17 tips to throw a killer developer party
I searched back through my archives and for this post. We jump in the time machine and head back to February 2013 to revisit the first ever guest post for the gone but not forgotten 3 Beards.
With the party season just behind us, here is a quick guide on how to plan a kick ass party. If you have a sweet tip that’s missing, be sure to add.
1. Think about your guests, not your company. The goal of any party should be for people to have a great time. Don’t compromise on that goal. I’m sure you are working within a limited budget. Focus on delivering a great experience for a smaller number of people rather than giving a poor experience for a lot of people.
2. Most people hate talking to strangers! It takes a special kind of person to go up to random people and start a conversation. Think about giving your guests something to do rather than have a room of people staring into their drinks. For example book a venue with built in entertainment like bowling or a games arcade.
3. Scout the venue ahead of time. Sounds obvious but make sure you know the layout, and agree all the logistics with the owners ahead of time.
4. Make sure the venue has kick ass Wi-Fi, accessible power sockets, and if possible, mobile coverage. A lot of venues are in deep basements with zero mobile signal. If that is the case then reliable Wi-Fi is essential to ensure your guests are sharing their good time with the world via social media. If they are sharing their bad time, then that’s your fault!
5. Ensure the venue is accessible. Good transport links are vital. Think about your guests getting safely home.
6. Food & drink. Budget will dictate how much you can do here, but again, think quality over quantity. Tell people up front if it is a cash bar or if they have to eat before they show up so they come prepared.
7. Ticketing. Use an online service like EventBrite to handle registrations and ticket distribution. This will save you a bunch of hassle. You can also get a ton of info to see how many tickets you have shifted and pull off attendee reports.
8. Promoting the event. Nothing beats having a strong network of friends to help spread the word about your event. If you are selling tickets, offer meet-up organisers bundles of free tickets for their members in exchange for getting the community excited. List your event on social event sites like Lanyrd. Twitter, Facebook and other social media are valuable channels to promote your event, but less targeted than having a strong network on the ground. Get people using your party hashtag to make tracking the conversation easier.
9. Be attentive, don’t just fire and forget. Monitor social to fix any problems or answer any questions people may have in advance of the party.
10. Staff. Bring plenty of your people or make sure the venue supplies staff to ensure guests get taken care of. From arrival and registration to getting served at the bar, to getting their coats at the end.
11. Dressing the venue. Think about what you want your guests to see. Options could include pop up banners, posters, on screen slide shows, etc.
12. As organiser, turn up at least 2 hours before kick off. Make sure there are no last minute problems. Double check with the venue that they know what is going on and when.
13. Arrival. Make sure guests are greeted with a warm welcome and a pain free registration process. If you are using EventBrite then use the organiser tools to handle registration. You can do this via their website or mobile app. Print out a guest list in case of connectivity problems. See point 4 – Hand out name badges / stickers.
14. Capture the memory. If you are hosting the party you should be spending your time making sure your guests are having a great time. You won’t have time to wander around taking photo’s. Bring in a friend or a professional photographer to make sure those smiles are captured for prosperity. Make sure you clear rights in advance with a professional to ensure you can use them as you please, and ensure you know how quickly your photo’s will be edited and ready to pimp. Paul Clarke knows the score. After the event share the photo’s online via Facebook, Flickr or some other service, and encourage your guests to tag themselves and get sharing.
15. Swag. If your company has T-Shirts or any other promotional stuff, make sure your guests get some goodies to take home with them. Get them delivered ahead of time to give you one less thing to worry about on the day of your party.
16. Again sounds obvious, but you should be the last one to leave. I’ve lost count of the events I’ve been too where the organisers duck out early. If you can’t be bothered to stay at your own party, why should anyone else?
17. Despite all the stress of organising, try and have fun!