Last week, I wrote about how a large company could benefit from building the event and including all company staff during the time leading up to the event. That got me thinking of ways to involve conference attendees and to induce a feeling of ownership in the conference subject.
There are many ways to involve your participants during the event – games and team-building activities come to mind quite easily. And I often see how a social activity is added to a conference program to activate and involve the participants – and most often these activities are not facilitated in any way to relate to the agenda or objective of the meeting. And at least at some events a large group of the participants may be turned off by too many outgoing activities.
Having your conference attendees swinging from the treetops may have them remember the event, but do they remember that your corporate strategy is to increase sales by 20% within the next 18 months? Sure, they had a great party at the strategy weekend, but do they actually reduce waste by 10% within the next three months?
If you are about to invest in a new robot for the production floor or in a new fleet of delivery trucks worth a fifth of your annual spending, I’m pretty sure you’d involve all relevant departments and managers to ensure the investment is sound and well received. According to an article in Harvard Business Review corporate events exceed 20% of corporate expenses. However, the company I revisited in my post last week had spent most of the event investment on the social part of getting everyone together for a party.
My suggestion for that company would be to include the strategy and the strategy weekend into all aspects of the daily tasks. Revisit the findings from last year to ensure everyone is following up and start asking each member of the staff for suggestions on what points to include in the next big event. Once they’ve had the chance to share their ideas and suggestions, they start feeling ownership for the agenda. Doing this also increases awareness about the importance of both the event and the strategy.
Once you’ve build interest for the “boring” part of the event during the year, there are a number of ways to involve your participants during the meetings as Anne has discussed here.
I don’t say you should not tell your staff about the party at all, just that the party is the icing on the cake, not the whole “meal”.
Is your event the sole objective or a way of obtaining your goal?