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When planning any event, always start by identifying your objectives.  
Do you want to show appreciation? Develop a team attitude? Are you celebrating a milestone? Is it strictly a social function?  
You’ll want to compare all of your upcoming choices in terms of how well they will achieve your objectives.  
Most banquets are ultimately about “appreciation.” Whether they’re for employees, clients, distributors, seminar attendees, volunteers, etc., the goal is to acknowledge and thank them for their service or patronage. Appreciation is the message you want to send.  
Successful banquets deliver their message in an effective and memorable way. Professional event planners often use stylized themes to make banquets more memorable. Themes can make your environment more exciting, interactive, and meaningful.  
Elaborate themes may not seem right for every group or type of event, but the “theme formula” is effective for all functions. It focuses on the elements that have the greatest effect on your attendees.  
Here are the 5 keys to successful theme events:  
The Invitation –  
You create interest by inviting people in a clever theme-related way.  
The Salutation –  
The greeting and entrance to an event set the tone for your theme. It is the most neglected part of most banquets. Decorate the entrance and always use a “greeter.”  
The Decoration –  
It can be more than just a centerpiece on the table. Think ‘theme’, not just fluff. Decorating the stage area will ensure that all presentations are done in a theme-related setting.  
The Participation –  
Picture taking, games, quizzes, dancing, even eating are all activities that require participation. They become more interesting when they are theme-related. Participating is always more memorable than just being a spectator. Try to include activities that turn people into participants.  
The Presentation –  
The speakers, awards, entertainment, even the background music should all reflect your theme.  
Themes don’t have to be elaborate. Your banquet’s objective can be your theme.  
Find a descriptive phrase or picture that relates to your objective. Use this message on your invitations, on signs posted at the doorway of the event, in the table decoration, and on a stage banner.  
Ask your speakers and entertainment if they can tie your message in with their presentations. Even a DJ can be asked to put together a list of background songs that relate.  
Consistency of color, design, and concept is appealing to people. It demonstrates forethought. It reflects the importance that you place on the event and this gives your message meaning.  
One last key to success – personalize it. Everybody responds to seeing their face and name in print, not just mentioned or listed in a program. Find ways to include names and photos on signs, centerpieces, placecards, slideshows, party favors, etc. It always makes a big impression.  
A successful banquet is memorable. Use this formula and turn your next meeting into... an EVENT!  

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