Corporate Event Planning Tips

Guests talking at a corporate cocktail party for an article on corporate event planning tips

I recently photographed the opening of Global Total Office’s new NYC showroom.  The event was fun to photograph and well attended by furniture designers, interior designers, and Global Total Office staff alike.  Most importantly, the flow of the event was flawless, from the food served to the placement of the bars and crowd control.  In today’s blog post, I have a few corporate event planning tips for you in case you have a similar event coming up on your calendar.

Waiter offering appetizers to a guest for an article on corporate event planning tipsThe bottom line for any corporate event across any industry is that you don’t want your event to be forgettable.  The key to planning a great corporate event, from cocktail party to multi-day seminar is to focus on three main points: 1) provide great information, 2) have your schedule of events flow smoothly, and 3) entertain your guests.  Here are some corporate event planning tips to help you meet these three goals:

 

Tip #1: Establish a solid purpose for your event, and make sure all of your programming points directly to this purpose
Whether you are informing, entertaining, or raising funds during your event, make sure that the goal of your event is clear. Once you have established the purpose of putting on your event, then the details of planning will all fall into place.

Tip #2: Choose your audience wisely
The key to have everyone on board for your event is to make sure you have chosen a like-minded group of attendees.  Carefully curate your guest list so that you know everyone in attendance already has a reason why they want to attend.

Tip #3: Stick to a budget
When you start planning your budget, think big.  Start with the cost of the venue space and any speakers.  Then add on any logistical items such as signage, audio/visual rental and transportation.  Finally, don’t forget about food, decorations, and most importantly marketing materials.  Make your list of items as extensive as you can at the beginning of your planning process so that you are not caught short as the date of your event approaches.

Tip #4: Get creative with your choice of venue
Anyone can hold an event at a hotel conference room.  But depending upon the size of your guest list, you can definitely escape the hotel conference room box.  Art galleries, theaters, performing arts spaces — all of these venues are options.  A creative venue space will spark interest from your attendees.  Best of all, most of these creative venues can be booked at half the price of the typical conference space.

Tip #5: Develop a brand for your event
Your event should have a branding theme in addition to a main purpose.  From the colors of your event to the font of your marketing materials, everything should be cohesive — down to the centerpieces on each table.  When you tie everything together, you as an event planner look professional and it adds credibility to your event as a whole.

Guests talking in front of row of chairs at a corporate cocktail party for an article on corporate event planning tipsTip #6: Have enough hands on deck
There is nothing worse than having pure chaos erupt on the day of your event.  Make sure you have enough people in place to take care of any emergencies and to keep your event flowing smoothly.  Any event, no matter how well planned, will have issues on the day of the event.  Your goal is to have enough hands on deck so that your audience never has to see you sweat.  All you, as the event planner, should have to do is smile and look good in front of your guests.

Tip #7: Know your timeline
Break your event up into 15-minute increments and have a master timeline so that everyone involved with the planning can know what is happening minute-by-minute.  Even for small events such as cocktail parties, there should be a timeline that starts from initial set up to trash removal at the end of the night.  Furthermore, make sure you stick to you plan.  Barring any unplanned emergencies, you should follow your schedule closely so that everyone is on the same page.

Tip #8: Plan for emergencies
It’s Murphy’s Law: something will always goes wrong on the day of your event.  When you are in your initial planning stage, make sure to brainstorm any foreseeable problems such as more attendees (or less) than expected, technical difficulties, food delivery issues, and the bar tab.  Plan accordingly so that you have a solution ready to go.  Some of the most common issues involve internet and audio/visual needs, so make sure you have a technical expert on call.

Tip #9: Snacks!
A well fed guest is a happy guest.  Everything else can go wrong, but if you are serving fantastic appetizers, then all will be forgiven.  Also, any creative splurges you do during coffee breaks will come back to you tenfold by way of guest thank yous.

Get creative!  Your guests will thank you.

Are you planning on throwing your own corporate event?  Drop me a line and let’s talk about your photography needs.

If you would like to see more images from my corporate event portfolio, then please visit my website — KellyWilliamsCorporate.com.

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