OF­FICE HOL­I­DAY PAR­TIES ‘In­sta­grammable mo­ments’ a sign of suc­cess

Toronto Sun - - CAREERS - LINDA WHITE

Thud! The re­spon­si­bil­ity of planning your or­ga­ni­za­tion or depart­ment’s an­nual hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tion has landed on your desk. You want to make sure a good time will be had by all but if you’re won­der­ing where to start, think “In­sta­grammable mo­ments.”

That ad­vice comes from Sara Gundy, an ac­count di­rec­tor at Yel­lowHouse Events, an event mar­ket­ing and planning firm in Toronto. Her firm’s triedand-true tips will help en­sure your event ap­peals to the masses, in­clud­ing mil­len­ni­als. CRE­ATE SHAREABLE MO­MENTS.

You al­ready know mil­len­ni­als love shar­ing photos with their so­cial net­work so de­liver In­sta­grammable mo­ments. Cool back­drops and over­sized props with good light­ing are a great start but why stop there? In­sta­gram’s Boomerang app cre­ates loop­ing videos so up the ante with move­ment and in­ter­ac­tion,

such as a tin­sel cur­tain. Make sure your event’s shareable mo­ments in­clude ex­pe­ri­ences, such as in­ter­est­ing food and drink sta­tions. Bug bars, any­one? NIX THE SIT-DOWN DIN­NER.

In­stead, cre­ate a re­cep­tion­style event so guests can roam and in­ter­act with oth­ers, al­low­ing them to net­work rather than make small talk with a group of their peers. “We’ve found mil­len­ni­als have no prob­lem in­ter­act­ing with their se­nior lead­ers, and even chat­ting and tak­ing a selfie with the CEO,” Gundy says.

EM­BRACE FOOD TRENDS. Look at trendy restau­rants and chefs for in­spi­ra­tion and don’t over­look the im­por­tance of pre­sen­ta­tion. “Mil­len­ni­als def­i­nitely eat with their eyes first. If they want to take a pic­ture with it, they’re prob­a­bly go­ing to en­joy eat­ing it,” says Gundy. “The plant-based diet is be­com­ing main­stream, so not ve­gan or veg­e­tar­ian but lo­cal fare and eat­ing with im­pact. Kom­bucha and fer­mented foods are hav­ing such a mo­ment right now.” A sig­na­ture drink and craft beers will im­press.

CHOOSE YOUR VENUE. It may not be within bud­get or even nec­es­sary to take your cel­e­bra­tion off­site. “If you can’t take it out­side the of­fice, it’s about bring­ing in­ter­est­ing and unique ex­pe­ri­ences into your space,” Gundy says. “If you are tak­ing it out­side the of­fice, make sure you’re tak­ing it to non-tra­di­tional spa­ces – not the ho­tel ball­room but maybe a re­ally great bar and res­tau­rant in your area, a movie the­atre or a dance hall..”

CRE­ATE EX­PE­RI­ENCES. De­pend­ing on the size of your group, you may want to cel­e­brate with a unique ex­pe­ri­ence like axe throw­ing, an escape room (which also in­cor­po­rates a team-build­ing com­po­nent) or an in­ter­ac­tive bar or res­tau­rant (such as a ping-pong bar or adult ar­cade.) MAKE IT IN­TER­AC­TIVE, MO­BILE

FRIENDLY. This could in­clude any­thing from over­sized

Jenga games, Cards Against Hu­man­ity or even a live band to com­ple­ment karaoke. Your event should also be mo­bile friendly.. “If there’s an e-vite go­ing out, can they RSVP from their phone? Are they go­ing to get a re­minder email and map lead­ing up to the event?” Gundy asks.

MAKE IT MEAN­ING­FUL. Mil­len­ni­als are so­cially con­scious so your event should of­fer an op­por­tu­nity to give back, per­haps to a lo­cal char­ity or char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion. It might even in­clude vol­un­teer­ing at a lo­cal soup kitchen or wrap­ping gifts and de­liv­er­ing them to a chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal or or­ga­ni­za­tion that’s ac­cept­ing gifts for kids.

TIM­ING IS EV­ERY­THING. Mid­week is the best time to sched­ule your event. “Time is of­ten our cur­rency so if you’re ask­ing peo­ple to stay late, make sure it isn’t too late, as they may have to com­mute home,” says Gundy. From about five to seven or late af­ter­noon through early evening is the “sweet spot.”

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