It’s likely that at some time in your career, you’ll be asked to organize and execute a corporate event, such as a conference, global team meeting or product launch. If you’ve not done this before, it can be quite a daunting prospect. From curating the best guest list to ensuring everyone has a smooth journey, lining up speakers and entertainment, and making sure it all reflects well on your company (as well as yourself), indeed, there are quite a number of opportunities for error, yet also many chances to shine.
Here are our top tips for hosting corporate events.
Pull together a team to support you
Depending on the size of the undertaking, you may want to establish a team of events organizers to help you in the lead-up, and on the day too. Selecting colleagues with the right skills and talents to support you will be crucial, and you can flex your ability at delegating tasks within the team; something that will come in very handy indeed once you start commissioning external suppliers for catering, technical equipment, and event space, etc.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to brief someone to help managing attendees, another to handle logistics and a third to support on business development on the day, engaging with high profile clients and ensuring your company achieves its client goals.
It will be of utmost importance that guests have all the information they need in the lead up to the event; what the topic of conversation will be, where and when it will be held, and what they can expect to learn or benefit from attending. If the event is to run over several days, you’ll also need to support delegates with details on where to stay in the local area and be ready to assist them with any questions or concerns.
A strategic guest list
If your corporate event is strictly for employees only, then you needn’t worry too much about overthinking the guest list. You need to try to include a representative from each sub-team, division, and market, so you’ll have a wide breadth of interest, skillsets, and experience within the conference.
However, if you’re hosting current and prospective clients, then you should certainly consider to whom you extend an invite and why. You should use this event as a springboard for your business goals; seek to include people who can help you achieve them.
A run-of-the-mill email will surely not suffice when it comes to confirming top attendees at your event.
You should consider creative, influential and surprising ways to attract their attention. Put yourself in their shoes; how many conference and event invitations do they receive every season? What will hook them in and encourage them to RSVP ‘Yes’ to your event?
Once again, managing to earn the attention of esteemed clients and businesspeople will reflect very well on you, and impress your seniors.
Choosing a topic, theme or message for the event
The responsibility of deciding upon content for the conference will probably land with your seniors. However, if you have any sound ideas, then this is a good chance to show your ability by having them be heard. Most conferences and meetings will attempt to tackle an important industry issue or open debate about the future of your businesses. Look for opportunities to show your company’s specialized knowledge, and sell your product, as well as give other speakers a chance to share their insights.
Your audience will expect to be informed by relevant presentations given by well-practiced orators, and engaged in stimulating dialogue.
Setting the scene
Whether you’re hosting in your company offices, or in a hired space, you’ll want to dress the area so that it feels welcoming and impresses your attendees. Think of ways to stage the surroundings, to show off your company values and abilities. Inspire interaction between delegates by arranging chairs in breakout spaces, with tea and coffee making facilities placed nearby.
Invest in corporate and promotional materials, such as the items on offer from Dynamic Gift, giving invitees writing materials, lanyards, and other collectibles branded with your company’s identity. If your budget stretches to it, you can also order posters, banners, and flyers to display in and outside of the space to draw the attention of passing trade.
Ensure a smooth running program
You should run through your schedule several times before the day arrives. If you’re expecting hundreds of people to attend, you should check all technology and equipment, practice presentations and run through a ‘dress rehearsal’ to ensure everyone involved with your company is ready.
On the day itself, you’ll want to be networking and enjoying the atmosphere, not stressing over details which could have been sorted ahead of time.
Catering: before, during and after the event
If your event is set to last all day, or over a number of days, you cannot place enough importance on keeping guests sufficiently catered for. As a general rule, you should have coffee and tea ready upon arrival, and break for refreshments mid-morning. Serving lunch is, of course, a must, and there are pros and cons to buffets versus boxed versus a sit-down meal. You should choose an approach that works best with the people attending, and the general atmosphere of the event. If it’s informal, then a buffet works well. However, if you’re aiming to impress, a sit-down meal may be more suitable.
Following the close of play, you may find an opportunity to take key clients or prospective partners to one side, and seek their feedback on the day. If it’s appropriate, ask them out for a drink to speak about your businesses’ shared interests, away from the bustle of the rest of the conference.
The key to success is preparation
If you’ve put in enough work in the lead up to your corporate event, there’s no reason it should be anything short of a success. Put together a strong team to help you achieve your ambitions, look for creative ways to get the best guests in attendance, and plan the running schedule to the dot. Then, on the day, you can enjoy everything you’ve worked so hard to deliver.