Corporate dinners need not be boring due to formality. Why not make your company year-end party, celebration, or gala different and exciting?
It is important to reinforce in these events the corporate identity and it is always good to relate the theme as closely to the corporate identity and values. This applies from the design (e.g. colours, lettering…) to the animations.
Communicate and send out the invitation at least one month before the event. This will allow time for preparation and to maximise the availability of the guests.
Decoration is crucial to build the ambience and create the atmosphere… Work on designing unique Table Settings, Stage backdrop & Design, Flowers centrepieces, serviettes… You can also place subtle images of the corporate logo around the venue to communicate your company.
Build a stage with a backdrop for speeches and performances. Ensure the stage backdrop ties in with the theme as its huge structure demands a strong presence in the dining hall.
Don’t forget to invest in a little souvenir for your staff to bring home. You can distribute this either upon arrival, during dessert where the waiters can help to distribute or at the cloakroom where the guests are picking up their coats to leave…
For most corporate dinners, the program flow can be as follows:
– Cocktail reception
– Enter into dining hall, emcee welcomes all
– Arrival of Guest-of-Honour (optional) followed by speech or presentation
– Opening Entertainment (e.g. dance, song…)
– First Course is served / Buffet begins
– Main entertainment (if any, e.g. special performance, live band, etc). NB – If you do not want the dinner to be interrupted, you can start the performance after dinner and / or during dessert)
– Other courses being served
– Dessert/ hot beverages
– Dancing (if any)
Remember that there is no one fixed program flow, and it should adapt to what you want each item on the program to do. Just ensure that the flow is smooth.
You can choose from various entertainment options. Here are some basic classifications:
1) Comedy: talk show, mime artists
2) Busker acts: juggler, mime artists, stilt walker, clowns, strolling live band (they are basically entertaining acts that not a focused performance)
3) Interactive:caricaturing, interactive/table magic
4) Entertaining acts: live band, dancers, magic show, acappella, acrobatics
5) Hi-tech and special effects: choreographed lights and sound effects, laser show, pyrotechnics (careful if it is indoors!)
Work with these artists to see how they can personalise their acts to go with your theme or your company’s identity. They can be a great source of creativity provided you brief them well and early enough.
If you are planning a dinner after the cocktail, make sure that the table-seating plan is available during the cocktail. Place another table seating plan at the entrance of the dining area so that it is not too far for those who have yet to find out where they are sitting.
The cocktail reception should ideally be a separate area from the dining area to allow for last-minute preparation time in the dinner area, and to achieve the "wow" effect upon entrance, complimented by the lighting, music and decoration. Select an appropriate music to bring in the guests (e.g. something soft and classical for the elegant and formal dinner, and something dynamic and forceful for an impactful and upbeat entrance).
When everyone gets seated, get the theatrical effects of turning off all lights and start the dinner with an upbeat dance or song item and then bring in the feast!
Towards the end of dinner and when dessert is being served, get some entertainment into the program to keep the night lively… Could be a live band, a staff presentation contest, table games (teamwork is key again) or even a combination of song & dance…
To make the evening last, hire a DJ and open a dance floor. Let the party boogie to the beat of the night!
Organise a cloakroom and number tags. You will need about 2 people to manage this for a crowd from 50 – 200 persons.