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Category Archive: Corporate Events

Breaking The Ice

Another party, another chance to awkwardly hover around the buffet and spend your night glued to the chocolate fountain. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Let the Orlando event management team help you become a conversation wizard.

Questions to Ask
“I love that, where did you get it?Everyone loves getting a compliment, and most people love talking about their belongings — especially if they got them for a bargain. Ask about anything from their shoes to the digital notebook they’ve been taking notes in throughout the conference.

“What kind of work do you do?” It’s easy to start a conversation with someone when you know what they’re passionate about, so start by asking what they do. Ask questions to keep the conversation going; how long have they been at their job? How did they get started in this industry?

Comment on something positive. “The weather is beautiful tonight!” “Did you get a chance to hear the keynote speaker? I thought he was great.” “Great turnout, right?” Highlighting a positive aspect of the event is an easy way to initiate conversation. While stating something negative might feel like it gives you the opportunity to be funny, avoid it; it’s much riskier. If you insult the chef and the listener turns out to be the chef’s cousin, this won’t go well.

Tips to Remember
Know Breaking News. Before you attend an event, brush up on current events and breaking news. This is almost always an incredibly easy guarantee to start a conversation!

Search for Common Ground. As they’re sharing, make mental notes of what you have in common. These similarities are something you can bring up during a break or a lull as you talk!

Repeat as a Question. When in doubt, repeat the last few words the other person said, but repeat them almost uncertainly — like a question. This will nearly always encourage them to continue talking, and it gives you more opportunities to further the conversation.

Just Keep Asking About Them. Don’t stop asking about the other person! People love to talk about themselves, especially when someone is genuinely interested. (This also prevents you from rambling to overcompensate for your nervousness.) If there’s a lull in the conversation, don’t fill it with your own words; use it to propel the conversation forward and ask more questions. The key is to focus on being interested, not being interesting. 

If you’re in the Orlando area and would like to throw a party so that you can try out your new conversation starters, reach out to the Orlando event management team at Fun Planners. Contact us online or at 407-955-4949 today!

The Best Company Party in Town

You’re the funny guy at the office. Life’s sometimes mundane, but you always know the right joke to crack. When Anne at the front desk shrank her favorite sweater in the laundry, you told her not to sweat it. Hilarious. Since you’re everyone’s go-to for fun, you opted to host the company picnic party… again. For years now, you’ve one-upped the t-shirt company across the road with your promise of only the best of times. You can’t wait to see the look on T-shirt Todd’s face when you head to the office with a big stack of board games cradled in your arms; one of them isn’t even a board game, it’s Twister.

The fateful day arrives and you’re ready. You close the car door, securing a display of saran-wrapped egg salad, two party packs of chips, and 15 assorted board games. After a quick stop at a balloon shop, you cram a giant bouquet into the back. The corner of the Twister box suddenly pops three balloons, and you groan, knowing the drive will surely pop two more. But if everyone pulls through, there will still be a feast and entertainment for an explosive three hours.

As you pull up to the office, you notice the T-shirt shop is closed; they must be too embarrassed to show their faces on party day. You’re glad T-shirt Todd isn’t around to see the spilled egg salad in the back of your car. The top layer is the only dirtied part, so you scoop it out and re-wrap the container. What people don’t know won’t hurt them.

You drop all your epic party contributions on the meeting table. Sally from two cubicles over brought a container of Publix cookies and a bowl of homemade salsa, but the rest looks suspiciously like what comes out of the vending machine downstairs. Sally’s the only one attending the party with you, bless her. After asking where everyone is, she nervously says that they’re at T-shirt Todd’s party.

Outraged, you storm across the street and knock furiously on the T-shirt shop door. You hear music playing around the back and can’t resist taking a quick peek — and you’re horrified. Standing before you is a towering inflatable, and your coworkers are jumping around with unprecedented energy. People are stuffing their faces at an impressive buffet, and Anne from the front desk is waiting for the entertainer to make her a new balloon sweater.

Your mouth is agape; your hands are still sticky with egg salad. T-shirt Todd pats you on the shoulder, attempting to look apologetic but not quite pulling it off — he’s understandably smug in his victory. You marvel at the luxurious chocolate fountain, laugh with your boss as he falls into the dunk tank, and cheer on your coworkers as they duke it out in the inflatable boxing ring. You sigh and accept your defeat; this was a hard party to beat.

Are you tired of being one-upped by another company’s parties? Put your trust in the Orlando event management experts at Fun Planners! You and your coworkers deserve it.

