The most effective way of communicating your company’s core values of teamwork, bridge building and celebrating achievement to your colleagues and peers is by hosting a successful corporate event with quality entertainment. Not only will this serve as a brilliant morale boost for your staff, but also as a great marketing technique that’ll get the right people taking notice of your company and talking about you.
As there’ll be a lot riding on the success of your corporate event, it’ll be easy to begin to feel the burden of responsibility weighing down on your shoulders – but that’s where we come in. We’re going to take a brief look at which areas you need to focus on in order to secure yourself the best venue type, the best entertainment and, ultimately, the best experience for you and your guests.
Consider the venue
A few factors to bear in mind right off the bat about your event venue are: is your venue accessible to everyone you’ve invited; is it a suitable size for the expected number of guests; and, does it offer all the facilities you need? Let’s tackle these factors one by one.
Firstly, the accessibility of your venue is crucial, as you want it as many of your guests to attend as possible. Looking locally is always the smartest starting point – if your staff are able to reach your place of business day to day, they shouldn’t have a problem getting to a nearby venue. Bear in mind those of your guests who travel using public transport – make sure you know how far away your venue is from the nearest bus or train station. Also inquire about stairs, and whether there are any alternative access routes to higher levels if your function room isn’t on the ground floor – elderly or disabled guests may prefer to use an access ramp or elevator, so it’s worth finding out it your venue can provide these.
Secondly, if you’re planning a huge event, you’ll need to find a venue with a large enough car park and enough seating to match your numbers. It’s also worth checking out the stage area, because if you’re planning to hire a live band, in all likelihood you’ll need a more spacious area for them to perform in, as you’ll need a larger band to generate enough noise for a larger audience. In the same vein, it’s important to figure out the proximity of the seating area, the bar area and the stage area. If you’ve hired a more low key performer, it won’t be as much of an issue if people are sat right next to the stage – but nobody will want to sit with a Marshall stack beside their head, so if you’ve hired a rock band, make sure your guests can sit further away if the want to.
Finally, the kinds of facilities you’ll need will vary depending on the amount of people you’ll be catering for, and the kind of entertainment you want to provide them with. As with the previous factor, the size and loudness levels of the entertainment you choose are dependent on the length of your guest list. An acoustic duo or a caricaturist would even be comfortable sat on bar stools, whereas a comedian or a band that uses a drum kit would be more at home on a raised stage area. Ask your venue about live music licensing, too – their stance on this will dictate your event’s finishing time, as without a live music licence, the festivities will have to have ended by 11pm. It’s also a good idea to find out from your venue if they have sound limiters installed to control volume levels – these actually trip the power switch if the music gets too loud, so give your band fair warning!
Consider the entertainment
Keeping in mind the calibre of guest you’re planning this event for, take some time to consider a few different entertainment options. We’re going to look at two primary ways event entertainment can vary: whether the act is formal or informal, and whether it’s suited to a larger or smaller audience. If you want your corporate event to be more casual, you might want to focus on fun entertainers such as tribute bands, magicians and look-alikes; if you’re after something a little more sophisticated, you may prefer a jazz band, a string quartet or a professional toastmaster. Think about who you’re actually inviting to your event and what message you want to give them, and you’ll get a good idea of what they’ll want to see and hear.
In terms of the size of your audience, smaller and more intimate events will benefit from solo musicians like pianists, acoustic guitarists and harpists – the levels at which these musicians play will serve as background music, and won’t drown out your guests’ conversations. However, solo musicians may struggle to be heard themselves if you’ve booked out and filled a large hall, so for larger events in venues such as this you might be better off with a jazz ensemble, party band or Motown tribute band, each of which will often feature additional members including backing singers, backing dancers, brass sections and more.
Consider the budget
Event planning can be like a snowball gathering more and more snow as it hurtles down the mountain. You start off with a rough outline of what you want to do, then, gradually, as more and more suggestions and ideas are added to the mix, it grows into something enormous and seemingly unmanageable – not to mention unaffordable. While later suggestions should always be listened to, it’s equally important to stick to your guns, especially when you’re in charge of the budget.
Decide early on what your budget is, and how much you can afford to spend on each aspect of your event – the venue, the catering, the entertainment, etc. Practicality must come before preference for each of these – choose a venue that will accommodate your numbers, choose quality food with options for different dietary requirements, and choose an act that will please the majority. With these guidelines in place, take the time to compare different providers of these services – there are plenty of online entertainment agencies who do precisely this for you. It’s also worth remaining flexible, as there are often more cost effective alternatives you may not have thought possible. For example, a string quartet may also be available to be hired as a string duo – which, as you can imagine, will be at roughly half the cost. Never be afraid to ask questions – you never know where else you could be saving those precious pennies!
Consider the timings
Our last point of focus has perhaps the widest scope for error, and that is the timings on the day itself. Delays occur daily in most areas of our lives, so it’s just a matter of preparing for them the best way we can. Think about the order of events, such as when you want people to arrive, when you want them to eat, when you want your entertainment to start, and when you want any presentations or speeches to be given. As a starting point, the entertainment you hire will have to travel to your venue and set up – plus they’ll be on the clock, so you don’t want them to be hanging around for too long before they perform. You also might not want your guests to be eating during the performance, as they’ll be less focussed on it. Add into the equation the fact that certain entertainers will have to cease their performance at 11pm in some venues, and the skeleton of a schedule starts to appear. Allow for some lateness, as you’re no more able to predict the traffic as you are the weather, and have a contingency plan – for instance, if you’ve hired a comedian who’s running late, move the speeches forward, or vice versa.
Follow each of these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to planning an event that’ll be talked about for months to come – hopefully by people who’ll make your company’s future even brighter!