A-Z of Business Events

AUDIO/VISUAL “Audio Visual is all about enhancing the clients brand or message at events,” says Kath Creel from Impact AV. “Organisers should be clear on what the event hopes to ultimately achieve. Does the organiser need music, lights, stage, screens, video, computers, speakers, microphone or PA systems to communicate? This is the most important point to consider when working with AV suppliers.”

BUDGET It’s the necessary word everyone groans over, but putting together a solid, detailed budget and being completely transparent about it to your suppliers saves a lot of hassle. It allows them to help you get the very most for your spend.

CATERING While it’s important to consider dietary requirements when planning your catering menu, it’s also important to consider how much food is needed. Restaurant Associates Samantha Donovan says “you don’t want to leave your guests hungry, but you don’t want to overwhelm them either. So the best things to keep in mind are: what sort of activities did your guests do before the event start or dinner? Would they have worked up an appetite, or are they coming from a late lunch?”

DESTINATION For many types of business events, choosing the right destination can make a difference to your attendance and of course, budget. Every destination will have peak seasons depending on weather, school holidays and other major events taking place at the same time. Consider a variety of destinations and if needed, work with a planner who may be able to assist with getting you the right location at the right time and the right price.

ENTERTAINMENT Plan your entertainment for the right moment in the event when interest will be at the highest, perhaps a fun way to get people mingling on their arrival or after presentations to help liven the mood. Match your entertainment to the venue or theme, or pair the entertainment with your corporate message.

FOOD RESCUE CHARITIES Events often have a considerable amount of food waste that sadly goes into the rubbish. Organisations such as OzHarvest and Second Bite are excellent initiatives in delivering unused food to food charities.

GOVERNING BODIES It might sound boring, but depending on the type of event you’re organising, you might need permits for alcohol etc. A little research can save a giant headache later.

HEALTHY OPTIONS Including healthy options into your catering choices can keep your delegates more alert and therefore more engaged. Loading up on heavy food and too much sugar could have them snoring during afternoon presentations.

IMAGINATIVE DÉCOR Creative planners know that interactive décor is the way to engage guests. Think props people will want to pose with or quirky décor items like doughnut walls – which are a social media win for your brand.

JOBS Round up your team and delegate jobs to others, ensuring everything gets covered with much less stress. If it’s an option, using temporary staff on your event day for admin tasks and set up can also be a huge help.

KEYNOTE PRESENTERS Ensure your keynote presenters are engaging and entertaining or your delegates will be bored in no time. Get recommendations from a speaker’s bureau to find the best fit for your group and consider the demographic, so you are right on the mark.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Is spending extra for a million dollar venue important if presentations mean the blinds will be drawn most of the day? Does your location lend for easy public transport access? Does it have affordable parking options? Thoroughly research your location to see if it’s really the best option.

MARKETING Your event is an excellent marketing tool for your brand, so it’s important to consider how your brand ties back to the event itself. Restaurant Associates Samantha Donovan says “always ask your venue if they offer printing services, or if the corporate colour scheme can be incorporated into the meal? Maybe you can offer guests a take away cup cake with corporate colours and your logo. You put a lot of work into planning an event, and your guests will appreciate and notice the smaller details.”

NATURAL LIGHT Choosing a venue with plenty of natural light can be a great asset during day events, especially for breakout spaces, meals and breaks. If your event will have plenty of presentations however, make sure light can also be blocked out when you need it. Dedes Group CEO Lisa Hobbs (which has a range of waterfront venues) says “people want to be able to see outside and see the views. Corporates like that feeling of being away from the office and so natural light gives you a feeling of being outdoors as opposed to within an office and allows a sense of being able to ‘breath’.”

OUTDOORS Getting your team out for a bit of fresh air and teambuilding can be a huge boost to your event. BridgeClimb Sydney business development manager corporate, Leigh Weller, says “groups thrive and bond sharing in an adventure or overcoming a challenge together in a new environment, particularly an outdoor environment. “Some mild exercise and fresh air, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain, coupled with an exhilarating experience can reward, motivate and stimulate new ideas that wouldn’t have come from the day-to-day office environment.”

PHOTOGRAPHY If you’re using a photographer for your event, it’s vital to brief them in detail about the events of the day. What’s taking place when and where and the key happenings/ people you want images of. Also if you have sponsors don’t forget to ensure they are in images you are sharing. Explain to them what you want the images for, whether it’s social media, internal publications or for media as this can change the way they take the photos. Giving them a copy of your run-sheet is great, but doing a photo-briefing sheet is a must.

QUALITY SUPPLIERS The old adage applies; you get what you pay for. So when using suppliers, make sure they come with references and are reputable in the industry. Don’t risk your event’s success on using unreliable suppliers to save money.

RUN SHEET Put together a detailed run-sheet with absolutely every bit of information you need including contact details for you and your team and anyone else vital to the success of the event including all of the suppliers, bump in times, bump out and a full program of the day.

SECURITY Do you have high-profile guests in attendance? Could your event or after-party be in danger of being gatecrashed? If so, get extra security on site.

TRANSPORTATION Will your guests need transport to and from the event or safe transport home following a social night? Don’t leave attendees standing around for hours at the end of the night waiting for a taxi. Considering how they get to and from an event is vital to their impression of the overall event itself.

UNUSUAL VENUES “There are a number of advantages to using a unique venue for events. Firstly, before your event even starts, your guests will be intrigued to experience something out of the ordinary,” says Samantha Donovan, and this will help with getting them there in the first place. “Secondly, your guests will be more engaged with the venue itself and the unique offerings provided which means you (the planner) can rest easy knowing your guests are entertained and having a good time.” It also means they will talk about it for longer!

VIPS These can be anyone from your CEO to an honoured guest, key sponsors, clients or your keynote presenters. Adding special touches to welcome your VIPs personally can make them feel valued. Talk to your venue or accommodation provider to see if they can offer suggestions such as room upgrades for special guests. Consider special lanyards too identifying them as VIPs.

WIFI Having WiFi available for your delegates is essential nowadays. Speak with your venue to see if it’s included in the overall costs and if not, you may want to do some heavy negotiation or research another venue.

X-OFF THOSE ITEMS Using this A-Z list (as well as your own event brief) sit down at the very beginning of your planning stages and create a giant tick list to make sure every single detail (no matter how small) is included. Delegate tasks among your team and ‘X’ off your items as you smash through your planning.

YOU While you’re planning your event, it’s also vital to look after yourself as well. Stress or running yourself into exhaustion isn’t good for you or your event! So breath. Take time to go for a walk and consider any problems you may have. By removing yourself from the situation you can often find the solution.

ZOOS While a Zoo might not be the obvious choice for a business event, using one, or another venue which includes animal encounters can make a regular event unforgettable. Samantha Donovan whose organisation manages Taronga Centre says a zoo can offer a really unique element to an event, “how often do you get the chance to get out of the office environment and do a wild ropes course, or a scavenger hunt through a zoo? Or if you are hosting an annual gala, you can start the night with animal encounters outdoors before entering into a beautifully set up function room.”