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Company Event Planning: Top 20 Essentials

modern event design

Top 20 Essentials

Planning a successful corporate event involves much more than just setting a date and choosing a venue. It requires meticulous attention to detail, strategic planning, and a deep understanding of the objectives and the audience you intend to engage. From establishing clear goals to selecting the perfect location, from leveraging state-of-the-art event technology to executing a seamless marketing strategy, every element plays a crucial role in the outcome of your event. Whether you're hosting a product launch, an awards ceremony, or an annual conference, the key to a successful event lies in your ability to orchestrate these components effectively and create a memorable experience for all attendees.

In this comprehensive guide, "Top 20 Essentials for Planning a Successful Corporate Event," we will walk you through each critical step of the event planning process, as perfected by the experts at Tryon Elevation Group. You'll learn how to define your event objectives, tailor your plans to your target audience, choose and set up the ideal venue, manage your event budget wisely, and much more. We'll also delve into how to maximize attendee engagement through interactive keynote speeches and breakout sessions, the importance of audiovisual elements, and the use of event management software to keep everything on track. Additionally, we will cover effective strategies for using social media to enhance event marketing and the significance of post-event activities to gauge your event's success.

With Tryon Elevation Group's seasoned insights, you'll gain the tools and knowledge needed to ensure that your next corporate event not only meets but exceeds expectations, leaving your guests with lasting impressions. Whether you're a seasoned event planner or new to the realm of corporate events, this guide promises to be an invaluable resource for delivering excellence.

Understanding Your Event Objective

The success of any corporate event hinges on a crystal-clear objective. What exactly do you hope to achieve? Are you launching a new product, celebrating a milestone, or aiming to strengthen team cohesion? Pinning down the purpose right from the start steers every subsequent decision, shaping the theme, choice of speakers, and the nature of activities planned.

Having a specific objective simplifies the planning process and guides your entire team. It also sets a benchmark for evaluating the success of the event. Clearly defined goals are essential for aligning expectations among stakeholders, including vendors, sponsors, and your internal teams. If launching a product is the goal, for instance, your event might focus on showcasing product demos and features that underscore its unique advantages. Each element of your event, from content to logistics, should ladder back to support this goal, ensuring that every attendee leaves with a clear understanding of the product’s value.

Knowing Your Target Audience

Tailoring your event to the expectations and needs of your audience is crucial. Understanding who will attend—their professional backgrounds, interests, and what they wish to gain—allows you to customize every aspect of the event, from the agenda to the environment, ensuring it resonates deeply with attendees. For instance, if your event targets tech-savvy young professionals, incorporating cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking discussions will likely captivate this group.

Audience understanding doesn’t just influence the content; it also informs practical decisions like venue choice, scheduling, and even catering. Catering to your audience’s preferences and needs, including accessibility and dietary restrictions, ensures an inclusive and welcoming environment. Moreover, engaging with your audience before the event through surveys or social media can shape your planning process, building anticipation and making them feel a part of the event narrative.

Choosing the Right Event Venue

The choice of venue can make or break your corporate event. It’s not just about capacity and location; it's about finding a space that embodies the spirit of your event and enhances attendees' experience from the moment they arrive. The venue should reflect the essence of your event’s theme and be conducive to the activities you've planned. Whether it's launching a sophisticated product or hosting a gala, the environment should align with and amplify your event’s goals.

Key considerations in venue selection include accessibility, facilities, and technological capabilities. Ensure the venue is easy to get to for all attendees, whether they’re coming from across town or flying in. It should also support the event’s technical demands, such as high-quality audio-visual equipment for presentations and robust Wi-Fi for interactive sessions. A pre-event visit during the planned time of your event can provide insights into the venue’s ambiance and functionality, helping you visualize the setup and flow of the day, ensuring everything runs smoothly and leaves your guests with a lasting positive impression.

Crafting a Detailed Event Budget

Creating a well-thought-out budget is fundamental to the success of any corporate event. It acts as a financial blueprint, guiding you through the planning process and ensuring that every dollar spent contributes directly to the event's objectives. Start by listing all potential expenses, including venue rental, catering, speaker fees, travel accommodations, marketing, and contingency funds for unexpected costs.

To build a realistic budget, begin with thorough research. Gather quotes from multiple vendors for comparison and identify areas where you can negotiate better deals or find cost-saving alternatives without compromising the quality of the event. Remember, transparency with your vendors about your budget can open discussions for discounts or package deals, especially if you promise long-term partnerships or bulk services.

Once your budget is outlined, track every expenditure meticulously. Use a detailed spreadsheet to monitor costs as they accrue, and regularly compare these with your initial estimates. This ongoing analysis not only helps you stay on budget but also provides insight into where you might be overspending or underspending. It’s crucial to maintain a flexible approach to budgeting, as unexpected expenses will inevitably arise. Allocating a portion of your budget to unforeseen costs can prevent financial overruns and keep your event planning smooth and stress-free.

Maintaining open lines of communication with all stakeholders about the budget is also vital. Regular updates can ensure everyone is aligned, which helps in managing expectations and avoiding last-minute financial surprises. Ultimately, a detailed and dynamic approach to budgeting will safeguard your event against financial pitfalls and ensure every element aligns with your vision and goals.

Utilizing Event Management Software

In today’s digital age, leveraging the right event management software can dramatically enhance the efficiency of your planning process. From automating registrations to managing complex event schedules, the right tool can save you time and reduce errors. When choosing software, look for features that cater specifically to your needs—whether it’s attendee tracking, ticketing, or seamless integration with other tools like email platforms for marketing and CRM systems for customer management.

The ability to centralize all event-related data is one of the key benefits of event management software. This centralization not only streamlines communication across different teams but also provides a holistic view of event metrics, which can be invaluable for making informed decisions quickly. Additionally, many modern software solutions offer real-time analytics, giving you instant insights into registration numbers, attendee engagement, and overall event performance. This data is crucial for adjusting your strategies on the fly and for post-event analysis.

Consider the user experience of both the back-end (for planners) and the front-end (for attendees). Intuitive software that simplifies processes like registration and check-in will enhance the attendee experience and leave a positive impression. Also, look for mobile compatibility, as providing attendees access to schedules, session details, and networking opportunities via their mobile devices can significantly enhance their event experience.

Integrating Effective Audio Visual Technologies

Audio visual (AV) technology plays a pivotal role in the execution of a successful corporate event. Effective use of AV can captivate your audience, enhance presentations, and create immersive experiences that resonate long after the event concludes. Begin by understanding the scope of your AV needs based on your event's size, type, and content. Will you require simple setups for smaller breakout sessions, or complex configurations for large-scale plenary sessions with live streaming?

Collaborating with a professional AV technician can make a significant difference. These experts can recommend the latest technologies suited to your specific needs—from high-definition projection systems and sophisticated sound setups to advanced lighting designs that transform your venue. They can also handle the unexpected technical challenges that often arise during events, ensuring that presentations and performances go off without a hitch.

Consider the integration of interactive technologies such as live polling or Q&A sessions, which can boost engagement by making the audience an active participant in the proceedings. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are also becoming popular tools in corporate events for creating engaging and memorable experiences.

Remember, while AV technology is an investment, its impact on the delivery of your content and the overall event experience can be substantial. Ensure you allocate an appropriate portion of your budget to AV to maximize its benefits, and always conduct a thorough test run to address any issues well before your attendees arrive.

Planning Engaging Keynote Speeches

Securing the right keynote speaker is crucial for setting the tone of your corporate event and ensuring it leaves a lasting impression. An impactful keynote speaker not only captivates the audience but also enriches the event by imparting valuable insights and inspiring attendees. When selecting speakers, it’s essential to choose individuals who are not only experts in their field but also have the charisma and energy to engage a diverse audience.

Begin by identifying potential speakers who align with the event’s theme and can contribute unique perspectives that resonate with your audience's interests. Consider leaders who are not only subject matter experts but also have a reputation for dynamic presentations. Research their previous speaking engagements to gauge their presentation style and the responses from their audiences. It’s also helpful to review feedback from past events to see how speakers were received and how they managed to connect with the audience.

Once you have a shortlist of candidates, reach out with a well-defined proposal that outlines your event’s objectives, the audience demographic, and what you hope to achieve with their keynote address. Be clear about the role they will play and how they can help achieve the event's goals. To further ensure the success of your keynote speeches, work closely with your speakers in the planning stages. This collaboration can involve discussing key message points, aligning on the desired audience takeaway, and even tailoring presentations to include company-specific data or case studies that add a personal touch to the session.

Finally, ensure the technical aspects of their presentation are flawless. Coordinate with your AV team to accommodate any special requirements such as interactive polls, multimedia displays, or live streaming services that the speaker might need. By meticulously planning and supporting your keynote speakers, you can ensure they deliver a powerful presentation that enhances your event’s value and engages your audience.

Incorporating Breakout Sessions

Breakout sessions are an excellent tool for enriching corporate events by allowing for more specialized discussions and closer interaction among attendees. These smaller, focused sessions can facilitate a deeper exploration of topics introduced in larger general sessions and provide a platform for more personalized learning and networking opportunities.

When planning breakout sessions, consider the overall objectives of your event and how these smaller gatherings can contribute to those goals. Choose topics that complement the broader theme of the event but dive deeper into specific areas of interest. This targeted approach not only caters to different interests and professional focuses within your audience but also makes the overall event experience more comprehensive.

Organizing these sessions involves logistical considerations, such as ensuring there are enough rooms available and that they are set up to facilitate interaction. Roundtable setups, U-shaped arrangements, or classrooms styles are popular choices that encourage discussion and collaboration. Additionally, equip each room with necessary technology and materials, and consider having facilitators or moderators who can steer discussions and ensure that each session remains productive and on-topic.

To maximize the impact of breakout sessions, invite feedback from participants about the topics they are interested in prior to the event. This pre-event engagement can help tailor the content to meet the attendees' needs more effectively. After the event, gather feedback to assess what worked and what could be improved, which will help in fine-tuning future sessions.

Boosting Attendee Engagement

Keeping attendees engaged throughout an event is vital for its success and can be one of the most challenging aspects of event planning. Engagement begins with understanding what motivates your audience and designing interactive elements that cater to these interests. Incorporating a mix of educational, networking, and entertainment opportunities will help maintain a high level of participation and interest.

One effective strategy is to use technology to create interactive experiences. Mobile event apps, for instance, can provide attendees with the ability to customize their schedules, participate in live polls, and engage in Q&A sessions with speakers in real-time. These tools not only enhance the attendee experience but also provide organizers with valuable data on participant preferences and behaviors.

Gamification is another powerful technique to boost engagement. By incorporating elements of play and competition, such as scavenger hunts or trivia quizzes related to the event content, you can make learning fun and encourage more active participation. Prizes or recognition for participating can add an extra layer of incentive for attendees.

Additionally, provide spaces for networking and relaxation. Lounge areas where attendees can rest, recharge their devices, and have informal conversations can make the event more enjoyable and less fatiguing. These less structured environments encourage spontaneous interactions and discussions, which are often as valuable as the formal content.

By strategically using these methods to boost engagement, you can ensure that your event is not only informative but also dynamic and enjoyable, keeping attendees active and involved from start to finish.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for amplifying your event's reach and engaging with your audience before, during, and after the event. To maximize its potential, it's important to develop a comprehensive social media strategy that covers all phases of your event.

Before the Event: Start by creating a buzz around your event. Use engaging posts, behind-the-scenes content, and teaser videos to generate interest and excitement. Create a unique event hashtag to streamline conversations and make it easier for attendees and interested parties to follow along and share content. This is also a great time to run targeted ads on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to reach potential attendees who fit your demographic criteria.

During the Event: Social media during the event should focus on real-time engagement. Live-tweet key moments, livestream main sessions, and encourage attendees to share their experiences using the event hashtag. This not only engages your onsite audience but also extends the experience to those who couldn’t attend in person. Interactive polls, live Q&A sessions, and photo contests can also enhance engagement and provide immediate feedback about the event’s progress.

After the Event: The conversation doesn’t end when the event does. Continue to engage your audience by sharing event highlights, keynote speeches, and photos of attendees. Encourage participants to share their learnings and experiences. This is also a crucial time to gather feedback through social media polls and direct messages to learn what worked and what could be improved for future events.

Using social media effectively requires consistent messaging and timely interactions. By maintaining an active presence before, during, and after your event, you can significantly enhance attendee engagement and leave a lasting impression that extends far beyond the event itself.

Executing a Memorable Product Launch

A product launch is a critical moment for any business, presenting an opportunity to make a significant impact on your target market. Planning a memorable product launch requires meticulous attention to detail and a strategy that captivates your audience’s attention while effectively communicating your product's value.

Visual Storytelling: Use compelling visuals to tell your product's story. Whether it's through high-quality videos, immersive presentations, or engaging demonstrations, make sure your visuals are aligned with your brand and highlight the product’s features and benefits.

Venue and Atmosphere: Choose a venue that complements the essence of your product and sets the right tone for the launch. The atmosphere should be inviting and reflective of the product’s brand. Lighting, music, and decor should all contribute to an environment that enhances the product's appeal and encourages attendees to engage with it.

Engagement Activities: Incorporate interactive elements that allow attendees to experience the product firsthand. This could include product trials, interactive demos, or virtual reality experiences that immerse the audience in the product’s world. The more you can engage your attendees' senses, the more memorable the experience will be.

Strategic Messaging: Craft messages that resonate with your target audience and highlight the unique selling propositions of your product. Ensure that every speech, presentation, and marketing material reinforces the core messages you want to convey about your product.

By focusing on these elements, you can ensure your product launch not only introduces your product effectively but also leaves a lasting impression that excites and engages your audience.

Scheduling Events Leading Up to the Main Event

The days and weeks leading up to your main event are critical for building momentum and ensuring a high level of participation. Pre-event activities should be designed to increase anticipation, engage potential attendees, and set the stage for a successful main event.

Announcements and Updates: Regularly update your audience with exciting news and developments about the event. This could include announcing keynote speakers, revealing agenda highlights, or offering sneak peeks of event content. Each announcement is an opportunity to remind potential attendees of the value the event promises to deliver.

Engagement Campaigns: Launch social media challenges, countdowns, or "meet the speaker" posts to keep your event top of mind. These activities can help foster a community feeling among attendees and boost excitement as the event approaches.

Webinars and Live Q&A Sessions: Host pre-event webinars or live Q&A sessions with speakers or panelists. These sessions not only provide additional value to attendees but also serve as a platform for further engagement and interaction, allowing potential attendees to start networking and discussing topics related to the event.

Registration Incentives: Consider offering early bird discounts or special packages to encourage early sign-ups. You can also create exclusivity around certain aspects of the event, like limited seats for special sessions or VIP networking opportunities, to spur immediate action.

By carefully planning these pre-event activities, you can create a sense of anticipation and community that not only boosts attendance rates but also enhances the overall event experience, making the main event something that attendees look forward to with enthusiasm.

Ensuring High-Quality Event Catering

Selecting the right catering service is crucial to enhancing the attendee experience at any event. High-quality catering not only satisfies hunger but also contributes to the overall ambiance and can leave a lasting impression. When choosing a caterer, consider several key factors to ensure the food and service align with your event's standards and goals.

Firstly, identify catering services that specialize in handling events similar to yours in terms of size and complexity. Ask for references and review past event examples to gauge their ability to deliver both quality food and exceptional service. It’s also important to consider the variety and flexibility of their menu options. Can they provide a range of culinary choices that cater to diverse palates and dietary needs? Offering a menu that includes vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other allergen-friendly options is essential in today’s diverse society.

Taste testing is a crucial step in the selection process. Organize a session to sample the caterer's offerings. This not only helps you assess the quality and presentation of the food but also the creativity and ability of the caterer to adapt dishes to your specific requirements. During this session, observe the professionalism and communication style of the catering staff, as these are indicative of the service your guests will receive.

Discuss logistical details such as the setup and breakdown times, how they manage unforeseen dietary requests, and their strategies for maintaining food quality throughout the event. Ensure that the catering service can seamlessly integrate with your event schedule, especially if there are multiple components like speeches or presentations that require precise timing.

By meticulously planning and coordinating with your chosen caterer, you can ensure that the food and service contribute positively to the event experience, making your event memorable for all attendees.

Deploying Effective Event Marketing

Effective event marketing is pivotal in ensuring high attendance and engagement. Utilizing a mix of traditional and digital marketing strategies can maximize your reach and attract the right audience. Start by identifying your target audience and tailoring your marketing messages to resonate with them. This involves understanding their preferences, which platforms they frequent, and what information is most likely to engage them.

Email marketing remains one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. Develop a campaign that includes a series of targeted emails, starting with a 'save the date,' followed by periodic updates that build excitement or offer more details about the event. Segment your email list to personalize messages for different groups within your audience. For example, past attendees might receive a different message from potential first-time attendees.

Digital advertising should also play a key role in your marketing strategy. Utilize social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to run targeted ads. These platforms offer advanced targeting options that allow you to reach specific demographics, geographic locations, and even interests. Combine this with retargeting ads to capture the interest of users who have visited your event page but haven't yet registered.

Content marketing can also enhance your event's visibility. Create and share engaging content that highlights the value of your event, such as speaker interviews, sneak peeks at the agenda, or articles on topics related to the event theme. This content can be shared across your social media channels, blog, and email newsletters to keep your audience engaged and informed.

By integrating these strategies into a cohesive marketing plan, you can effectively promote your event, ensuring high attendance and active engagement from your target audience.

Post-Event Follow-Up Strategies

The importance of effective post-event follow-up cannot be overstated. This phase is crucial for gathering feedback, measuring success, and fostering ongoing relationships with attendees. Implementing a structured follow-up strategy immediately after the event can help capitalize on the momentum and engagement generated.

Start by sending thank-you emails to all attendees, speakers, sponsors, and staff within 24 to 48 hours after the event concludes. These emails should express gratitude and also include a post-event survey. The survey should ask for feedback on various aspects of the event, such as the content quality, speaker performance, venue, and overall experience. This feedback is invaluable for identifying strengths and areas for improvement, which can inform the planning of future events.

In addition to surveys, consider scheduling follow-up calls or face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders and major clients to gather more in-depth feedback. This personal approach not only provides more detailed insights but also strengthens relationships, showing your commitment to continuous improvement and client satisfaction.

Lastly, use the content collected from the event, such as session recordings, photos, and articles, to create post-event materials that can be shared with attendees. This not only keeps the conversation going but also helps maintain engagement until the next event. Additionally, share highlights and success stories on social media and other communication channels to extend the event’s reach and impact.

By diligently executing these post-event follow-up strategies, you ensure that the event has a lasting impact, providing valuable insights for future events and maintaining strong connections with your audience.

Handling Logistics Smoothly

Managing the logistics of an event is akin to orchestrating a complex dance where every move needs to be perfectly timed and executed. Successful logistics management ensures that every aspect of the event flows seamlessly from one to the next, minimizing disruptions and enhancing the overall attendee experience. Start by developing a comprehensive logistics plan that outlines every detail, from the setup times for each vendor to the flow of attendees throughout the venue.

Communication is key to smooth logistics. Ensure that every team member, vendor, and volunteer understands their roles and responsibilities. Regular meetings and updates can help keep everyone on the same page and allow for adjustments as needed. Utilize checklists and timelines to track progress and ensure that no detail is overlooked.

It’s also essential to have contingency plans in place for unforeseen issues, such as equipment failures, weather problems, or last-minute changes in the schedule. Having a flexible approach and the ability to adapt quickly will help you manage any situation that may arise. Additionally, designate a logistics coordinator or a point person who can handle inquiries and resolve issues on the day of the event, freeing up other team members to focus on their primary responsibilities.

Lastly, conduct a final walk-through with your team and key vendors before the event begins. This allows you to catch any potential issues and make necessary adjustments. By meticulously planning and proactively managing logistics, you ensure that your event not only runs smoothly but also leaves a positive lasting impression on all attendees.

Setting Up Functional Registration Areas

The registration area is often the first point of contact attendees have with your event, making it crucial to start on a positive note with an efficient registration process. A well-organized registration area sets the tone for the event and can significantly enhance attendee satisfaction.

To ensure efficiency, streamline the registration process with pre-event preparations. Consider using event management software that allows for pre-registration and pre-payment, which can speed up the process and reduce queues. Clearly signposted and separate lines for pre-registered attendees and on-the-spot registrants can also keep things moving smoothly.

Equip your registration area with adequate staffing to handle the expected number of attendees. Train staff members to be knowledgeable about the event schedule, layout, and other frequently asked questions. For larger events, implementing self-service registration kiosks where attendees can print their badges and materials can significantly enhance the flow and reduce the workload on staff.

Finally, ensure that the registration area is spacious enough to accommodate peak arrival times without becoming overcrowded. Good signage, sufficient lighting, and essential supplies like pens, lanyards, and program booklets should be well-organized and easy to access. By setting up a functional and welcoming registration area, you ensure that attendees start their event experience on a high note.

Planning for Safety and Security

Ensuring the safety and security of all participants is paramount in event planning. This requires meticulous planning and preparation, starting with a comprehensive risk assessment of the venue and the event activities. Identify potential hazards and develop strategies to mitigate them, such as crowd control measures, secure barriers, and clear signage.

Engage professional security personnel who are experienced in handling large events. Their presence can deter potential threats and provide a sense of safety for attendees. It’s also crucial to coordinate with local law enforcement and emergency services to ensure they are aware of your event and can provide rapid response if needed.

Additionally, implement emergency procedures for scenarios such as medical emergencies, fires, or severe weather conditions. Clearly communicate these procedures to all staff and volunteers, and consider conducting a briefing or a drill to ensure everyone knows how to react in an emergency.

Also, make sure that emergency exits are clearly marked and unobstructed, and that all safety equipment, such as first aid kits and fire extinguishers, are easily accessible. Planning for safety and security is not just about preventing incidents but also about ensuring a quick and effective response should an incident occur, keeping all attendees safe.

Evaluating the Event’s Success

Measuring the success of an event is crucial for understanding its impact and for planning future improvements. Effective evaluation involves collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources to get a comprehensive view of the event's performance. Start by gathering immediate feedback from attendees through surveys and questionnaires distributed at the end of the event. These should ask about their experience, what they found valuable, and what could be improved. Including specific questions that relate to the event’s objectives can help you gauge how well those objectives were met.

In addition to direct feedback, utilize digital tools to collect data on various aspects of the event. For example, event management software can provide insights into attendance rates, session popularity, and participant engagement levels. Social media analytics can also offer valuable data on how the event was discussed and shared online, providing a view of public perception and reach.

Compile and analyze this data to identify strong points and areas needing improvement. Look for trends or common themes in feedback that could inform changes for future events. Share these findings with your team and stakeholders in a detailed report that not only covers what went well but also outlines actionable steps for improvement based on participant feedback and other data.

By systematically evaluating each event, you can continuously refine your approach, enhancing the effectiveness and attendee satisfaction of your future events, ensuring they are even more successful and impactful.

Celebrating with an Awards Ceremony

An awards ceremony can be a highlight of any event, offering a chance to honor outstanding achievements and motivate participants. Planning such a ceremony requires careful consideration to ensure it is memorable and impactful. Start by setting clear criteria for the awards and decide how recipients will be chosen. It's important to maintain transparency and fairness in the selection process to enhance the ceremony's credibility.

Select a theme for the ceremony that aligns with the overall event and adds an element of excitement. The venue should be arranged to reflect this theme, with appropriate decorations and lighting to create a festive atmosphere. Plan the flow of the ceremony carefully to maintain a dynamic pace and keep the audience engaged. This includes having a well-prepared host or MC, concise speeches, and perhaps entertainment segments between award presentations.

Audiovisual elements are also crucial; high-quality sound and visuals can significantly enhance the experience. Consider displaying nominees and winners on large screens with professional-quality videos or images that highlight their achievements. This not only adds prestige to the awards but also makes the event more engaging.

Finally, ensure that each awardee receives recognition not just during the event but also in post-event communications. Share their stories and accomplishments through press releases, social media posts, and articles in industry publications. This not only extends the impact of the ceremony but also encourages future participants to strive for excellence.

By meticulously planning and executing an awards ceremony, you create an uplifting experience that not only rewards high achievers but also inspires all attendees, leaving a lasting impression that echoes beyond the event itself.

If you're ready to plan a corporate event in New York or Miami that exceeds all expectations, reach out to Tryon Elevation Group today. Our expert team of corporate event planners will help you navigate every aspect of event planning to ensure your next event is a standout success. Contact us for a consultation and let's create an unforgettable experience together.

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