Corporate Event Don'ts
Hosting a corporate event doesn’t always have to be boring. Depending on who the guests will be, any number of variations and themes can produce either a memorable affair or a forgettable mess. Success depends on preparation and avoiding common pitfalls.
There are certain things that are fairly universal to avoid when planning and attending corporate events. If it's a business meeting you're hosting, the staples are food, drinks and maybe an interesting PowerPoint presentation. If it's a more concerted corporate event: A lot more forethought will be needed to avoid doing what we're about to tell you NOT to do.
...wait until the last minute before inviting guests, reserving needed space and ordering food and drinks. It’s best to do all this at least a month in advance. The best caterer might have a packed schedule or the amazing banquet hall you're renting might be packed full too.
...forget the music! Larger corporations will rent auditoriums and invite various performers like bands and comedians to entertain employees and their visitors during larger corporate events. It would be appropriate for a smaller corporate event to have just a local singer-songwriter or DJ who can fill all those uncomfortable silences and provide entertainmet.
...fail to make a mark. The more impressive the spread, the better the public relations. The difference between submarine sandwiches served with bottled water and lobster served with champagne might be the difference between landing and losing new customers.
...lose sight of the details. Inspect the layout of the event venue to make sure it will accommodate your company's needs. Make sure enough tables, chairs, dinnerware and shrimp cocktail will be available everyone planning to attend. Impress everyone who comes, not just the first ones to make it.
...wait until the last minute to have the company's technical staff inspect the available audio/visual capabilities of the facility. They can quickly assess whether the hall's spread will be sufficient or if extra equipment will be needed.
...invite guests in a haphazzard fashion. Fancy invites will show them they're valued. Enough advance notice will show your company has its act together.
... let visitors leave without engaging them with a good story and engaging conversation. Don't force it; be natural. Trying too hard to be noticed is called "over-selling; which results in no sales at all.
...”wear a tuxedo to the flea market.” If a company is planning an elaborate corporate affair, it should be clear from the beginning. If it's planning a small affair for some clients, it should be toned down so as not to appear too eager. For any larger meeting, the intent of the gathering should be made clear to all attendees.
...bore the people you're trying to impress. Engage the most creative people within your organization to put on an event that will have the most impact on the guests. Fun elements like music, food and activities like Vegas-style gambling should be interspersed with the more serious purpose of the event.
...be afraid to take a chance. Career executives have been to dozens of corporate gatherings, so they're expecting certain things. Exceed those expectations.
…do the same thing as last year. When everyone said the event was so creative and unique, the very next year it will be stale.
...let entertainers and catering professions assume who the audience will be. That could lead to embarassment later.
...let those same entertainers and caterers set open prices. Get firm prices before the event starts. Some flexibility might be needed for, say, an unexpected number of people needing a piece of chicken instead of fish. A general foundation with all of the help will give your bosses a good idea of how much all this is going to cost upfront.
...go blindly into new territory. Call contemporaries in other companies to inquire about what venues, caterers, musicians and others have offered the best value in the past.
...forget that many guests in 2012 will expect some form of Internet tie-in, such as an invite via email or a calendar reminder.
...fail to select an appropriate theme. Sometimes, the theme will be obvious, like during the holidays or Mardi Gras. Other times, you'll have to be more creative than that.
...let boring speakers have the microphone. Every company has its thinkers and its talkers. Get the talkers to the microphone after they've talked with the thinkers about what they should be saying.
With these helpful “Don’ts” at a corporate event, your event should run pretty smoothly. If you’ve hosted a corporate event and had something go wrong, let us know us know by leaving a comment below, on Facebook, or Twitter!