How to Prepare an Inclusive Buffet

If you’re used to eating everything in sight, you probably won’t consider what’s going on in a vegetarian’s mind when they’re staring at an ‘all you can meat’ buffet. Your tasty rib eye becomes a tragic eye sore to your guest. Don’t rely on the bread rolls or salad to feed your pickier or more particular guests! We can help you make everyone happy.

Ask for Food Allergies or Dietary Restrictions With Your RSVP
One of the quickest and easiest ways to make sure that your guests aren’t avoiding the buffet table is to include dietary restriction questions on your RSVP. Let your guests know that they don’t have to eat dinner beforehand because they’re just as welcome as everyone else!

Always Come Prepared
If you don’t know what your attendees can eat, the safest option is to come prepared regardless. It’s a good idea to cater to the better-known dietary restrictions: meat, nuts, dairy, and gluten. Plan separate meals for vegetarians, vegans, people allergic to peanuts, the lactose intolerant, and the gluten intolerant; at the very least, make sure that your meals can be modified to meet these restrictions. Consider using a dueling menu so that you can serve multiple entrees in an easy and professional way!

Budget Accordingly
Changing your food options to satisfy your guests could be as simple as adding a mushroom gravy option beside your turkey gravy, or chocolate chip cookies instead of peanut butter ones. Giving an inexpensive, allergy-friendly second option could literally be a life saver.

Label Foods
It can be difficult to flag down someone familiar with a dish’s ingredients — and you don’t want to put your guests in that uncomfortable position. Take the time to create decorative food labels for each item! Propping up these little cards could be the difference between someone with a peanut allergy dipping their spring roll into a sweet chili sauce as opposed to a spicy peanut sauce.

Worth the Work
Though it might feel meticulous to plan meals around different diets, the outcome is worth it. Talk to a professional caterer about how they can help! Caterers are trained to plan for dietary restrictions and can create a variety of delicious, unique foods that will meet everyone’s needs.

If you’re in the Orlando area and beginning to plan the food for your next event, reach out to the Orlando event management team at Fun Planners. Contact us online or at 407-955-4949 today!

Assigned Seating: The Benefits

Now that you’ve chosen your seating arrangement, it’s time to decide: should you have assigned seats? This, of course, depends on the type of event, but more often than not, you should take the extra time to create a seating chart.

The Science Behind It
Columbia University conducted a study on the behaviors of people at mixers. Their goal was to discover if a minimally structured social event is conducive to attendants broadening their social circle. However, results demonstrated thatguests did not mix as much as might be expected…they were much more likely to encounter their pre-mixer friends, even though they overwhelmingly stated before the event that their goal was to meet new people.”

Outside of Science: Strategy
Although science proves that assigned seating is preferable, benefits go beyond science! By assigning seats, you’re able to strategically plan where people will be sitting. You can connect people in the name of business, or you can make sure that someone coming alone is sitting at a kind, outgoing table. If there’s any sort of bad blood between guests, assigned seating is also an excellent way to prevent unnecessary drama; seat those guests on opposite sides of the room.

Prevent Social Anxiety
Many people worry that by assigning seats, guests will interpret an otherwise relaxed event as rigid and formal. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth — open seating is chaotic and frustrating for your guests. Consider the social anxiety you may cause guests when they walk in and discover they now have to worry about being removed from their group, finding a seat amongst familiar faces (even if their goal is to mingle), and sitting at a table outside of their age group.

No One is Trapped
A common misconception is that if you assign seats, guests will feel obligated to sit there all night long. However, once the formal portion of the evening is over, whether that’s dinner, an auction, or a presentation, your guests will move about the room.

“Is This Seat Taken?”
It’s an awkward experience to have guests wandering around, desperately hunting for an available seat. It’s awkward for the host; it’s awkward for your wandering guests; it’s awkward for your seated guests if they have to offer to split up their own party to satisfy another. This is horrible for you as the planner, as angry groups of people — who did not mean to linger for so long in the lobby — rush up to you and demand you assist them in the search for a seat.

Groups of People
If you have invited a group of people to your event, no matter if it’s a business group or a family, it will be uncomfortable to watch them rush around and try to save a group of seats together — and it will be worse to watch their frustration if they can’t find those seats. This is especially true if you have planned an event where children are invited because it’s crucial that they are able to sit with their parents.

Although it takes extra time and effort create a seating chart, it will be worth it! Assigned seating is just another way to save yourself day-of event headaches and stress. To learn more about how we can help you amidst planning Florida corporate events, contact us here or at 407-955-4949.

