It’s that time of year when someone is given the job of putting together the company Christmas party. Of course, nobody cares at the moment and there won’t be any real support until the last minute when suddenly this party will become the most important thing that has ever happened in the history of the business.
But hey, I’m sure it’ll be fine.
So here are our top tips for creating an amazing event, without having to ask for budget increases.
Venue First, Then Everything Else
No, don’t listen to Karen and accounts who, “used to be an events planner.” You certainly do not need a theme before you decide on a location, you need approximate numbers. Also, don’t listen to Jeremy in IT. I mean, he probably doesn’t have anything constructive to contribute to this conversation but I’m really just suggesting that you don’t listen to him in general.
Your venue is like the foundation for building a house – you start with a solid base, and everything else has to work around it. Otherwise, you will end up a month out from Christmas, with no venue, and as a result no party and then everyone will hate you.
2. Consider Everyone, but Please the Majority
Being an event planner is not a democratically elected position, and you have no requirement to please the people. It’s not like they can vote you out, and there won’t be a revolution to overthrow you. Most likely.
Consider yourself a dictator. It’s wise to listen to the people, but make sure you don’t work too hard to please marginal groups. In event management, there are always those who would rather complain than apply common sense. Those people who will insist that the party should start early and finish early, “because it’s impossible to find a babysitter over Christmas.” And the ones who have really good, overly insistent ideas somehow based in philosophy, “why does it always have to be so alcohol-fuelled? Couldn’t we just go somewhere and spend time together?”
Whenever you hear ideas, no matter how much you may agree with them it is important to consider the masses. As dictator, they form the basis of your power and may not be a revolution, but they could well be some violent protests.
3. If You Can Tentatively Book, Then Do
Don’t be a perfectionist at the wrong moment. The right time to be a perfectionist is a few days before the party when you’re making sure plans are on track, and the right promotional staff are doing the right work. Event staff love being bossed around by panicking event managers by the way.
The wrong time to be a perfectionist is a few months out Christmas when event locations are filling up fast. If the location manager asks if you would like to tentatively book and confirm and 24 hours, then say yes…for goodness sake, say yes. Otherwise, you will spend the next six hours thinking about whether you should use that location and get that problem solved and then you will ring them back and this conversation will happen:
“Hi I would like to book the area we discussed for a Christmas party.”
“Unfortunately it has now been taken.”
“Oh. I feel like a complete idiot.”
“Yes, you should have tentatively booked.”
Event planning and creating the perfect Christmas event is a lot of work, but if you have a location and a bit of support you can make miracles happen.