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Tips for Planning a Corporate Event

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So the boss assigned you to plan a corporate event, a cocktail for the firm’s anniversary or a dress down Christmas party.  It might be your first time or your nth.  But regardless whether you’re a neophyte or a veteran, event planning is always a daunting task.  There is a silent pressure to make it impressive and entertaining while keeping the costs within a budget.  The limited time given might make you cringe to the rising tension.  And the idea that distinguished guests, clients included, will join the fun may be too much to handle.

Breathe a little bit easier.  Let your hair down! All is well for those that plans well.  Trust yourself that you can pull a successful event without a hitch by planning it well.  The process is not going to be easy.  Even the experts and professional event organizers will tell you that.  But after the last drinks are served and the guests go home, it is going to be all worth it.  So, what’s the key?  It’s always the details, from the big ones, like venue and date, to the littlest parts, such as the specificity of the menu.

To help you get through such an eventful day, here are useful tips to blow away the cobwebs:

Basics

Remember the 5Ws and 1H in news writing?  It’s the same basic things with planning events.  What is the event about and why is it conducted?  Who are attending and how many? Does it include guests? When is the big day and what time?  Where will it be held? How is it going to run?  These may seem simple questions but these are the first ones you need to answer.  And you need to address them the soonest possible to prevent any troubles.  You don’t want a party without a venue or, miss out notable names in the guest lists.  And equally important, you want your guests prepared too, especially if the dress code isn’t something they can easily find in their wardrobes.

The tone of the party – formal or casual – and the goal that goes along with it will determine the details of your plan.  Is it a party with a barrel of laughs or not?  Whatever it is, put all of your team’s thoughts and hearts in it to send a message to everyone that your company cares.

Save the Date and the Venue

You’re not the only one that is cooking a show.  So, don’t expect you have the luxury of choices for the date and venue.  Some weddings planned a year ahead even has booking problems.  How much more with a shorter time?  Before the linens and glassware or the palatable entrees, ensure to get the confirmation of your chosen place as early as possible.  If it’s not available, at least you still have enough time to scout for great alternatives instead of ending up on an unpleasant location just because it’s the only thing left.

Equipment

Live sound & lighting, silver & glassware, tables & chairs, and decor & tents.  These are just some of the staple you might need during the big day.  Just like the space, event rental for equipment, if not part of the venue package, should be booked as early as possible to avoid letdowns.  For outdoor setting, you should consider the impact of weather conditions.  Know the layout of the venue so you can identify where to properly place each equipment.  Decide for a color theme that reflects the business purpose of your event.  This theme should cascade to all materials, from fabric to the backdrop.

RSVP

You need a reservation for everything, including your beloved guests.  First, you need to finalize your guest list so you won’t miss out anyone, especially the speakers.  Consult your boss with this so he/she can check if everyone is included.  Next, send out early invitations so you can book an appointment and block their calendars.  Then, follow-up to confirm who’s going or not.   Whether the speakers confirm their appearance or not, you should keep your options open for other names.  So you won’t be stressed out seeking a replacement when your first choice can’t make it.  In planning, always have a backup for everything.

The Price in the Spreadsheet

Forget your hate with Math.  It’s at this time that you need it the most.  You can ask former in-charges for a copy of previous spreadsheets so you won’t need to create your own from scratch. Budgeting is part of planning.   But before you start scribbling your notes, start by asking how much the company will shell out for the event.  That budget also serves as your limit in expenses.  So whatever details you want to include, always put a price tag on it.  Through this, you’ll avoid paying from your own pocket.  Also, set aside a contingent fund for emergency purposes in case something will come up during the event, like excess drinks or extra persons.  It is better to be prepared than be stressed when the actual event will go haywire.

Lastly, an event isn’t going to turn out perfect all the time.  Bad stuff happen no matter how much effort you put into it.  But, a good plan can reduce the risks, especially the huge ones,  and keeps your worries away.  When things go awry, be flexible, act on it with grace and save the day. Trivial flaws may get some attention. Still, it will not discount the overall success of a splendidly planned event.  Now, are you ready to get the ball rolling?

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