5 Ways to Inject Surprise Into Your Next Company Event

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Guests come to an event with a certain set of expectations. Your job as host isn’t just to meet those expectations. Your job is to go above and beyond.

One of the most effective ways of keeping your guests excited is by injecting a little surprise before, during and after your event. Here are 6 ideas for your next company event — whether that’s an internal team event for employees or an external marketing event– from Splash’s latest book, Events 101.

01 | The road to success is through discovery.

The point of an event is to provide your guests with an experience they’ll never forget. One way to heighten this experience is to navigate your guests towards your event before they even arrive. Why? So they can feel like they “discovered” it on their own. Leave small clues and signage to lead them on a Hansel-and-Gretel style trail, and get their adrenaline running before the party starts.

Another idea is to set up a small, secluded space within your venue that guests unexpectedly find during your company event. This will get the social posts going.

02 | Turn heads with a surprise guest (or animal).

A tried and true tactic is to book a special surprise guest. You can get as creative and out of the box as you want with this. For example: At an Advertising Week breakfast with Bark & Co., we unleashed 25 puppies into the room. Another brand had a llama at their event that guests could party and take photos with. (Because who wouldn’t wanna party with a llama?) At a dinner event I planned years ago, I surprised guests with a capoeira dance team after dessert.

03 | Integrate your audience in unexpected ways.

People go to an event to feel like they were a part of something, both online and offline.

To create buzz online, set up a photo booth that Tweets photos of willing guests. This is a great way to market your event as the party is in full swing. After all,Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more likes, and 150% more reTweets.

As for the offline route, hold a raffle or a contest and hide the prizes in different locations at the venue. Have the guests located by those prizes hold them up when you announce one. Go the extra mile by giving extra freebies to the guests who held up the prizes. This’ll make your entire audience feel like a winner.

04 | Let the entertainment begin.

Another great way of adding an element of surprise is by having your own staff add entertainment value for your guests. Have catering staff break out into song while they’re serving, bring in a performer, or dress your staff up in outfits relating to your theme. According to my good friend Tania Luna, co-founder and surprisologist at Surprise Industries, people remember the things they didn’t see coming.

05 | Utilize your theme where people don’t expect to find it.

If your event is to raise funds or awareness for an important issue, you might want to surprise your guests by going all out on decorations.

For example, if your company is geared towards sustainability, emphasize the ways in which you’re practicing sustainable methods. If you’re using recycled materials, let your attendees know that they are a part of making the world a better place. The more you boost their egos, the better they’ll feel about your event.

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