Many of us have attended and planned thousands of events and most, are okay or good. But what makes an event stand out? Usually it involved innovation, creativity, and energy. Given the tight budgets of today, many event planners think that innovation has to come with a huge price tag. However with planning and teamwork, your next corporate event can create the buzz you are looking for. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Put together a team of the most innovative, forward thinking people you know for a brainstorming session. If possible, the team should be past and potential attendees, employees, event meeting service companies and vendors. Write every idea down on a flip chart even if it seems impossible or outside of your budget. Think, act, and be an attendee. What would you want when you get to the event? What kind of food do you like? Entertainment? Networking? Cities? Venues? Sound and Lighting Rental? Presentation services audio visual?
- Sell Your Plan A, Settle for Your Plan B, Work Your Plan C. Once the brainstorming is complete, come up with the structure for the event. If it is a 3 day conference, why would you attend? Who and what would you want to see? Write it down and see how much it costs. Start building your budget without parameters. Do the same for Plans B and C, each time making the event lower in cost. Sell Plan A to management but have the two exciting alternatives as back-up if cost becomes an issue.
- Make sure Senior Management is in attendance doing different things. The best events I have planned or attended, the CEO of the organization did something memorable. He or she worked at the registration desk checking attendees in, acted as a waiter serving people, or was stationed near a touch panel kiosk as a ‘greeter’. The worst events are when the CEO is "whisked in and whisked out." Create a "Where in the World is Our CEO?" game so people can actively search for that person in everyday places – use audience response rental to capture their input.
- Location, location, location. Your brainstorming team is going to be key to helping you. Start thinking of "off the radar screen" locations and cities. What would you think if you were invited there? What about a bowling alley? Ballpark? Behind the scenes with a professional basketball team with photos? If you are limited to your city, think of who you can get and where you can have the event that will be very interesting or hard to get into.
- Never Underestimate the Value of Gifts and Prizes. Give your attendees unusual gifts, and if possible, try and surprise them. Have something in their room each night. Have the speakers introduce give aways during their speech. Offer prizes, but make the prize worth the effort to win it. What would you want to win and what would you be willing to do to have a shot at it?
Try and think during all parts of the planning process like your attendee. Keep the energy positive and the ideas will flow! Sometimes we are own worst enemy because we do things the way they have always been done. That is neither creative or innovative. Be open to new ideas, partner with an event meeting services company like AV Event Solutions and your event will be the talk of the industry!