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SYMPTOMS: I always struggle to drum up atmosphere at our company Christmas party. Sure enough, people turn up. They eat, drink and chat to each other but there’s never really any buzz. As for getting people on the dance floor – forget about it. How can I get the party started properly?
REMEDY: If you read what the doctor ordered for getting people to the party, you should be halfway there. An appealing invite is always a deal-breaker and it’s important that the party is targeted at the guests, not the hosts (sounds simple, we know, but you’d be surprised how many companies get this wrong). If people arrive excited, all you need to do is make sure their expectations are met.
Build buzz with a teaser email campaign in the run-up to the event and consider arranging some kind of pre-party activity. Even if it’s just a swift half in the pub or a quick wine-tasting in the office, people will appreciate being able to down tools early.
Ensure your cloakroom staff are super-efficient and get that first round of drinks out quickly by choosing a welcome drink than can be pre-poured. Again, it’s basic, but hanging around in a queue is the biggest party pooper of all.
Getting corporate crowds on the dance floor is notoriously difficult, but we’ve witnessed the ultimate solution: the interactive LED floor from Awesome FX (tel: 0845 644 6510). We had one at our exhibition and, even there, people couldn’t get enough of it.
Make sure your DJ hasn’t turned up with a record bag full of psychedelic trance. When it comes to music, corporate events are a lot like weddings – the cheesier, the better. Did we hear you say Oops Upside Your Head?
If your company is small, you might want to join a shared party night, where you benefit from the buzz and atmosphere of other groups. Budget allowing (and for the right kind of event), it can also be a nice touch to let staff invite their partners.
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Autumn 2008.