The typical business meeting usually comes across as functional yet boring. At their best, everything gets sorted but at their worst, they drag on for longer than expected and nothing of note gets said or done. For engaging with current or future clients, one-off events could put all that to bed.

With a few months’ planning and build-up, an event would help to make your business seem more exciting and forward-thinking. It would also help to promote your brand, giving visitors a firm idea of what you actually do. The events industry in the UK was worth nearly £20 billion in 2015, so there is money to be made.

To get an event right, there are a number of tasks you must undertake. The first is knowing what your event should be. Ones centreing around your wider industry would be a good start – you can invite people from rival firms and focus on part or all of your company’s expertise. Inviting clients is a must too.

Formatting

The event’s format should be clear and easy to follow for delegates. An itinerary of what happens during the day/week is important, as is the type of event. If it’s an exhibition, look at where the stalls should go. For talks, look at how the seating should be arranged e.g. theatre style or cabaret style seats.

Think about what works best for you and your clients. If you want to showcase the different services your business offers, an event with multiple talks would work best. For something to bring the industry together, an exhibition with stalls and group discussions should hit the mark.

This area of event planning can be time consuming, but if you get it all right, visitors will feel that coming along will be beneficial to them. To keep them sweet, a small goodybag with items like pens, USB flash drives and notepads will make their stay more pleasurable.

Location and Venue

Once you have an idea of the event’s format, the next step is choosing where to host it. Your venue should, first and foremost, be easy to get to. Choosing a major city such as London, Manchester, Leeds or Glasgow would be ideal, given their superior transport links. Even a town near a major motorway like, say, Warrington or Milton Keynes would work.

As for the building itself, it should be the right size for your kind of event. One with a few rooms set aside for talks, toilets, a bar/refreshments area and a large open space for networking is essential. Hiring an existing building may involve work, but a temporary building is a good alternative for business events.

Rather than searching high and low for a venue that might not meet your demands, a temporary structure would remove that headache. On top of that, you won’t need to shell out a fortune for hiring a massive arena as a one-off and could get somewhere that, in terms of size, is just right.

Marketing

Now that you have the format, venue and location sorted, the final step involves marketing it to would-be delegates. When inviting people to your event, try an invitation site such as Eventbrite, set the ticket prices and share away on social media. A viable alternative would be to create an event page on Facebook – here’s how you can do it.

To give your event a boost and attract visitors, a standalone website or section of your current site should be set up for it. The site should have a section explaining what the event is about, a map with directions via public transport, foot car and an itinerary. Added extras such as an FAQs page and feedback form would lend weight to it.

Luke Hatkinson-Kent