Have you been tasked with planning the next corporate events for your company’s clients? Once your task list starts to grow, you quickly start to understand why there are companies who focus exclusively on running successful corporate events in Toronto.
If hiring an event planner isn’t on your list of things to do, try these tips from our seasoned pros to make your event a hit.
Pick a Good Location
People are creatures of habit, and you have to consider the needs of those with different schedules and lifestyles. That really cool venue that’s “only a 45 minute drive” from downtown Toronto might seem great to you, but a downtowner who gets around by subway is going to hit “decline” as soon as they see the address.
If your event is after work, you will have to consider how people will get home when the night is over. This is especially important if alcohol is being served. Make sure there’s a budget for transportation and taxi chits available to prevent drinking and driving.
Have Great Food
People take food at events really seriously. If it’s bad, you can be assured that you’ll hear about it, probably forever. Catering companies should be thoroughly vetted and past clients should be contacted to hear about their experiences. If you’re tempted to cut back on the food to stretch the budget, don’t! You’re better off cutting back the guest list than trying to appease a group of hungry people looking for more canapés.
Keep it Moving Along
If you must have speeches, though you should do everything you can to avoid them, make sure they’re kept short. Set a time limit on each speech, and tell the speakers they have less time than they have actually been allotted. For example, if you’re hoping to have four speakers at five minutes each, tell each speaker they have three minutes. If they stick to it, great! More time for fun! If they run over, and some of them will, you have built in a little extra wiggle room without boring the audience.
Keep a Sense of Humour
No matter how carefully you plan your event, something will go wrong. We can almost guarantee it. Remember that any time you spend freaking out would be better spent actually doing something to fix the problem. Keep your wits, and more importantly your sense of humour, and that grace under fire will inspire people to help you when you’re in a bind.
Remember how we said there are companies who spend all day, every day planning events in Toronto? Because of the vendor relationships they have with caterers, equipment rental companies, A/V companies and temporary staffing firms, it might actually be less expensive to hire an outside company to organize your event. Make sure you get a few quotes to compare against what you are able to negotiate on your own. It just might save your sanity!