Planning a corporate event can be overwhelming, even for the most experienced professionals. Between juggling vendors, speakers, and event staff, there are numerous moving parts that must be perfectly aligned. From establishing goals to leveraging technology, there are many decisions your organization must decide before the day of your event.
To be an expert, sometimes you must learn from the experts. That’s why we’ve compiled advice from across the industry to help you plan your next conference. Below are five tips that industry professionals admitted they wish they had known before planning a corporate event.
1. “Establish the goal or goals of the meeting. That's the first step to success!” – Vince Alonzo, Successful Meetings
Good planning means knowing exactly what you’re trying to accomplish—well before the day of your conference. Clearly defined goals and objectives help keep you on target through the entirety of the event and help companies eliminate wasted resources. Think of your goals as both the overarching purpose of your event and the road map to success. Your goals flow from the question, “What do you want to be true when your participants walk away?”
To ensure that events are as stress-free as possible, it’s important to create a comprehensive checklist that includes the following information:
- Purpose: What does the event need to achieve?
- Budget: How much do you intend to spend?
- Expected ROI: What is the expected financial return?
- Measurement: What tactics will you leverage to measure success?
- Roles and responsibilities: What are the roles for individuals involved in planning?
Objectives should be explicitly detailed and defined in measurable, tangible terms. Templates can serve as a starting point for strategy when you’re planning your next event.
2. “What does your audience want? Give it to them!” – Event Manager Blog
Once you’ve established the goals of your meeting, it’s important to consider what your audience wants. While listening to a series of lectures and presentations may be traditional event strategy, for many individuals, it’s not overly engaging. To ensure your team members are actively absorbing information, you must engage them with interactive activities and discussions. No matter the size, or overarching goal, of your event, it’s crucial to create a shared experience based around a shared objective.
3. “Hire a professional and build the right team to make you shine.” – Tahira Endean
Events require myriad disparate roles to contribute to the overall success of the conference. Compiling a team of reliable, relevant professionals not only helps your organization appear prepared on the day of your event, it can also boost audience engagement. Plus, industry experts—when equipped with the necessary guidance and insight—serve as extensions of your team.
Once you establish your goals, you can hire outside experts for specialized skills training that supports these objectives. Additionally, you can work to identify appropriate entertainment, performers, and emcees who fit the theme of your event and keep the conference moving along.
4. “I would say hire a professional. There are complexities, risks and specialty skills required.” – Issa Jouaneh
Professional event planners have years of experience and can translate their expertise into a successful event. Due to their year-round involvement, it can be assumed that they’ve experienced many event styles and preferences. Because these professionals have been involved in such a variety of corporate events, they generally will be able to lend you their budgeting and time management expertise no matter what type of event you’re planning.
Also, with experience come connections. The more involved event planners are in the industry, the more developed their relationships are with suppliers and producers. Often, these relationships lead to low rates, top-tier service, and flexible negotiation ability. Also, because of their collective purchasing power, corporate planners can ensure that clients get the most of their investments.
5. “Definitely leverage upon #eventtech when planning the space/venue and seating. Keep the event's goal in mind when doing it!” – Laura Lopez, Social Tables
The event planning industry has changed quite bit over the past decade. Advances in technology can improve both your event planning and participant engagement during the event and keep the message alive after the event.
Having the right technology is an essential component when planning an event. Define your technology needs for every element of your event, including participant engagement and specific, activity-based actions. Some ideas include:
- Engaging the participants with a conference app, before, during, and after the event
- Using a conference Twitter feed
- Utilizing wireless voting
It’s important to designate who will be responsible for setup and execution. From internet and AV equipment to outlets and charging stations, all aspects of event technology must be considered when planning your next corporate event. Finally, it’s essential that you provide attendees with adequate details about gaining internet access in all spaces.