About the Chapters

The Art of Professional Connections:
Event Strategies for
Successful Business Entertaining


Event Strategies for Successful Business Entertaining addresses the basics of organizing business events—everything from cultural events and sporting activities to educational conferences and trade shows. You will learn what you need to know about staging, hosting, and participating in events. This book will guide you step by step from the initial planning stages to the last and most important step: the debriefing afterward.


Sub-title: Expanding on Your Social-Ability and Defining the Purpose | Selecting Your Team and Determining the “Five Ws” | Creating the Theme for the Right Experience | Pacing Yourself to Avoid Burnout

Chapter 1

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To address the principles and strategies of business entertaining, from a small conference to the most elaborate event.
  • To review the steps necessary to utilize your social-ability to create an energizing social environment that helps you build solid professional relationships.
  • To impress upon you the importance of setting goals, creating plans, and assembling the right team to make your business social event purposeful and memorable.

Entertaining customers, company celebrations, and employee outings are integral parts of running a successful business, solidifying client relationships, and rewarding employees. When a company invests in entertainment, the expectation is that there will be a return on its investment. This often takes time. Consequently, it is very important that events are planned carefully, and every risk of failure is eliminated.

This chapter will help you define the purpose of the event, how to select your development team, brainstorm theme ideas, and offer tips on pacing yourself to avoid burnout. .

Sub-title:  Tackling Basic Logistics for Large Events | Accommodating Home-Office Visits or Retreats | Taking the Guesswork Out of Banquet Room Setup | Hiring Caterers Versus Catering Yourself | Learning Environment Seating Options | Removing Distractions and Potential Hazards

chapter 2

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To help you consider all the logistics and create your own protocol for hosting a small or large event.
  • To provide you with an understanding of all the details behind staging a successful business event or banquet, from table decorations and seating to hiring caterers, all of which will have a direct bearing on creating a memorable experience.
  • To give you a complete perspective on what it takes to create a memorable event for entertaining guests, from knowing the expectations and protocol, to covering all the details, to avoiding distractions and pitfalls.

Planning a dinner gathering, staging an event, receiving out-of-town corporate staff visits, or scheduling a special outing generates enthusiasm. The extra steps you take to make clients, prospects, and employees feel appreciated will encourage ongoing “loyalty.” The behind-the-scenes people are the real stars! It is all about making sure that everything and everybody works well together! The timing, precision, and teamwork generated is what makes it all work!

This chapter will guide you from the planning stages to the implementation and coordination of details for any size event, right down to arranging meals and diverting hazards. 

Sub-title: Extending and Responding to Invitations | Protocol for Formal Invitations | Unraveling the “What to Wear” Dilemma | Interpreting Business Dress and Formal Attire | Creating Name Tags, Badges, and Security Passes

Chapter 3

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To understand the need to carefully determine the guest list and to send out well-conceived invitations.
  • To unravel the confusion around the various dress codes we encounter and distinguish between business casua,l forma,l and black tie.
  • To create name tags that accurately reflects people’s names and titles.

You receive the invitation and it is a “go.” However, the invite says, “chic casual.” What is chic casual?” It confirms the confusion that exists in the interpretation of dress codes. Therefore, it is important to take your invitation that extra step by defining the dress expectation so that your guests easily understand it. And, it is the guest’s responsibility to “ask” when they are not sure, and then be appropriately attired. It is also about “ambience.” You want to complement the environment as well as the event.

This chapter will guide you from the invite details and how to handle extenuating circumstances to deciphering the “what to wear” dilemma. 

Sub-title: How to be a Corporate or Personal Concierge | Selecting and Preparing Introducers and the Master of Ceremonies | Receiving-Line Protocol for Formal Events | “Must Knows” for Being a Gracious Host or an Impeccable Guest | Tips for Bringing a Spouse or Attending an Event Solo | Accommodating Guests with Disabilities

Chapter 4

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To introduce you to the need for specialty positions at large events and show you how to fill those positions and perform their functions.
  • To provide you with a blueprint for becoming a gracious host or an impeccable guest by avoiding common faux pas.
  • To offer tips for accommodating participants such as spouses and individuals with special needs.

A successful event requires making sure that the “right” people (your event cast) are handling specific roles and, more importantly, that they have a thorough understanding of those roles. Certainly, there is a lot more involved than simply identifying the event cast. Each member of this select team comes with special considerations and duties (and some positions do overlap).

This chapter will identify the most common host and guest dilemmas that range from responding to an invitation and handling extenuating circumstances to accommodating guests with disabilities. 

Sub-title:  Theater Etiquette and Auditorium Seating | Rock Concerts and Music in the Park | At-Home Entertaining

Chapter 5

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To cover the rules and expectations and proper etiquette for attending cultural venues, review the policies and practicalities of attending the theater, and what to do or avoid in disruptive situations.
  • To understand that rock concerts are not out of the question for client entertainment but that there are cautions and caveats.
  • To introduce home entertainment as an art within itself. For some, the greatest honor (especially for international guests) is to be invited to your home.

The arts add a special touch of class to any occasion. To be successful entertaining at a cultural event, there are specific behavior rules and expectations to honor once all the planning is in place. Rock concerts are an entirely different breed of entertainment and require a different protocol; however, they are still all about music, and music is a cultural event. At-home entertaining truly embodies another type of cultural experience because it captures the essence of that person by exposing their personal interests and lifestyle. For many international visitors, it is considered the highest honor.

This chapter focuses on the theater and on concerts because the guidelines for these can be applied to any cultural event as well as to the most personal form of business social events, at-home entertainment, whether it’s a casual outdoor barbecue or a formal dinner party. 

