With holiday party season soon upon us, you’re likely in the planning and execution stages for your upcoming party.
Client events at the holidays (or any time of the year) are a great way show your appreciation, get clients connected with each other and potentially gain referrals.
Here are ten top tips for making your holiday party the merriest it can be!
As guests arrive, directional signage will help them find the right place to be. The signs can point to a party room or private space, or if you’ve rented a whole facility it can be used as a welcome sign. If possible, place your logo on the signage as this will help provide familiarity and also “brand” the space with your firm’s identity.
Your team should each understand their responsibilities throughout the event. Some should be greeters, others helping clients meet each other and engage in conversation, and more that are connecting with event staff on any food replenishments or other logistics. Have a game plan and make assignments so the party feels “planned” and well executed. Guests should always feel like they know where to be and what to do.
If you live in a cooler climate, make sure you have a plan for coats. Most event spaces have coat racks or a dedicated space for this, but plan for this prior to the event so your guests aren’t left figuring out what to do with their winter coats. Plus, putting them on the back of their dining chairs doesn’t add to their comfort during dinner!
4. Name Tags
Whether you print a name tag for every attendee or simply have stickers and sharpies at the event, try to have name tag options for your guests. When clients see each other at this annual party, name tags can facilitate conversation and remove awkwardness if they’ve forgotten the names of others.
An easy way to add warmth and energy to a room is music. For non-holiday parties, instrumental light jazz with a good beat is a nice way to add background music. For the holidays, try a nice mix of holiday classics and modern tunes that will conjure warm emotions in your clients.
Restaurants and event spaces often have speakers in place with systems that support cd’s, ipods, or even bluetooth devices. Many also have satellite radio options with a convenient holiday channel.
Make sure guests have something to nosh on right away. Food is comforting, and gives people something to do and something to talk about with other guests as they’re settling in. Think “oooh, what a delicious shrimp cocktail” or “have you tried the meatballs?” Plus, if guests will be imbibing at the bar, getting some food in their system is never a bad idea!
Speaking of things to do, consider some sort of entertainment or activity in which your clients can engage. A favorite is a caricature artist that will do a fun sketch of each client, couple or group of attendees. Make sure your logo is on the artist’s paper as the clients will likely treasure this keepsake and perhaps even frame it!
Creating a space for the sketches to hang on a wall or be on a table during the event will also provide a place for clients to convene and enjoy the fun drawings.
Many firms hire acts ranging from magicians to musicians, but be careful when it comes to comedians. You don’t want a jokester wading into any territory that could be offensive or off-putting, as that will reflect on your firm.
When guests are leaving, what can you give them as a special takeaway? Something sweet or chocolatey they can enjoy in the car on the way home as they reflect on your event? Something with your logo on it? One client had an event at a brewery and gave each attendee a pint glass emblazoned with their logo. Filled with individually wrapped chocolate truffles, it was the perfect takeaway and treat after a memorable evening.
9. Event Space Advice
The restaurant or event space you reserve likely has great advice and ideas that you can embrace for your holiday party. They are the party professionals and put on these events continuously. Ask them what’s worked best for previous parties and they will surely oblige.
10. Post Mortem
After every event, meet with your team and ask how the next event can be even better. What worked well? What could have been improved? What feedback did you get at the event or after the event? This is time well spent.
Bonus Tip: Consider a +1 option where clients can invite a friend that could be a good fit for your services. It might lead to nice referrals!
Advisors, follow these handy tips and your holiday party will have a greater chance of being a huge success!