Corporate Event Planning Guide
Whether you’re planning an event for your employees and key partners or an external corporate event to raise the profile of your business, you want it to be a huge success. In order for this to happen, you need to work on some vital elements and then make sure they deliver. We offer some tips for in-house event planners to make sure your next event is the best yet.
Why corporate events are important
Corporate events are more important than ever. When done properly, you can reinvigorate your business from the inside out or use them to make a stamp on the industry, impressing potential clients and industry heads helping your business achieve new growth. You’ll increase confidence in your business, raise brand awareness and build up your company profile.
Holding an internal event for employees is just as important to your business as events for current and prospective clients and industry professionals. Remember your employees are the core part of your company and part of your community. They are the best PR you could have so it’s wise to make the most of them and make sure they are invested in your vision.
Internal corporate events are important for breaking down barriers within a company. These types of opportunities get employees from all levels and parts of the business interacting together and getting to know each other. Whatever the reason for the event, with careful planning you can make it fun and educational.
You can bring in elements of training and knowledge transfer to improve collaborative and organisational skills amongst staff. You could discover skills you never knew people had, as well as boosting time management, managerial and creative elements within your organisation. You can use your event to unveil a new project, showcase a new product or service and get buy-in throughout your business.
Corporate events are also a great opportunity to celebrate and reward the performance of employees. A successful event is a fantastic way of saying thank you and also of encouraging other staff to emulate their success. By publicising and shouting about company successes you can make employees feel they have stake in the business and in turn encourage a genuine sense of belonging. Celebrating company milestones and hosting a motivational event will be a big boost for all involved and recharge everyone’s batteries. By breaking down barriers as well as lifting morale, company productivity will naturally see a spike in the right direction.
Elements of a corporate event:
So we know all about the potential of a corporate event to do wonders for your company, but what elements need to be combined to actually deliver the best event possible? We look at the key aspects of a successful corporate event:
Before you even start planning, decide on the purpose of the event. You should create a mission statement from this that you circulate at all times within the in-house events team and re-enforce with attendees too. Above all, make sure you’re clear what your goals are for the event and keep them in mind.
As part of the conference planning, make a plan or a full step-by-step script of how you envisage the event panning out. As a corporate event organiser you need to specify what steps each person will need to take and when each needs to happen. Include a map of the chosen event space so you can plan logistics in detail.
If you’re unsure where to begin with your corporate event planning, concentrate on the audience your event is serving. Ask yourself who they are and what their needs are. How could you attract them and therefore what content should your event contain?
The purpose of your event will determine the structure and the arrangements you make. Is it a team-building event? Will there be training involved? You could ask in-house staff to speak at the event as well as employing an external professional speaker. You could even consider having a panel of speakers to create even more of a buzz. Make sure that any speaker you do have is forward-thinking and refreshing. Great motivational speakers will inspire your audience and help invigorate the atmosphere of an event. If there is a panel of speakers, ensure they interact well with each other and the delegates.
You may wish to plan some fun activities to motivate and engage the attendees. Try to do this with a humorous twist, as people are much more likely to want to get involved with something that makes them laugh. Have a good brainstorm for some corporate entertainment ideas. Don’t rule out any option as longs as it fits with your audience – a singing workshop could do wonders at breaking down barriers for example. The simplest things often work well and these sorts of ideas tend to be versatile, working well across a small or large group of people.
Charities are a strong element of a successful corporate event. They highlight the philanthropic side of your company, whilst at the same time doubling your exposure and audience. If you’re interested in getting a charity involved in your corporate event, whether as the main event or as a part of it, then choose a meaningful organisation. If your company has a personal connection to the charity, it will drive the event forward. Even better, why not partner with a charity that is local, strengthening your ties to the surrounding community and increasing local exposure? Ensure you coordinate with the charity in terms of messaging and promotion of the event.
Corporate Event Must-Haves:
There are certain core ingredients that a corporate event needs to avoid being a flop.
The first of these is the venue. Without this you’ll find it difficult to plan and to build up the character of the event. The venue has huge influence over the event as a whole and ideally should reflect the personality of your company.
The second vital consideration of your corporate event should be the type of food you’ll serve, whether you use in-house caterers linked to the venue, or source an outside supplier. Do you want people to sit down to eat or have a more casual buffet-style? This is a key element that delegates will most definitely remember if it’s good and notice if it’s below par.
As you want your event to be appealing for the right reasons, you must include a ‘WOW’ moment somewhere in the itinerary. You need a unifying emotional moment, which speaks to everyone and brings the purpose of the event into sharp focus. This could be a keynote speaker, the unveiling of a new product or the handing out of an award.
Above all, ensure you have smooth and clear communication throughout the event, both within the organising team and to the delegates before, during and after the event.
Promotion of the event:
Make sure you utilise social media as much as possible throughout the course of your conference; maximise any partnerships you can for publicity and be certain you create a great build up, a buzz during the proceedings and a memorable sense of achievement afterwards.
Create easy takeaways for attendees. This could be a small summary of easy to understand statistics, or a mission statement that has been highlighted during the event. This way you can make sure the event stays in people’s minds in a positive light.
How to organise a Corporate Event:
When organising a corporate event, it’s essential to plan thoroughly and plan well in advance too. Some events may need to be planned months or even years ahead of the date itself. By giving yourself, plenty of time you can hopefully avoid stress and cover every eventuality.
Try to have a plan B for each aspect of the event; major problems can be avoided if you consider back-up plans. Digital back-up plans are probably the most necessary, as events are more and more reliant on digital elements. For example, if you encounter digital registration problems, simply have a paper system and some helpful members of staff that can take over. Streaming a video via YouTube? Make sure you save it as a MP4 format to a computer and then you instantly have access to it if needed.
