Let’s be honest: your employees don’t want to sit through hour-long PowerPoint presentations. While some corporate events can certainly pull off long presentations, they usually don’t have the spark or fire behind them to actually motivate, educate, or connect with your attendees.
The goal of any event — corporate events included — is to make your audience feel something. Even if you’re planning a technical training workshop, it’s your job to build connection and camaraderie at your next corporate event: after all, this is about bringing your people together and engaging with them.
We’re willing to bet that you need results from your corporate events. Whether qualitative or quantitative, your mission is to get the most ROI out of your next event. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of planning your company’s next event, follow these five tried and tested tips to plan a successful corporate event.
1. Know your “why”
Why are you hosting this event? What’s the purpose? Do you want to educate employees on a new piece of software, encourage deeper relationships among your sales crew, or reward your call center folks for all of their hard work?
Use the SMART goal-setting framework to create an actionable, measurable goal like:
- “I want to increase employee engagement by 10% at the end of Q4.”
- “100% of our workforce will be certified after this event.”
- “We will increase profits by 5% by offering quarterly soft skills training to our sales team.”
You need to know the “why” of your event because it affects every aspect of your event management. That’s because a training seminar is very different from a social team-building workshop. The event’s goal will also determine your date, budget, programming, venue, and more… so don’t skip this! Goal-setting is essential if you want to measure event ROI and understand if you actually hit the mark.
2. Plan a fun but strategic event
Instead of choosing a venue willy-nilly, your event needs a little finesse. Once you know your goal, it’s time to plan your event around that goal. Follow these quick tips to take a strategic approach to your corporate event:
- Choose a good date: If you’re asking people to attend an after-hours event, schedule it at a time when people are available. That means giving your employees at least 4 weeks’ notice for an event on a Friday evening so they have time to find childcare, for example. It goes without saying that you should try not to schedule events around major holidays, either. When in doubt, ask attendees what date and time would work best for them with a tool like Doodle.
- Plan everything in a collaboration tool: Whether it’s via Trello, Asana, or another digital project management tool, you’ll plan a better event with a little help from technology. Use PM apps to collaborate with other planners, your marketing department, and even your vendors for smoother sailing.
- Do an event post-mortem: Have you planned any events before? What went well? What could you have done better? Always look at your past events to plan more bulletproof corporate events going forward.
3. Watch your budget
The budget is the biggest obstacle, say 44% of corporate event planners. If you want to get more ROI out of your corporate event, you’ve got to watch your spending.
From the venue to the food to the number of attendees, every factor will have an effect on your budget. Make sure you have a budget big enough to hit your SMART goal for the event; if you don’t, you either need to shore up more funds or change your event goal.
As difficult as it is to get a decent event budget, always try to build in 10% for emergencies. If you accidentally ordered 100 fewer chairs than you need, that extra 10% comes in handy. It can also help you cover damages, vendors’ slip-ups, and unforeseen costs. That’s especially useful if this is your first time planning a corporate event.
Remember to include event promotion in your budget, too. Even an internal corporate event needs marketing! Emails, social media, flyers, and other promos should have a place in your event budget.
4. Go beyond PowerPoint presentations
Your job is to make employees want to attend your corporate event. We don’t have anything against slideshow presentations, but this presentation format doesn’t lend itself to engagement and innovation. It’s OK to do something funky and different, especially if you’re trying to energize and motivate your attendees.
Try to amaze your attendees with approaches like:
- Unique or quirky activities: Book an unusual venue like a children’s museum or an old firehouse to jazz things up. Book food trucks, DJs, photo booths, cartoon artists, and other out-of-the-box entertainment options to build buzz.
- Personalization: Even a gigantic event with thousands of attendees can nurture one-on-one relationships with each attendee. You can easily personalize promotional products for your corporate event with each attendees’ name, for one. You should also create different content tracks so attendees can choose their own adventure for a more personalized experience.
- Interactive content: Who wants to sit perfectly still for 2 hours? Not your attendees. Prevent people from zoning out with interactive content that keeps them engaged. Host a contest, create an escape room, or post a gamified leaderboard at your corporate event. The more interactive and unique it is, the better.
- Themed events: From Hawaiian Luaus to Casino Night to Winter Wonderland, there are so many creative ways to theme your event. This not only makes the event more fun for your attendees but also makes it easier to organize your content into a cohesive experience.
Once you’ve picked your theme, apply it to your gifts and giveaways for your attendees!
5. Promote the event after the event
You’ll be exhausted after hosting a major corporate event, but your work isn’t done yet. Remind your attendees of what they learned and experienced during the event with follow-ups like:
- Online games.
- Goodie bags with brand swag, stickers, and more.
- Session recordings and slides.
- Intranet social media or discussion links.
The goal here is to keep the party going well after the event ends. As long as it aligns with your SMART goal, a post-event follow-up can deepen attendee retention.
You can plan a yawn-free corporate event
Who says business has to be boring? Plan revolutionary corporate events that both entertain your employees and achieve your business goals. When in doubt, follow these five tips to plan a corporate event your team will never forget.
Need help personalizing your corporate event? Leave that to Boundless. Our team of promotional product experts is here to energize your employees. See how our branded swag delights at every turn.