Guest post by Amanda McPhail.
Planning and executing a corporate event is one of the most important components in corporate marketing. And no matter the occasion or situation—whether for employee appreciation, an investor and shareholder meeting, or a conference for clients—it needs to be executed perfectly.
Beyond the logistical difficulties and challenges of organizing a business event, attention spans of attendees have decreased. Events arranged in tired old formats with long-winded presentations or speeches followed by dinner are almost guaranteed to bore the audience.
A boring event will lead to people zoning out or focusing on their phones. That’s not the attendee behavior you want to see if you want your event to judged as successful and worthwhile.
What you need is a little creative engagement and some wow factor to brighten up the proceedings. Here are six of the best creative ideas for your business event.
Food and Drink Stations
Standard “chicken or fish” buffets are among the most ho-hum and mundane catering options you can choose. It’s like being at a boring food assembly line, or back in the school cafeteria. On the other hand, bringing creativity to your business event by putting care into the catering is one of the major ways to make it a success.
We are all familiar with those Snapchat and Instagram pictures of delicious looking food. Capitalize on this modern obsession and feature unique local food trucks and stations offering a variety of different cuisines and drinks. Letting your guests play a role in how their meal is prepared will make the event much more enjoyable (and encourage social media amplification).
Depending on the situation and context of your event, a musical performance can really help sell it. Match the musical genre to your event theme and audience: for example, go with upbeat or charged performances like live jazz or a cover band at an employee event, while opting for more classical, elegant performances for a shareholder event.
Specialty music is one of the best ways to provide a unique flair to your business event and engage your guests. It doesn’t have to be an either/or decision, why not mix up the music lineup throughout the occasion? For example, try a soothing live performance at the start, like am acoustic guitarist taking requests from the attendees. Then, add a rousing vocally charged pop group to cap off the night.
Everyone loves a good photo, particularly in our social media-addicted times where the right photos are highly valued and shared. Set up picture booths or video stations with different backgrounds and props for people to get take memorable photos.
As these images are shared on social media, and talk of your event spreads, it will drive momentum for future events, and build your brand reputation.
If you want something more energetic, something which requires more active engagement than passively enjoying a music performance, why not consider stage performers?
A comedian specializing in corporate gigs will know just the right buttons to press and elicit those belly-laughs from your audiences. A talented mentalist can transfix your audience and leave them with a sense of mystery. Similarly, a skilled magician can also wow the audience and fascinate them.
At the end of the day, an employee or customer event is about giving back to the attendees, making them feel appreciated and rewarded. Performances like these are ideal for this type of occasion. If the event is a very formal one, then something like a featured vocalist or dance troupe is an elegant way to entertain the audience while projecting a certain refined style and image.
If the purpose of the business event is to build team spirit and indulge in some ice breaking activities, then consider miniature competitions and sporting events. Rock climbing, tug of war, scavenger hunts, and other various team-related activities can be very successful in not only ensuring that your event is lively, but also that real teamwork spirit is built.
There might be some initial reluctance, as is typical of adults. But once everyone gets into the spirit of the festivities, they are bound to enjoy themselves.
Bare It All
This will take a more delicate touch to pull off, but if done well, it can greatly increase the feeling of belonging and unity in your workforce. This is basically an extended idea exchange session, intended to break down the barriers of the corporate structure, and to promote honesty and trust.
On a volunteer basis, employees can share their own personal tales and anecdotes about their experience at the company, what challenges they faced, how they overcame them, and how they now help others. You might need some upper management to take the lead and remind the participants that they are in a safe space, and that their feedback is welcomed.
Once you get people into the groove, there will be an outpouring of stories and experiences. It’s like an old-fashioned campfire session, but for professional adults. After the event, use the insights you gathered to make actionable changes, which will show your employees that their ideas matter, and that you listen to their needs.
Amanda McPhail runs the booking team for deck655 – a sophisticated and fun event & Party venue in Downtown San Diego. Amanda has longstanding expertise in the wedding and event industry, and she enjoys blogging about the latest trends and industry topics.