1. Set objectives
Ask yourself why are we doing this? What do we want to get out of this Xmas event. Is it just a fun annual event in the pub, or do we you have specific issues to address such as improving communication. Is it just a getting to know you exercise? This is becoming increasingly common with companies having teams or offices all over the country. Discuss this matter with the senior person responsible for organising the Christmas party. This is especially important if you have to justify how much money you are spending and have to demonstrate a return on that spending in terms of improved performance.
2. Know and Agree Your Budget
There is nothing worse than going out to find an event supplier without knowing what you have to spend. Especially if you have to report back to the purse string holder after you have spent a lot of wasted time discussing ideas in detail with a prospective supplier. Both you and the supplier will soon get frustrated with this. You will soon get the reputation of a time waster and won’t get the full attention of the supplier.
3.Think About Who You Will Be Inviting
The objectives above will to a large degree help with this and office politics will also influence your decision. It is unusual to have the same age range in your team who all like the same things. It is more likely you will have a wide age range who will have different ideas and fears about attending an unusual or different Christmas event.
4. Get Buy-In or Ownership
Keep them in the loop. Explain to them what you have in mind . Many people don’t look forward to office Christmas events as they believe they may be being put under the microscope and assessed by the powers that be within the Company or they don’t want to be sitting next to Roger from accounts. Appreciate that you not be able to please everyone at the outset.
5. Decide on the Nature of the Event
Visit to the pub, just a meal or something totally different. Low impact high impact, outdoors, indoors ? Again this will be determined by the objectives you set, the issues to be addressed and the individuals involved. You want to ensure people have the best time possible and you will be remembered for arranging this unforgettable event,. The more thought you give to this question , in the context of 1 to 4 above will vastly improve your chances of arranging a memorable event for all.
6. Distance with Overnight Stay
Is this event being to be held locally or further afield. Are you going to stay overnight or just go for the day. This again will be determined by 1 and 2 above in particular. Budget will obviously play a big part in this decision. In our experience an overnight stay can add more value to an event as people can learn more about themselves and their colleagues with this itinerary rather than a single day close to home. The problem we have seen repeated with an event close to home is that as soon as the event is finished everyone rushes off home or don’t even turn up.
7. Venue and Geographic Area of Search
Once you have decided on an overnight stay or a local event you can work out relative travel times to a mutually convenient part of the UK or Europe. This will be dictated by the choice of event to a degree eg outdoor wilderness, seaside etc. remember to factor in travel costs and decide on whether the travel time to and from an event is work or own time. Also explain clearly that if an event does finish early and the delegates can return their office before the end of the working day then that is what is expected of them. If this isn’t explained people will slip off home.
8. Find a Supplier/Venue
Word of mouth or recommendations are best. Has anyone else within your company arranged or had experience of similar courses or events in the past. Once you know where you are looking it also much easier to search on the internet. Think of the type of event you need and use that as the search phrase.
9. Visit the Venue
We certainly recommend visiting a venue if you have the opportunity. This can definitely iron out any last minute problems which you wouldn’t otherwise have been aware of until you’d turned up on the day. It will also help to develop that relationship with the organizer/venue.
10. Appoint Suppliers, Agree detailed Itinerary and Circulate to all Those Attending
At the earliest opportunity once you have finalised 1-9 above tie down the detail, as the devil is always in the detail, as this will prevent you being inundated with enquiries and questions from participants as you draw nearer the event. Ask the supplier to do as much of this as possible to assist. For example you will need:-
· Detailed timed programmed itinerary for the whole event
· Kit list and what people are expected to bring with them
· Dietary needs and requirements
· Travel details and directions
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