Getting a job done has not always been easy. There are bound to be difficult obstacles appearing out of the blue to cause trouble at the very last minute.
With that said, event planning is definitely one of those jobs. Planning an event can be incredibly stressful whether you’re a novice or a professional. Event planning requires a lot of focus and responsibility from the start to finish and this can be difficult for event planners to keep track of their work and maintain a steady workflow.
But with the right steps to planning an event, you can become more efficient and organised as an event planner. Regardless of the size of your event, here are some tips from us to assist you with staying organised while planning your next event!
1. Define your goal and objectives for the event
Before you start anything, it’s important to have a proper vision of the event in your mind and to set a timeline for it. Be sure to establish a tangible goal and objectives for your event in order for you to execute your event properly.
Keep in mind the purpose for organising the event and the outcomes you intend to achieve from it. Will the focus of your corporate event be about raising awareness for a cause? Or will it be a fun corporate family day? And let’s not forget about the guest list: will you be expecting to attract a few hundred guests, or thousands of them?
With all of these taken into consideration, setting a goal and coming up with objectives will help you and your team to execute your event successfully!
2. Gather your team
Once you have settled on your goal and objectives for coming up with the next corporate event, it’s time for you to assemble a team that will help make your event run smoothly from the start to the end.
After assigning specific roles to each team member, don’t forget to establish communication channels to encourage successful collaboration within the team. Opt for reliable chat software such as Slack, WhatsApp or Skype to stay up-to-date with everyone in the team at any time.
Keep in mind that even though chat software is great for announcing updates or keeping track on everyone’s activities, organising occasional team meetings for the planning of an event is still important to strengthen the relationship among team members aside from providing information on planning the event.
3. Set a budget
Setting a budget is crucial when it comes to planning an event. Things that you should take note of in planning your budget include:
- Venue: If your corporate event won’t be held on the company’s premises, your budget should cover rental, security deposit, parking etc.
- Catering: Food and beverages are must haves for any event. Also take note of other important items such as linens and table settings. And if necessary, bartenders and servers too.
- Staff: If you’re planning on organising a large corporate event, then be sure to account for transportation and lodging costs for your staff especially if the event will be held out of town.
- Entertainment: Depending on the theme or type of corporate event, your budget should also be able to cover for entertainment whether it’s allocated for speakers, a DJ, or even a chef for your team building cooking class.
- Decor: Even if your corporate event is going to be a simple one, decorations are still important to impress your guests whether they’re DIY or fancy. Establishing your budget can assist you to determine what you can afford for decor.
- Marketing: This includes printing materials for your event such as invitations, brochures, posters and flyers, picking a social media marketing software to promote your event, or even promoting your event through Facebook/your own internal communications software.
- AV: From projectors to WiFi to speakers and microphones, make sure your budget covers these as well.
- Miscellaneous: Sometimes additional costs may come up along the way so it’s best that your budget is prepared to handle these last minute arrangements.
To help ensure you have a steady budget, there are some useful Excel template sheets that can assist you with planning your budget that are available for download on the Internet. Excel templates are convenient and ideal for complex events but if you prefer printable templates, they can also be found online.
4. Choosing a venue and date
With your budget settled, it’s time to go venue hunting (that is, if your corporate event will be done out of the office).
Now before you even begin searching for the perfect venue, create a list of key practicalities. Refer to this list whenever you’re out searching and touring venues for your event.
Some key things to consider when you’re out looking for a venue:
- How much space does your event need?
- Will the event be held indoors or outdoors? If indoors, will you need a large hall or just a smaller venue for a small event?
- Will the venue have adequate parking space?
- Will the venue be accessible for everyone (opt for a venue that has easy access to public transportation especially for those who will be using it to get to your event)?
- Does the venue cater for dietary requirements/allergies?
- Do you require any wheelchair access/ramps/ lifts & does the venue accommodate this?
- Does the venue have good cell reception or will you need to provide WiFi?
- Does the venue provide things like AV equipment, seating, catering and lighting? Or will you have to provide most of it?
- How far in advance does this venue book and is it available during the time frame that you’re looking for?
- Lastly, what are the deposit, cancellation and refund policies that you should know from that specific venue?
Besides choosing a venue, remember to check if your preferred date falls over any important events on that day such as statutory and religious holidays or school holiday time periods/major concerts or sporting games. Be sure to get confirmation from everyone involved in the event (speakers, presenters, VIP guests etc.) before officially announcing the date of your event.
Once the venue and date are both settled, you can go ahead and book any external staff like your caterers, bartenders and servers that you need right away.
5. Brand your event
If you’re going to hold a large corporate event, branding your event is necessary to make your event stand out. Choose a timely and compelling theme that differs your corporate event from everyone else’s.
Start brainstorming for names that would fit your event perfectly. When selecting the best name, look for something catchy and memorable, preferably a name that’s simple and easy to remember for everyone. Make sure your name is relevant to the event’s purpose as well.
Next, you’ll need a tagline. Just like your event’s name, go for a tagline that’s short and memorable that best represents your event.
The final step would be to have your logo designed. Your logo should be special as it’ll represent your event. It works as an effective branding tool as it’ll be seen mostly on your products and promo items such as t-shirts, water bottles, bags, caps, and more.
6. Identify and establish event partnerships & sponsors
One way to help with your budget and increase your reach would be through partnerships and sponsors. Not only will this help with cutting costs, sponsors and partners can also help expose your event better, bring stability and even increase your chances for a successful event.
