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November 1, 2016
7 Tips for a Successful Corporate Holiday Party

Maybe you’ve been planning your business holiday party all year. Or maybe you just realized the year has ran away from you and you are scrambling to get it all pulled together.
Either way, these tips are designed to help you put together a get-together that your team will be talking about all through the next year.

Business woman celebrating birthday and doing a party with colleagues in her office. A friend with mobile phone takes pictures of her blowing out clandles on birthday cake. Wide shot

#1 Why are you celebrating?

I bet most of you are saying to yourself “It’s a holiday, that’s why!”
It’s more than that. Your end-of-year celebration is your way to thank your employees. Maybe you’re thanking them for helping you have a successful year. Or maybe it hasn’t been that good, but they’ve been in the trenches with you helping you climb out of it. Either way, your employees are there for you, and your celebration is a chance to give back to them.
So think about what message you want to convey to them and include that message in the planning of the party. Will you offer a toast to kick it off? Will you offer a bonus and could announce it at the party?

#2 Who are you inviting?

Obviously, your employees will be attending. But what about customers? Or family members of employees? The dynamic (and head count) for your party will vary a lot based on that answer, so it’s important to consider that early on.
Also – think about what that audience looks like. Are they all millennials, older people, a blend? If family can come, is it suitable for very young children or just spouses?
If you are hosting a family-friendly event, then indicate it on the invitations. Likewise, if you are allowing a spouse or plus one, indicate that as well.

#3 Don’t leave people out!

I know it can be hard to accommodate everyone’s beliefs, diets, and tastes in music. While you can’t please everyone, you can make take some simple steps to help each person be more comfortable.

  • Label the food. It’s simple, but it makes it where people can avoid foods that don’t go along with their dietary restrictions or preferences. They don’t have to guess what things are or chase down waiters and ask.
  • Provide seating options for people that can stand for long periods of time.
  • If you’re serving alcohol, provide non-alcoholic options.

#4 Plan your music playlist

This is a big part of keeping the party moving and the energy up. Think about the mood that you want to set, and plan music that will help keep that mood going. You can decide if you want people to dance, or just casually have a good time.
Then you want to make a decision on whether you want live music, a DJ, or just a playlist. If you want a band, you need to book them early to guarantee your date and time. The same is true for a DJ. If you want a playlist, it’s important build it ahead of time and ensure that you have enough music queued up to last through the whole party.
You will also need sound equipment. Bands and DJ’s may come with equipment, or they may request that you provide some of it. If you’re doing a playlist, you’ll need a sound system to play it. Either way, make sure you talk to the specialist and that you have the resources you need and know how to use them.

#5 Focus on the food

The food is one of the highlights of any party. Thanks to shows like Top Chef, Masterchef, Chopped, and other food shows, people are more educated than ever about their cuisine.
People want an elevated dining experience and the big, generic, food buffets don’t always leave a good impression. If you’re doing a buffet, then look at some ways to elevate it. Include more than just pigs in a blanket, rolls, salad, and banana pudding.
Make sure you work with a professional catering company or event planner and that they know what your wishes are and what type of image you are wanting to project.

#6 Keep the seating flexible

People like the ability to mix and mingle instead of being fixed to an assigned seat. Unless you have a compelling reason to plan seating placement, then consider keeping your seating open.
Your event staff can move through and clear plates while keeping the tables clean and presentable so people can move between tables and spend time talking with other people. This type of arrangement encourages people from different departments to get a chance to get to know each other and helps build new friendships throughout your company.

#7 Decorations make an impression

Thankfully, expensive floral arrangements are out and lighting is in. Decorating with simpler items like balloons and lights makes a big impression and improves the ambience of the room.
You should also pick a classic or neutral color palette. While it can be tempting to go with traditional red and green, you have to worry about putting to much emphasis on Christmas and ignoring holidays like Hanukkah. You could consider a palette centered around red and silver or red and gold and keep the holiday feel while adding a touch of class and sophistication. Or you could consider a neutral color palette like silver, white, grays and give the room a wintery look.

Save Hassle and Hire an Event Planner

The most complicated part of any event is organizing all of the various pieces. Planning food, music, decorations, the venue… it can all get overwhelming and it’s hard to focus on running your business or doing your job when you have all of that on top of you too.
So save yourself the hassle and hire an event planner to help you. I take care of the details so you can just show up and enjoy your party. Contact me today to book your event!

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