In the twenty plus years we’ve been in the event industry, we’ve been given some priceless pieces of advice. We’ve also heard some real humdingers. We’ve rounded up the best, and worst corporate event planning advice we’ve heard so that you don’t fall victim to these well-meaning, yet potentially disastrous, pieces of advice.

 

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”

This may be a great piece of advice to follow if you’re prone to overthinking everything under the sun until the early hours, but when it comes to corporate events, you can’t afford to ignore the details. Paying attention to every single facet of an event – however small – is what event planners get paid to do. As we’ve written before, all it takes is one overlooked detail to derail an entire event.

 

“Talk to the duck”

One of the greatest pieces of advice we’ve ever received was to “Talk to the duck”. We’re not using this phrase literally, instead, we’re referring to the practice of verbalising a problem, instead of trying to muddle it through your own mind. By talking through a problem from beginning to end, you’re forced to re-evaluate it. The best part of this practice is that you don’t need a human audience to benefit from it.  Whether you grab a colleague or simply mouth off to a picture of your dog or an inanimate desktop decoration, verbalising the situation is often enough to identify a viable solution without having to resort to escalating the issue.

 

“You don’t really need a plan B”

Much like the first gem of an insight in this blog, this is one piece of advice that flies in the face of the essence of corporate event planning. Planning for any and all eventualities is nothing less than crucial. We’ve witnessed the importance of a plan B first hand, many times over, and if it weren’t for a backup-up plan, some of the events struck by unforeseen circumstances would have ended up as full-blown disasters. As laborious as setting up safeguards can be, this is one aspect of the job that you can’t afford to leave off your list.

 

“Double check. Then check again”

You can never be too conscientious about dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s. It’s often only in the final run-through of a set-up that an overlooked issue comes to light. There are countless people involved in the orchestrating of a corporate event, which means that human error can, and does, happen all the time. As such, checking and re-checking that everything is in place is essential.

 

“No one will notice x,y or x”

Corporate event planning is a detail-orientated industry. Clients are finicky (often, for good reason) and guests – no matter how seasoned an attendee they are – always notice the little things. Unfortunately, guests tend to hone in on mistakes right away: the misspelled surname, an ignored dietary request or the fact that they’ve been sat next to the restrooms. If you think that sloppy work will go unnoticed, this isn’t the industry for you.

 

“Never so say no to clients”

Many of the issues corporate event planners face stem from the client side. Super-tight deadlines, tighter purse strings and outlandish demands call for a strong resolve. And while we’re loathe to turn a client down, sometimes the only thing to do is to say “No”. While corporate event planning entails a great deal of client service, it shouldn’t entail bending over backwards to such an extent that all other priorities (and your sanity) go out the window.

We’d love to hear the worst – and best – pieces of advice you’ve ever received about planning or running corporate events. Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter!


Contrary to popular belief, the hard work involved in a corporate event doesn’t end once your venue is packed up and your guests have gone home. If you want to ensure your corporate event achieves its objectives – regardless of what these are – you need to tick off the following five action points once the physical event has culminated.

 

1.Send out a post-event survey

To make the most of this exercise, you need to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. Sending out a post-event survey via your event mobile app, SMS or email as soon as the event has finished allows you to tap into the minds of your guests while they’re still ruminating on their experience. Keep your questions short and opt for multiple-choice – the easier it is for guests to complete the survey, the more responses you’ll get. Don’t forget to lead with a ‘Thank you for attending’. Good manners pay off!

2. Analyse your event data

This is where the good stuff is. And by good stuff, we mean the crucial insights into your guests that enable you to understand them and the way they interact with your brand. Don’t forget that the difference between a corporate event that succeeds and on that falls flat is an in-depth understanding of the people in attendance, so mining all event collateral is an essential undertaking. Look at attendance reports, pre-and-post sales reports (if applicable), mobile event app data, social media feeds and post-event surveys.

3. Set an email marketing campaign in motion

Staying in touch with guests once they’ve attended your corporate event is essential. Depending on the nature of your event, a thank you email may suffice, but if your event forms part of a bigger marketing campaign, such as a product launch, you’ll need to construct an email marketing campaign that continuously provides relevant information to your guests. The key to email campaigns that successfully drive recipients to take further action, whether this is to purchase a product, visit your website or follow you on social media, lies in the content of your mails. Personalise all correspondence, employ a master wordsmith to craft compelling copy that’s relevant, and make sure each email provides the recipient with something of value. (Don’t forget about POPI!)

