As a corporate event planner for nearly two decades, I’ve learned that there are some hard-and-fast rules that are a part of every successful event. They remain unchanged, regardless of the size of the event, the type of industry it’s catered towards or the budget that’s available. Here are five of them:
- Clearly identify the specific purpose and goal for your event
Every event has a general purpose; it could be a sales meeting, a trade show, or a company retreat. But when planning a corporate event, it is essential to think about it at a more specific level. If it’s a sales meeting, is the focus to show appreciation as part of a sales force retention effort or is it to emphasize specific sales goals? Maybe it’s to deliver intensive product/service training or garner support for corporate changes? You must get to the heart of what you want the event outcome to be long before you ever start making reservations.
- Step into the shoes of your event attendee
One of the first things I ever learned about event planning was the need to put myself in the place of the person who’d be attending the event. At an industry convention, for example, how would they want to be contacted? What information would they need and when? How would they want to feel the moment they walked in the front door of the convention center, and how would they want to navigate through the convention? Most importantly, how would my attendee feel about the event when he or she got back on the plane to head home? When it comes to corporate event planning, it really ISN’T about you.
- Plan your agenda carefully
This is another one of those “first things first” rules, and goes hand-in-hand with purposeful event planning. Once you’ve identified the purpose of your event and thought about your attendee, it’s time to put together an agenda that reflects it. Think of it as your game plan during the event itself: who does what, when, where and why? The agenda creation process is one in which you can really start to get creative in terms of thinking up new opportunities to inject some life into your event. Is there a top-notch speaker you’d love to have present? Are there people within your organization that you could highlight—and how? If you’re going to be offering classes or training, what will really get people excited or engaged? What materials might be needed?
- Choose your corporate event site wisely
It can be so easy to instantly think “let’s go to ______” for our big event. Maybe it’s a place you’ve always wanted to go, or maybe your event will be in winter months and you’ll do anything to get out of the snow zone. But before you pick up the phone and book the spot, consider whether the venue reflects your corporate brand or philosophy. If your target attendee is younger, does the venue have the right technology offerings, or the type of after-hours opportunities they might enjoy? What other types of events might be happening there at the same time as yours—are there any potential conflicts? These and other considerations are important when it comes to a successful corporate event.
- Have a follow-up plan from the beginning
I cannot stress enough how important it is to get feedback from attendees—and vendors—at your events. Consider from the beginning how to get that feedback, and look for opportunities to do it before, during and after the actual event. The information you collect will not only allow you and your team to know how you did this time, but also make adjustments for the next corporate event you hold.
If you have questions about these rules or would like to talk about the corporate event planning services available through eCubed Events, please reach out. I’d love to talk with you.