The Most Common Types of Corporate Events
The most common types of corporate events are popular for a reason: they are effective at achieving the desired result of the planners. Whether hosting a conference or a golf tournament, companies use these events to bring people together in a new way, developing interpersonal relationships that couldn't exist inside the structured environment of the office.
Seminars and Conferences
Purpose: Organizations plan and hold these meetings with targeted audiences and provide them with relevant information.
Description: Seminars are usually shorter events, lasting a couple hours to a few workdays. They have single or multiple speakers and generally keep all participants together in the same space. Conferences, on the other hand, typically have multiple sessions. They are usually held at hotels, beginning with a keynote session and then offering breakout sessions by topic.
Purpose: Organizations attend trade shows as a lead generation activity. They may also choose to host or sponsor a trade show to reinforce their image as an industry leader among those who attend.
Description: Event planning for trade shows involves negotiating sponsorship rates for booth space, advertising, promotion, and speaking opportunities where company leadership can speak. Trade shows are held in large spaces, showcasing the products and services of often hundreds of vendors.
Executive Retreats and Incentive Programs
Purpose: This is where the big bucks are spent on a per-person basis. Business development and organizational planning are typically the topics of the agenda, but equal weight is given to enjoyable activities as part of the original incentive and reward.
Description: Executive retreats and incentive trips typically last between three and five days and require attention to site selection, lodging, transportation, catering, business meetings, golfing and other activities.
Purpose: A favorite event of almost every organization is an annual golf outing. Relationship management is the primary objective, and teams are often constructed for that purpose.
Description: The idea, like the executive retreat, is to give people in the organization a venue where they will be able to build relationships in a relaxed environment. There is a saying that "deals are sealed on the green."
Purpose: These programs allow an event host to spend informal time with its guests in a nontraditional environment, giving both parties an opportunity to build rapport and learn more about mutual business priorities. Appreciation events can range from programs geared toward employee appreciation to those for showing client appreciation, both of which have become a staple in corporate America.
Description: There are limitless possibilities and types of appreciation events that organizations hold throughout the year. Common programs include:
- Dinner and theater
- Day at the racetrack
- Suites at sporting arenas
- Day and evening cruises
- Private parties at music festivals
- Holiday parties
- Tickets to a popular event
Company or Organization Milestones
Purpose: Company milestones provide a business or organization the opportunity to celebrate a grand opening or other major milestone or anniversary.
Description: Company milestone events vary significantly in their execution but tend to follow similar programs as employee and client appreciation events. Milestone markers are often celebratory in nature and can be limited to company employees or expanded to include clients, vendors, and even the local community depending on the company's size and public presence.
Purpose: Team-building events are meant to build upon the company's strengths while boosting employee confidence, goodwill, and morale. These events also provide the unique opportunity for employees to spend time together in a nonwork environment. Team building events are meant to do just what their name says.
Description: Outdoor and physical group activities like a ropes course or whitewater canoe ride epitomize the corporate team-building event. In fact, companies all around the nation specialize in hosting team-building events in intricate indoor and outdoor courses of their own design. Team-building events can also include workshops about emotions in the workplace as well as sensitivity training.
Product Launch Events
Purpose: Product launch events can include internal meetings to inform all employees across the company about any upcoming products to full-blown launch parties that create a buzz surrounding the product's release among customers and the media. Product launch events are most common for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.
Description: Launch events are meant to generate media coverage and industry buzz prior to a product release. The event may include a flashy introduction to the product along with an address from the company's most important executives. Large product launches also tend to feel more like big parties, with well-known guests, dinner, and entertainment, depending on the industry. Apple and Tesla are two companies that have perfected the model.
Board Meetings and Shareholder Meetings
Purpose: Board meetings and shareholder meetings both serve important purposes. Board meetings serve as an opportunity for board members to meet to review business performance and meet with company executives to make important decisions. Shareholder meetings, on the other hand, provide companies the opportunity to share recent performance, targets, future goals, and business strategies with its shareholders. Shareholder meetings also relay the opinions of the public.
Description: Annual, biannual, or even quarterly meetings can be small internal meetings of board members or prestigious large-scale business events for shareholders that range in size depending on the size of the company and shareholder turnout. These can be anything from a room with six people, to a hall of thousands. Warren Buffett makes good use every year of the shareholder meeting for his company Berkshire Hathaway and is a must-attend event for many in the business community.