The Fundamental Necessities Of Running Any Successful Corporate Event
There are a whole host of corporate events you may wish to run one day, from employee award shows to full-scale presentations and product launches. All of them have a purpose and an audience intended to make the most of it. However, a corporate event isn't a success simply because you willed it to be. There are very many steps involved with ensuring this is pulled off with a hitch, that it reflects well on your firm, and that helps you achieve your stated objectives.
In other words, it's important to plan well and pre-empt any potential outcome. This is especially important if you're inviting the general public to come and attend your event, because then the number of people you're responsible for (untrained in the processes of your firm), is quite high.
For this reason, this post will determine some of the fundamental pillars involved in any successful corporate event, which services and practices you absolutely need, and how to curate the logic of the event's structure.
With that in mind, please consider:
Set An Operational Budget
It's important to set an operational budget to define exactly the size, capabilities, and tangential services necessary for running the event. This way, you can better decide on how long the event will run, who will be responsible for it, if you need to outsource any vital functions, and how much money you're putting towards the promotional materials.
This might sound simple – that's not always the case. Cutting out vital provisions in order to run an event is not always wise. A better means of thinking about this is asking if the operational budget of your event justifies you running it in the first place. You can't exclude security, a proper venue, ticketing and whatever else you need to run a successful, safe event if you don't have the funds for it, because public or attendant safety and a seamless production is not just nice, it's essential.
After all, we have responsibilities to others when we run an event and invite them to it, and so making you have the correct budget assigned for that (properly costed and quoted between many services), is important.
Define The Event Scope & Cultivate A Program
Having clear parameters for what your event is, how it's going to run, how you're going to plan it, who's going to be involved, the goals and objectives you want to reach, and ultimately who the event is for is essential before you begin contacting services and renting a venue.
Keep it as simple as you can. If it's an award ceremony for your staff, you might have two hours of an evening meal, thirty minutes of awards split into simple categories, and then an hour where everyone can relax and mingle. Then they can move on into the night, continuing the party elsewhere if they'd like.
Maybe you're hoping to run a local convention celebrating businesses. In this way, you might set up booth space for a limited number of businesses, and presentation time on the stage, with a distinct itinerary and program detailing when and where they will be.
Always Select An Appropriate Venue
Next stop, your venue. This can be an exciting time as you recce certain locations and decide what is most suitable for your business. Of course, you don't have to overdo it. A simple town hall space may offer corporate events, or if you want to add a little wow-factor1, heritage centres might rent out space for businesses too.
This can run the gamut from small theatre space for a small speaking engagement, all the way up to renting full-on convention space with many stages, rooms, booths and more. What matters is simplifying your need, asking yourself what you really want, and having enough room for ample security and safety given how many people you expect to attend the event. If you're opening it up to the public, always take more room than you had imagined. It will help you avoid making mistakes in the long run.
Consider Your Guest List
To the extent that you can, it's important to consider your guest list. This might involve the general public and the invitation of some other companies to speak at your firm, in this case making sure they have ample room to set up and time to conduct their staging is important.
You may also only invite certain departments to a given in-house training day, or invite clients and investors to come and see a new demonstration of your upcoming products or services. When you have an estimated figure (even if being open to the public you might only allow a certain number of people in), you can better plan your event security, the footfall of traffic, and gate access.
Utilize Helpful Equipment & Technologies
Utilizing appropriate technology can be helpful. For instance, the staff you have on-site serving as chaperones should be given simple walkie-talkies so they can better communicate with others on the team, and respond to possible incidents with care.
It's also good to use attendance trackers to ensure you have a general headcount of people in the building, not only to gauge the attendance but in case you need general numbers during an evacuation effort.
On top of this, it's good to check any projecting software, any laptop integrations for powerpoints, as well as speaker and microphone packs for clear and consistent audio when on stage. In some cases the venue will provide this, and even then, it's important to bring along an audio-visual tech or hire one for the event to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here you can also use helpful equipment to make sure your main stage show goes smoothly, such as intercom conversion measures.
To Record, Or Not Record?
Consider if you're going to record the event or not. If so, some simple steady footage from a modern iPhone can help capture the crowds or booths, but recording the actual presentation you're running is best captured with an SLR, stationary, better set up for the cleanest and best-lit shot.
Make sure you have enough space on your SD cards, and that if you're inviting the public, you make it clear that they may be recorded and that this will be used for your promotional event – sometimes signing an agreement form before they enter will be part of that, and if communicated effectively, will help them gauge if they wish to visit or not.
You can also hire photographers to better cover the event if you're hoping to use this for additional branding, as that's not uncommon on portfolio pages on many brand websites.
Outsource Security Where Necessary
Few firms have their in-house security ready and waiting to go at all hours of the day. Even if they did, they may not have the personnel or ability to cover a full-scale public event. This is why it's essential to outsource your event security to a reliable company that can help deal with conflict, remove problem visitors, or gate access to the event where appropriate.
For instance, for a public event, you might have certain security guards give a basic security scan at the entranceway. In some cases, you might ensure every guest has an event pass to ensure they are where they need to be. People think that security are often the burly, threatening side of enforcing good behavior, but the truth is they're trained in conflict resolution, in deferring to emergency services where possible (for instance, in case a member of the public collapses within the event), and can help make the event feel more seamless and enjoyable without too much interference. As such, they're a necessary expense to consider when making a budget for the event, as discussed above.
Craft Excellent Promotional Content
Remain clear about what your event has to offer, why it's being run, how it will proceed, and who is invited. This might be an internal flyer detailing the yearly ball you run, or it might be a guide to each brand's presentation on the main stage, and where they can find certain booths.
A specific event page on your website can also be a good place to start, and if you've run an event before, you can use promotional photographs from that time too. Promotional content hypes people up, but it also tells them what to expect, how to prepare, and if it's something they'd be interested in to begin with. Invest in well-designed materials and you should enjoy a much better turnout than expected.
Gain Post-Event Feedback To Analyze Success
Finally, a minor point. Ask guests how they felt about the event. You can do this by offering an online survey after the fact, or anonymous contribution cards they can post into a tub and which can be reviewed later.
This way, you get brutally honest feedback about everything, some great, some good, some not-so-good. For instance, if wheelchair accessibility was a problem for someone, you can keep that in mind next time. This way, you can improve next time around.
With this advice, you're sure to plan a great corporate event, simple and effective, and most of all, safe and enjoyable.