5 Business Event Ideas to Liven up Your Next Event
Business events can be some of the hardest to pull off. The idea of getting up early to network with people they hardly know, can fill some of your attendees with dread. Pair that with being sat in a dreary conference room, eating from the same menu they had last week, means your event won’t be one they will be rushing back to.
Ensure your business event doesn’t fall flat with these business event ideas to help make it more memorable.
1. Select a theme
I love a good theme! They’re fun, get your creative juices flowing and help you focus. Choose a theme based on the conference topic, location, or the guests themselves. This allows you to get creative with the dress code, food, decor etc.
An event I attended a few years ago had a comic book theme, which they used to illustrate much of the literature. This was a great idea to help them tell their story and stand out against the norm.
2. Choose an interesting venue
Hotel conference rooms are great for business events, as a lot of what you need e.g. catering, AV system etc. should already there for you. However, they don’t provide much by way of atmosphere, and, as it is likely that this will be your attendees, 3rd, 4th, 10th event there this month, they are easily forgotten.
When choosing your venue consider your guests, the theme and the time of year. Can you hold the event outside, on a boat perhaps, or circus tent? Is there somewhere with more interesting surroundings, such as an art gallery or museum? Even a local restaurant or coffee house will have a better atmosphere than a conference room.
You’d be surprised how many venues can cater for different events. I wrote a piece on ‘5 Cool Event Spaces in Belfast That You Might Not Expect’, and our friend Connie Bree created a list for New York. Why not look at your own area, and see if there is anywhere similar near you?
3. Be imaginative with your menu
Food and drink can make or break an event. Help make a great experience for your guests by getting creative with your menu. This doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to organise. For example, you could replace a set menu with a buffet to get your guests moving, or why not host a wine tasting or coffee masterclass? Work with your chef or caterers to come up with interesting twists on classic dishes to wow your guests. I wrote a blog here that might help.
Of course, the delivery of the menu can be just as exciting as the menu itself. BizBash wrote a great piece on different ways to serve deserts at your event, including a pretzel umbrella and candy floss dress.
Note: Always check for any special dietary requirements on your registration page
4. Provide great entertainment
Just because it’s a business event, doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun! Remember that, although your guests may have corporate day jobs, they are people at the end of the day. Great entertainment can take the stiffness of business events, and provide a great talking point.
Are there any local artists who could come and do some live art at your event? Or how about a musical guest, or comedian during a break? I attended an event that had singing waiters as part of the entertainment. This completely took everyone by surprise, and we’re still talking about it!
Photo booths also work great at events. They are a perfect ice breaker for guests who haven’t met before, and they can take their own photo home with them as a memento!
For some events, you may only be able to budget for your speakers, so make sure you do your research on them first. Are there any past talks on YouTube you can look at? Have they published anything recently? What is their persona on Social Media? Event Manager blog wrote a great piece recently on ’10 Signs You’re Hiring an Awesome Conference Speaker’ which is useful to check out.
5. Make the goody bag a talking point
Kids party bags, have tricked our brains into thinking that all goody bags must be filled with exciting things (and they should)! Unfortunately, at business events, we often end up disappointed when we are greeted with a small forest worth of pamphlets and brochures, and office supplies.
Establish who your audience are, and what you want the bag to achieve. Are they in a high pressured job? Are they creative types? Is this a branding exercise, or do you want to drive them online?
Take the time to consider your guests and give them something that they would like,as they are much more likely to remember the thought you put in, and share it with their colleagues and peers. Make sure to communicate this to your sponsors and exhibitors as well, as often they can be clueless as to what to offer.
If your budget is tight, then why not make up your own packs? Pinterest is really great for providing some inspiration for this, and you could cater your bag content to the time of year. Another point to remember is that they don’t all have to have the same design, in fact research shows that when people can choose their own bags, they are more likely to take them home!
Putting a little extra thought into these details can make all the difference and whatever you decide upon, if your guests are having a good time, you can be sure they won’t forget your event!
How do you make your events special? Let us know by sharing below.