When you are planning a corporate party or another event, you are involved in in-depth planning from start to finish. It can be easy to miss items on your checklist, and if you skip over important questions during the initial planning stages, it can adversely affect the entire planning process. Here are some basic questions to ask yourself early on when you are brainstorming your event. Taking time to answer these questions can save you a lot of hassle later on, and can also help you to communicate your needs to the event planners you hire to work with you.
1. Who is attending the party?
This may seem obvious at first. You might answer, for example, “Our employees, of course.” But take some time to think about what that actually means. Will it be just your employees, or employees and their families? Will children be attending the event? What are the demographics of everybody involved? How will the corporate culture of your workplace impact your planning? What types of activities are your attendees likely to enjoy? Which should you avoid? What tone is appropriate?
Consider also whether or not you will be inviting people from outside the company. Will business associates and partners be present? If so, how will that impact your event presentation? A carefree party atmosphere might be fine for in-house attendees only, but may not send the right message if community members or business associates will be present.
2. What is the purpose of the event?
This is another topic which should be considered in detail when you are in the initial planning stages. Again, it may seem obvious at first, but may be more complex than it initially appears. You might state, “The purpose of our event is to throw a summer party to say thank-you to our employees.” That is a great starting point, but again think about the specifics. Will you be integrating an awards ceremony into the event? Should it be a formal or dignified occasion? Or is your goal to give everybody a carefree time and allow them to step outside their office personas for a few hours? Your answers to these questions will help you plan the right program of events.
3. How long will the event last?
Think about your goals for the event, and start coming up with a program of events, and from that, a schedule for the entire event. Will this event last a couple hours? Half a day? A full day? An evening? A night? Your answer to this question will help you come up with activities and team building exercises which can fill in the time between awards ceremonies, presentations, and other special events you may have planned. It will also help you figure out how much food you need and what type. Coming up with the right menu doesn’t just entail adding up the number of attendees. You also need to think about how long they’ll be there and how much food they’ll need.
4. Will you be incorporating the community?
While your corporate event could be in-house only, and be focused on internal goals, it never hurts to find a way to tie your event into the local community. There are a lot of great opportunities during a party to do some fundraising. This is especially true for holiday parties. Are there any local non-profit organizations that could benefit from your generosity? A fundraiser not only gives your employees something to feel good about, but also shines a positive spotlight on your company, and may attract business your way.
5. Will your party include alcohol?
This is a question tied closely to the tone of your event and the impression that you will make on outsiders. Some corporate parties do not include alcohol at all, while others may allow unlimited alcohol consumption. A great middle ground is to allow alcohol and provide it, but limit consumption by handing out drink tickets to guests. This is a great way of ensuring your event doesn’t get too out-of-hand. This may not be important if your event is all in-house, but if children are invited or outsiders like business associates or community members will be present, it is wise to limit alcohol consumption or skip it entirely. This is also a good idea if you decide on a more formal event tone.
6. Are there any special dietary needs?
Something else to think about before you dive too deeply into the planning process is the dietary needs of your attendees. If you have a small list of attendees, you can send out an email or questionnaire asking if anyone has special requirements. Anytime you have a large list, though, or families will be attending, it is a good idea to make sure you incorporate vegetarian options as well as gluten-free options.
7. How involved do you want to be in the planning process?
You might decide to plan your entire event yourself from beginning to end, but oftentimes it can pay off to hire an event planning company to help you out. Before you do, think about your answers to the questions above, and how involved you want to be with the rest of the planning process. In some cases, you may be able to give your list of requirements to the event planner and allow the event planning agency to handle all of the details. Other times, you may want to stay more involved throughout the process, and continue to provide specific instructions. It depends on your specific needs.