When To Be Selective With Your Guest List

    With all that goes into planning a wedding, corporate event, or any other big celebration, you might think that the guest list is the very least of your worries. Just toss down the names of people you know, right? Well believe it or not, your guest list can vary tremendously based on the type of party you want to throw – and in the business world, the wrong guest list can mean the difference between closing the deal and losing the client. Obviously, these things must be decided on a case-by-case basis, but you can follow these basic guidelines for making sure your guest list is in tip-top shape!

    When to Invite Everyone: Of course, there are some parties where absolutely everyone – and I mean everyone – is welcome. Your co-workers, their spouses and children, loyal customers (if you work in some form of retail), the whole kit and caboodle. These are the sorts of events you throw outdoors, or at a family-friendly venue. But what sort of parties are these, you ask? These are the events that show your business’ fun side. Company fundraisers, annual picnics, and employee or customer appreciation events all fall into this category. These sorts of events serve one of two purposes (sometimes both) bonding, either within the company or between your company and an outside group, such as customers or business partners, and promotions of new products or services.

    When to Be A Little Discerning: The more formal your event, the more likely you are to limit your guest lists. Mixers, networking meetings, or anything else where alcohol is served will require a guest list that is paired down. In these scenarios, usually the first to go are the children of your attendees – cocktail parties or serious business dinners are not appropriate for youngsters, as they could mess up your guests’ attire! Also, the more formal and business-oriented your event, the more likely you are to keep the group small. Guests ought to be associated with the project or subject at hand, instead of just loosely associated with the company.

    When to Bring in the Bouncers: The business world can be as much about the element of surprise as it is superior products and services. The right level of surprise with each new project, product, or partnership can increase positive word of mouth and do wonders for the public’s opinion of a company. But how to do you keep all your secrets under wraps if everyone you know is at your events. For this reason, you should have very selective guest lists for new project meetings, dinners with prospective clients or partners, and other events where highly sensitive material will be disclosed. Keep the party to the need-to-knows – the people directly involved with the project – and keep everyone else in the dark until it is time for the big reveal.

    So what sort of events have you had to plan lately, and how did the guest list add to or detract from the party? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!