The anatomy of corporate events requires a lot less memorization than the anatomy of a body. But like a fine-tuned surgeon, corporate event planners need to clearly understand the layout before they operate.

Typical corporate events consist of three main parts: general sessions, breakout sessions and award ceremonies. All of these events vary greatly from one another so they really are their own unique piece of the puzzle. And just like a puzzle, each different piece needs to fit with the others around the same unifying idea or theme. These are essential event management concepts.

As you begin identifying the goals and objectives for the different events, here are some things to keep in mind to ensure each session is effective.

Anatomy of Corporate Event Planning

General Sessions

As attendees gear up for your brand’s annual conference, they typically zero-in on the general and speaker sessions. After months of anticipation, attendees will finally get to witness the big, inspiring keynote.

These are powerful moments that motivate your audience and build up intensity. They’re important, so you shouldn’t take them lightly.

Corporate Event Attendees Walking Into a general session

First of all, your keynote speaker needs fit into your event’s context and theme.

Don’t know where to start? Speaker bureaus are useful tools that help to evaluate your choices. These groups host a variety of speakers from multiple categories and make suggestions based on your event.

Once you’ve determined the event speaker, it’s important that they interact with participants to continue driving engagement. After all, active participation is the best way to make a presentation memorable.

Interactive Q&As, live streaming and social media are all great ways to build trust with your audience. General session is the time to drive attendee engagement so it’s important to give them an experience that’s meaningful.


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Corporate Event Breakout Sessions

While general sessions may be where all the excitement happens, breakout sessions are where the magic happens.

And by magic we mean learning and ROI. Breakout sessions are one of the most important aspects of your event because they drive your brand message home. They target specific areas and educate your attendees with a goal in mind.

Breakout session

To ensure that your breakout sessions are impactful, it’s important to set clear objectives of what you want to accomplish. By creating realistic and specific goals, you can achieve a lot in a short amount of time.

Unlike general sessions, breakout sessions allow you to tailor the experience toward individuals. Get input from attendees pre-event to see what they want to learn. Personalize the experience by arranging the room with decor that vibes with the look of the event or adapt to the different learning styles that exist amongst the group.


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Breakouts sessions that consist of stimulating discussion and inspiring content will leave an impact that lasts long after the event is over. Post-event feedback on social channels or surveys can help to continue the conversations that took place during the sessions. With proper preparation, execution and follow-up, corporate event breakouts are a great way to foster stronger brand advocates.

Corporate Event Awards Ceremonies

Whether you’re recognizing top performers within your company or simply saying “thanks” to your people for all their hard work, there is always an excuse for your brand to celebrate.

60% of Best-in-Class organizations stated that employee recognition is extremely valuable in driving individual performance – Aberdeen Group

A corporate awards ceremony is one of the key ways to engaging your stakeholders because it shows you care. Recognition is one of the most powerful motivators in business.

The sole purpose of your awards ceremony is to acknowledge and celebrate your people, so employee engagement should be at the heart of every decision you make. If you start and end the corporate event planning process with your people in mind, your show is sure to leave a lasting impact.

Panera internal event stage scenic design

Since this is their “wow” moment, award nominees deserve to feel like superstars.

Rather than just announcing winner after winner, try sprucing things up a bit. Keeping the award winners a secret is a great way to build up the anticipation. This will make their big moment even more exciting and the audience will be eager to learn who the winner is.

Awards ceremonies should provide a memorable experience for the recipients. To that end, it’s important to give honorees their awards in person and include their friends and family whenever possible.

Less is more. To save time and make the moment even more special, be sparing with your awards. Celebrate the big victories on stage and find creative ways to recognize everyone else without diluting the experience.


Employee Engagement Infographic


Corporate events are made up of many different components, all of which should provide your attendees with their own unique experience.

To further engage your people, each session needs to play off the other to ensure your brand message is received loud and clear. The beauty of corporate events is that there is no one blueprint that determines success. As event producers, the power is in your hands to create an event that aligns with your brand’s mission and goals.

With proper execution, you’ll bring your brand and people to life, transforming a moment into a movement.

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