Maximizing the Impact of your Corporate Events
Guest post from Kristin Glass Events
The term “corporate event” is stretched to refer to an extremely broad set of gatherings, which can vary depending on industry, location, and even time of year. Meetings, conferences, seminars, awards nights, holiday parties, open houses, trade shows, promotional events – pretty well anything that is put on by a company for employees, clients, or possible clients – can fall under this banner, which means planning corporate events can be hugely intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be, because I’m here to help you define your strategy and maximize the impact of your event.
You wouldn’t go into any other project related to your business without thinking through exactly why you are taking it on, and events shouldn’t be any different. Despite this, as an event planner, I often attend functions that were clearly planned by a well-meaning secretary or assistant but fall flat when it comes to achieving any desired outcomes. Most events held by a company need some sort of strategy, which will drive every single decision you make in relation to the project.
Hiring an expert to help plan your event means that you will be guided through defining exactly what you want to get from it, but if you’re doing the planning internally for any reason, you can still make sure to take this important aspect into account. There is one question you should always be asking in the early stages of any event project:
WHY AM I HOLDING THIS EVENT?
The answer(s) to this question will likely influence most aspects of your event, and defining why it is important will help to take the guesswork out of the project’s early stages. Let’s dig in here a little bit to see how it can affect some areas.
The event venue can be determined almost entirely by the answer to this question. If you are running an event to network and meet new people, you’ll probably want to hold it somewhere that guests will feel comfortable dropping in and mixing and mingling, with a layout that allows for these things too. In contrast, a meeting will require a much more structured venue that will minimize distractions and maximize the productivity of the group. In this case the layout should also allow for collaborative conversation – for example, you would probably prefer a boardroom-style table as opposed to rows of chairs and tables. The venue needs to fit in with the reasons the event is happening so that you are in the best possible position to succeed in having the desired outcomes.
The structure of the event will be similarly affected based on the answers you come up with. An open house requires a pretty minimal program and format, so that people feel free dropping in, getting the info they need, and leaving on their own timelines. In this case, you probably would steer clear of too much of a planned program during the course of the event. An educational gathering will likely require some structure in the form of lectures or planned discussion times and topics in order to give the opportunity to learn and discuss and maximize any takeaways. The basic format of the event can typically be easily determined once you’ve identified the reasons it is being held.
The types of activities available for guests at the event should change based on answer to this question as well. If you are holding a promotional event your activities will typically be quite different than those for an employee recognition event. Let’s talk about that for a minute:
In the first situation, you would definitely want to include some sort of activity to educate the attendees about what your company does, and how it could benefit them, so that even if they don’t immediately sign up to purchase your product or services, they do walk away thinking about ways you can help them. Educational activities could just be the provision of literature, a chance to try out your product, or a presentation on why your services are important. In addition to this, a promotional event should likely incorporate an activity to collect contact information from attendees. This could be in the form of a door prize draw, or a newsletter opt-in opportunity. Collecting information from potential clients means that you can reach out to them later on to remind them of what you have to offer, or to update them about new products or services. A promotional event can be the beginning of client cultivation, but guests don’t always become customers immediately.
If you are planning an employee recognition event, you would instead want to include activities that explain why your employees are important to you. This can help them to buy in to what you are doing, and to feel important and valued, especially if they are educated on and subscribe to your company goals. You might also want to provide a fun activity or giveaway item to show how much you appreciate all of their hard work.
WHY AM I HOLDING THIS EVENT?
Thinking about this question will help with maximizing the impact of your corporate event. It’s certainly not all you need to think about, but carefully considering the answer will take many uncertainties out of your planning process, especially during the earliest stages.
If you need some extra help working out answers to this question or others, feel free to contact me to get started. I offer event planning packages to fit your needs, from event consultation, to strategy sessions, all the way up to full coordination. You can find me online at Kristin Glass Events. I’d love to chat with you! Cheers, KG.