Hosting events is an excellent way of fostering community in the corporate arena. It provides a unique platform for interaction among brands and customers. Educating industry professionals and thus giving them the means to advance their careers is another key aspect of corporate events. This is getting more prevalent nowadays as companies are breaking away from the “speech rich” events and inclining towards extensive value delivery via innovation and interaction.
Planning such events is one of the biggest challenges for an event manager. In fact, it might drive you “I-am-going-to-pull-all-my-hair-out” crazy.
Thus to help you avoid such circumstances and plan a corporate event in a highly professional and smooth way, this checklist has been prepared.
Before you dive into it and copy it to your word processor, know something clearly.
This is a template. This means it may require slight modification depending on the sort of event that you intend to plan.
So here is the checklist.
9-12 months before the event
Event goal and objective
Write down the objective behind hosting the event and what you intend to achieve from it clearly on your event planner. This would help spearhead all activities of you and your team throughout the planning stage.
Sit down with your team as well as the marketing team. Share with everyone the objectives of this event. Take inputs from everyone regarding the sort of marketing and lead collection goal as well as any other business objectives that you wish to achieve through this event.
Then decide on an audience size that would really fulfil those objectives.
Most events have a long list of clients who have booked it months before their respective events. Thus it is highly beneficial that you do the same.
When booking the venue, do pay attention to the services attached to it. These include but are not necessarily limited to decoration, AV technology, food and beverage, security etc.
The best choice would be to choose a venue that has a capacity to house 50-100 more persons than your audience size. Furthermore, it should be capable of providing as many of the services mentioned above with a flawless finish.
This way venue authority would charge you an overall fee which would be a lot higher if you have to arrange those services from individual companies.
The industry maestros who you would invite at your event to speak are just as busy as you if not more. So it would be wise to contact way ahead of the event. This would improve your chances of securing them for your event before your rivals do.
One thing to do before contacting guest speakers is to thoroughly research them. Get as much information about them as possible from both online and offline resources. This time-intensive step would help you choose the speaker who is best suited for your event objectives.
Food and beverage
This is one of the crucial aspects of your event. This actually has the potential to incline some valuable and rich clients towards your company for future business.
A suitably crafted menu along with appropriate drinks also helps project a sophisticated image of your company. That coupled with extensive value and info delivery through your event can convince those industry giants who you have forever been trying to add to your client list.
Now that you have decided upon the most significant and money-extensive aspects of your event, you can now ballpark your event budget within a realistic and suitable budget.
Do allow some flexibility when deciding this. Since you might need to make last-minute changes, you should have enough wiggle-room to cover for that.
Setting the event date this early would help you plan everything in a timely manner. This would also help keep you and your team motivated to put in the best effort in a well-synched fashion.
Security of the attendees
Unless you want your attendees to be exposed to unpleasant (and harmful situations), this should be taken very seriously. These situations can include harassment, breach of privacy etc.
Talk to your venue authority clearly regarding these issues. If you sense that their security team is inadequate, get this service from a specialized company. Remember. A smooth and rich experience derived from your event would go a long way not just for you but for your company and client as well!
9 months before the event
Are brands who would like to have exposure to your attendees in exchange for monetary compensation or service. Just like your speakers, research a list of suitable sponsors in advance. Make sure their business objective aligns with yours, and they have a positive image in the industry with an adequate standard of corporate social responsibility.
Get as much data as you can on your probable audience. It must include demographics, range of positions in the industry, challenges they are facing, future plans etc.
To gather these data, it is highly recommended to have a carefully formed questionnaire. This would also act as a means of advertising your event.
Another part of this research is checking each attendee out as they register for your event; especially for prior offences and felonies. If issues like these turn up, verify it by contacting proper authorities. If the risk seems too high, make sure to nullify his/her registration. Do inform that person with an appropriate excuse.
Theme, format and aura
A driving theme for your event would facilitate your marketing strategy as well as have a strong impression on your attendees.
This could be best practices in the industry, emerging trends, areas of development etc.
Along with the event theme, it is also important to decide which format you would host your event. Would it be a daylong event, or last for a few hours? Would it be more conference like with limited attendee interaction or would it require enhanced participation from all?
Deciding upon this would leave you with enough time to focus on all other nitty-gritty details.
Aura involves the decoration at your event venue. This decoration should enhance the visual perception to the maximum while being perfectly aligned with your event objective and expectation of attendees.
