Help! My boss has asked me to plan the company holiday party! Now what?
How many guests will be attending (will it be employees only, or employees and their dates?)
• Will the event take place at the place of business or at an outside venue?
• Day or evening?
Some of these questions like design/décor could be as simple a solution as something the venue already has for centerpieces and nothing more. If it’s a holiday party a professional venue most likely already has some type of decorations up for the holidays.
If it is a larger scale event with many moving parts, it would be advisable to secure an event producer.
Why should I hire an event producer?
You could save money…
It’s true! Often times an event producer can actually save you money! Do you know how much it should cost to rent a video screen from a venue? A good event producer knows and will make sure that you are not overcharged.
You will save time… Producing an event is time consuming. You will do a lot of running around and may not even be certain you are getting the most qualified vendors. A good event producer has established relationships with the best of the best, so you can rest assured that you are getting great vendors.
Liability… a good event producer carries a liability policy for all of their vendors and can add you as additionally insured to their policy. That could be very important in the event that someone has an accident at your event.
How to hire the right event producer?
Find a producer who has been at it for at least five years.
It doesn’t matter if the producer is local to where the event is happening. If the company is worth their salt, they know how to source anywhere in the world.
All things being equal, meaning, the producer is verifiably competent, it comes down to rapport. When you talk about the vision for your event, do they discredit your ideas, or do they help to problem solve to see how to achieve them?
Ask for referrals from past clients.
How to keep the seats filled and the audience engaged even during the very last session of the event when people are packed up and their minds are turned toward traveling home!
This is a GREAT question! It is a question that has plagued conferences since… well, since there were conferences!
Show flow is critical to keep crowds engaged. The final chapter of an event is a precarious spot. People get short-timers disease and feel
like they “got the gist of it” and are ready to go home or to get drinks or whatever is next.
Not only does that moment require something that absolutely shows stopping, but it also should be something that has a unique flare and gets people engaged. It should feel like a launch, a MUST NOT MISS moment.
Just like a line up at a concert, never put your headliner upfront. Save them for the end. That will differ from industry to industry and certainly working with a seasoned event pro will help to create a show flow that will literally leave your guests lingering in the room because of the energy it creates.
As a final final, you can do a teaser that is a special gift or offer that isn’t revealed until the very end.
How do you get performers or those with time on stage –
to honor their time slot?
First and foremost, a dedicated talent wrangler must be at the stage at all times. This person must have no other duties and must never leave their post unless they are relieved by another qualified talent wrangler.
A qualified talent wrangler is a very specific skillset involving people skills at a very high level. Sometimes talent wranglers must inform
speakers that their time is being cut short, or eliminated altogether if the speaker is passed a certain point of tardiness. The talent wrangler
must possess the ability to convey this with authority and compassion.
In the back of having a kick-ass talent wrangler, there must be a speaker’s agreement between the speaker and the production that clearly outlines the fact that the speaker’s time slot may need to be adjusted to keep timelines intact. All speakers must be prepared to pare down their talk in order to accommodate the needs of the overall production.
How to manage time regarding when working with multiple venue areas...ie workshops and mainstage speakers?
Make sure that there is a lead person in each venue or area who can keep track of the time and also make sure there is an adequate
way for them to address the crowd to get them to wherever they need to go next.
If the audience is small ie, 1-20 people, and the lead person is a strong leader who can use their voice loudly and boldly, they most likely will be able to get the audience to pay attention
(having a bell or some other attention-grabbing sound can help with that).
If the crowd is any larger or the lead isn’t able to be loud enough, you will need a sound system suitable to address whatever size crowd that is.