1. Start Planning Early

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Giving yourself enough time to plan your event will greatly reduce the amount of stress you feel and will prevent your event from feeling thrown together.   Be aware of religious holidays.  If you are planning a corporate event be aware of conflicting dates in your industry.  Use the rule of thumb one week for every 5 people attending the event.  For an event with 15 people give yourself 3 weeks; 30 people 6 weeks; 100 people plan 20 weeks or more.

2. Make a to Do List

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Making a list of everything you want your event to include and the work it will require will help make the event less overwhelming, more manageable, and will prevent important details from slipping through the cracks.

3. Send Out Announcements / Invitations Early

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Regardless if your event is a jubilant celebration or a mandatory conference, sending out announcements and preliminary details early will make it easier for your guests to commit.  The more heads up you give your guests (and the less they have to move their schedule around) the more likely your event will be a hit.

4. Send Out Follow Up Reminders

The one disadvantage to announcing your event early is that guests are human and might forget.  Prevent this by sending out friendly event reminders closer to the event.  (If you invite thirty people and send out event announcements 6 weeks in advance, send out a follow-up reminder one week before the event, and then again a few days before the event.)

These don’t have to be nagging reminders.  Send a message such as, “We can’t wait to see you!”, or reveal exciting details about your event’s entertainment.

5. Guest Transportation / Parking / Logistics

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Have you ever been to an event on time, but then arrive an hour late because you couldn’t find parking?  Make sure there are reasonable accommodations for transportation and parking.  Once you have these figured out make sure to include details for these accommodations in your reminders so that your guests are kept in the loop.

6. Pace Your Event

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Scheduling events too close together can cause issues. One corporate event I attended involved a giant dinner followed by a dessert reception in a different venue. Because the planner did not allot enough time to the dinner, no one had a chance to go to the dessert reception, wasting all of the food, entertainment and decorations at the reception. Planning events too far apart can also cause problems. Too much downtime gives people enough time to get bored and leave. Talk with your entertainment about ways to keep the guests engaged and interested.

7.  Know Your Entertainment

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The number one thing that makes or breaks a corporate event or party is the entertainment.  If you have bad entertainment at your event, people will not remember anything else. All they will remember is the obnoxious DJ or the band that was too loud or out of tune.  Take the time to research and find entertainer that is appropriate, professional, experienced, and has solid reviews.  And more importantly, don’t wait to the last minute to book their services.  Conference call or meet with them, early in the planning stages, to discuss your needs, their needs and how they can incorporate your event goals into their ‘act’.