The Most Common Types of Corporate Events

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Image by Ashley Nicole DeLeon © The Balance 2019

Whether hosting a conference or a golf tournament, companies use corporate events to bring people together to develop interpersonal relationships that couldn't exist inside the structured environment of the office. Here is a look at the different types of corporate events.

01
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 anywhere from a couple of 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.

02
Trade Shows

Purpose: Organizations often attend trade shows as a lead generation activity. Companies 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. 

03
Executive Retreats and Incentive Programs

Purpose: Business development and organizational planning are typically the topics of the agenda for these retreats, but equal weight is given to enjoyable activities as part of the original incentive and reward.

Description: This is where companies generally spend more money on a per-person basis to put together these events. Executive retreats and incentive trips typically last between three and five days, and the planning requires attention to the site selection, lodging, transportation, catering, business meetings, golfing and other activities. 

04
Golf Events

Purpose: Golf outings are a favorite event of almost every organization. Relationship management is the primary objective, and teams are often constructed for that purpose. 

Description: As with the executive retreat, the idea is to give people in the organization a venue where they will be able to build relationships in a relaxed environment. There is a reason that the phrase "deals are sealed on the green" was coined.

05
Appreciation Events

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 

06
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 be expanded to include clients, vendors, and even the local community depending on the company's size and public presence.

07
Team-Building Events

Purpose: Team-building events are meant to boost employee confidence, goodwill, and morale. These events also provide a unique opportunity for employees to spend time together in a non-work environment. Team building events are meant to do just what their name says.

Description: Outdoor and physical group activities epitomize corporate team-building events. 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.  

08
Product Launch Events

Purpose: Product launch events can range from internal meetings to inform all employees about any upcoming products to full-blown launch parties that create a buzz surrounding a 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. These events 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. 

09
Board Meetings and Shareholder Meetings

Purpose: Board meetings and shareholder meetings both serve essential 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 provide companies the opportunity to share recent performance, targets, future goals, and business strategies with their shareholders. 

Description: Held annually, biannually, or even quarterly, these two types of 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.