The annual company Christmas party…it can have the potential to make or break your career, or simply leave you a little red faced the following day. These are our top tips to get you through this year’s unscathed and with a job to go back to after it’s all over!
Hopefully you love the people you work with and can’t wait to spend an evening partying with them, but even if you don’t, you must put in an appearance. You’ll only make yourself look bad if you don’t. Your company may have pre-paid for your food and drink, so will not be too happy if this goes to waste. If you really can’t attend, make sure you let the organiser know in advance.
2. Dress appropriately
Yes, it’s a party, but it’s a WORK party, so keep your dress in good taste. If you wouldn’t dream of wearing that short, tight mini skirt or super low cut dress to the office, you probably shouldn’t wear it to the party. The venue and style of the party should be a good indicator of what to wear. A themed party isn’t an excuse to get it all out, still keep it appropriate.
3. Watch the clock
Be on time (a little bit late is fine) and stay for a couple of hours. Leave before your colleagues start trying to convince you to do vodka shots….(see next point).
4. Lay off the booze
We’ve all heard the stories. Do you really want to be THAT person? Enough said.
5. Mingle and schmooze
Take this chance to introduce yourself to everyone at the party, especially those you may not normally get to speak to. When else do you get to have a casual chat with your CEO? If you’re looking to increase your contacts and profile within the business, this could be your chance. BUT, make sure you’ve followed points 2 & 3 above…no amount of schmoozing will make up for getting these wrong.
6. Get the conversation right
Have some openers ready. Introduce yourself and try complimenting the other person or asking them a question e.g. ‘what are you doing for Christmas?’ or ‘what do you do within the company?’ Avoid questions that produce closed responses (‘do you have kids?’) – they’ll make the conversation awkward. Do not engage in office gossip of any kind and watch your language.
7. Watch the snaps
You can pretty much guarantee those inappropriate party photos will be all over the internet in approximately 8 hours time (or less if you’re unlucky). Pose for the camera at the start of the night and avoid it towards the end. If you love the spotlight, use your own camera – at least you’ll have control of the pics.
8. Be social media savvy
Give your Twitter, Facebook, Linked and anything thing else you’re on updates a rest for the night. If you have control of your company accounts, these are a definite no go area during party time.
9. Prepare for the next day
Although we’ve already established you won’t be having a massive night, just as a precaution, leave your calendar free of appointments and make sure there are no big deadlines you need to meet.
10. Have fun!
Most importantly, enjoy the party. No doubt you’ve worked hard all year, so enjoy this chance to have some fun and enjoy the lighter side of your colleagues.
Having a theme at your event can be an excellent way to increase audience interest and participation, reinforce your business brand, or just step up the fun factor. However keeping the theming budget within reach can sometimes be a challenge.
With a bit of planning and careful thought towards the image you want to project you can have a stunning theme for your event, and bring it within budget.
Start with the theme
Choose your theme carefully! As well as thinking about the look you want to create, think about how easy it is going to be to do this with the budget that you have. Some themes sound great on paper but can be very hard to incorporate into an event without spending a large amount of money. It’s a good idea to brainstorm ideas and make your final theming decisions in the very early stages of your event planning. This will make it easier to stick to the overall concept and keep a lid on expenses. It can also be very difficult and expensive to change themes later on in the event planning process.
Choose the right venue
Try and choose a venue that either fits with your theme in terms of style and decoration, or has a neutral interior that doesn’t conflict with what you’re planning. The last thing you want to be doing is spending additional money covering up aspects of a venue that don’t fit with your theme.
If you’re planning on bringing in sound, lighting, or props for your event, find out if the venue has the space and technical abilities to support these. If you’re going to incur extra charges to bring in extra power for all the lighting you were planning on having, you may need to reconsider the theming or the venue. On the other hand, the venue may be able to recommend suppliers who can provide items at better rates, or may have different suggestions on ways to theme the room.
