8 Clever Ideas
Corporate events are a great opportunity to make new connections and build camaraderie between employees. However, many of these gatherings end up feeling overly formal, dull or otherwise unengaging. That will make it difficult for anyone to forge any meaningful connections or make memories.
Thankfully, corporate events don’t have to feel corporate. Here are eight clever ideas to take the next corporate gathering to a new level.
1. Choose a Strong Theme
One of the best ways to make an event stand out is to give it strong direction. A specific, unique theme will capture people’s attention and stop the gathering from falling into the generic business aesthetic that employees are used to. With a strong theme in place, it’ll also be easier to make the rest of the event feel unique.
Everything about the event should fall in line with the theme to help keep it cohesive. That includes not just decorations but activities. For example, if businesses go with a classic cinema theme, they can make famous movie cocktails with employees and guests.
Starting with the theme helps every other consideration fall into place more easily. To help, pick something well-defined, well-liked among the employees or target audience and avoid things that too many other events have done.
2. Pick a Convenient But Unique Location
Where the event takes place is another crucial consideration. The venue should be more than just an affordable place big enough to hold everyone. It’s also an opportunity to attract guests and make the overall experience more enjoyable.
Think beyond traditional event spaces like hotels and convention centers. Is there a trendy new restaurant in town with a large enough rental space? Is it possible to reserve a portion of a waterside walkway, public park or nearby farm? More conventional locations aren’t necessarily out of the question, either, but look for some with eye-catching aesthetics or a recognizable name.
Remember to consider convenience in the location, too. If the event is too far away from most people, attending will be a hassle.
3. Make Presentations Interactive
Of course, the contents of the event play a big role in engaging the audience, too. The best way to elevate presentations or announcements during the gathering is to make them interactive. Studies show that interactive presentations persuade 65% of audience members more easily, and 68% of people believe interaction makes presentations more memorable.
Speakers have a lot of options for interacting with the audience. The easiest way is to ask questions or poll attendees, but some methods for this approach are better than others. Speakers can make it more exciting by showing live poll results on the screen as guests answer on their phones or bring people on stage to speak.
4. Take Advantage of Technology
Live polling and question apps are just a small sample of the technologies events can use. New tech is exciting, and events relying on outdated methods can feel boring. Event organizers should look for ways to incorporate technology into presentations and activities.
Social media is an essential technology for events. People spend an average of 2.45 hours a day on social media, so why not capitalize on it? Event organizers can create custom Instagram and Snapchat filers and geotags for the gathering, use Twitter to run live polls, share pictures with event hashtags on a big screen and more.
More cutting-edge technologies are a great way to boost engagement, too. For example, events could use virtual reality (VR) headsets to give attendees virtual, in-depth tours of upcoming projects.
5. Capitalize on Greenery
The way businesses decorate the space will also help it stand out. Nature tends to help people relax and can improve spirits, so decorating with plant life is an excellent option. Even if the event is indoors, organizers can bring in potted plants, vines and flowers to make the space more vibrant.
Be sure to choose flowers carefully to create the right atmosphere. Whether people realize it upfront or not, flowers carry different meanings and associations. Orchids symbolize refinement and maturity, daffodils represent new beginnings and Amaryllises give off an air of wisdom. Aim for these business-oriented qualities in flowers instead of those with romantic associations like roses.
6. Be Creative About Seating
While it may not immediately come to mind, the seating at a corporate event has a substantial impact on engagement. Employees have sat in many rows of identical, plain chairs, and likely associate these seating arrangements with a dull, corporate atmosphere. Offering more comfortable, unorthodox and colorful seating will make the even stand out.
Instead of rows of the same chair, try using a mix of different chair styles, even including couches. Use more colorful and cushioned seating to keep guests comfortable and avoid feeling bland. These choices should match the theme, too.
Keep event activities in mind, too. Attendees shouldn’t recline if they’ll be eating in the same spot. Be fun, but be practical, too.
7. Feed Guests Well
It’s difficult to overstate the impact that food has on an event. According to a 2019 survey, 62% of American adults would attend an event just for the food, and 80% are more likely to go back to an event that served good food. Finding the right caterer can make or break the event.
One option is to host the event at a restaurant, but this only works for smaller gatherings. Some event spaces provide catering services, but make sure they have good reviews before using these options. Offer multiple options to meet different tastes and dietary needs, ensure portion sizes are generous and, if possible, ensure the food is Instagrammable.
8. Listen to Guests for Inspiration
Every event is also a learning opportunity for the next one. The best way to ensure a gathering meets attendees’ needs and desires is to ask them directly. Follow-up surveys provide that information, revealing what worked and what didn’t.
Ask attendees to rate the event, including specific sections for the speakers, activities, food and location. Pay attention to any trends in people’s responses. Common positive feedback indicates something that future events should repeat, and negative trends reveal the things future gatherings should change.
Corporate Events Don’t Have to Be Boring
Corporate events may have a poor reputation in some workers’ minds, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By following these eight tips, companies can hold unique, engaging and helpful events that help employees grow closer together and make new business connections.
The specific ways these tips play out will vary depending on the event itself, its purpose and the audience. In general, though, these steps will help any corporate event stand out in people’s memories.