Corporate Planning and Events Planning

24825052_mWith the holiday season approaching many businesses, both large and small, are planning an annual holiday event. To optimize the value of an event, I would encourage each business manager and business owner to first ask who they are having the event for and why they are having the event.

Great reasons for an employee event might include that:

  • Employees asked for the event.
  • Last year’s event was so successful that employees were talking positively about it for months.
  • Managers want employees who do not normally see each other to get to know one another better.
  • Business owners want to have an event as a way to reward their employees for their work throughout the year.

Great reasons to have an event for clients or customers might include:

  • Management wanting customers to feel like they are “a member of the family.”
  • The anticipation that discussions at an event will lead to new business or business improvement.
  • Very positive customer feedback throughout the year.

Reasons which are not as beneficial include expressions such as:

  • We have always done it.
  • Everyone else is doing it.

If those are your best reasons, think a bit more before planning the event.
Once you know the reasons for the event, you can plan effectively. If you want small groups of people to get to know each other, then a formal dinner with eight people seated at each table might be perfect for you. If you want everyone at the event to get to know everyone else a bit better, the best alternative might be to skip the formal dinner and instead have a meal with both light and heavy hors d’oeuvres served at various stations, with few tables and chairs so that people will mingle.

If you are interested in a team building program, there are many organizations that offer programs designed to improve communication, leadership and communication skills among team members. Having a program of this nature or doing a significant community service project before or in lieu of a dinner might be the perfect alternative for you.

Please be sensitive to every employee’s likes and needs as you plan your program, be it a dinner or an activity-based program. There are people who thrive on team building programs. There are people who would enjoy working in a support role (e.g. photographer, scorekeeper, or handing out name tags) or audience member. There are also people who would strongly prefer to have no part in activity-based programs, dinners or whatever. As one who leads TV game show style programs which are applicable, educational, entertaining, useful and a ton of fun for most people, I’m well aware that being an on-stage participant (or even a group activity participant) is not for everyone. If someone does not want to participate, that should be their option. There are few, if any, people who would rather have nothing to do with the program, but if there were any, having an alternative activity, such as “covering the office” should be acceptable. Find out the needs and desires of each employee and find the appropriate role for each one in whatever you do plan. Make the occasion a positive one for all concerned.

As you begin the planning process, you might want to have an employee committee review the business objectives for your program, consider options and make a recommendation to you. Alternatively, you might send out a proposal to your employees and obtain feedback. Either way, include employee (and customer, if applicable) input into your decision making. After all, the event is for them.

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