10 ideas to help you plan a successful corporate event

Corporate events can be fun when done right. They help employees to unwind, bond and better appreciate the company they work for.

They’re also a brilliant opportunity to communicate your business values, and convey important new information and build loyalty and knowledge.

Get them wrong, however, and they can turn into a company-wide embarrassment that follows you around for weeks to come.

To help you plan a corporate event everyone will remember (for the right reasons) here are 10 quick ideas.

1) Set a theme

Start by setting a theme for the event. Think about why you’re hosting the event, and what the goals that you need to achieve are. Also consider what you want your employees to think and feel.

You may opt for a creative theme in which people can dress up in costumes, or a camping retreat or outward bound day that allows everyone to bond. If you want people to get excited about the event, then you’ll need to come up with a theme that will appeal tp and excite them.

2) Plan a grand entrance

First impressions count, so a grand entrance will help to set the tone for the rest of your event. You can set aside props and fun name tags for each employee to wear before they enter the event, a red carpet to welcome new visitors or a glamorous runway for your team to walk down before they get to the main event. 

3) Book high-quality catering  

Food and drink can make or break an event, so spend some time planning your refreshments. You may decide to have set meal breaks, or a permanent table or bar throughout the event.

Refreshment stations can also make great networking opportunities as people naturally gather around them, so consider dotting them around your venue if appropriate.

4) Consider an outside venue

In most businesses, your employees spend most, of not all, of their time cooped up in a formal office or work environment. So what not flip this on its head and book an outdoor location like a campsite, a water park, or an outdoor theatre or rooftop bar.

The change in the environment can encourage people to interact with each other in a completely different way.

5) Hold an interactive art lesson

Trying a new skill can be fun, and encourage interaction between people. So consider hosting a company art session. Some companies offer painting classes by the hour, and specialise in team building.

You may even decide to take it one step further and set up a painting subject that is meaningful to your company. For example, if everyone does self-portraits, create a portrait wall in the company headquarters to display these paintings with pride. Your team members will be thrilled by the recognition, and you will make your traditional office building more colourful and vibrant.

6) Create social photo booths

A photo booth at a corporate event is a great way to get participants to lighten up and to be a little playful.

Traditionally, photo booths were placed in the corner as a souvenir of the evening. People would snap pictures with their favourite co-workers and then move on to the next activity. But there’s no reason why, in our selfie-crazy culture you can’t make your photo booth the centre of the action at your next corporate event.

With smart photo booths, you can take stills, make funny videos, and even convert them into GIFs, which can really make for a tech-savvy addition to your company’s social database.

7)Hold fun contests and competitions

The quickest way to amp up events are fun games and contests; they give your employees a chance to show off their competitive sides, and get to know each other better.

You can go for anything from aa trivia quiz game, caption/picture contest, or a lighthearted game of Charades, to a rodeo horse, giant jenga or even team games.

8) Organise chill out areas

However fun and high energy your event may be, make sure your plan relaxing, quiet chill out zones too. This will give people an opportunity to take conversation away from the noise, and get to know each other better.

Arrange lounges that are comfortable and welcoming, and arrange the seating to encourage interaction.

9) Have transitioning atmospheres

Besides the main theme, set two or three other themes that co-exist in the same event space. You could have, for example, a reclining lounge in one area, art lessons in another, and even a dance floor in a far corner.

10) Call in a comedian

You may even choose to liven up your event with a comedy session. Call in a ‘corporate comedian’ for some light-hearted fun and laughter.

Amanda McPhail runs the booking team for deck655 – a sophisticated and fun event space in San Diego. Amanda has longstanding expertise in the wedding and event industry, and she enjoys blogging about the latest trends and industry topics.

Photo by Aranxa Esteve