How to put on a company party:
Relax! It’s actually pretty easy to get it all together. There are some basic details that will need tending to right away, so let’s get going!
The first thing to know is that the internet is only partially your friend. Some of the best caterers, decorators and entertainers in your area aren’t professional marketers and may not be on the “first page” of Google. Many of those who are marketing-savvy may not be the best fit for your group and their needs. Don’t worry. I’ll share the secret to finding just the right partners and vendors in just a moment!
What should you consider when putting your event together?
- Will this be for adults only are are families included?
- Will this be formal, semi formal or casual?
- Where will the event be held? Your office, a restaurant or special event venue or at a hotel ballroom?
- Is there a social hour, is this a mixer, will there be food (buffet or seated)?
- Are you having speeches, awards or other presentations? When?
- Do you want people to go away laughing, smiling and saying “WOW!” or simply saying, “what a nice night?”
- Do you want some live music during the beginning of the event? During the meal? As a featured attraction after the lunch or dinner?
- Do you want people to dance or do you want them to enjoy a fun and entertaining show?
- Is it important that no one in your group be offended with any suggestive humor, political jokes, religious or ethnic references?
It is my experience that every event should be viewed as a “story”. There should be a beginning, a middle and an end.
People should arrive and have things happening from the start! Music, mingling entertainment such as a terrific sleight-of-hand magician and/or a silhouette artist making keepsakes. This is the time where people get acquainted with spouses and guests. You need an “icebreaker” to help people introduce one another and keep things festive. Having name badges pre-made when the arrive helps everyone from feeling awkward. This should be done OUTSIDE of the dinner area in a separate room if possible.
This is when people move to their tables for your meal whether a buffet or seated dinner or lunch. Having place cards so that people know where to sit takes care of uncertainty and keeps from having one lone couple stuck at a table all by themselves. The dinner should always open with a welcome from the host, a prayer if appropriate, and then the meal itself. Have light dinner music (no words, instrumental only) playing lightly during the meal. At the end of the meal and during the dessert is the BEST TIME to give out your awards and give a SHORT speech if necessary.
Now is the time to WOW your group with a terrific show. My opinion? Make people laugh, get them engaged, have a real “production” that gets people involved and clapping like never before. Think variety acts like a great comedy magic show, a comedy hypnotist or a high-level ventriloquist. Think “cruise ship entertainment”. Variety entertainers can customize their show with your company name or motto and include people in their acts to make it even more personal. Make sure that you insist that it be “clean and politically correct” to keep you out of trouble. At the end of the show, simply thank everyone for coming and bid them a good night. If you can have a small parting gift for everyone as they leave, so much the better. Even a small box of chocolates nicely wrapped is that “something extra” that makes people say “awe…”
So where can you find what you need to pull off such an event? I said that the Internet is only “partially our friend”. I suggest that you find a reputable event planner or talent agency in your town. Both can help you not only find great entertainers and other vendors but they can help find the perfect MATCH for your group and event. They have the experience and know what will work and what won’t. Tell them what the “look and feel” is that you are going for, but listen to what they have to say. They do this day in and day out. Trust them!
Then, create your “to do list” broken down by week. Finding your entertainment and venue is a BIG priority. They are the first to get booked by others. Get this done first, then everything else.
Most of all, learn to delegate to others. If you don’t have the staff don’t worry. A great event planner can either assist you and your team or do everything for you. Don’t forget, you’ll want to enjoy your party too!
About the author: David Hira is a nationwide entertainer, magician and motivational speaker. He has worked over 400 events a year for small and large companies and has worked with dozens of event planners and talent agencies. For more information on David Hira, go to www.DavidHira.com or email David at david@DavidHira.com