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Outdoor corporate gatherings are a great way to get out of the office and deepen your engagements with current and potential clients. They also energize your team and give them a chance to take on new responsibilities.

Golf has been the go-to outdoor business activity for a long time, but hitting the links just isn’t everyone’s thing.

When it comes to an outdoor event or barbecue with a business context, there’s a delicate balance between business casual and too casual.

Here are some guidelines for organizing your own DIY outdoor gathering.

Invite List – Intimate Vibe, or the More-the-Merrier?

Think about who you want to invite. If you keep it small, you can really show a select few loyal clients they’re special and give a couple of new relationships your full attention. On the other hand, larger events have more energy and give your invitees the chance to network amongst themselves.

Work out which option would benefit your business more. Once you know how many people you’re expecting, then you can find the right space.

Location – Atmosphere is everything.

The location sets the tone for the event and plays a big role in maintaining the business casual balance. A park or campground may be too casual, but plenty of event spaces have outdoor options if you do your research. A restaurant patio, a local farm that hosts events, or a rooftop with a great view are possibilities.

If you go for a small, intimate option and you’re brave, your own home may be the right choice if you have big a deck or yard. Imagine how meaningful being invited to your home would be to your guests.

Food – Too Many Choices?

When it comes to planning food, there are so many options it can be stressful to make a choice. To help narrow it down, first think of your brand. If you’re fun and innovative, arranging for a few food trucks may be exciting. If you’re more sophisticated, catering may be the answer. If you’re going for intimate and, again, you’re brave, you may offer a home-cooked specialty.

Second, consider the venue. Small, easy-to-hold food is better if you don’t plan on sitting much. Third, look up current trends and mix more adventurous offerings with traditional crowd-pleasers.

Drinks are also important to consider. Inappropriate adult beverages can make a business gathering uncomfortable quickly. If the drinks are free, stick to beer and a perhaps a signature cocktail that isn’t too strong.

Also, have someone present who serves the drinks, whether it’s a hired bartender or a member of the team. That way you can identify someone who may be on the brink of having too many.

Ban boredom

If all you have planned is eating and talking, you won’t hold people’s interest long. Incorporate some entertainment and activities to keep people engaged and enjoying themselves. Hire a musician, entertainer or DJ to avoid lulls.

Branding – Never forget it!

Bring swag, put up a banner, and choose decorations in your brand’s colors. Is eco-friendliness part of your brand? Make sure you keep plastic to a minimum and use recycled, reusable or compostable products.

Delegate Responsibility

This kind of event is a great way to give team members the opportunity to rise to a challenge. Put different people in charge of specific action items and check in with them to hold them accountable.