Corporate Event Planning Tips for Beginners (updated for 2020)

Corporate Event Planning Tips for Beginners

Written by Tim Grable

March 9, 2017

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It seems as if every week I talk with someone who has been given the task of planning a special event for the first time.  Regardless if it is a fundraiser, Holiday party, special event or something your new boss forgot to do, the thought of planning a special function can be overwhelming for most people.  You need the best corporate event planning tips.

Over the years our staff has put together an outline for successful function.

Event planning and the 5 Ws

The 5 Ws are essential when it comes to event planning, and we are going to tell you what each one of them means:

  • Why -- This is pretty straightforward. Why is the corporate event organized? This is not so hard to define, but it is definitely important. Why? Because thanks to an objective, you will be able to follow a direction that will contribute to the success of the event. The answer to this question is going to determine all your future actions, so it is important to figure this out before doing anything else.
  • What -- Now that you have the “why” out of the way, it is time to move on to the actionable stuff. This is one of the most important things you have to figure out: What exactly you are going to do for the corporate event. If it is a Christmas party, the theme can be Christmas-related. If it is a party for the 4th of July, then an American theme will work very well. The examples can go on. If you want to bring an individual guest, artist, performer, entertainer or speaker, now is the time to create the list. Also, this is when you should think about the activities that you want to take place.
  • When -- Before you choose the date and the time for the corporate event, make sure that the management team and the people with the highest authority can attend. It is not recommended to set a date when they will not be able to come. Also, check with all of the employees to make sure that most of them will be able to attend the party as well. Keep in mind that you will not be able to accommodate everyone’s schedule, but you should set the date when it will be convenient for most people.
  • Where -- The venue for the event will be determined by the number of people who will attend. Also, the activities you plan to organize will play an important part as well. If you need a stage for an entertainer, for example, then the office probably won’t be the best option to begin with. So if you need a larger venue, make sure that you find one that has a parking lot, and that is close to the subway or the bus station.
  • Who -- Aside from the people who work at the company, who else are you going to invite? You can talk to a few sponsors to see whether they’ll be willing to be involved in your event or ask some partners. Maybe there are some special guests who do not work at the company but would be nice to attend the party.

Some quick event planning tips

One Year:

  • Select a date and site for your activity
  • Develop goals and objectives for the event
  • Develop the theme for event

Six Months:

  • Negotiate facilities, services, and contracts
  • Prepare A time table

Three Months:

  • Prepare checklist for items & people you need at event
  • Finalize design for invitation, program & materials

Two Months:

  • Event invitations mailed
  • Fine tune the program timeline

One Month:

  • Order necessary signage
  • Arrange for last minute reproduction of papers, handouts, if needed
  • Confirm all agreements in writing with speakers, suppliers, etc.

One Week:

  • Prepare name badges
  • Order any VIP amenities

Two days:

  • Review plans with Leadership
  • Check handout materials

One Day:

  • Check weather report for possible effect on event
  • Review plans with electrician and other facilities staff

Two hours:

  • Check room/venue setup
  • Check mikes and PA equipment

One Hour:

  • Introduce invited speakers to other participants

After the event:

  • Pay the bills

So what if you are not very experienced with being an event planner? This does not mean that your event planning career is doomed. There’s always room for improvement, and it is never too late to learn something new.

Now, it is that time of the year again, when every company is organizing their traditional corporate parties to celebrate this year’s accomplishments. Because we know that there are professionals who are struggling with getting everything right, we decided to write this article to talk about corporate event planning for beginners.

Corporate Event Planning Tips for Beginners

4 Event Planning Secrets You Didn’t Know about

Event planning is not something that can be mastered overnight. It takes time and patience, but once you manage to get the hang of it, your corporate events will always be a hit.

Now, we are sure you already know most of the common pointers associated with this trade, such as book ahead of time, offer vegetarian options and make sure most of the people in the company have a clear schedule so they can attend, and so on.

However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have anything else to learn about corporate event planning. Here are 4 planning secrets we believe will come in handy over time:

1. Making copies is paramount

This is one aspect many event planners don’t take into consideration at all, and it’s a shame. Whether you are dealing with seating charts, budget lists, menu selections or contracts, you must make sure there will be additional copies of those documents.

Just think about it. All it takes is one misplaced file to ruin the entire project. Sure, you can solve the issue by making another document from scratch, but that will take time (and money if you need to have somebody send them to you again).

So, never forget that a huge part of corporate event planning is making sure there’s a backup for every single document.

2. Time the invitations right

Simply put, you can’t just send the invitations two weeks before the event and expect a lot of people to attend. We recommend you do it a month or two beforehand so that you’ll have enough time to see approximately how many guests you’ll have to cater to.

If the event is set during the holidays, it would be smart to send the invitations 3 or 4 months before. This way, people will have enough time to decide if they can make it or not. Of course, a better idea would just be not to organize events during holidays.

4 Corporate Event Planning Secrets You Didn't Know about

3. Find a tune that suits corporate event planning

When it comes to music, you won’t have to fret too much. This is one mistake many event planners make, as they try to please every taste.

Instead of that, we advise you to just play mellow music, since it would be enough. Plus, it perfectly suits the atmosphere of a corporate event.

Another advantage of mellow music is that it will allow people to have business-related conversations.

4. Remember to always screen the entertainment you hire

It’s not just enough to watch some videos or read reviews. You need to see the performers live, so have them do a 30-minute routine for you before you actually sign any contracts. This way, you make sure that their humor does not offend any of your employees or partners, and that the message they get across is aligned with the company image.

Of course, you could always go that extra mile and work with an agency that represents entertainers. This way, you save time, and won’t have to worry about not getting quality entertainment.

Corporate event planning should be about having fun

As a beginner, you may sometimes feel stressed out. However, there’s no need to worry if you pay attention to the details, specifically the 5 Ws. Also, one last thing: Keep in mind that, in event planning, you need also to maintain the budget in mind.

If you are looking for great performers who have experience with corporate events, you’ve come to the right place. Our selection only consists of entertainers who have plenty of experience and awards to back up their claims.  If you want to check out our entertainers, speakers, artists, and comedians, you can do so by clicking this link here. If you see a name that you’d like to see at your next event, just contact us. We’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Are you planning a special event? Do you need more event planning tips? Please give us a call, we can help with your fundraiser, holiday party, sales conference, trade show or conference opener.

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