When should you Schedule your Corporate Event?

Ensure it’s not on a night that clashes with your local football team playing. Yes I know, we talked about this football lark being all pervading but that’s just how it is. Whenever we set our evening events, we always look at the local team’s fixture list; after all, Kintish are based in Manchester! While you are looking at the Calendar, see what other events are on as well.

In the case of the ‘big corporate event’, schedule it to be a 5.30 for 6 start.
Conversely, when you hold seminars, which are a different concept entirely, consider early morning starts to finish around 10.They are becoming quite popular as people have had breakfast, done their networking and are in the office raring to go for, nearly, a full day’s work.

Where should you hold you Corporate Event?

Chose a venue that someone you know has recommended. Talk to the venue and discuss your requirements in detail. After the discussion set out in WRITING your requirements and ensure that they agree to these. Something always goes wrong on the night anyway but at least you can negotiate down the bill! You should remember that the venue is just as interested in talking to your corporate clients as you are. They will want to keep you all happy.

What is your Corporate Event about?

If you don’t know, why are you holding a corporate event? This is one of the most important aspects of your event planning. The theme must be consistent and the audience must be relevant .

Has the business, as a whole, decided on the whom?

You’re going to find partners will invite some inappropriate guests and there’s not much you can do about it. Grandma is invited (“she was around when I became a partner”); the next-door neighbour, a client of a competing firm, is there. He’s the managing partner’s best mate and goes to all the family celebrations. Such is life.
Having accepted these get down to serious invitees and chose carefully. The issue here is, “ Yes, let’s invite her, you just never know”.

It depends on your budget how loose you want to be with your largesse. If you have a small budget then only invite the clients and associates who bring you business. If you have a larger budget then you can look further to those who might bring you business. Do think about your guest list when you run annual events. I get invited every year to a corporate event for which I am most grateful. The partners in the business were once my business partners so I guess they invite me for old times sake.

From past experiences this is where I saw the biggest wastages,
“But they come every year” they would say
“Yes, but have they sent us any referrals in the last 8 years?” I would reply
“No, but they might and it would be such a shame blah blah blah”
And so on
I only mention all this to stop you wasting money as we so often did.
Something to consider: Is it worth paying an event organiser or should people ‘in marketing’ do it? If it takes chargeable people away from their core business activities, then an events organiser is an option.

Invitations

Invitations should be out 5 weeks before the event. It gives people a chance to organise their diaries but not forget about the event. You’ve sorted out the perfect guest list for the 75th celebrations.125 invitees say they’re coming so I’d budget for 90, any more and you’ll be taking the leftovers home for the kids and dogs. If you’ve neither, warmed up quiches aren’t too bad the next day.

Who will host?

I believe this to be a key issue in whether the event is a success. This part of the planning is often left until very late. A number of key people find a ‘reason’ not be to there. A very good reason, of course. And then at 3.30 on the day of the Corporate Event, the key organisers realise there are only 5 people available and the panic starts. ‘Ben in accounts can be there, just noticed he’s got a new suit on.’ ‘I’ll ask Karen the receptionist she knows everyone. Maybe we can persuade her not to go to her salsa dancing class tonight.’

You’ve all been there I don’t need to highlight the matter further. Just make sure you get absolute commitment from those who act as hosts.

Pre Corporate Event briefing

The firm is spending £10,000 cash and numerous untold lost chargeable hours on this event. Fine, but what do you want from it?
Once you have decided on who is going to host, sometime within 36 hours of the start, get all the team together. This should be run like a military campaign. How many hosts should there be? A good ratio is 7:1. You will get these hosts to agree to spend little or no time huddled together like a rugby scrum any time during the event. Their roll is as follows:

Introductions of guest to guest and between hosts, a quick recognition nod and interaction in a group of guests should be the only time communication occurs. After all, there are at least 7 guests apiece to care for!

Everyone needs to agree on certain issues.
· What is required from the event?
· What is known about the guests?
· Who is going to meet and greet?
· Who are the VIP’s and the ‘must speak to’ guests?
· Who already knows who?
· Who is going to talk to whom?
· What signals and gestures will be used for ‘parking’ guests?
· Who is going to introduce who to whom?
· What time are the various members of the team going to be there?
· What time do we expect the last guest will go home? 6 to 9 doesn’t mean anything to guests having a wonderful time!

Corporate Event Food

There is friendly and unfriendly networking food. Friendly food is in small bite sized bits sometimes with wooden sticks through the middle. You can handle it easily and it won’t ruin your guests’ clothes. Vanilla slices, chocolate cream gateaux or large buns filled with egg mayonnaise are unfriendly foods. Plan to offer the former.

Guests’ lists

If you want a higher positive response than normal consider sending out a list of invitees with the invitations. Something as simple as, ‘We are pleased to announce delegates from the following companies have been invited.’ Those looking to meet specific companies will more likely accept. You do want the venue to be full, don’t you?

Whenever we host events, be they social or seminars and workshops we always provide a list of attendees. We obtain permission from the guests first of course. Only once did someone ask to be left off but as he was a member of an anti-crime bureau I understood his reticence. This is an added bonus for everyone and those who have the networking savvy will use this information to best advantage. You may deem it more appropriate at the big events to hand out the guest list at the end of the evening. This could be contained with the going home pack.

Badges and going home packs

How many times do you attend an event and the logo of the host is 4 times the size of your name on the badge? This event is marketing and marketing is all about the client, the prospect and the professional connection. Make the badges, like the food, user friendly. For all our events and seminars we print a BIG Christian name a smaller surname, a line, and then the company name. It makes it so much easier for you and your guests and stops certain people from leering!

If you send people away with a memento or even a marketing pack consider personalising the letter in the envelope. If you put the guest list in, include in the letter something to the effect of ‘If there was someone here this evening you didn’t get a chance to meet, please give us a call to make the necessary introduction. In the letter don’t forget to include thanking guests for spending their valuable time with you.

When we hold seminars we feel obliged to write at the top of the delegate list, ‘This is for information purposes only to use for future contact with people you have met today. Please do not blanket mail or email. Networking is about building relationships; contacting everyone regardless will have the opposite effect.’

As an article writer I write on different themes. To get more details about event management, conference organizing visit http://www.funfilms.in/

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