The PA’s Guide to Hosting a Stand-Out Corporate Christmas PartyBy admin | Comments: 0 | 23/08/2018
Welcome to the event of the year – the corporate Christmas party. Where PA’s across the country make like event managers and get busy, busy, busy!
Sound familiar? I know the feeling too well. Check out my behind-the-scenes tips on how to nail the event like a true professional.
Christmas is the time of the year for all things festive. But, when everyone else seems to be winding down it is the PA’s and EA’s who are at their busiest. Why? The corporate Christmas party!
Whether boasting a natural flair for organising events or not, it’s usually the boss’ right hand man or woman who is called on for at least some part of the end of year shindig. Yes, it can become your mortal enemy and get completely under your skin, or like most challenges presented to you super-organised bunch of girls and guys, you can embrace it and get on with it.
Novice to organising an event or not, the corporate Christmas party will become a breeze once you have a few event management tricks of the trade under your belt.
From someone who has been there many times before, here’s my PA’s tips for organising a cracker corporate Christmas party.
Event guests, especially corporates, can be very punctual or very laid-back when it comes to time. And, many have specific tactics of arrival time; e.g. get there early to network while its quiet or arrive later to make an entrance when everyone is there. So, when setting a time for arrival just provide them some flexibility.
An arrival time like 4pm for 4.30pm usually works well for corporates. The half hour allows some give if they have hit traffic on the way or been held up at work. This helps save any embarrassment of arriving late for one set time, like 4pm. The half hour also covers off those who want to arrive right on time and those who prefer to arrive tactically late, just to keep us on our toes.
Some Christmas parties need a little help with getting people to network, particularly if your event is of mixed demographics (e.g. a members’ end-of-year party). In this instance, just create a talking point.
Roving entertainers are great for this cause. They can be highly-interactive and create a common link between guests at the party. This helps guests to relax and feel more at ease from the start.
Starting of formalities
I recommend leaving 45 minutes from the advertised start time to any formalities proceeding. In this timeframe, all of your guests should have arrived and have had some chance to network.
There is nothing worse than kicking off too early while guests are still streaming into the venue, or having trouble getting guests to quiet down as they are still more interested in chatting amongst themselves.
Christmas parties are a time for celebration. Remember to give the boss a gentle reminder about this when preparing his speech.
An end-of-year speech should be a brief of what the company has achieved as a result of the support by the guests at the party and thanking those people for that support. Refrain from banging on about how awesome the company is in general. Keep the speeches to a maximum of 10 minutes.
Many people fall down as they don’t give much thought to music. Music at an event creates atmosphere and vibe. Plan your music around what you want people to be doing at the time.
Here are some examples:
- On entry – avoid drab music that will send people to sleep. Invite guests in warmly with music that creates atmosphere while not being overbearing. You want people to network, don’t have the music too loud at this point
- During speeches – no background music at all. Remember to add speeches to your run sheet to make venue staff aware
- Post formalities – pump up the vibe a little more with tunes that have increased tempo, whilst still not discouraging networking. You can amp it up again as the day/night moves on
To create true atmosphere, consider some live entertainment for your Christmas party. Acts like The Gaia Party Band ensure party guests have no excuses to let their hair down at the end of the night.
Before the advertised closing time thank guests again for their attendance.
And, here is your chance to leave them wanting more. A quick mention of a product launch in the new year, a service improvement, etc. If there is exciting or good news to share, this is the place to do it. Check with your marketing team if they have anything of interest to add.
I found the golden rule for creating a good Christmas party is not to be stuffy. It is a celebratory event, not a memorial. Guests will remember the effort you put in for them rather than the speeches that dragged on.
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