How to Organize a Social Event for Your Business

Planning a business-related social event, whether a weekend picnic or formal business dinner, requires a firm plan that you follow to the letter. Whatever the social event, you can follow the same basic procedure:

  • Make a schedule to keep yourself organized. Determine what you need to accomplish at certain points prior to the party (such as a month before, a week before, and a day before).

  • Include all the necessary information in an invitation. Invitations to casual events can be creative and unusual, but those to formal affairs should follow protocol. Always mention exactly whom you're inviting when you issue invitations (whether significant others or children are welcome, for example) and how you expect your guests to dress.

  • Provide parking. If the parking situation is difficult, consider limiting your guest list or hiring a shuttle for your guests. If the event takes place at an establishment that offers valet parking, arrange beforehand to handle the fees and gratuities for your guests.

  • Finalize preparations on the day of the event. Take care of last-minute details. Mentally walk through the event. Review the names of guests, spouses, and significant others, as well as company affiliations. Allow plenty of time to set up and dress. Try to give yourself half an hour to relax before the party begins.

  • Greet your guests. As your first guests arrive, greet them at the door. Introduce newcomers all around the room until the number of guests gets too large. When that happens, introduce newcomers only to the people who are closest at hand.

  • Run the meal. Your main meal options are a buffet meal and a sit-down dinner. A buffet is a great way to build camaraderie and allow a lot of people to mingle. A dinner party is a small affair, usually with no more than 12 guests.

  • End the party. The party should be over an hour after dessert is finished. As people begin to leave, station yourself at the door; accept their compliments; thank them for coming and wish them a good evening.

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