It's always been said that you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and events are no different. The first hour of your event is one of the most important, as it sets the stage for the rest of your event, whether it's just a one-night dinner or a three-day conference.
Make the most of this time! Welcome your event guests with:
• A thought-out invitation. The invitation is really the true first impression, right? Make sure your email event invitations are pleasing to the eye and include all the important information, such as event date and location, directions, and contact details.
• A name badge. When the majority of your event guests don't know each other, a name badge with a little bit of information—first name, company—is an easy way to create automatic introductions. Even when you host a big event in which many of the people should know each other (a large company function or user conference), name badges can be helpful. Your attendees may roll their eyes, but trust me, they'll thank you when their mind goes blank on the name of that huge client.
• A cocktail. When it comes to loosening up your event guests, nothing beats a little alcohol. Whether it be a signature cocktail or a glass of wine, drinks are a must-have at your welcoming receptions.
• An appetizer. A few passed plates will be much appreciated by those event guests who didn't get to grab dinner or who traveled from far away and haven't even eaten lunch. Not just polite, appetizers at welcoming receptions are also practical—your guests will need something in their stomachs to go with your cocktails!
• A smile. One of the most important elements at your welcome reception is you, the event planner! Make sure your events are adequately staffed so that someone is on hand to greet guests, take coats, distribute name badges and answer questions.