As the holiday festivities set in with the host of parties and events celebrating jobs well done and profits still to come, end-of-year blues can be real.
Everyone has been to that end-of-year do where a manager decides to deliver a long-winded speech. Some might even recall going to the same party at the same venue with the same crowd several years in a row.
Catherine Larkin, CEO of CVLC, says, “Everyone is different. Some people really look forward to end-of-year functions, while others simply dread it.”
She says that in order to deliver an enjoyable event, one has to set expectations. “It is impossible to please everyone, but by understanding your audience you are able to meet their expectations far better. Take into account the sensitivities that exist. If the majority of the audience hate performing in public, then a karaoke party is not going to be the most memorable of evenings.”
Larkin says to avoid complete failure, it is also important to ascertain the average age of attendees and what they do. “Managers might enjoy a light supper and a jazz performance, while a younger group of attendees would like to play a soccer match and have a braai.”
Rozanne Hamilton, customer relationship executive at BON Hotel Riviera on Vaal, says to deliver an event that is fun and enjoyable all-round, it is important to keep guests busy and entertained – but not too much. It is all about balance. “One must remember; they are celebrating a year of hard work – make it special by making the attendees feel special. This is not a time for teambuilding and the like,” she says.
Maryke Boonzaier, groups and events co-ordinator at Lagoon Beach Hotel, agrees saying that good year-end events create an environment for interaction. “But sometimes there might be too much, keeping everyone too busy with little or no time to relax. Finding the balance between fun and tiring out guests is the differentiating factor.”
Make It Different
Themes are always a winner, says Larkin. “They help create structure and character for the event. Themes give you more longevity, allowing you to plan and implement a campaign to build excitement and get people talking.”
Another element that is increasingly gaining ground, she continues, is to introduce a cause into the event. “By ensuring a charity or a worthy cause is benefitting from the celebration, guests feel they have made a difference ever so slightly in someone else’s life, especially at this time of year.” Also, in the current economic environment, many planners are avoiding extravagance just for the sake of it. “It’s important not to go overboard,” says Larkin.
Long speeches are a definite no-no, says Hamilton. Being restricted to the same spot for the entire duration of the event listening to one long and boring speech after another is a sure way to disappoint. “Avoid long speeches all together. Remember that the main focus of a year-end event is to keep things enjoyable, as people are commemorating their hard work of the past year. Keep a celebratory mood going by giving them options to interact, move around and to speak to different people.”
A dress-up photo booth or a drumming café are great options, where people can decide for themselves whether they want to participate or not.
Source: Liesl Venter. Image: Pixabay