Business events. Too often people dread them . The conversation can run dry much faster than at a party because the people attending may not know each other very well. And unimaginative planning together with the same old food and conference halls will mean they’re quickly forgotten.
You’ll already have decided upon your target audience and what you want to achieve with your business event. But how do you put something together that has enough ‘wow’ factor to make people remember it? Here’s our business event planning team’s four secrets to adding that special touch to ensure your corporate event is remembered for months or years to come.
Memorable business event tip #1 – pick an imaginative venue
Hotel conference rooms are very convenient places to hold business events because they’re all set up and ready to go. However, they can be very sterile. When choosing your venue think about your theme, and the time of year. Could you hold it on a riverboat, in a country house or in a circus tent? Or in converted barn, a museum, art gallery or a marquee? If it’s a product launch, can you think of a location that’s related to what you do best?
Are your own premises an attractive or exciting place to hold an event? For instance, if you own a spa, it can be a great place to invite business contacts and allow them to sample what you offer. A theatre stage or recording studio makes a very glamorous party venue. Even a bar or restaurant will have a better atmosphere than a conference room. A good location needn’t be more expensive. Just the fact that you’ve put a little thought into it can make all the difference.
Memorable business event tip #2 – be imaginative with the food
Food and drink can make or break a business event. Check beforehand if there are any special dietary requirements and let the caterer or chef know well in advance. Those guests with special diets will really appreciate your extra effort. Make sure your food is of good quality and try to use it as a way of encouraging people to mix – especially if the event is for team building or networking.
A buffet works better than a sit-down meal to keep people moving, and the food itself can provide a fun activity. You can have table set up to let guests assemble their own champagne cocktail (with a choice of syrups and fresh fruit), their own burger, or even their own ice-cream sundae. You could hold a wine tasting. Another possibility is to create a signature cocktail. Consult a drinks expert if you need to, and include a few branded signs advertising it at the bar.
“The entertainment may be the only reason your target audience decides to attend. Think about what adds value for them.”
Memorable business event tip #3 – provide great entertainment
Many business events need entertainment of some kind to break the stiffness and ensure the guests have a good time. In fact, the entertainment may be the only reason your target audience decides to attend. Think about what adds value for them. Tailor the entertainment to the theme, your brand, your audience and the location. A comedian that’s corporate friendly can be a good choice because laughter is guaranteed to make your business event memorable. If there’s to be music and dancing, a live band adds extra excitement. If you’re a boutique, your customers will appreciate a fashion show. If it’s a business crowd, then a well-known expert might be a great draw. And if it’s an award ceremony, a professional MC is essential. If you’re a design company, how about an artist ‘live’ painting? Does one of your organising team have a special talent? If it’s appropriate, it can make everyone’s evening to see senior member of staff step out of their accustomed role.
An extra tip here is to make sure that your speakers or entertainers are taken care of, with somewhere to relax, food and bottled water. And prime your employees to greet people properly/thank them for coming and to engage with clients rather than each other. Prepare some good open questions that will help them discover what your clients’ challenges are as these will often provide business opportunities for you.
Memorable business event tip #4 – make the takeaway a talking point
Many guests think that the best part of a business event is the goody bag. Of course you’ll want to include brand related items such as key rings or mugs with your logo on them. And it’s a good opportunity to add in brochures and gift vouchers (which will get people contacting you later on). But again, a little imagination can make all the difference here. These items needn’t be expensive. The key is to include things that are useful to your target audience as well as relating to your brand and the theme of the event.
If you need help making your business event special why not give our event planning team a call on 0845 2606 255. We’ll make it something to remember.