Corporate parties are among the hardest events to organize. It is because the balance between a relaxed and business atmosphere is often complicated to achieve. The end result is either a party with a stiff atmosphere with little interaction or a party that has gone wildly inappropriate. Throwing a killer corporate party, therefore, should include several steps and procedures that will ensure everything goes without a hitch and everybody leaves the event satisfied.
Choosing the venue
Perhaps the most important task early on in the planning process is choosing the right venue. In most cases, a party outside the office is better than an in-office event. You don’t want workers to feel as if they are being forced to back to work on a Sunday or at 8 PM. Office space should be used only if all other alternative fails, which is nearly impossible considering the options at your disposal.
There are many halls or restaurants that you can rent for the party. In terms of space, its size must be ideal. Conduct an official survey to see who’s coming and based on that number book the right venue. An industrial hall might look nice but it takes thousands of people to fill it up, as empty space looks so unwelcoming. On the other side, if you go to a local bar with not enough space, being thrifty can backfire. The party will spill onto the street and you could get in trouble with the law.
Finally, don’t shy away from outdoor events. The back lawn of a mansion is the setting for a cocktail or a reception. If your event is less formal, then you can even use the backyard of a colleague’s house as the venue. This way, the whole party will get that personal touch that you should aim for as the organizer.
You probably know that hiring catering, entertainment, sending out invitations to guests, hiring a photographer, etc. all need to be prearranged. However, you need to follow through all the deals you make beforehand. Don’t think that a caterer can put down the wrong date or simply forget about your party altogether. A few days before the party or even the night before, you should call everyone to confirm they will show up tomorrow and provide the services previously agreed upon.
What to do for entertainment
So far, we have dealt only with the standard list of chores that offer little room for creativity. However, when it comes to entertainment, you’ll have a chance to truly shine. If you are aiming for an event all the guests will remember for a long time, then agencies like Velvet Rope Entertainment can help you with this task. They organize tens and hundreds of such events each year so you can count on their experience to recommend the best form of entertainment. For some parties, a musician with a guitar is more than enough, while for other events a live feature show is more adequate.
“Critical mass” on the guest list
One thing that your party needs more than catering, music or a decorated venue is the guests. The party would not exist without them so you assure that enough of them attend the event. In fact, after you arrange and rearrange the guest list, it should become clear which number of guests counts as the “critical mass” enough to make the party worthwhile. We know that it’s not nice to refer to people as mere numbers but trust us when we say that people ditching you in the last minute is a regular occurrence. By accounting for all the cancellations in the final guest list, you ensure that enough people will come to make the party a success.
The shortest speech
A toast at a corporate party is nothing out of the ordinary but try to manipulate their length and keep them, short. In fact, only one person (usually the boss) should be given a chance to say something because as the number of speakers increases, the duller the party will be. People are not attending a conference but a party so no long speeches there! In fact, most of the communication during the party should be among small groups of people or just two individuals. If there is speaking involved, best keep it tête-à-tête and for the purpose of networking.
The right time
Just like the venue, the timing of the party is essential. The last thing your employees need is to stay after work on a Friday and be forced to have fun when the only thing they want is to go home and unwind with a beer on the couch watching TV. That’s why the best time of the day for the party is dusk and preferably, the following day should not be a workday.
Furthermore, the party should be scheduled for a date that marks an important milestone. These can range from Christmas day (which is the time nearly all companies throw a party) to an important date for a particular company, like the launch of a new product line or a merger. Also, try to adjust the date and the time to the needs of the guests so the largest number of them is free to attend.
Throwing a killer party is not as easy as it sounds. As you have seen from our examples, we encourage you to think twice before accepting such a responsibility. However, if you decide to dabble with it, you’ll have to be well-organized, meticulous and before all, dedicated to the success of the corporate party you’re organizing.