You’ve spoken with key stakeholders and know the goals and outcomes you wish to achieve with this corporate gathering. Now you just need to determine what to include in the agenda to achieve these outcomes in fun, engaging, and memorable ways. Here are six ways to ace your corporate event agenda.
1. Get ahead of the game
Acing your agenda is a whole lot easier when you give yourself ample time. By starting early, you can figure out which speakers, activities, and break-out sessions will support the goals for the event. There is a greater chance that your first picks for keynote addresses and team-building activities will be available if you’re booking well in advance.
2. Kick off the event with a high-energy session
You want your attendees to be hooked and excited right from the start, so set the tone by kicking off with a high-energy session. Whatever your goals for the event, you can get everyone into the right mindset for learning, team-building, networking, and strategic thinking by engaging them right away. Experiential activities work particularly well for this because they get attendees involved using a fun theme and some friendly competition. Smaller teams work through a puzzle or challenge that needs everyone’s participation. Then, through a debrief led by a skilled facilitator, the connections between the activity and the event goals become clear, and your attendees will be personally invested in the outcomes.
3. Pay attention to the flow of the agenda
Corporate events are a lot of fun, but they can be jam-packed and lead to information overload. Paying careful attention to the way the day flows will help provide balance. For educational sessions and break-outs, catch people in the morning when they are fresh. They will be in a good mindset for learning and contributing, and more willing to attend more sessions. Save the afternoon for more general sessions that involve the entire company, and for networking time. Then you can carry that lighter conversation time over into dinner or other social activities.
4. Be generous with timing
It can be tempting to pack a lot of things into a corporate event agenda, but in reality, if the agenda is too tight, a lot can go wrong. Be sure to include extra time in case some sessions run over, or some sessions start late — if everything goes smoothly and you don’t need that cushion, no one will complain about an extra chance to chat with their colleagues. If your event has break-out sessions, allow time between sessions for people to hit the bathroom or take a breather before they head from one session to the next. And always make sure there are breaks specifically for networking.
5. Think outside the box for networking
According to a report from CVENT and Edelman Intelligence, nearly 80 percent of attendees say that networking is a key part of the experience at professional events. While informal networking will happen throughout the event, you can make an impact on attendee experience by switching things up for dedicated networking portions of the event. If attendees are in one room for most of the day, change it up by creating a space — either at the venue, or somewhere else — so people can switch gears. For example, you might have a lounge area with a variety of seating types, table heights, and different lighting. Consider the room and how to make it conducive to networking. Set up multiple conversation areas, for example, one area with smaller tables and lounge seating, and one area with high-top tables that welcome standing conversations so people will be able to mix and mingle and move about the room as they choose.
6. Send the agenda in advance and make it accessible
One of the most helpful things you can do is send your agenda to attendees in advance. This ensures that participants come to the event prepared with any pre-work completed, have an idea of what to expect, and know where they need to be and when. Depending on the size of your event, you may want to consider using an event app so everyone can have the agenda at their fingertips. This also allows you to create a more personalized experience for each attendee.
These six things should help you create a stellar corporate event agenda. If you’re ready to get started, you’ll love Choosing a Corporate Event Agenda That Wows — the must-have guide designed to support the agenda-setting process. Download your copy here.