Office Politics 101: Don’t let me be a party pooper

  • Q: My boss has asked me to organize a special event to promote a new product line he and our company will be marketing in a few months. We don’t have a PR department, so it’s all up to me. What should I do?

    A: You don’t say why your boss picked you for this assignment, but he obviously has confidence in your capacity to do a good job.

Managing a special event will present a number of challenges, most of which can be resolved through strategic organization and communication.  Be sure you have a clear appreciation of what needs to be accomplished.

I would recommend you begin by discussing the event with your boss. Determine his objectives, which you should record in note form for future reference. Be careful not to accept vague suggestions as these will be almost impossible to execute.

Developing a checklist at the outset will be essential.  I speak from experience when I say it is often the “small things” that can be forgotten which may end up marring the success of an event.

Some general matters you should consider: an attendance list is essential: invitees should be contacted in writing approximately two weeks before the event with a follow-up phone reminder one week before the event.  (A draw prize may be a suitable incentive to encourage attendance.)

You’ll need to arrange for an MC, someone to guide the activities and be the “go to person” for guests.  This may be your boss although there may be another employee who would be a better choice.

Refreshments are important and a catering firm should be arranged, if the budget permits; liquor is probably not recommended given the possibility that some guests could leave the event in an impaired state.

In addition, staff who will be marketing the product line should be briefed on the event in order to use the opportunity to engage prospective customers and media representatives.  Small giveaways, such as monogrammed pens or key chains, for example, can be distributed to attendees by staff.

Be sure to delegate responsibilities whenever possible and solicit the help of co-workers to lighten the load.  Keep your boss informed and don’t allow the stress of preparation to ruin your week.

Planning a successful corporate event can be both rewarding and hectic.  Look at this occasion as an opportunity to demonstrate your skills of planning and managing.  Your boss will appreciate your efforts and may reward you with more responsibilities and, ultimately, even a promotion!

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simongibson@shaw.ca