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Five Strategies for Planning Successful Corporate Events

Make sure your corporate events exceed expectations by following our guide.

Successful corporate events require a delicate balance between being informative and being interactive, productive and fun. Although finding that balance isn’t always easy, all it takes is a little know-how . Turn even the dullest annual meeting into a fun-filled, productive affair with our five foolproof ways to host successful corporate events.

One of the keys to successful corporate events is to request feedback from participants throughout the process. Use our event management survey software to assess multiple aspects of your conference or meeting before, during and after the event. These surveys let you know in real time what you can do to improve your event.

Bear these tips in mind when planning your corporate event. These are factors that only the best corporate events utilise.

  • SMART objectives: The best corporate events are built with SMART objectives. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals will anchor your event and act as the glue that holds all of the components together.
  • Safety: Ensure the safety of staff, participants and speakers. Of course, your venue will have some safety measures in place, but you need to check that anyway. If you’re in an area that requires additional security, add hiring people for that purpose to your budget. Today, safety also includes health. Have masks to hand for those who need them; place hand sanitiser dispensers throughout the event space; and ensure that individuals have room for social distancing.
  • Budget: Stay on budget at all costs (see what we did there?). Set a realistic budget and stick to it. As a general rule, add 10% to your budget to cover unforeseen expenses.
  • Engaging: The best corporate events engage participants. They may be there to learn, but they should also have fun. Be innovative and keep things interesting.
  • Collect feedback: Collect ideas from participants for everything from blog posts to product improvements. Use surveys and/or spend time talking to people to gain insights for your company.

Turn even the dullest annual meeting into a fun-filled, productive affair with these five foolproof ways to host successful corporate events:

There’s nothing more frustrating than a meeting or conference that doesn’t have a point. It's just a big waste of time! Add real impact to your corporate events by coming up with a clear objective for each one. Try the SMART method when setting a meaningful goal:

  • Forget vague goals such as ‘promoting unity’, ‘encouraging discussion’ or ‘getting everyone up to date’. Instead, come up with a specific goal that addresses a concrete problem in your company or industry. Make sure the problem has a real solution.
  • At the end of the day, you need to be able to tell whether or not you actually achieved your goal. Set a measurable goal and stay on track using incremental benchmarks. Break your objective down and use numbers to define success whenever you can.
  • Make your objective something that is achievable. Attending a meeting or conference with an unattainable objective is only slightly less frustrating than attending one without any objective. Before you set a goal, visualise what successfully completing that goal looks like.
  • Companies set and accomplish goals every day. Most of them are essential to the company’s well-being but not important enough to build an entire event around. Choose an objective that is relevant enough to draw participants from throughout your company or industry.
  • Not every goal can be accomplished within a few days. Pick one that can be. Set a goal that is time-bound to the end of your event.

Once you’ve settled on an objective, share it with participants, speakers, staff and volunteers. More people will participate in your event if they understand what’s at stake.

You know what an unengaging event looks like: speakers just droning on and on; staff members checking their watches; and participants dozing in their folding chairs. Keep everyone engaged by introducing interactive elements, such as team-building exercises, seminars, real-time polls and quizzes, and immersive learning opportunities, that draw participants into your event.

If the goal of your event is to teach new skills, interactive activities are even more important. Immersive learning opportunities give participants a chance to practise their new skill set, which increases knowledge retention. It also gives participants the chance to receive immediate feedback from the event’s instructors.

Embrace the learning curve. It can help you involve participants in new ways and, ultimately, grow your events. Plan, promote and manage successful corporate events by taking advantage of new technology. Here are a few ways in which you can add innovation to your event:

  • Send out a pre-event survey to test your options. The answers to questions about prefered venues, dates, speakers and objectives can help you plan an event that satisfies as many people as possible.
  • Create an event app that includes session descriptions and schedules, and information about logistics such as parking. Currently, about half of participants use these apps to navigate an event. Go one step further by conducting real-time polls and surveys with the app during your event.
  • Promote your event online using tools such as promo codes, email marketing, social media marketing, closed Facebook groups for participants and Instagram printers.

To host a successful corporate event, flexibility is key. Welcome innovative changes, such as those above, that make your event more responsive to the needs of participants.

Great corporate events don’t end after the last session. Instead, they live on in the form of lasting business connections, compelling anecdotes and real change. Create great post-event materials, such as like online videos and webinars, that reinforce the objective of your event. Participants can refer back to these resources whenever they need a refresher.

Find out how you can improve your next event with a post-event feedback survey. Because participants, speakers and staff all see different sides of an event, create a separate post-event survey for each of these groups.

  • Ask participants to rate their satisfaction with particular aspects of the event, such as the location, venue, dates, speakers and sessions.
  • Ask speakers to rate their satisfaction with the travel arrangements, accommodation, staff support, attendees and level of remuneration.
  • Ask staff to rate their satisfaction with the organisation, fellow staff members, team leaders and level of remuneration.

Ask each group for their final thoughts in an open-ended question. This question reveals a lot about what each person finds important in an event. Construct a roadmap for future success by aggregating the answers that you receive in this, and other, feedback questions.  For more information about gathering feedback from your corporate event, see our ultimate guide to event surveys.

When it comes to something as dynamic as a corporate event, success is a moving target. To stay on top of the game, gather as much feedback as you can from every event. The feedback will help you identify ways in which you can continue to host events that are engaging and relevant.

Start by signing up for SurveyMonkey. We have all the tools you need to gather and analyse survey data that will provide you with a basis for superior event decisions. Then you can choose your plan to ensure that your events are successful every time.

For more help with planning future events, check out our event planning checklist and survey scientist-approved questionnaire templates.