As the economy shows distinct signs of recovery, companies are making a more conscious effort to communicate with stakeholders and as a result many are actively planning their annual meetings. These meetings are terrific opportunities to fire up the faithful–those who have a stake in your future.
Based upon successful meetings of the past, here are some things to consider when you plan and stage your next off-site meeting, be it an all-employee meeting, a vendor/supplier meeting or a franchise dealer event.
Have a purpose. People need to know why they are coming to the event. Create a specific agenda and theme it to the mood of the moment. Create a slogan about what you believe in and what your organization stands for. People can use the theme as a rallying point.
Create excitement. You are inviting people to travel to your event. Dress the hall with appropriate theme décor. Give it a festive ambiance.
Stick to the agenda. Keep the activities moving. Keep general sessions short and to the point. Use breakout sessions to encourage two-way conversation. Keep that conversation going after the formal activities. This is where good ideas spark and good business can be struck.
Celebrate the event. Don’t forget to have fun. When you bring people from out of town, spring for good food and drink. Hire entertainers, if appropriate. It could be extravagant as a Las Vegas-style show, or as simple as a three-piece combo. A little music helps people feel more welcome and lightens the mood.
Rev ’em up. Never forget that when you invite people to an event, they are your guests. Treat them with respect. The respect you show them will be repaid a hundred times over. Participants always leave successful events thinking, “Wow, we must be special because the company paid for us to be here.” Understand the motivation is intrinsic; it is not what you say; it is how you enable people to respond.
There is something else to consider. Be flexible. Outside events can alter the mood of your gathering. The 2010 Golden Globe Awards event was upstaged by the earthquake in Haiti. Around the clock television coverage of the devastation on the island cast a somber mood over the typically upbeat Hollywood event so organizers toned down the glitz and turned the event into telethon-style fundraiser for Haitian relief.
Bringing your people together at a meeting is a terrific opportunity to demonstrate common cause with the goals and objectives of your organization. But it will only succeed if you have strong purpose, keep it running smoothly, and go with the flow when the outside world intervenes
Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership development consultant,
executive coach, author, and speaker. In 2010 Top Leadership Gurus named John
one of the world’s top 25 leadership experts. John’s newest book is 12
Steps to Power Presence: How to Assert Your Authority to Lead. Amacom 2010). Readers are welcome to
visit John’s website, www.johnbaldoni.com.