3 Secrets of Business Event Planning
The best business events run smoothly and are entertaining and memorable. The smallest details matter and, with a little creative thinking, will lift your event above the average:
Designing Your Content
Memorable business events offer delegates or attendees something a little different. Formal business events walk a fine line between fun and boring. Your content and activity programme should have a suitably professional tone, but never forget you’re hosting people and all people like to be entertained.
Here are some unusual approaches to designing content that will linger in the memories of those present:
- Invite conversations – if people were discussing the topic among themselves, which aspects would they focus on? What would spark their interest? Identify those topics and include them.
- Speakers – choose speakers carefully. Try to find people who can provide inclusive presentations, inviting input from attendees. Collaboration with an audience is always more interesting than a straight presentation, even if it’s just throwing out the odd question or asking for an audience show of hands.
- Format – provide some variation throughout the day, offering workshops or discussions. Another idea is to allow some attendees to book one-to-one time with keynote speakers if the speakers are willing.
- Timing – introduce keynote speakers early in the day. Having stimulating content to kick off the event energises attendees and encourages them to stay engaged. During planning and venue previews, check on lighting, including how the sun enters rooms, make sure there is good ventilation and shades or blinds.
- Use music to set tone, add drama or provide relaxation – team up entertainment with speakers, choosing carefully for branding, tone and content.
- Include non-advertised surprises – prizes, unusual dining options such as unique locations or menus.
The Importance of Contingency Planning
Assume something will go wrong, then plan how you’ll cope. Draw up a list of potential disasters, from speakers not showing up to caterers running late or worse, not delivering. Other categories of things that could go wrong include:
- The sound system.
- The weather, especially if the event is wholly outdoors.
- Event staff not showing up.
- Breakages or losses (such as trophies, paperwork, keys, cables).
- Accidents and Injuries, whether to attendees or staff.
Figure out what you’d do in each event, and have written plans so any team member can find the solution to their problem without panic. You could, for instance, have named first aiders and train all staff on what to do in a medical emergency. It’s also a good idea to assign a team member as troubleshooter. They will circulate the event, making sure everyone has all they need. All problems have solutions, and finding them before they happen prevents undue stress.
Business Event Planning needs Teamwork
Your event planning team may include colleagues, fellow business owners if you’re collaborating on an event, or outside caterers and equipment providers.
Start planning early. It can take several months to go from concept to the event taking place. It’s not out of the ordinary to allow a year for the planning and organising phase.
Your outside team may include specialists who provide seating, fencing and barriers for crowd control and traffic flow, or the stage for your speakers and entertainers. If you’re hosting a specialist business event, such as a fashion show, you’ll almost certainly need professional input with regard to catwalk safety and design.
Whatever type of stage you’re using, it’s best not to do it yourself. As well as size, there are also weight and integrity considerations to comply with health and safety regulations.
Your inside team should ideally consist of those with knowledge in specific areas. Take care who you delegate to for best results, making sure, for instance, that anyone you charge with organising promotions knows something about marketing.
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