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How to Organise an Awards Ceremony

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This is a practical how-to guide on how to organise an awards' ceremony, whether you are a small or a big company.

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How to Organise an Awards Ceremony

  1. 1. How to Organise an Awards Ceremony Whether its MTV’s Video Music Awards, the Grammys or Oscars, big award ceremonies conjure up images of glitz, glamour, celebrities, fashion and outrageous antics worthy of the newspaper front pages. In the real world, there are many reasons to hold an awards ceremony, whether it’s to celebrate the efforts of your community, to champion your staff or to provide a networking opportunity for your industry peers. Holding an awards ceremony, on whatever scale you can afford, shows your staff or community their work is valued. The recognition also motivates people to excel and instils healthy competition amongst your workforce. An awards ceremony also provides everyone with a chance to reflect on the previous year, what you have achieved and what your goals are for the coming months. From budget planning to traffic management, here are our top tips for planning an awards ceremony: 1. Budget You first of all need to decide how much you are able to spend on your event. If your company or charitable organisation has a big budget you may be able to consider something grander, but smaller organisations may need to be more creative with their cash. Finalising your budget will determine the number of guests, the venue, the menu, what drinks you can serve, what type of awards you can present alongside any prizes as well as who your compere and guest speakers will be. 2. Venue Before you plan anything you need to decide where to hold your event. You will need to consider what type of event your budget will allow and whether it will be a large-scale, black tie affair with a luxurious dinner or something more informal and intimate. The number of people you plan to invite will play a key part in selecting your venue. If you want to hold a small scale event for a specific division or department at your company you could consider using a presentation room in your existing offices or erecting a marquee in the garden or grounds.
  2. 2. If you want to do something grander, why not consider your local town hall, theatre or a nearby hotel? You will need to consider if the venue can offer everything you practically need from tables, chairs, a podium or stage, audio-visual equipment and kitchen facilities for any food you want to serve. What you definitely need to do is take measures concerning traffic management, security and crowd control, so that accessing and attending the event doesn’t end up in a media fiasco. The easiest and most cost-effective thing to do is to hire temporary barriers and traffic control systems! 3. Certificate or statue? Whether it’s a dazzling statuette, like winners receive at the Golden Globes, or an iconic figurine awarded to musicians at the MTV Awards, the type of award you present will help not only add character to your event but provide something covetable for your nominees to strive to win. The award should complement the action being rewarded, so winners of a community or charity award may prefer a monetary contribution to their project or charity rather than a gold-plated statuette! If you are running a business award you may want to present something more corporate and professional, such as a glass award for the company to keep alongside a framed certificate for the individual winner. Don’t forget your awards’ logo and/or colour scheme should be prominently displayed so it becomes an iconic and well-recognised part of your event. 4. Entertainment Most award ceremonies hire a compere or celebrity to introduce the nominees, announce the winners and to help entertain guests. For a low budget affair this could be your company director or local radio presenter. National, large scale events would benefit from a household name to present the awards such as a comedian or TV star. Guests will also expect some kind of entertainment, whether it’s an inspirational guest speaker relevant to your industry, a comedian, singer or band. If your awards ceremony is an evening event and goes on into the night, don’t forget to book a DJ or musician to entertain your guests until last orders. 5. Music and lighting The music and lighting you use will complement the design and tone of your event. The music and lighting effects can be used to transform the ambience of your venue and make the event feel more magical. For those on a small budget you could hire some mobile lighting or for a grander event you could use spotlights and laser lights to jazz up the atmosphere. You need to ensure the music you select compliments the mood and tone of your event. For example, there’s no point playing chart music as winners collect their awards if it’s a formal, black tie affair. You need to ensure you use music to accompany the arrival of guest speakers, winners collecting their award and any conclusion of intervals. You need to keep it upbeat, positive and energetic without being overwhelming.
  3. 3. 6. Design How your event will look will depend on your budget and venue. For example, if you have an extensive budget and a grand venue you can afford to have beautifully set tables, big screens, bespoke props and extensive light displays. You could consider having a theme for your event if it will be held annually. However, the challenges really do occur when trying to design an event with a tight budget. Branding is key to any event so your charity, organisation or company logo as well as your corporate colours should be displayed prominently. Don’t forget your key supporters and sponsors as they will expect to see a good return on their investment. Taking advantage of the screens during the quieter times during breaks or dinner is a great way to showcase sponsor logos and thank everyone involved without intruding on the guests’ overall experience. 7. Videos and photography The focal point of your event should be showcasing your nominees and winners and the best way to let everyone attending the event know what they have achieved is to video and photograph the people involved. Your video production company can pull together your organisation or charity’s branding to create a package of videos and still images to illuminate the screens when the nominees or the winner is announced. If your event is much smaller and you can’t afford to recruit a video production company, why not ask your firm’s press or marketing officer to hire a camera and video the nominees talking about the work they do themselves? Or perhaps you could ask media or journalism students from your city’s college or university to help you with the production, so you are helping nurture talented young people’s skills? You also need to remember that there’s no point organising your event if you are not recording any of it for the future. Why not ask your video production company or student videographers to film or photograph the event for your organisation’s website, marketing and PR? 8. Promoting your event internally and externally Don’t forget to tell everyone about your event and to promote the good work of your employees or charity volunteers even further by inviting the media along. Whatever the size of your company, using the local, regional and national media to showcase the achievements of your employees or volunteers will show your contemporaries and industry peers that you value your workforce and have lots to celebrate. You can also us any video and photographs you take at the event on your website and your PR team can utilise them to generate media coverage from any TV, radio and print journalists who couldn’t attend.

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