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It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the corporate world: most clients who are invited to corporate events may say that they’re excited about showing up, but behind-the-scenes they’re feverishly searching for an excuse to politely decline.

What’s the problem here? Frankly, it’s that many corporate events — if not most of them — are predictable and boring. It’s a waste of money and a missed opportunity for corporations, and a waste of time and effort for clients. Nobody wins and everyone loses.

Of course, we’re talking about most corporate events — not all of them. There are still some that stand out for all of the right reasons, and deepen valuable client relationships. To ensure that your next corporate event is rewarding for all involved rather than regrettable, here are four tips to keep in mind:

  • Wisely choose the location.

Is holding a corporate event at your headquarters a good idea? Perhaps – but not necessarily. If you don’t have enough space, or are undergoing a renovation or repairs, then seriously consider booking a ballroom or conference room at a hotel or convention center, or find rentable outdoor event space. The extra cost will be well worth it.

  • Use professional caterers.

The easiest way to ruin a corporate event is by cutting corners – and budget – on food and beverages. There should be ample variety to suit various tastes and preferences (don’t forget “teetotalers”, vegans, people with allergies, etc.), and presentation is just as important as taste. To that end, don’t “voluntell” your employees to become temporary cater waiters. Hire professionals who know how to deliver the positive impression and impact you want.

  • Make it relevant – but don’t “sell.”

Of all the reasons that some clients avoid — or dread — going to corporate events, perhaps the most looming is they’re worried about being part of a captive audience that is drilled by one self-promotional message after another. Proactively neutralize this anxiety by clearly telling clients what they can look forward to, such as entertainment, a guest speaker, or some other production or experience that is relevant to them; not just to you.

  • Rent a Party Bus

Transporting your clients to and from your event in a party bus is low-cost, high-impact way to make a lasting positive impression — especially since it’s something that most (if not all) of your clients will be experiencing for the first time. Depending on the size of your gathering, you can even rent a party bus and hold the event itself on wheels. The journey becomes the destination.

The Bottom Line

Keep the above tips in mind, and be assured that your clients will look forward to attending your next corporate event vs. searching for excuses to say “sorry, I’d love to attend but…”.

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