Hour-long or day-long series of industry-relevant activities would leave your attendees bored. To mitigate this hindrance, it is paramount that you arrange appropriate entertainment for them.
This can include stand-up comedians who specialize in contemporary issues with high engagement. Or you might go for a dance performance with music that falls in the preference-range of your audience.
After choosing the form of entertainment and professional, do have a well-rounded contract in place. This would insulate you from any unpleasant scenarios down the line.
6 months before the event
Custom website landing page
This is the spokesperson for your event. Thus every small detail of your event landing page should be data-based to ensure maximum return on investment.
Sit with your or your client’s marketing team. Have multiple sessions with them planned in advance? Discuss the exact method of how you intend to promote your event to the relevant people in the most innovative of ways.
Content creation for promotion
This comes hand in hand with your promotion plan. Are your promotions going to be video intensive? Or would you go for image and text-based format?
Your in-house content team should coordinate closely with the marketing teams involved and follow an agile and continuous feedback-based methodology.
Performance measurement metrics
Hosting an event is not the end of the story. You have to decide upon the parameters that would indicate if your event was a success or a failure.
Metrics would depend on the respective industry and event type. Some suitable ones could be attendee turnover, lead generation, collaboration with brands of particular market representation, the monetary value of the connections established etc.
Invitations to VIP guests
There would, of course, be those persons whose attendance you would sacrifice your family for (don’t take it literally). Have elegantly designed invitation cards which go well with your event theme.
At this stage of the planning, you are in an excellent position to fix your event ticket price. Like all other aspects discussed above, it should be based on real and authentic data.
Much do similar events cost? What value are you delivering to your attendees? How many sponsors have you managed to secure? What benefits are you offering them? What would be unique takeaways for your attendees? Write these down clearly on a large whiteboard when deciding the ticket price.
2-3 months before the event
Checking for RSVPs from your invited guests
Check the RSVPs you have been sent. Put them in a separate excel file that only a few select people have access to. You don’t want your guest list to be leaked in any way before the event. If any of the guests are yet to forward their RSVP, have your team contact to know its status.
Audiovisual and any other relevant technology
If your venue authority provides these services then fantastic. If they don’t, then hire a company that specializes in this area. Have your tech team set these up in a way that (especially the virtual reality component) enhances the sensory perception of your event.
Every part of your event should be on your schedule along with their projected duration. It should also include any contingencies in case there are any mishaps.
Paid promotion on search engine and social media
Now that all the content are prepared for promotion, this is time to push them out to the targeted people. Search engines like google, Bing and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram would be fantastic media for this purpose.
Doing your audience research does find out where your potential attendees spend the most time.
The information would let you execute effective marketing of your event.
2-3 weeks before the event
Last-minute promotion with “Fear-Of-Missing-Out” element
Nothing motivates a person to take action than this fear (or any fear). So if you have seats to fill at this stage of the planning, do put this strategy in play.
Last-minute check of every detail
Speakers, VIP guests, attendees, food and beverage supply, necessary back-up arrangements and every other aspect of your event must receive a thorough check from you and your team. If everything goes well, you guys would enjoy the fruit! And vice versa as well!
Have speech scripts ready
You may not need to be reminded about this but among the things that have the potential to go wrong, this is one of those.
Have your content writers thoroughly go over every word. Have those readout and ensure those have the intended impression. These speeches should be well-suited for their purpose and position in the event.
The speech at the beginning and the one in the middle must not have the same tone and length.
When having these written, the mood of the audience at that time of the event must be considered.
In-event responsibilities distribution and rehearsal
There would be a whole host of responsibilities that need to be attended to during your event. As the event planner, this is paramount that you have a detailed list of each and every one of them with proper categorization. Then assign each one of these to appropriate teams.
Along with distribution, rehearsing your teams in smoothly carrying out each responsibility is as important as hosting the event itself! While rehearsing, you are likely to come up with scenarios you did not anticipate. Thus rehearsal would enable you to make your event planning well-rounded as well as cater to all possible needs of the attendees.
There is a saying among soldiers. Harder you train, easier you fight. The same can be said about event planning as well. The more thorough and extensive your plan is, more you and your attendees would enjoy the event.
This only emphasizes upon the length you must be prepared to go to make your event an ultra-success! So brace yourself, plan carefully and make sure you enjoy the process thoroughly!
Aren’t you interested to know corporate events ideas now? Check out twenty of our favourite corporate event ideas for you to enjoy alongside your staff.