In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 17 is all about organizing, planning, and executing meetings and events. In the public relations profession it is often part of your job to plan events to help promote the business you work for or your client. Meetings and events, if done the right way, can do a lot for your clients reputation and image.
The book discusses staff meetings, group meetings, banquets, receptions, cocktail parties, open houses, plant tours, conventions, trade shows, and promotional events. I think banquets are very important to discuss because they are usually held to celebrate an event like a companies anniversary or to honor an individual within the company. They can also be utilized to raise money for charitable organizations.
When planning a banquet, budget costs are an important key consideration to remember. While special speakers at the banquet may help increase ticket sales it will also increase price of the event. Throughout entire process of planning a banquet you should always be considering your budget and what it allows for. Other important aspects besides speaker costs when considering budgets for banquets are menu types. Fixed menus are usually used for banquets to help maintain costs. As far as drinks go for the event, sometimes it is best to go through the location of the banquet but sometimes it is best to provide liquor yourselves or through other services. It all depends on the costs and if there will be a corkage fee for alcohol brought in by another party.
The book discusses short cocktail parties as well. Usually these are used to celebrate a milestone or a recent success. They can also be used to introduce new key employees or just for alumni gatherings. The important thing to remember about all cocktail parties is that they are mainly focused on interaction and not speeches. If there is some kind of speech given it should last a maximum of 5-10 minutes. While it is easy to begin a cocktail party, they aren’t always the easiest thing to end. The best way to conclude the cocktail party is to notify guests the bar will be closing in ten minutes and close the party once the bar is closed.
Open houses and plant tours are important when wishing to gain favorable public opinion about the organization. Open houses are usually one day affairs unless there is a large number of people planning to attend then it could be stretched out for two days. Plant tours on the other hand are usually offered regularly. An example I thought of when reading about plant tours are the tours given at Anheuser Busch brewery. Those are offered quite often and attract a large crowd to the facility. While a lot of people go on the tours at the brewery there are only so many allowed in the groups that they take at one time. This was mentioned in the book as a difference between plant tours and open houses. Open houses have a large amount of guests at one time and plant tours have less people in groups at one time. The main key considerations to remember when planning an open house are: day and hour, guests, and publicity and invitations.
I think all of the events are important to discuss in the book and it was a great chapter to read for students because events require a long and detailed planning process. I don’t think I realized how much work planning an event or meeting entailed until I had to help plan some events at my internship. The events I have helped to plan include company movie nights, in-house contests, and right now I am in the middle of putting on a canned food drive event. For the canned food drive event we have teamed up with Operation Food Search from November- December to help out the less fortunate. We have prepared flyers, sent out emails to employees, kept in touch with the Operation Food Search people, and included a company wide contest where winners will receive a gift card to Target for their contributions to the food drive. It takes a lot of preparation and a lot of planning to conduct these things and I don’t think people are always aware of the time that goes into such events. This chapter definitely helps to explain the long process of organizing and hosting events.