Want to make your next corporate bash a smash? Read these five questions (and answers) to help you pick the right entertainment for your next company party.

It was a disaster. A family-friendly company party that was supposed to build morale and company connectivity instead turned into a hive of sniping and griping. Why? Because the caterer/entertainment booked for the summer event was over an hour late. When they finally arrived, they didn’t have enough food. And the big display of Polynesian dancing promised was more like a family talent show. In the end, instead of company employees leaving the event feeling boosted and bonded to their company, they went home wondering why the company was so cheap that they couldn’t even throw a decent party.

Throwing a fun business bash doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. A great party is one that takes into account purpose, budget, and people. At Utah Live Bands we want to help you avoid disaster at your next event by making sure that you’ve asked (and answered) five basic questions. Once you’ve pondered the reasons and resources for your event, you’ll be more likely to be able to choose the right kind of entertainment to meet your goals.

What’s the purpose of the event?  

A corporate event should be fun, but the expense of the party has to be justified by the achievement of company goals. Maybe your party is a networking event where employees get a chance to impress their clients and show off the company’s products. Or perhaps, you want to communicate the corporate culture to your workers and build more connected teams. These are two very different purposes that could lead to the development of two really different events.

Your job as the planner is to find out what that purpose is—before you start brainstorming ideas. Unfortunately, most amateur planners don’t ask this question. They just figure that the purpose of a party is to have fun. As a result, you get event entertainment like two-sided petting zoos.

Be sure to start your party planning meeting by identifying the purpose of the party. And if stakeholders can’t be present (business owners or executives) make sure that you’ve gotten their input prior to your first committee meeting.

How large of a crowd are you expecting?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but knowing the size of your audience can be crucial to choosing the right entertainment for your event. There are certain kinds of performances that lend themselves to small spaces and few faces. The reverse is also true. Getting a good estimate of how many people will be attending is necessary before you start your planning.

Large Crowd

So how can you get an accurate idea of how many people will attend your event? First, if the event is something you’ve done in the past, then getting data on how many people have attended in the past is a good starting point. Also, keep in mind that in this day and age of immediate communication you don’t have to wait until the RSVPs start coming in to survey people about whether or not they’re likely to attend. A quick email or survey (Survey Monkey is free) can help you to get a tally of your party goers.

What’s your budget?

The first question people usually think to ask when planning a party is, “Oooh. How much money can we spend?” It’s a good question and a necessary one to the planning process, but knowing the budget doesn’t do much good if you don’t first know the purpose for the party and an estimated head count.

The budget is actually a great way to evaluate the kind of celebration you’re going to have. Start by taking the total dollar amount allocated for the event and then dividing it by the number of people you’re estimating will attend. This will make it easier to see what kind of party you’ll be able to throw. For example, if your budget works out to $20 per person you can easily imagine how far that’s going to go (or not go) in covering things like food and drinks.

According to a survey of business owners, the budget for the average company party was about $75 per person.  That’s not a small investment for most companies, so you’ll want to make sure that the powers that be are getting a good return on their investment by planning the best party possible.

Will there be children at the event?

family friendly entertainment

If you’re going to invite children to your event then the dynamic for the party shifts dramatically. There are a whole score of activities that suddenly become out of bounds if kids are going to be present.

That’s probably why most companies don’t invite children to their parties. (Respondents to a survey indicated that only 7% of companies plan on inviting kids.) However, for some companies family involvement is a big part of company culture and it wouldn’t be a party without them. As part of your party planning, you’ll want to discuss the pros and cons of a family-friendly event on your budget and on the goals of the event. As you do that it should become pretty clear whether or not to make your party tot friendly.

Is this a sit down or a move around event?

With your other questions answered you’re ready to start thinking about specific activities for the event. A great way to narrow you options is to decide whether you want this to be a party where everyone arrives and takes a seat (dinner and a show) or moves and mingles (cocktail partiescasino events, or dancing).

Making a decision about how stationary you want people to be really goes back to your goals. If your plan is to do a big presentation, then it’s a lot easier to get your guests to stop talking and sit down if they start out that way. But, if your goal is to encourage networking and morale building then you want people on their feet and roaming around.

Once you’ve answered your five questions, you might want to read these blog posts to get some specific ideas about how Utah Live Bands can help you plan a great event: Unique Corporate Event Entertainment, Live Music Ideas for Your Corporate EventSelecting the Right Background Music for Your Event.