4. Refine your social media strategy

Keep your brand top of mind by using post-event data to fine-tune your social media strategy. Follow guests who were in attendance or who’ve recently followed or mentioned you, and send them a direct message to thank them for their attendance.  Post a recap of the event and tag all relevant parties – the more exposure, the better. Even if your next event is months away, keep new and old followers alike updated with news about your brand to pique their interest in the interim.

5. Pick up the phone

Thanks to the plethora of communication platforms available, it’s easy to opt for electronic means over an in-person phone call. The point of any event is to form a personal relationship with your guests, and what better way to solidify this than by picking up the phone and reaching out to your attendees? Thank them again for their attendance and ask them for additional feedback about their experience. By doing so, you’re further personalising your brand – an act that goes a long way in increasing brand acknowledgement and adoption.

Make sure your events achieve your objectives, and then some, by finding out about our corporate event management software. Easy and intuitive to use, we’ve built our software to help corporate event managers get the most out of their events. Download our brochure below.


Richard-Saul-Wurman-event-management-tips.jpgDid you know that the first Technology, Entertainment, Design conference (more commonly known as TED) was hosted as far back as 1984? This is according to a recent Fast Company long read by Michael Grothaus. Since then, the non-profit organisation has run over 50 TED conferences, which have all served to gather keen and like-minded thinkers for interactive talks on just about anything pertaining to the tech, entertainment or design industries.

The brain-child behind TED is Richard Saul Wurman, who chaired the popular TED conference from 1984 to 2002. Wurman later went on to develop the TEDMED conference for health professionals. Shortly after that, inspired to find a different and more cost effective way to run conferences, Wurman started the conversation-based WWW conference.

What was Wurman’s thoughts behind the WWW conference?

As Wurman explained in a video interview with Curiosity, the WWW conference aimed to gather intellectuals for unrehearsed conversations around all the ‘W’ words – war, the word, wit, the weather, the world. Wurman wanted to create a “meeting, gathering or dinner party, with 100 of the greatest minds in the world, having [unedited and unrehearsed] conversations, two at a time…with no time limit”.

And the cherry on the top? No one had to buy a ticket to attend this event, ever. In his video interview, Wuurman shared that, while he recognised the many risks to this venture and that there was “lots of possibility for failure”, he also had enough confidence in his ability to pull it off – and that, for him, was exciting.

What can event managers and professionals learn from Richard Wurman?

The following are a few event management tips that we feel can be gleaned from Wurman’s wealth of conference planning experience.

You’re never too old (or too skilled) to improve your craft

Wurman started organising conferences  in the 80s and has just kept going. In a YouTube video, he explained that, in continuing with honing the process, he’s been trying to figure out why something works and how he can create conferences that aren’t boring. By adopting a similar approach to corporate event planning – i.e. intentionally keeping corporate event experiences fresh, innovative and engaging – an event official can become the go-to specialist in their industry.

Risk-taking is worth it

Wurman’s first TED conference ran at a massive loss, but this didn’t stop him from organising the next one in 1985. Too often, we allow failure to discourage us instead of harnessing it for our learning. For Wurman, thinking out the box to explore new ideas and take risks was worth it. I know that this isn’t the most comfortable of event management tips, but, as event professionals, we need to take the necessary risks to push the boundaries and create event experiences that resonate deeply with our corporate guests.

There’s no need to blow the budget to impress your VIP list

It’s a common misconception that the flashier the corporate event, the better. What innovative ideas could you think up if you set yourself the task of planning a corporate event on half the allocated budget, for example? Scarcity often inspires creativity.

Wurman used subtraction principles to rethink his events: he subtracted all the conventional features of a conference (the lectern, long presentations, VIPs that were for face value only – all the pomp and ceremony of a conference) to create the 18-minute speeches that have made TED Talks as globally accessible as they are.

Let passion inform your event planning process

If you are organising events that you wouldn’t set foot in yourself, then something is amiss. Here’s the last of this blog’s event management tips: you need to have a passion for what you are doing, and this is only possible if your interest is piqued. Don’t be scared to add a personal touch to your corporate event planning that provides inspiration for you when the going gets tough. Don’t be scared to stretch yourself and explore the boundaries of the corporate event management world.