How to Brief Your Speaker

Now that you’ve found the perfect speaker for your next conference, you have to be able to create a great speaker brief. Speakers are a significant part of your Florida corporate event, so you want to do everything you can to ensure your speakers feel confident, prepared, and supported! Your brief should say: “You’re important. This event is important. We support you. You are the right choice, and you benefit too.”

What Exactly is a Speaker Brief?
In short, this is a short document that you’ll send someone immediately after they show interest in speaking at your event.

Yes, The Event is Happening
It may sound odd, but start your brief by confirming that the event is definitely happening. Once your speaker knows that it’s not just hypothetical, they’ll be more likely to take your event seriously and commit. Make sure to highlight your event’s theme, goals, and content that you hope to have presented.

Why You Benefit
Explain to your speaker why they will benefit from taking the time to come to your event. Consider the 4 P’s: People, Purpose, Prestige, and Perks.

  • People: Talk about the other people involved! Mention anyone notable who will be in attendance, connections you have with reporters, past speakers, the audience, and other speakers who have already agreed to come.
  • Purpose: Why is the event happening, and what does your audience hope to gain from attending?
  • Prestige: Will this event be covered by the press or even a big-name blogger? Has this been a large event in the past? This is your time to really brag on your event, and highlight any facts or statistics that show how special it is.
  • Perks: Describing the perks you offer to speakers is a great way to set your event apart from another, and it could be the deal breaker if your speaker is deciding between two different gigs in the same weekend. Note if you’ll be providing meals, covering travel, putting them up in a fancy hotel, or sending them home with an awesome gift bag.

Flattery Is Everything
Okay, flattery isn’t everything — but it’s a big deal, and it can help you book your dream speaker. Show them that you know who they are! Talk about another event when you saw them speak and how it impacted you, or reference some of your favorite blogs of theirs.

An Audience Breakdown
Share your audience demographics, including their experience level, their companies and job titles, and what they’re coming to learn. This is your golden opportunity to make a connection between what you know about your speaker and what you know about your audience! Demonstrate that they are the perfect match.

Session Support
While every speaker has their own style and presentation preference, it may be helpful for you to provide a suggested guide, or a “how-to” structure their presentation. This can give insight into the direction you’re hoping to take the event, the tone you want to convey, and the information you want to be provided.

Reiterate Details
What day is the conference, and when does your speaker need to be there? How long will they stay? What time slot are you offering them? Exactly what content should they plan to cover, and when should they have that sent over to you for review? This is your time to solidify and confirm their commitment.

When it comes to Florida corporate events and picking the perfect speaker, Fun Planners has your back. Whether your event needs catering, audio equipment, lighting, or even interactive rentals, make sure to reach out to us at 407-955-4949.

Keynote Speaker Selection

Let’s be honest — we’ve all attended events where the keynote speaker was disappointing, predictable, and to be frank, downright boring. An engaging speaker at your next conference can make all the difference! When you select someone to speak to your audience, you place your audience’s trust in you onto that speaker, and you don’t want to let them down.

Do They Tell A Story?
In today’s world of Instagram celebrities and big-name bloggers, everyone feels like they’re a storyteller, but that’s not always the case. Make sure you’ve chosen an experienced speaker who knows how to read a room! They should be engaging, charismatic, and flexible. Most importantly, they need to appeal to your audience, and they should know how to connect with them — from beginning to end.

Do They Add Unique Value?
While you may have found a great speaker — or even a speaker that you know personally — you have to ask yourself: do they bring something to this event that your attendees can’t find anywhere else? What about their knowledge or experience makes them unique? Why should your audience care to sacrifice their time and listen? If there aren’t easy answers to these questions, it might be time to resume your search.

Are They Authentic?
The best speakers have real-life examples of success and failure, and they know how to share those stories in authentic, genuine ways that speak to their audience. Evaluate their credibility. Is your speaker of choice determined to stand behind a podium and preach at the audience? Do they refuse to walk into the crowd and meet guests? Are they more concerned with their appearance than delivering superior content? And quite possibly most importantly: are they equipped to prove their expertise during a Q&A session? Every speaker can appear qualified with a well-practiced presentation, but it’s the unexpected Q&A questions that separate the good from the great.

Can They Draw A Crowd?
While you shouldn’t choose a speaker based on their celebrity title, it’s important to consider if your speaker is willing to help you attract attendees. Are they going to market alongside you? Will they tell their loyal followers to come and check out your event? Think about if they will be able to get other influencers involved.

Are They Going to Stick Around?
When a speaker sticks around to talk to the audience, they humanize themselves. Their keynote presentation may thrill attendees and shake the ground, but the best opportunity to connect and make a difference is during one-on-one conversations. Ask potential speakers if they are willing to stick around after their presentation.

