A friend gave me a great compliment the other day, as I was working at a charity event for her. She said she knew I had a lot of event experience, and was looking for my input on how and when to pack up.
We got packed up not too long after that, and I'm quite sure she could have done it just as well without my suggestions, but she did get me to thinking about all of the events I've planned or participated in. When working in marketing and human resources, I planned many internal events for employees. Later on, as I went on to working in direct sales, my events became much more varied - there were team events, open houses, presentations, trainings, and more. Some events were just a few hours, while some ran for days.
Whether it was an employee potluck, a formal holiday celebration, or a sales conference, any event could go from looking like a garage sale, to being a professional event with the addition of premier table linens. Not seeing the gluey, painted, marred top and wobbly legs of someone's 15-year-old folding table makes all the difference.
A 'real' tablecloth is a great investment (many come with nifty carrying bags to keep them in tip-top condition for years). Before purchasing, consider if you want a logo on it, or will be using it for multiple purposes. Additionally, think about getting the awesome pleated corners that not also look spiffy, but also help keep the whole thing in place if people will be walking around. Last but not least, if you often sit on one side of your table while people are on the other side (although I'll address another time why standing near your table is usually preferable), check out a three-sided tablecloth, so you're not always moving the whole thing sliding your chair in and out.
Using a table cover for a professional appearance is a basic step toward being taken seriously as an event planner or business owner.