Other event management tips include keeping your finger on the pulse of event technology and being sure to keep up to date with the latest trends in Guest List Management Software. You may enjoy our event technology guide. You can download it here.

Image Credit: pi.tedcdn.com


Without stress, human beings wouldn’t have evolved. Stress notifies us of potential dangers, enabling us to act swiftly. While we may not have to watch out for any roaming Wildebeest, we face stressful situations on a daily basis. If you’re an event planner, ‘stressed’ is likely to be your resting state. As beneficial as stress can be, it can also be incredibly detrimental to your health, and career. That said, one person’s stressful day may be a walk in the park for another. Answer the following questions and see how you fare on the stress management scale.

1. It’s 6am on a Monday morning, and your to-do list rivals the length of War and Peace. You’re most likely to be found:

a) In bed. You’ve been awake since 3am after two hours of restless sleep, and are unable to get into the shower from sheer panic at the day that awaits. You have a Xanax and wait for it to kick in.

b) You put your alarm on snooze for another 45 minutes, and then leisurely make your way to the kitchen, where you spend another 45 minutes sipping your coffee until you realise you’re due in a meeting in 20 minutes.

c) You wake up as your alarm goes off, ready to tackle the day with a detailed action plan.

2. You have a presentation with a client, and if all goes well, you’ll land a lucrative contract for the next year. Do you:

a) Put a slideshow together 30 minutes before you’re due to face the client, based on some quick Googling you got your PA to do. Drive to the meeting in a panic, only to be informed that the meeting was in fact, yesterday.

b) Drive to the meeting in your gym clothes, armed with only a generic presentation on your laptop. You’re confident your charm is more than sufficient to seal the deal.

c) Dedicate time in the month running up to the meeting, where you attempt to find out as much as you can about the client. You painstakingly compile a presentation based on factual data about their brand and past events.

3. When it comes to spending time with your nearest and dearest, your approach to socialising is:

a) A quick scroll through your Facebook feed while you wolf down a Woolies ready-meal in front of a PVR marathon of The Great South African Bake Off. Who has time for a social life?

b) You regularly take long, leisurely lunches with friends, and often duck out of events to attend dinner parties, living by the mantra ‘all work and no play makes Jackie a dull woman’. (Partying is a form of stress management after all.)

c) You schedule dates according to your calendar; your friends understand that your career demands long hours, but know that when you have time, you’re always up for a Sunday stroll or phone call.

4. You’ve just been for your annual health check-up, and the verdict is:

a) Your stress levels are so high that even though you’re 43, you’re exhibiting symptoms typical of a 65 year old. Your doctor instructs you to cut out caffeine, take up Yoga and get a full 8 hours of sleep. As you walk out of the appointment, you down a Red Bull and toss the script in a bin. You have work to do!

b) Indulgent lunches and a fondness for post-event celebratory wine have increased your cholesterol levels. Your doctor advises that you cut out saturated fats and alcohol. You respond by thinking ‘life without butter isn’t a life worth living’ and justify tucking into a cheese board by reminding yourself that Tim Noakes would approve.

c) Good! Your approach to stress management is holistic; you try to get as much sleep as you can, religiously sip on water throughout the day, and get a quick walk in before work.

Your approach to stress management is as follows:

Mostly as:
Non-existent. Stress management is the last thing on your never-ending to-do list. Your high-stress life isn’t just detrimental to your health, but to your career too. A little bit of planning goes a long way, as does some much needed screen-free time. Aim to schedule some ‘me time’ once a week – your body, mind and clients will thank you.

Mostly bs:
Misinformed. While letting your hair down is an effective form of stress management, your career and personal life seem to be out of sync. By focusing more o\n your professional life, your down time will be that much sweeter. What’s more, your working life is bound to thrive too.

Mostly cs:
Just right. You’ve found the balance between work and play, and are reaping the benefits.

Download our eBook, ‘The Practical Guide to Professional RSVP’ to learn more about time management, as well as how an automated RSVP system can help you do more in a fraction of the time.

Image Credit: timewellness.files.wordpress.com