Corporate event planning is a long and complicated process, with a lot of details to think about. But planning excellent, cohesive events is much easier if you begin with a few key considerations. By determining the answers to a few questions early in the process, you build a framework that makes choosing the details much simpler. Here are four things to consider that will set up a solid foundation for your event plan.
The Goals of the Event
The first – and perhaps most important – thing is to figure out the goals for the event. What is the purpose of this event? Broadly speaking, this could be something like team building, employee appreciation, professional development, a product launch, the kickoff to a major company initiative, a leadership offsite, and so on.
Once you know the purpose, it’s time to nail down the goals. Sit down with stakeholders to determine things like:
- How will the event address specific business objectives and challenges?
- What is the message attendees should leave with?
- What changes do stakeholders want to see back at work as a result of the event?
- What are the metrics you’ll be using to measure success (e.g. feedback surveys, sales numbers, etc.)?
- What other types of outcomes might there be (e.g. action plans, new processes, etc.)?
When you know the purpose and goals of the event, it becomes much easier to decide on the types of activities, speakers, sessions, and other agenda items that will resonate and produce the outcomes you’re aiming to achieve.
The next thing you need to take into consideration is the event budget. Not only do you need to know how much you have to spend, but you also want to ensure that you are investing in the items that will make the biggest impact on achieving the event goals first, before committing to things that are less important.
It’s wise to start with the type of content you’ll have at the event. Whether it’s an experiential team-building activity, a highly relevant keynote speaker, or a particular training activity, you want to make sure you’ve budgeted for that before determining other details. You’ll also want to set aside some “just in case” money for emergencies or other cost surprises.
If you find yourself spending more money on decorations and elaborate catering than on the event content, your event will lack punch and purpose, and risk missing the goals. Once you have a rough outline of how you will allocate your budget, you can start making decisions about which vendors you’d like to book.
Location and Travel
Now that you have determined the event goals and rough budget allocation, you can think about location. For example, you might choose a location that is within driving distance of the majority of the attendees to minimize travel costs, or you might choose a location that is more central for everyone. If your budget allows, you may even choose a cool destination venue so that everyone has a change of scenery.
Whatever you choose, remember to take into account all of the travel and accommodation costs so you know you’ll be within budget.
The Event-Planning Team
Finally, you’ll need to assemble the perfect team to help you plan and deliver the event. Determine the skills and strengths you’ll need and choose people you know you can count on. Always ensure you have clearly defined roles and expectations laid out for pre-event planning, day-of responsibilities, and post-event tasks. When everyone is clear on exactly what they need to do, and who to ask about everything else, the entire event process will go much more smoothly.
A Solid Foundation
Figuring out the nitty gritty details of a corporate event plan is simpler if you have a solid foundation to work from. By figuring out the purpose of the event, as well as your stakeholders’ goals, you’ll know how to allocate your budget, choose a location, and set up your team to achieve those goals. Once all four of those pieces are clear, the details of the event will begin to fall into place.