It’s also important to ask the venue what they allow in terms of decorations access for set up and. Many venues will have restrictions that you will need to take into consideration when planning decorations e.g. no glitter, and some venues may charge for early access to set up elaborate theming.
Keep it simple
From colour schemes and table decorations to the choice of food, often it is the simple approach which will catch the eye of the attendees. If your budget is limited, think small and look for easy ways to add your theme into your event. Lighting can be inexpensive and one of the most effective ways of creating atmosphere and adding colour. Remember, less can be more, and is usually cheaper!
If your budget allows, look at introducing 1 or 2 key pieces into the venue that work with your theme without going overboard e.g. bringing in a juke box for a retro themed event will make an impact and will be a talking point.
There are always plenty of creative and unique ideas on the internet for ways to theme events, so its worth spending a bit of time doing some research before you spend the cash!
Get your guests involved
Asking guests to get involved on the night can be one of the most effective ways to theme an event, and it won’t cost the organisers anything. If it’s appropriate, ask guests to base their outfit around the theme, whether this is 1920’s, Back to School or Retro. A room full of guests in themed outfits can often make a much bigger impression than table centrepieces or expensive room theming.
Public or private event – Public Liability insurance is essential.
Events come in all shapes and sizes – from intimate weddings of 50 or 100 people through to a 5,000 strong technology conferences. No matter how big or small, public or intimate an event may be, chances are that they will be an emotionally charged experience. So why not let someone else pick up the bill if something goes wrong – let your insurance work for you.
Of course, the aim of the game is to put on the event of your client’s life – one that they and their attendees will remember for a long time to come. But you know that there are so many things that could go wrong – especially if you have a picky or indecisive client. Will the bride-to-be change her mind about the exotic flower arrangements that you have gained Australian Customs permission to bring in from Fiji, will the 10-meter wide flat screen adequately display the key note speakers address at a shareholders AGM and will there be enough security on hand to contain a crowd of thousands at the Powderfinger come-back concert that you’ve been asked to organise.
There are three key ways of thinking about whether you need insurance: 1. does the government or client require you to have it; 2. what are the specific risks related to events that you put on; and 3. based on the first two things, are your pockets deep enough to cover any losses that your client might sue you for, damages to property or physical injury to event attendees. If you answered yes to 3, you’ll probably be better off investing that money into an ING account where you’ll get a much better return. So let’s focus on public liability. There are two key elements of risk you will not be able to escape: the likelihood of an attendee injuring themselves or damage to property for which you are in charge of.
No matter how careful you may be the chances of an attendee getting injured is generally significant. This is because people are individuals and are affected in their own unique way by their environment. Risk factors such as alcohol, geographical location or even demographic can affect whether people will fall into harm’s way. Sure, you need to do everything in your power to make sure this doesn’t happen but if something does happen it will be quite a costly affair – even simple things like accidently spilling hot drinks, chocking on plastic cutlery or unfortunate things like food poisoning.
If you have hired equipment or some other form of property – e.g. a hall, you will most likely be liable for any damages that attendees may cause – irrespective of whether that damage was intentional or not. Even if the property owner is insured their insurance company will pursue you for damages every chance they get.
So when you’re putting on your next event take the time to reflect on previous experiences and decide whether it’s worthwhile taking the risks. Generally, you can buy this piece of mind and indeed use it to advertise your credentials for as little as $600-$700 depending on your experience, turnover and types of events that you organise.
Getting Public Liability insurance for your event management company
Insurance is about transferring risk. As an event manager you might not see a point in holding a reserve of $10 million or $20 million just in case someone decides to sue you because they suffered an injury or loss during your event or because you damaged their property. Rather than holding onto this money, you might like to pay a tiny fraction of it – typically between $600 and $1,000 for someone else to hold onto this risk. But where does one start and what do you look for?
