Corporate event planning is a mixture of excitement, frustration, stress, and satisfaction, sometimes coming one at a time and other times hitting all at once. For those who have never ventured into event management, this combination can be overwhelming. This doesn’t have to be the case if you take the time to explore the tips that those of us who regularly plan for these events are willing to share. If you are faced with planning your company’s next big gathering, take a deep breath and read on for some of our most helpful hints in making the meeting a success.
Budget First Then Plan
Before you can do anything, you need to know what budget you have to work with. This will determine everything from where you will hold your meeting to what kind of entertainment and food you will provide. You might consider purchasing pre-paid business cards for everyone that has a role in planning. This will help you keep track of expenses on a regular basis. It is possible that the amount of money allotted for each thing will change slightly as the plans come together, but you need to try and stay within a budget so you don’t find yourself spending all the available funds on a speaker and then not have enough for food.
Check for Date Conflicts
When choosing the date for your event, take time to see what else is going on in the area during that week. This can include other conferences in the immediate and surrounding area, festivals, and even national events like the Super Bowl or holidays. All of these things can adversely affect the attendance of your meeting and the availability of appropriate venues.
Weigh Venue Options
It is tempting to consider the most popular venues, but there are so many available that you may find one that is lesser known that fits your needs even better at a lower cost. Don’t be tempted to book the first venue that is open. Know exactly what you are looking for and compare several before making a final decision.
Make Networking a Priority
Allow for plenty of networking time when planning a corporate meeting. This can be done by creating an open seating environment, adding a get-to-know-you event in the program, and possibly using a buffet-type meal to encourage people to get up and talk. The contacts people take away from your event will help determine for them whether or not they want to return to future gatherings.
Abide by Murphy’s Law
No matter how well you plan, some factors will always be beyond your control. Speakers can be late or fall ill and not be there, equipment can break, or an emergency can occur that disrupts proceedings. Plan for these types of mishaps. Make sure there is a Plan B for equipment and speakers. Have in place emergency evacuation plans and make sure you know important medical emergency numbers. It is better to plan for these things and never need them than to get caught off guard.
Do a Run-Through
Make time to run through the program. Test out anything that relies on electricity or can fall victim to mechanical failure. Make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, where they need to be, and who they are to report to. Talk with venue staff and verify things like the menu and any other services they are providing. If you booked rooms, double-check that they are ready. A thorough walk-through will show you where you may have forgotten an important detail or where something may cause confusion, such as a check-in area that is too crowded. These things can be fixed now to avoid problems.
Follow Up With Your Attendees
Once your corporate event is over, the stress is less but your work isn’t done. Now is the time when you need to make sure your guests receive thank you notices. This allows them to feel their presence was important. Thanking the venue staff will also help them think highly of your company and may help foster a good relationship for future events. Create and send out a follow-up feedback form to guests asking for both excellent and poor perceptions of the meeting. These comments will help you better plan future events.
Let Our Professional Event Planners Help
Turning to professional event planners for part or all of your preparations can take a great deal of stress out of the planning and running of corporate meetings and events. At Andavo Meetings & Incentives, we have a full staff of specialists that can help you with every stage of your upcoming event. We love what we do, and that shows in the way our planned events have gained positive reviews over time. Contact us today and see what we can do to help remove the frustration and stress from your planning task.