Planning your next corporate event can be time-consuming, but the more guidance you can rely on, the less daunting of a task it will be. Event planners and other professional service providers can certainly lighten the load. Still, at the end of the day, many of the decisions have to be made by the individual or team organizing the event – not just the people they’ve hired to help.
A great way to gain some top-down insight on the whole event – and make sure you’re not leaving any important decisions to chance – is to work from a checklist. Now, there are a TON of event planning checklists out there, and each will have its nuance. Feel free to mix and match ideas to create your own, but remember that the purpose of the checklists is to keep track of the details… So don’t leave important things out!
As you begin planning your corporate event, run down this list (and others you find) to ensure that every piece is in order to create a fantastic event!
Early Stages – Basics
- Objective – What do you want this event to accomplish?
- Date – Determine and confirm a date
- Venue – Find and reserve the location
- Budget – Determine your overall event budget (and use this figure to guide future decisions)
- Attendance – How many people do you plan to accommodate?
- Theme – Decide on a theme, color scheme, general idea for decor, etc.
Early Stages – Vendors
- Catering – Decide on food and beverage vendor(s), select a menu, and confirm approximate number of guests
- Entertainment – Decide what type of entertainment your event will include, shop for talent, confirm performers, gather necessary information about their needs
- Decor – Use your theme and related ideas to secure a vendor that can provide your vision
- Equipment – Assess the needs of your entertainers, catering, any audio/visual portions of your event, etc., and secure any necessary equipment rental for the date of your event
Early Stages – Details and Responsibilities
- Event Name – Decide on what to call your event (if it needs a name)
- Key Roles – Work with your team and vendors to determine responsibilities, roles, titles, etc.
- Set Deadlines – Now that the event is taking shape, set target dates for milestones and deadlines
- Start and End Times – When will your event begin and end?
- Accommodations – Will any of your guests, staff, or entertainment need lodging?
- Agenda – Outline the event in sequence: when is food served? When does entertainment begin? Are there speakers or presentations? Make a timeline!
- Promotion – Announce the event, set up ticketing, social media accounts, websites, etc.
- Advertise – If you’re advertising your event to the public, launch campaigns and create ad collateral
- Vendor Confirmation – Check in with catering, entertainment, and other vendors to confirm plans, arrival times, and address any questions
- Floor Plan – Develop and finalize the layout of your event space
- Swag – If you’re providing guests with gift bags or the like, begin assembly and plan for distribution
- Final Checks – Run through your agreements, check in with your staff and event coordination team to make sure everyone’s on the same page
- Photo/Video – If you plan to hire professional photographers or videographers for your event, confirm schedules and expectations with them
- Team Meeting – Before the event starts, have a huddle with all of the key players to boost morale and make sure everyone is prepared for the day!
- Maintain Schedule – You made an agenda for a reason – do everything in your power to stick to it!
- Communicate – Stay in touch with team members throughout the event, checking in periodically and updating everyone about changes in schedule or what’s happening next
- Enjoy! – Even if you’re running around to keep the event organized, make sure you pause from time to time to enjoy your creation
- Document – Over the course of the event, take pictures, make notes, and document the event for both future analysis and to make memories!
- Thank Yous – Send thank you notes, emails, etc. to let your guests know how much you appreciate their attendance
- Survey – As part of your thank you note, or as its own communication, send surveys to guests to see what they liked and disliked about the event
- Debrief with Staff – Have a follow up meeting with key team members to discuss what worked, what didn’t, what could have been done better, and to make notes about how to handle the next event
- Share – Use the guest experiences, photos, and videos to promote future events, your brand, and so on through your website, social media accounts, etc.
This is a quick checklist of items that will help make your corporate event more successful. Within each of these stages, there are more specifics to handle, decisions to make, and people to depend on. An experienced party planner and event coordinator can make all the difference in keeping track of every component, and working from a checklist along the way will keep everyone involved on track – from the first planning meeting all the way through your wildly successful event!