To save yourself from a Wi-Fi nightmare, ask the venue what specification their routers are and if necessary, take your own, just in case things get a little slow.
Make an impact:
Be different! Create an event that will inspire and motivate your attendees long after it’s over. Best of all, create something so fantastic that people talk about it. Word of mouth is a brilliant way of virally promoting your business and inspiring your team.
Think of ways to make it memorable with entertainment that’s immersive and engaging. Promoting your event before, during and after ensures a certain level of hype around the event, which in turn creates its own positive atmosphere. This will instil confidence in the event before it’s even happened as well as building awareness of your company within your industry. You should also follow up after the event and let people know it’s been a success too.
Embrace social media as much as you can in the build-up to the event; choose the channels you’ll utilise and really stick to these. If using Twitter, create a unique hash ta so you can assess the impact of your tweets. Tweeting during an event is a great way of updating people, so they don’t miss out and to make people wish they were there too. Use Instagram to show off event photos to their full potential and give an on the ground, behind-the-scenes insight. If you’re working with another party, such as a charity, use their social audiences so the net of your event promotion spreads even further. Make as many meaningful updates as possible and ensure they are visual to draw more attention.
Choose your entertainment as carefully as you can – remember trusted recommendations are gold dust when it comes to avoiding disasters. There are so many options now available to the corporate event planner – from utilising event technology to delivering immersive experiences to showcasing a hyper-talented musician. High quality entertainment is something that will stick in people’s minds and really contribute to their enjoyment of the event whatever form it comes in.
In the same vein, if you’re choosing a speaker, ensure it is someone who is a proven public speaker and who fits in with the inspiration messages of your business. Being able to genuinely connect with and engage your audience is essential. Find out the content of their presentation well in advance of the event. Ensure the lighting is well balanced at the venue to enable interaction between the speaker and audience. You need some element of audience participation too, or else you’re in danger of boring your delegates.
Bring in the technology:
To keep your event up to date and fresh, make sure you use as much digital technology as you can on the day. This re-enforces to the attendees that you’re relevant, efficient and knowledgeable. Why not have an event app that you use to promote and introduce the event before it’s started and further enhance elements on the day? At the event itself you may want to have digital signage and interactive kiosks depending on the size of your budget.
To create interest as soon as people arrive, why not have a social media wall, or some digital mapping – this is where you project images or videos onto a wall or screen. You could work a digital element into activities too such as getting people talking by introducing themselves, taking selfies together and tweeting with the event hashtag for a chance to win a prize. By doing this you’re breaking down barriers, creating engagement and using technology at the same time. Use social media and technology to keep people as up to date as you can so they know where to go at what time and what they should expect, as well as keeping them in the loop with any essential information.
Stay in touch:
Ensure you follow up with all the attendees after the event is over. Send a short online survey to gain useful feedback. You could accompany this with a voucher code or a link to a forum related to the event itself to encourage post-event discussions in a more organic way.
Choosing the right corporate event venue:
Central to the success of a corporate event is the venue. It can make or break it, so it’s important to consider all the elements before making a choice about where you’ll hold the event.
Consider the look and feel of the venue. Does it fit with the ethos and brand of your company? Even better, is it more of a blank canvas that can be dressed up to suit your event and tone to perfection?
Consider the cost of the venue and the budget you have; a lot of venues will arrange pricing packages and be willing to negotiate on the costs.
Corporate event facilities need to be up to scratch. If not, the event could look amateurish, or worse, grind to a halt altogether. Make sure the venue you go for has a full AV set up, a PA system, good lighting and robust Wi-Fi. Ideally you will have access to a house manager as well as fully trained technicians.
Make sure the room or rooms you opt for are the right size and type for you, whether it’s a collection of meeting spaces or a theatre-style conference hall you’re after. If the event is going to be sizeable, then it’s a good idea to ensure that there are dressing or green rooms, so any speakers or entertainers have adequate spaces to prepare and relax.
Don’t scrimp on the food element of your event. Hungry, tired guests do not create a thriving gathering. Many venues offer catering services or allow you to source your own. Whichever you decide, make sure the venue has a good space for delegates to enjoy their refreshments and network.
The convenience of your venue for you and those attending is a very important factor to consider when choosing where your event will be held. Holding corporate events in London, or any other big city, will involve a large amount of research. You need somewhere with good transport links or if not, then ample parking. An added bonus would be a venue close to local amenities for things such as pre and post event parties.
Once you’ve chosen the venue, ensure you know the specifications of the buildings. You need to know the entrances and exits, so you can plan the way guests arrive and leave. Be clued up on the size of entrances and lifts, so you can bring things in without hassle. Know how far you can go with making alterations to rooms and whether you can paint, tape or alter walls. Find out about wheelchair access too, so each guest’s needs are considered carefully.
Find out whether the venue offers a post-event cleaning service and when exactly you need to vacate by.
It’s worth finding out whether your chosen venue can recommend or provide any other additional services you might require for your event. These might be things such as set design or room dressing services. Some venues might have access to professional photographers so you can document your event and use it any marketing material. Also, find out whether the venue offers an events planning team and if not, how the team at the venue can work with you to make your event a success.
Running a Corporate Event at 20 Bedford Way:
With its versatile selection of rooms, including the flagship Logan Hall auditorium and smaller committee and meeting rooms, 20 Bedford Way is the ideal venue to host your corporate event in London. Located in the heart of the city in Bloomsbury, this grade 2 listed building is both iconic and the perfect blank space for a multitude of events. For more information call us on 020 7612 6143 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.