Sub-title:  Basic Principles for Sporting Events | Close the Deal over a Game of Golf | The Team-Building Reality Experience | Good Sportsmanship, Indoors or Out

Chapter 6

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To realize that any kind of corporate outing, especially sporting events, team-building exercises, and retreats, is for the purpose of team building and solidifying relationships.
  • To provide the basic principles for understanding your role as spectator or participator and to cover all the what-ifs and dos and don’ts.
  • To focus on team-building exercises or events in general and to know that the ground rules involve being open-minded and willing to participate, contributing to a climate of trust, and learning from the experience.

Whether you choose to be a spectator or participant, sports, games, and outings are opportunities to relax and enjoy clients and staff away from a work environment. Plus, they allow you to de-stress or alleviate the intense focus of serious business work. Such an event does not have to be a pre-planned outing; it can be a spontaneous board game in the employee lounge. Whatever the situation, the change of scenery can make you, your employees, and your clients feel better focused and more efficient.

This chapter focuses on the rules of play for all sporting events, games, and outings, and provides guidelines on doing business on the golf course.  

Sub-title:  Encouraging Camaraderie, Building Morale, and Handling Personal Situations | Steps to Enjoying a Worry-Free Soirée | Tips for Family-Focused Events | Weddings and the Workplace

Chapter 7

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To reinforce the notion that business parties or events are primarily for socializing and for honoring employees, retirees, and special individuals for their achievements and contributions.
  • To recognize that there are expectations when attending special business functions, for CEOs and managers as well as for employees, their family members, and for clients.
  • To understand that there are specific protocols for organizing and attending family-focused social events, whether they are wedding celebrations, anniversaries, or picnic-style outings.

Employees (past and present) are customers too! There are scores of stories about how a company goes beyond the call of duty to make a customer feel special. But what about the employees? They have the same power of influence as the customers—sometimes more! —and their influence is too often overlooked or devalued. It doesn’t always have to be about an event. Providing a work environment that is conducive to relaxation and promotes a healthy lifestyle is a powerful employee benefit.

This chapter will offer various ways to honor those who have or are serving you well and offers suggestions on how to handle sensitive guest list situations from the office to a wedding. 

Sub-title:  Speaker Preparations | Arranging for Interpreters | Making the Most of Luncheon and Event Sessions | Experiencing Trade Shows as Marketing Events | Attracting Prospects with Booth Charisma | Enjoying Safe Travel

Chapter 8

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To help you realize that your main focus at a major convention, conference, or trade show is to represent your company, that you are your company’s reputation, and that you have specific assignments to accomplish.
  • To provide you with the details necessary to navigate a major event successfully, to take care of speakers arranged by your company or organization, to make the most of talks and breakout sessions, to manage a successful booth and attract prospects, and to find time to relax and have fun.
  • To remind you that there are very specific things you can do to travel and check into hotels safely and protect your ID, your money, and your valuables.

Conferences, conventions, and trade shows (sometimes referred to as “destination events”) are extensions of your business day and a necessary part of an organization’s growth. Each venue offers an array of networking connections, job opportunities, and work-based training, all in one location. They represent serious business functions built on developing relationships and securing potential new business.

Whether you are the event planner or attendee, this chapter covers everything you should know to have a successful experience. Conferences are multi-sided events that takes you from making the reservation and speaker arrangements to handling event sessions and trade show details. 

Sub-title:  Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude and Appreciation | Gifting and Lasting Mementos | Gift Selection and Shopping Tips

Chapter 9

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To help discern the right occasions and the right reasons for giving gifts to business associates and clients; to understand what’s appropriate and what’s not, and what makes a gift memorable.
  • To show the relationship between showing appreciation and reinforcing a company’s brand, and to provide instructions on how to make a gift truly heartfelt.
  • To provide guidelines on reciprocating gifts, declining gifts, handling inappropriate gifts, regifting gifts gracefully, and above all cultivating an attitude of gratitude and making people feel special.

Gratitude is everything … it’s a gift … and too often overlooked. Gifting is a vital part of the business world because it is an expression of goodwill and a reminder of a productive and special business relationship between the giver and the recipient. It is a way of showing appreciation for a client’s loyalty; because it makes one feel good and think about how the giver took the time to acknowledge the relationship.

This chapter will identify the tangible and intangible ways to show appreciation. 

Sub-title:  Establishing Communication to Finalizing Details | Information Gathering to Wrap-up | Audiovisual Checklist for AV Professionals, Planners, and Speakers | Food and Beverage Planning | Gathering Data for Domestic and International Visitors | Journal and Log | Sample Planning Forms

Chapter 10

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To impress upon you the need to foresee and plan for every detail and every contingency when planning an important event.
  • To provide you with tried and tested guides for successfully planning and executing a successful business event.
  • To remind you that evaluating an event afterward is just as important as all the preparations that go before.

Every event has its own unique set of circumstances that requires specific guidelines. This book contains sample checklists to serve as your initial planning guide. They are designed to ensure that you cover everything in a logical sequence. You will need to adapt (or customize) the checklists to reflect the size of your event, level of formality, and caliber of guests (e.g., dignitaries). 

 Examine the Difference

A meeting is a gathering of people for a discussion that typically takes place over a meal at a conference or small-event meeting room.

An event is something that is planned months in advance and happens for the purpose of education, for introducing new products or services, or for a celebration. Like a meeting, an event takes place on specific days and at specific times.

An activity or exercise involves direct experience and participation for enjoyment, for making introductions or creating new relationships, or for reinforcing a learning skill.

Whatever the goal, there are lots of details to tackle.
Event Strategies for Successful Business Entertaining helps you do it best.