Planning a corporate event is no small task.  We know, we’ve been there. There is so much to take into consideration such as goals, theme, location, ticketing, transportation, entertainment, equipment, food, dietary restrictions, drinks and so much more.

Your theme and location set the tone for the rest of your event. Once decided, those two factors will drive all of your planning decisions. The right theme attracts attendees and builds your business’s brand, but a boring or tacky theme in an undesirable location can put your company’s reputation (and brand) on the line.

When you’re dealing with so many components every detail and choice must be exceptionally executed. The big question of ‘why’ comes into play.

Why are you holding a corporate event? Why do people want to attend this event? If people do not have a choice and attendance is mandatory – what do you want them to take away from this event and why? Understanding the ‘why’ will help you make informed choices in your corporate event planning decision-making process.

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Once you understand that people enjoy attending events (even corporate events), it is important to create a program worth attending. The corporate agenda should be focused on a single theme as to not overwhelm attendees but should have enough variety to maintain attendees’ interest.

The following sample of a full day corporate event schedule considers the meeting attendees’ needs from food to breaks to presentations. It also engages company employees by allowing them to present what they are working on and how their work is effecting the companies bottom line:

  • 8:00 a.m. Arrival, Registration, Hotel Check In & Breakfast
  • 8:45 a.m. Welcome Kick Off
  • 9:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker | CEO Company Direction Presentation
  • 10:00 a.m. Break
  • 10:15 a.m. Panel Discussion
  • 11:30 a.m. Group Activity / Team Building Assignment
  • Lunch
  • 1:30 p.m. Company Goals & Objectives: 1, 5, 10 years
  • 2:30 p.m. Break
  • 2:45 p.m. Team Presentations
    • Marketing Team 2:45 – 3:00 p.m.
    • Product Team 3:00pm – 3:15 p.m.
    • Customer Support Team3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
    • Development Team 3:30 – 3:45 p.m.
  • 3:45 – 4:00 p.m. Break
  • 4:00pm – 5:00 p.m. Scavenger Hunt
  • 5:00pm – 6:00 p.m. Cocktail + Mingling Hour
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Dinner
  • 7:30 p.m. – Late Comedy Show & After Hours Party In Lounge


To kick off corporate events, staff retreats and conventions, leaders are expected to deliver a message about the event’s meeting agenda during opening remarks.

When establishing the meeting agenda for a corporate event, planners need to use the opening general session to have leaders reinforce the objective and key messages of the program.

Messages and attitudes trickle from the top down and if your CEO or key corporate leader keynote delivers a message at the begging that sets the tone for the rest of the event; you want it to be empowering and up lifting.

REMEMBER: The kick off should leave everyone feeling energized! 

An effective opening session should include a variety of speakers and entertainment to keep the attention of attendees, especially for longer sessions.


Conference organizers should determine topics for professional development that consider all attendee skill levels and development interests.

Determine event topics by audience level, including novice, intermediate and advanced. Organize breakout sessions into skill families to help attendees optimize their educational experience.

You can take this one step further by sending out a survey before the event – poll your audience. Give people 5 choices and ask them what they want to learn about in order of 1 being most important to them and 5 least important. Then, when you set up your event you can group people according to skill level and interest.


(For a full event planning checklist, our friends at Wild Apricot put together a guide on How to Plan an Event.)

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