As you dive into Orlando corporate event planning for your next conference, don’t choose your keynote speaker without checking this list! Take the necessary time to review their qualifications. And if you need help with your event’s catering, audio equipment, or more, make sure to contact us at Fun Planners.

Get to the Subject

For months, you’ve completely thrown yourself into planning an elaborate, time-consuming event. You’ve spent hours negotiating prices, invested days into researching the perfect catering company, and got put on hold more times than you care to count. Now that you’ve put so much time into planning your Florida corporate event, make sure that your email marketing campaign is up to snuff. Get inspired with some of our favorite email campaigns!

charity: water: Progress Emails
Most of the time, we donate to charities without a real knowledge of where exactly our money goes, and we’re never given specifics. However, once someone donates to a charity: water project, they’re put on a list where they receive automated emails about the journey their money has taken, how it’s being used, and the impact it’s made. They’re given a progress update, a project timeline, and updated pictures. This is great to keep in mind, particularly when you’re working with a nonprofit! If attendees made donations at the event, consider keeping them up-to-date on where their money goes.

Cook Smarts: Easy CTA
Cook Smarts makes the CTA of each email easy to find! In the upper right-hand corner, subscribers can always find a “Forward to a Friend” button. As you publicize your event, make it easy for potential guests to tell their friends about it!

HireVue: Unsubscribe, It’s Okay — Seriously
It’s smart to purge your subscription list of people who don’t open your emails — low open rates can affect email deliverability. Take a look at how HireVue opened the door for subscribers to go away.

“You haven’t been opening our emails in the last few months, and the last thing we want is to come across clingy. If you still want to stay connected, then just press ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ below, and we promise we won’t let you. Otherwise, we’ll take you off our business list in three days. No hard feelings.”

This is simple, humorous, and guilt-free messaging! If you have a list of subscribers interested in future events who don’t open their emails, consider approaching them this way.

Loft: Happy Inbox, Happy Life
Ann Taylor Loft acknowledged the cluttered, overwhelming feeling of the common inbox, suggesting to all of their subscribers they should embrace the “Happy Inbox, Happy Life” approach to email. This is a customer-focused email that asks recipients to update their email preferences because they’re going to be sending content they won’t want to miss. As your event gets closer, send out an email asking attendees to update their email preferences! They won’t want to miss out on any important updates.

Florida corporate events can greatly benefit from a solid email campaign. If you’re looking to strengthen your team or put on an amazing business event, make sure to reach out to us online or at 407-955-4949.

How To Pitch Event Ideas to Executives

Business executives can be intimidating, especially if you’re approaching them with a plan they need to approve — and finance. When it comes to Florida corporate events, follow these tips when pitching an event and you’re sure to have success.

Organizational Goals
An executive wants to hear one main thing: how does your plan align with the organization’s goals? Demonstrate that you have a knowledge of the company. Discuss how your plan relates to member acquisition and retention, increased donations and shareholder value, and brand recognition.

The Executive’s Priorities
Consider your audience. Depending on their position, each executive will have a slightly different set of goals that you need to properly address.

If you’re pitching to a:

  • Chief Executive Officer: Focus on revenue, new opportunities, and how you’ll be utilizing current trends to attract attendees.
  • Chief Operations Officer: Talk about how your event will improve the day-to-day operations of the organization.
  • Chief Financial Officer: Show the revenue that your event will bring to the organization and how you will work with potential investors. If possible, find data from a similar event to support your claims.
  • Chief Technology and Chief Information Officers: These executives are concerned with enhancing IT resources. Let them know that you value this as well, and explain how your event will help them reach their goals.
  • Chief Marketing Officer: Share how the community’s perception of the organization will better from this event. Talk about increased sales and your value propositions.
  • General Councils: Discuss how you will protect the organization from any legal issues. Highlight the qualified medical team that will be available on site, or quickly summarize the paperwork that vendors will sign.

Share Your Data
Provide as much hard data as possible. Do your homework, and avoid speculation statistics. Focus on key numbers like potential revenue, headcount, marketing reach, and costs.

Create a Handout
Nothing says “I came prepared” like a small handout with your value propositions, hard data, and how you intend to meet organizational goals. Make sure to include your contact information.

Stay Short and Sweet
This is important. Not only should your handout be short and brief, but your presentation should be that way as well. It’s not necessary to dive into small details like potential venues, speakers, or food options; this will only get your presentation stuck in a rut. Demonstrate that you respect their time by keeping your pitch under 10 minutes (and prepare for up to 20 minutes of Q&A), but don’t leave until you’ve discussed and settled on the “next steps” with the executive.

