Are you in charge of planning the next big event for your company? It’s an intimidating proposition, but if you work smart and pay attention to the right details, then you’ll be able to pull off an incredible event sure to impress everyone. Here are five of our best tips for new corporate event planners.
If you’re planning a large event, you should have at least 4-6 months to plan. Smaller events can be done within just one month. But it all depends on where the event will be held, what you want to do for the event, and other factors. And no matter how much time you are given put to this event together, it will never be enough. So the important thing is to jump in with both feet and get started as quickly as possible.
When you start planning your event early, you will be more likely to be able to get everything you want for the event, from the venue to the caterers. Vendors fill up their availability fast, so it’s especially important to book them earlier rather than later. If you leave vendor and venue booking until the last minute, don’t be surprised if you find everything booked solid.
As you plan the event, pay special attention to the guests with special needs. These needs primarily include dietary restrictions and disabilities. So you will likely need to make sure you can provide accessible parking and seating, interpreting services/assistive listening devices, allergy- and special diet-friendly catering, etc.
Of course it can be wasteful to provide what won’t be used, so best practice is to ask for information about guests’ special needs in the RSVP form. Then follow up with the people who indicate that they have special needs via phone so you can iron out the specifics of how best to accommodate them. Making a concerted effort to accommodate special needs guests will go a long way toward helping them feel valued and boosting the reputation of your company.
Not all corporate events require transportation, but when you do need it, it’s important not to neglect this aspect of your event. To determine whether corporate party transportation will be needed as part of your event, ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then you most likely will need to hire some corporate event transportation, whether that’s a shuttle, personal driver, or bus. Look for a transportation provider with multiple transportation options, experienced and certified drivers, well-maintained vehicles, accommodations for disabilities, and an emphasis on safety.
About two weeks before the event is scheduled to take place, do a trial run. This doesn’t mean you have to actually do a physical run-through. Just get together with your team and walk through it one step at a time to double-check all of your planning. Go all the way from initial setup to post-event followups. This is one of the best methods for identifying potential problems before they have a chance to happen.
It’s also a good idea to do another trial run at the venue on the day of the event. This will give you a bit of a headstart on addressing any last-minute issues.
Aside from doing trial runs, you will need a contingency plan for when (not if) things go wrong. There will always be something that happens on the day of the event that threatens to destroy all of your hard work. This may be a caterer falling through, inclement weather, a tech failure, injury, your main speaker arriving late, or a variety of other scenarios. You can drastically reduce your stress and help the event proceed as smoothly as possible by making a backup plan(s) ahead of time.
It’s also a good idea to brush up on your triage skills. Triage is the process of determining the priority of a problem depending on its severity. This is usually used in the medical field, but can be applied to event management as well. When a problem arises, do a quick analysis to determine whether an alternative can be found or if it should simply be cut entirely from the event.
When you have prepared well for your corporate event, you will be able to attend with (relative) peace of mind, knowing that everything will go smoothly no matter what happens. And if you get asked to plan another event, you will have plenty of experience to back you up and make the next one even better. You’ve got this!
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