two women at a laptop working on scheduling their next event

You’ve been assigned the task to plan your company’s corporate event. You’re excited to get started. And you see this event as an opportunity to impact more people than just those you work with directly.

You probably know that you need to stay organized before, during, and after the event, but what you probably didn’t know is that it takes more than a phone and calendar to get your event right.

Here’s the truth:

Your event is going to require people willing to get behind your mission and push it up the hill, and trust us when we say it’s going to be a climb to event day.

But you’ve got this.

You’re prepared. You’ve got the right attitude. And you’re already thinking of the opportunities this event will present to you.

So, where do you start?

In this article, Platinum is going to share 9 easy steps you can take to get started on planning your corporate event. Some of them are straightforward and intuitive. Others may make you sit back in your chair and think a bit.

And remember to book your speakers in advance.

Ultimately, this event is yours to plan, and you may be given objectives from your higher ups to achieve, which requires some flexibility on your part.

You can get started planning your event with this article, and then adjust as you see fit.

9 Easy Steps to Plan a Corporate Event

#1. Start By Asking Yourself Questions

You want to know the basics of your event. You need to have a clear objective to achieve. And you must direct every part of the event toward achieving the objective.

Consider asking yourself these questions before you start planning your event:

  • What is the goal?
  • What is the theme, message, and tone?
  • What type of experience do we want to deliver to the attendees?
  • Who do we want to attend this event?
  • Why should people attend the event?
  • Where will the event take place?
  • Where will attendees stay overnight for a multi-day event?
  • When will the event take place?
  • How many people do we want to attend?
  • How long is the event?
  • How will attendees get to the event?
  • How will attendees depart from the event?

Answer as many of these questions as possible. You may come up with more questions while you work through this list. Write those down, too, and answer them.

#2. Schedule Your Event

You want to “schedule” your event as if it’s a multi-week experience for you, your team, and your attendees. While the corporate event your planning may be only a few hours on an evening in August, the planning and promoting of the event may take weeks (sometimes months) to actually get scheduled.

Take a look at the proposed date to hold the event. Now that you have your questions answered from step #1, you can tentatively plan the weeks prior to your event — or at least get as close to planned as possible.

Also, take a look at any events outside of yours happening on or around the same date. You will want to know what people may be considering in lieu of your event.

#3. Determine Your Event Location

You know a majority of the details to your event. You’ve got an idea on how many will attend. And now you want to figure out where you will host this event.

It may be tempting to host your corporate event at the newest club in town, or take your company out for putt-putt golf, but consider the goal, theme, message, and tone of your event again.

The location amplifies or antagonizes your overarching objective. Use your location choice to add to the event, not take away from it. For example, if your event is about launching a new product while supporting existing ones, you probably don’t want to plan for a petting zoo.

Instead, consider a top keynote speaker, who can speak on new products, launches, and workforce morale. A speaker who will energize and motivate your colleagues to get behind and support this new product launch.

Use the location to amplify the theme, message, and tone of your event.

#4. Create Your Guest List

Who will be attending your event? How will you be collecting their RSVP? When will you send it out? All three of these questions and more must be answered to ensure that you actually have guests arrive at your event.

A great way to determine who will be attending your event is to send out RSVPs. But don’t just send out any generic RSVP — no, send out RSVPs that engage those receiving them. For example, a wedding planner helped her couple send out invitations that asked one simple question, “If you could pick any song to dance to, what would it be?” The couple then made a majority of their playlist with these songs. For corporate events, you could ask your guests a similar questions based on the theme and message of the event.

Sending out and receiving RSVPs can feel like pulling a rabbit out of a hat sometimes. In most cases, the rabbit comes right out, but in other situations, the rabbit may fight the magic for a while. That’s why it’s super important to decide on how you will be doing RSVPs and stick to that method.

Finally, you will want to end out the RSVPs early enough to allow people to plan, but not too early that they forget. Roughly 4 weeks prior to the event is a good time to send RSVPs. Depending on your guests and event, that duration may alter to fit your needs.

#5. Hire Your Speaker(s)

If your event is a few hours, you may only want one or two speakers. If you plan and schedule a multi-day event, you will need more than a few speakers. It’s best to get in touch with your speakers or their bureau, agency, or manager at least 6 weeks in advance of the event. In fact, the earlier you can find a speaker and get them on the book, the better.

#6. Manage The Event

It’s time for the event, but how will you manage it? Are you the main contact for any vendors, venue, or otherwise? Do you have someone on your team who will be handling any logistical needs? It’s important to have at least one person (sometimes two people) at hand to keep the event running smoothly should anything start to unravel.

You will want to have what’s called a “Run of Show.” This piece to your event is the step-by-ste schedule of the event. You can plan it in increments of 15 minutes or 90 minutes. It all depends on what works best for you. This Run of Show is what will help give you context to whether or not your event is running on time, is a little late, or needs to be adjusted on the fly to meet time restraints.

Keep your event moving forward.

#7. Greet Your Guests

It’s the day of the event, and the “doors” are open. How will you greet your guests? Will you be on the front step shaking hands and thanking people for joining you? Or, will you create a welcoming party to start each guest’s night off right before they get into your event?

It’s important that guest feel seen and/or heard when they arrive. It signifies that they are in the correct place, and gives them context on what the night is going to be like. Essentially, set the tone with your greeting party at the door.

#8. Enjoy The Event

Whether you’re managing the event while it runs, or you’ll be in the audience with the rest of the attendees, enjoy the experience. You created this event, planned it, scheduled it, and more Everything you’ve done prior to this event taking place is already in motion, and it will stay in motion until the event ends. So, give yourself some breathing room and go say hello to your colleagues, listen to the speaker you’ve hired, and keep things light and fun.

#9. Follow Up With Guests, Speakers, And Staff

You probably already know that follow through is the key to success, but what you probably didn’t know is that the follow through should be all about the person you’re contacting.

For most they follow up and let the guests, speakers, and staff know about the next event coming up — and that’s it.

What you should do is follow up with each person that you earned contact information from and ask them what they thought, how they felt, and what they would like to see next time. Then, you can follow these questions up with a call-to-actin that says something like, “We will be taking your feedback and making the next event better. By the way, our next event is in 2 months on [INSERT DATE]. We would love it if you could join us.”

When you make the follow up about the person you’re talking to, you will have a greater chance at getting a response and some great feedback.

Takeaways

You’ve probably planned a corporate event before, and if you have, you know that it takes a few more steps than 9 to do it. However, these 9 may give you a way to fine tune your own process, which will make it easier to organize and manage the next time you’re planning and managing an event.

Here are the takeaways from this article:

  1. Start By Asking Yourself Questions
  2. Schedule Your Event
  3. Determine Your Event Location
  4. Create Your “Guest” List
  5. Hire Your Speaker(s)
  6. Manage The Event
  7. Greet Your Guests
  8. Enjoy The Event
  9. Follow Up With Guests, Speakers, And Staff

Are you in need of a speaker for your corporate event? Platinum has a roster of top industry speakers on motivation, inspiration, empowerment, HR, and more. View our roster and let us know if you would like to book a speaker for your event.

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