Pitching to executives can be daunting, but these Florida corporate event tips are sure to help you reach your goals. To find out how we can help your next event, contact us at 407-955-4949.

 

Questions to Ask Before Booking a Venue

Finding the perfect venue for your next event can feel like a never-ending quest! As you’re searching, make sure that you know exactly what to ask so that your contract lays out all the details, “what-ifs,” and prevents you from being surprised with fees later on! Take a look at some questions you need to ask before committing to a venue.

Questions About Rates and Policies

  1. What does the rental rate include?
  2. How much is the security deposit, and how much of it is refundable?
  3. What is your cancellation policy?
  4. If there is a cancellation fee but the venue gets re-booked, will those payments be taken into account when calculating my fee?
  5. Does the venue have any restrictions?
  6. Does the venue require any additional insurance?
  7. Are there cleaning fees or overtime charges?
  8. What happens if fewer people attend than expected?
  9. When is the final guest count due?
  10. Are there any other functions going on during the day that could interrupt my event?
  11. Do you have a designated event supervisor on the day of? If not, who will be my contact person?

Questions About Set Up and Tear Down

  1. How long will I have to set up and tear down the event? If there are any associated fees, please include those in the proposal.
  2. What is the absolute earliest I can set up?
  3. When does the event need to be over by?

Questions About Suppliers

  1. Is there an on-site caterer? If so, what do they provide, and are there multiple packages available?
  2. How experienced is the chef?
  3. Are there food and drink minimums, and could we replace the rental fee with this cost?
  4. Can I bring outside suppliers? If so, is there a fee?
  5. Do you have a list of preferred suppliers/vendors?
  6. Do you have an exclusive vendor list?

Questions About Amenities

  1. Is WiFi provided? If so, what is the fee?
  2. Are technicians, cameras, microphones, and A/V equipment provided, or will they need to be rented?
  3. How many bathrooms are available for use?
  4. Does the venue have its own event staff?

Questions About Accessibility

  1. Is parking provided? If so, what is the fee, and how many spaces will be available? If there are not enough spaces for guests to park on-site, what is the next best option?
  2. What are the best ways for guests to get to and from the location?
  3. Is the venue accessible and comfortable for guests with limited mobility?

After you have communicated with the venue, it’s important that all verbal discussions are confirmed in emails or written contracts, that way there is recorded proof of all fees and policies. This will help guarantee that your Florida corporate event runs smoothly. If you have any questions or want to learn more about how we can help you plan your next event, contact us today!

When It Rains On Your Parade

You know you’re supposed to have a plan B (and a plan C, D, and E), especially when you’re throwing outdoor events during Florida’s summer. But sometimes you overlook backup plans, like what to do if the caterer is late, or if the electricity goes out — or if the rain comes pouring down? Take a look at these tips for what to do if it does indeed rain on your parade.

If It’s: 12 Hours Beforehand

Let’s say you wake up on the morning of your event expecting beautiful, sunny weather, but surprise — it’s overcast and cloudy, and raindrops are already dancing along the pavement! First, check if your location offers an outdoor pavilion or if you are able to rent a last-minute party tent. Then, check to see if your location offers an indoor space that you could move the party into if the weather worsens.

If It’s: Only 1 Hour Beforehand

If the party is one hour out and the sky suddenly transforms from crystal blue to stormy gray, first ask yourself if you have enough time to come up with a backup plan. If your location doesn’t have an indoor option, assign a member of your team to call local businesses or recreational centers to see if someone is available to host the event. If you’re unable to find a new location and the poor weather continues, you might have to alert your guests and team that’s it’s best to reschedule.

If It’s: Raining in the Middle of Your Event

At this point, you have two options: either send your guests home or embrace the rain! Evaluate your party’s theme, atmosphere, and guests before diving into the wet weather. If you plan to reschedule, encourage your guests to come back out by offering a coupon or discount for the new event.

The Golden Rules

No matter what you decide to do, it’s important that you continue to update your guests throughout the day! As soon as they notice the weather declining, they’re going to wonder if your event will still happen — or if it’s worth it for them to travel in bad weather. Consistently update guests through emails and social media to let them know your new location or the new date.

Most importantly, take this event as a lesson in the importance of developing solid backup plans. The next time you plan to be outdoors for a Florida corporate event, even if it’s in the winter or if there’s seems to be no chance of poor weather, make sure you plan for the worst case scenario! If you have any questions about proactive event planning, our delicious catering services, or the entertainment we offer, contact us today!