5 Biggest Event Planning Fears and How to Face Them
BY Janine Popick
Will anyone show up? What if people get bored? Check out these five ideas to set your next company event up for success.
Throwing a company event is a fantastic way to meet new people, spread the word about your business and have some good old-fashioned fun. But if you’re the organizer, it can be quite intimidating. How do you get the word out? Will anyone show up? Will people get bored? Here are a few ideas to combat some of the biggest event planning fears, so you and your guests can focus on having a great time.
1) No one will come. The key here is to promote the event like crazy in your store (if you have one), as well as on your website, blog and social media networks. Local media often have calendar or community events sections that you can submit your soiree to. Setting up an online event marketing page that you can direct people to is an easy and inexpensive way to gauge interest and manage RSVPs; there are plenty of online event marketing tools out there. Creating a Twitter #hashtag and encouraging people to tweet about it also helps drum up anticipation and excitement.
Don’t forget e-mail marketing campaigns, which you can use to communicate event details, send out updates and offer special promotions or discounts. Consider adding a sense of urgency (“Only 150 seats left!”) as the event nears. With e-mail campaigns, make sure you’re sending out plenty of reminders. It’s a good rule of thumb that only about 50 percent of people who RSVP to a free event will ultimately attend.
2) People aren’t mingling. While name tags aren’t exactly fun (especially if you’re caught wearing one several hours after an event), they’re incredibly helpful in getting people to mingle with one another. Try including an unexpected bit of information on them to get people talking. Also place food, beverages and seating in different areas, which will encourage people to move about the room.
3) People take off early, or won’t leave. Organization is key for any event. Everything should be set up and ready to go before the “early birds” arrive. If you’ve got scheduled things going on during the event, hand out printed programs so people know the timeline. In the same vein, create a “soft” end time for your event. As the hour approaches, gently and politely remind people that the event is winding down, but don’t be too strict on exactly what time they leave. Most people won’t linger.
4) Uninvited party crashers show up. Inevitably you’re going to have a couple of unwanted guests. Disgruntled former employees, your competition, maybe even your ex. You’ve heard the saying: If you can’t beat them, join them. The same applies here. Surprise them by being the first to say hello. Hopefully any grievances they have will be discussed with you privately, and not with the rest of your guests.
5) Someone’s knocked back one too many cocktails. It’s bound to happen. But how do you deal with it? Start with the bartender(s) and instruct them to limit the amount of drinks given out to any one person and to offer water, coffee or juice as a substitute. Should someone be over served, find him/her a cab or a ride home.
Try as you might to plan for everything, rarely does an event happen without a single hitch. If something unexpected happens, keep your cool. Get your employees to pitch in. Know that you did your best, and everyone else will, too!
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick