One important element that can make or break any event is the quality of food and drink. A memorable meal will stick in people’s minds as well as encouraging interaction.

Whether you utilise the venue’s catering service or call in for outside help, it often helps to make sure the quality of the food you serve, along with any drinks, alcoholic or not, is of the highest standard. Also, a bit of imagination will not steer you wrong. Too often the prawn cocktail, followed by a fish or meat dish and a selection of tired puddings will have delegates rolling their eyes. Trying something unique or specially-selected can do wonders. It shows you care about your guests’ appetites as well as showcasing your individual style.

Tapas can replace the traditional and sometimes stomach-churning buffet and ethnic or exotic meals can replace a staid luncheon. Your guests will be thankful for something more unexpected, but even if you stick with the traditional, this can be engineered in your favour. Source local produce and shout about it – your guests will appreciate a meal from the immediate area and those visiting will be able to marvel at what is available in a region they may not have graced before. Being wary of dietary requirements is also a good idea, and most caterers and restaurateurs will be able to provide vegetarian, vegan or food free of certain elements such as dairy, gluten and wheat for those sensitive to certain foods.

Alcohol is also an issue. Serve it too early in a day and attention may wander, but don’t serve it at all and people may be clamouring for it by the evening. Keeping things on the conservative side when it comes to booze is a good idea, fine wines and perhaps cocktails will make evening sessions more spectacular.