When choosing sponsors and partners, make sure their business is ideal for your vision. Look for partners with a similar business vision that matches your event vision to ensure your event sends out a positive message to everyone.
It’s also best to seek out major corporate sponsorships ahead of time so that you’re on their list when the time comes.
7. Generate publicity for your event
Spreading the news about your upcoming corporate event by word-of-mouth isn’t enough to get people to come to your event. Reach out to everyone by generating publicity through different mediums such as sending out newsletters or emails to guests as a reminder to save the date for your event.
A few other great examples include web page announcements, social media such as creating an event reminder on Facebook, press and media connections (if your corporate event is going to be huge) or through printed materials like flyers, banners and posters.
8. Identify the technology requirements for your event
Nowadays, technology has become a core for every event and with the right type of technology, your event can become as successful as you want it to be. But, are you aware of the types of technology that you’ll be needing for your event?
Of course, the number one technology you must have would be AV equipment. Your audience would surely want to hear and see what’s happening throughout the event. Aside from microphones, projectors and speakers, some lighting could also leave a good impression for your guests whether it’s a stunning lighting performance or not.
Staying in touch with your team is important during an event too and this is where you might need to consider getting communication equipment especially if you’re hosting a large event. If money isn’t a problem, head on to the local stores for some walkie-talkies and headset rentals. But if you feel that you won’t be needing any of those for a small corporate event or if you’re tight on cash, then setting up a chat group through platforms like Slack, Google Hangouts or WhatsApp will work too.
Another trending technology you could try out would be implementing a 360 degree video experience. 360 degree videos are currently popular among large-scale events whereby they provide guests who couldn’t attend the event with an immersive video experience that gives viewers control of what they see wherever they are.
9. Hire vendors for your event
Now that you’ve reached this step, it’s time for you to lock in the rest of your vendors for your big event! Depending on the type of corporate event you’ll be organising, you might require unique vendors but be sure to have at least some form of catering and entertainment for your event.
In order to determine what type of catering choice you should go for, observe and study your guest list or target audience’s demographics. However if necessary, give out survey forms to your attendees to find out what their tastes are or if they require any special food recommendations. Will your guests be interested to try something different like food truck catering? Or would they prefer a buffet-style setting? Also, is your event a formal one or a casual one? These are just some of the questions you should think about before going out and searching for caterers.
Once that’s all settled, head on over to Google or Facebook for your catering hunt. The review sections on Google or Facebook provide great insight into the quality and customer ratings of all types of businesses, including caterers. Once you have a list of caterers that you like, contact them and negotiate the best price for your event.
Besides food, what makes your event more fun and exciting? Hiring entertainers or speakers! There are of course a few things to take note of before booking your entertainers and/or speakers for your event:
- Make sure the entertainment or guest speakers you’re looking for has some relevance with your event. It won’t be ideal to book musicians for an important business conference nor would it be ideal to book them for a seminar.
- Observe and survey your attendees to see what interests them.
- Be aware of the fees and individual needs you will need to face when booking your entertainers or guest speakers
- If your corporate event will be held in another city or area, be sure to book flights/transportation and make any necessary lodging arrangements.
10. The final stage
Your event is coming up this week and it’s time to set everything up, make final preparations, get your whole team into full swing and lastly, host the event.
Some things you should do before the event:
- Call up on the vendors you’ve booked to double check on equipment, catering and sponsors
- Contact the venue owners/personnel to confirm the date and time so that you can begin with setup
- Give all of your equipment proper testings once they arrive at the venue
- Set up your ticketing system for guests to check-in at the event
- Create a final schedule handout
- Don’t forget to prepare goodie bags for your guests
- If you’re in need of extra help, be sure to set up a volunteer management system to track shifts and responsibilities of the volunteers
Once the event starts, treat it like a show with you being the director as you manage your guests, their needs and your staff whilst ensuring everything runs smoothly as expected. Don’t worry if there are small hiccups once in awhile during the event, as long as you are able to handle them without generating any problems then everything will surely be fine.
Now that it’s all over, what’s next?
Congratulations, you made it through your event!
But hold on a second, before you wrap everything up and collapse onto your bed, there are a few things you should take care of.
It’s important to assess your event to understand what went well and what are the other things you can do better to improve on your next corporate event. One method of measuring your event’s success is by determining the number of attendees. Did you reach your target or did you overachieve it? Furthermore, you should also look back at your goal and objectives that you created at the start of the planning stage. Did you achieve any or all of them at the end of the event?
And since you may have generated some publicity for your event, was it worth it? Did your publicity technique draw awareness to your event? How was your event’s performance on social media? Were there any social media mentions for your event?
You could also take some time to go through your team and get some feedback from them regarding your event. As the leader running the event, it’s best to also hear from your team about their experiences during the event. This way if you’re ever working with them again or with a different team in the future, you’ll be able to take newer approaches to improve on your next corporate event.
To help you with your next large corporate event planning, we have gathered a list of the companies featured in this blog for your reference below:
Beta Bar Sydney: Sydney
Studio Sydney Tower: Sydney
Percept Brand Design: Sydney
Event 360: Sydney
Simply 360: Sydney
Forte Catering & Events: Sydney
Burnt Ends BBQ: Sydney
Evoke Entertainment Australia: Sydney
Applause Entertainment: Based in Melbourne, serves Nationwide