not enjoying yourself then it’s going to seem quite obvious. While you’re planning the event, try to enjoy yourself. Imagine you’re an attendee. What would you like to see? What kind of things would you want to do while you were at the event? Think carefully and implement the results.
It’s also a good idea to conduct a survey among your co-workers, your friends, and your family. Ask them what their thoughts are. What do they think of what you’ve planned so far? Is there anything they would change? There’s no reason your event can’t be a collaborative process; in fact, it should be. While you’re planning, you should be excited about and invested in your event. If you’re not, then switch up your focus and find the thrill in what you’re planning.