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So You've Been Asked to Do the Company Event

So you've been asked to do the company event, and here you are without a degree in Event ... There is one, BTW, with Internet courses even: ... it happens, and even if y

So you've been asked to do the company event, and here you are
without a degree in Event Planning. There is one, BTW, with
Internet courses even:

Anyway, it happens, and even if you thought it would be fun,
when faced with the task, it can be daunting. You are about to
become the conductor of a large orchestra. Here are some ideas
from my years as an event planner.


Find out your budget. If they didn't think about that - the
money, you know - you'll have to jump ahead and make your plan
so you can provide a realistic request for money.

With or without a large budget, you can do a great event. More
on this later.

If there's a history, get your predecessor's file.


If you're in a loop, in other words if you get out, go to parties,
trade shows, luncheons, anniversary banquets, and charity balls,
you have enough information. It's just a matter of connecting the
names, and your gut instincts will tell you where the yentas are
that can provide this.

Failing that, book your event in a reputable hotel and get with
their Catering Coordinator. She'll have a full rolodex of great
leads for you!

Other sources for information are any good PR firm, or the
'designer' florist or stationer in your town. These people are
often event-planners in disguise.


These are the basic elements to an event:

·Master of ceremonies
·Door prizes
And you may need seating chart and table markers, and in some cases
insurance and a Health Dept. permit.


In the meantime, get out and look around. Do a quick Internet
search and check out websites like: http://www.specialevents.
com and


Churches and non-profits offer a plethora of opportunities for
practice. That's how I got started - working with the pros.
They weren't being paid, but if you're putting on a Charity
Ball for 1,000 people that brings in $100,000, you're a PRO.

I went and hung out. Got on a committee, then headed a
committee and worked my way up. The Mavens were grateful for
help, and, like anyone else with serious responsibility, they
parceled out projects to me as my abilities warranted. A true

Keep your eyes and ears open, and you'll learn the political
side of it, which is tricky.
You'll also learn the things you really need to know, like for
heaven's sake don't ever be the one who manages the seating
chart the night of the event. It's hideous! Assign someone
who's firm but pleasant, or just naïve enough to agree.


Of course everything you do, you do with tact, and you've
worked to develop your emotional intelligence competencies,
which is good, because you're going to need them.

How so? Because this can be the original "Little Red Hen"
thing. Everyone has an idea, and wants this and that, and no
one wants to do the work. I remember the CEO who called me
in a week before an event to announce there had to be one of
those big cakes with all the candles brought in. Hmmm.


Delegate any task you can. For an idea of how to organize
this, take a look at a program from a big event, or those ball
flyers. They'll list all the committee chairs.


There are many ways you can get things for little or no money.
Entertainment, for instance. If you look around town, you'll
find groups who perform for the love of it, and they can be
quite good.

Remember that children always "work." They can be as bad as
bad, and that much more adorable. I had a group of kids perform
free) when I did a New Orleans Jazz Brunch. I had a professional
jazz band lead in with "When the Saints Go Marching In" and the
children, dressed in Mardi Gras costumes, ran around throwing
coins, confetti, and streamers.

Throwing confetti? I had a hotel Event Coordinator agree to
let us bring in men on motorcycles if we agreed to clean up
any oil spills.

You truly never know!

There's also a serious Boys' Choir in S.A. I've used, and
they were worth what they charged.

Stay away from amateur comedians. Bad humor is irretrievable
and so is your reputation.


Because it will happen. I've had every volunteer fail at
some point - no decorations, no program ... You just have to
learn how to cope. If decorations person f ails, buy a pretty
floral arrangement for each table. If there's no money, buy
that crepey paper and "wrap" each table like a gift.


Your nerves may be a bit on edge. I remember the maitre d'
who saw me about to decompensate at set-up time, who took me
in his arms and said, "Let's dance," and waltzed me around
the mess in the ballroom that was bad and getting worse.

I remember the chef who told me at set-up time that he couldn't
possibly serve this in less than 3 hours, "Surely you jest."
Lucha was there. She went into the kitchen with him and came
back 30 minutes later saying brunch would be served in 50


Some need to be briefed on how to run the show; some don't.


Ready sources for speakers are ministers, community leaders,
university professors, and professional speakers. And hey,
ask the mayor. You never know!


Getting door prizes is easy. Send out form letters or make
phone calls to business owners telling them they'll get
promotion in the program. Restaurants will kick in dinners,
airlines will give ticketsArticle Search, hotels will give golf packages.
These places have budgets for this kind of thing. They'll
also foot printing costs.


Process after the event and keep things in a file. You'll
want to remember what worked and what didn't.

Source: Free Articles from


Susan Dunn is a personal and professional development coach who helps clients discover their strengths and live authentically. Visit her on the web at and for FREE strengths course, put "strengths" for ezine.

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