In Australia there are two options: you either speak to a broker or you call the insurance company direct. Calling direct however may mean that you won’t get advice that reflects your business needs and conditions that you may get by talking to an insurance broker. In addition, an insurance broker can access a wider range of pricing options from insurance companies that do not deal directly with the public. Either way, you should ask for a comparison of terms and conditions, including policy wordings and applicable excesses.
Generally, most public liability policy wordings cover the same things and many brands tend to share the same wording and pricing. Suncorp for example, owns AAMI, GIO and Vero – all big commercial insurance brands whereas IAG owns NRMA Insurance, CGU, The Buzz and Swann Insurance amongst others. Ultimately you will need to decide for yourself which brand works best for you.
In relative terms it will generally work out to be more cost effective to obtain $20 million worth of cover rather than say $5 million or $10 million but be sure to check what level of excess you are being charged. In some instances the level that you buy may be dependent upon the requirements of your clients – particularly the higher-paying ones that will take your risk management credentials into consideration when assessing event managers.
It is also worthwhile ensuring that you policy covers liability for physical/bodily injury to attendees, liability for property damage that you may be responsible for as well as liability for any products which you may be providing during the event – irrespective of whether you manufacture these or not. It is important to remember that even if you don’t cause an event such as bodily injury to happen, you may get caught up in lengthy and expensive legal proceedings – costs which might also be covered under you public liability policy.
Vincent Moran is the editor at www.mybiz247.com.au – a free resource on insurance for small business in Australia.
Vincent’s background is in insurance product development, covering both personal and commercial/business insurance.
My Business Insurance 24/7 provides a free information service that can connect you with qualified insurance professionals in your local area that can advise you on any matters relating to insurance for your business.
The much needed backbone to ROI and Measurement in the Events Industry.
In events we talk incessantly about ROI and measurement, especially if we are producing an event for a brand – but is it realistic to say that you can honestly measure attendees thoughts and feelings, whether they hated the lighting, detested the catering staff or adore the creative invitations? Who produced this fantastic event and how can I get in touch?
Short of asking people to fill out a questionnaire as they finish the last of their complimentary glass of Moet can you REALLY understand your guest’s thoughts and feelings about your brands live presence? Factors, which will surely decide whether the event is a failure or an outstanding success, lie within the hands of those invited.
During a week long event I recently worked on I jumped on real time search engine Social Mention to check out what our guests had been saying about the event. I freelance in both Social Media and Event Management I was intensely interested to what people though of our teams work – some indication that the hours of work we had put in had paid off, whether they noticed the production, lighting and general atmosphere of the event.
What is Social Mention? To me its almost like listening in on peoples conversations via their various personal social media platforms. During each day of our event I watched like a hawk from my spot at the sound desk and I made a mental note of all of the mobile phones that were out snapping photos, videos and making status updates about this event which I and many others had invested several months into creating. These people would be the decider of whether the event would run next year – So, I listened online.
As it describes itself on the website, Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information.
It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.
By looking on Social Mention I could see that most of the women made comments about the fashion and outfits, both male and female thought music was great, everyone thought the arctic wind was a bit shite but didn’t deter from the awesomess that everyone seemed to be experiencing. The sentiment of these conversations was fairly neutral with a strong sway towards the positive end of the scale. I could just look at the twitter hash tag for the event the photos and videos from the guests were available with the click of a button. This content IS the brands voice during the event.
Social Mention tells me when the last person mentioned the event, whether their post was reposted or original and what the top ten keywords were – I feel like the events friendly neighbourhood stalker, but I tell you what – THIS is the feedback that the sponsors want. People who have poured money into their brands presence at this event has paid off.
We no longer need to ask for this information; it is a matter of being on-board with Social Media, allowing it to assist us where we need it most in three areas.
Before the event, during the event and mostly AFTER the event has finished! Time spent handing out debriefs is long gone. Having your ear to the social media ground is king for major events for brands.
It’s free, its simple and its REAL. Get on it I say, mad if you don’t.
Article by: Caz Pringle