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Corporate events are a unique breed of parties, different in many ways from a family or friends gathering. And, since we're right in the heart of the company "picnic" season, I thought it'd be a good time to talk about these fun, yet potentially awkward events. Having attended dozens - and planned many myself, I know that the stakes are high. The boss is entrusting you to make sure that everyone has a great time and walks away reminded of why they love their company and the people they work with. No pressure...ha! So, you volunteered, now what?
Think of the task like mixing a cocktail -- it takes the right combination of entertainment, activity, good food, and free time . Too much of any one of these elements, and guests will walk away with a headache, exhaustion, bloat or a hang over. Not what you want. The first step is talk to your management and some of your colleagues about what they think will make this a great event. Getting an idea of what people envision will help you to shape it into something that everyone will enjoy. If there are a lot of people, you can even put together a brief survey on Survey Monkey to gather thoughts. Would your colleagues rather play golf than dance? That would probably be a good thing to know.
OK, so moving onto entertainment and activity. In some cases, they can be one and the same. With a DJ or a band, guests can be entertained while dancing, doing the limbo, or singing Karaoke. Magicians, caricaturists, fortune tellers and hypnotists also provide a great combo of entertainment and interaction. The folks at Comedy Central recently booked New York caricaturist Evan Forsch to entertain at their Bastille Day Party - supplying the great photo for this post.
We also had a caricature artist at GigMasters' office - it's more fun than you might think - everyone wants to see your pic and talk about how much it looks just like you (or really doesn't!) You could also choose to base your event around an activity or destination like golf, bowling, paint ball, tennis, kickball, dodgeball (for the very aggressive - thanks, Drew), site-seeing cruises, go-cart racing, inflatable jump-houses, community service...use your imagination and tap your inner-child!
Are you planning a company party? Do you have questions or just need a shoulder to cry on? Or, maybe you just had your company picnic and want to tell us about it.
Talk to me. (in our comments section below, please)