plan a corporate event

How to Plan an Outstanding Corporate Event -Part 1

8 juin 2020

Let’s say your boss tells you during a meeting that you will be in charge of organizing a corporate event for the company; the end-of-year party to be more specific.

Tell me, how does it sound to you? Exciting, right? I mean, who doesn’t love parties?

I am not trying to be a killjoy but I have to ask though : do you know EXACTLY what to do? Seriously. What does it take to plan a corporate event?

It may seem very simple to you but trust me, there is a lot of work and a bunch of crucial things that must be done if you want your event to be remembered.

However, do not start panicking now because guess what? I got you covered -always. I put up this little guide not just to help you plan an entire event on your own, but mostly to create a stunning experience that your guest will enjoy to the fullest.

And please, for your own sake, do not just read and go. Do more research, draft your to-do list, put everything you learned into practice and of course, let me know the outcome.

So now if you are ready, let’s get your hands dirty.

Step 1: Set your goals

First thing first, you need to define your objectives. It may sound unnecessary but do not get fooled. Planning a corporate event is not just about rushing out in the city looking for the perfect venue or finding a killer DJ.

Before you get started, you need to take a sheet of paper and a pen (or your phone if you are a tech savvy), sit down and write 3 main reasons why your company needs that event in the first place.

What are you hoping to achieve ? Change the customer’s perception? Motivate sales personnel? Or maybe create press coverage? It doesn’t necessarily have to be 3 things. One or two will be good as well. Think about it then choose wisely the type of event you are going to put on. 

Setting practical goals that you can evaluate will make it easier to achieve success.

And when you are done with that, move on to the next step with no fear and hesitation.

Step 2: Put your team together

You now have a vision for your corporate event and specific goals to meet. It’s time to decide who will help you make it happen. You might want to fly solo and that will be just dandy.

However, do not think it will be weak of you to want a core team that will help organize and host the event. Shared tasks are easier tasks so go ahead, gather your team and assign them responsibilities.

Depending on the size of your event, there can be various subcommittees such as :

  • Venue management 
  • Speakers management
  • Catering
  • Entertainment 
  • Volunteers management
  • Event promotion… 

Consider identifying one coordinator for each subcommittee so as to prevent tasks from falling by the wayside. After you put your team together, establish communication channels to foster successful collaboration and healthy dynamics.

Knowing your team and event staff in advance will make the rest of the process run far more smoothly.

Step 3: Create your corporate event timeline

set a corporate event timeline
Create your corporate event timeline

Now that your team is set up and ready, you need to keep the ship smooth sailing since there are many hands in the pot. At this point, it is life-saving to create an event timeline. Consider it as your guiding companion through the planning process.

As a matter of fact, a timeline is a powerful tool that sets expectations for completion times for everyone’s task and also allows you to prioritize when planning.

But wait. Let’s all focus on the key word here : PRIORITIZE.

We do agree that every single task is important, but a quick glance at your timeline will tell you what needs to be done NOW and what may not need to be done until later. This is the secret to manage your time like a pro and not feel overwhelmed. Obvious right?

Below are some items to consider when crafting your event timeline :

  • The non-negotiable items: it could be the guest list that is given to you by the top management or the breakfast and lunch time imposed or anything else that you know is set in stone and cannot be moved around. It is better to start off by listing these non-negotiable items if they exist and fill in other items around them to plan out your timeline. I for instance, don’t generally get to choose the venue myself and have to work with what my boss suggests.
  • The vendors’ timing : vendors are almost as important as the above-mentioned and are an incredible asset for the success of your corporate event. Make sure to consult each of them to determine how much time they need for the part of event they will be handling. This will help you set correct deadlines.
  • Back-up plans : as an event planner, you must do your best to expect the unexpected because if something can go wrong, it probably will. When crafting your event timeline, you MUST include an emergency plan in order to stay one step ahead of any mishaps. It’s not about pulling the rabbit out of the hat, but having an ace up under the sleeve. 

Step 4: Establish a budget

At last, always keep a tight fit on the purse and remember it is not your money.

Here it is, the less glamorous task. The part where event planners usually have headaches no matter their years of experience; one of the most hard-to-ignore stages of event planning.

Whether you are planning out the finances for an approved corporate event or making the business case for having an event at all, a thorough budget is crucial. In the first scenario, the real effort is not just estimating how much the event will cost, but instead aligning your needs with the real budget you have. And this is exactly where the headaches start.

Nevertheless, let me not scare you. Sure, the task can be quite complicated, but definitely not impossible.

Here is a list of key expenses you can include in your budget :

  • venue : room renting, authorization fees
  • audiovisual (A/V) : internet, projectors, microphones
  • entertainment : DJs, musicians
  • catering : food and beverages, servers, table settings
  • miscellaneous : venue decor, seating, additional taxes and fees
  • unexpected costs.

To plan all of these, a simple spreadsheet program goes a long way. You don’t even need to reinvent the wheel. Feel free to check this conference budget template I made for you. It might actually save you some troubles.

At last, always keep a tight fit on the purse and remember it is not your money.

You now have the first 4 essential steps that can help you plan a corporate event. Take your time to process and put into practice the above information. If you have any questions or remarks, feel free to write them down on the comment section.

I will see you soon for the second part of this guide. 

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