How to plan a business event – beginner’s guide

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Planning a business event is much more than booking a venue. Planning takes time and effort, and you could find that software is the answer (for example, see this event planning software). More about this, and types of events, below…

Event planning (forget snail mail – go online)

Back in 1975, an article in a business publication predicted the advent of paperless offices. Fast forward to the modern day, and we know that paper still has its uses, but business use is seldom one of them. The same is true of planning your business event. Nobody expects an invitation in the post, containing minimal details about an event, with an RSVP section that they’re expected to return to show they will be attending. Everything needs to be done online, both for the benefit of the attendees (who may need more information than can be contained on a simple printed invite) and for you as the organiser. Here’s why…

  • Planning and designing your invitations through software means you can take control of the look and feel of your invitations, instead of relying on store-bought invites or paying a designer.
  • With online software, you can manage the booking system in real time, giving you all of the information you need about who plans to attend your event. 
  • If you plan to provide your attendees with optional extras that require payment, such as a hotel stay, payment options can be handled through online software, making the process as smooth as possible.
  • Communication tools may also be provided, meaning you can speak directly to individuals or groups of people at any time – always useful if there is a last minute change of plan (e.g. parking arrangements, menu).

Decide your type of business event

Once you are up to speed with the online element of planning and organising your day, you need to know what type of day you’re actually hosting. There are many types of business events, and you should know that attendees will be expecting certain things from different events. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the main types of business events.

 

  • Conference 

 

Designed to allow the exchange of views, begin debates, and encourage speakers to express opinions on areas relevant to the interests of the attendees. 

 

  • Tradeshow

 

A tradeshow is a gathering with many exhibitors displaying their products or services. This is where people come to learn more information about relevant interests. 

 

  • Corporate event 

 

These come in internal (corporation) and external (association) formats. Corporation events involve the host company addressing employees on initiatives and reports. Association events open up attendance to speakers/guests from the wider industry.

 

  • Convention 

 

A convention allows the host to combine elements of other types of established event. In a sense, a convention is a ‘wild-card’ style meet up, designed to suit the requirements of the day.

There are also self-explanatory product launches and the insular “congress” style meet up (designed to encourage debate on a single topic). Make sure you make the correct announcement over the type of event you plan to host!

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