Once the holidays are over and everyone’s back in the office, you may think your employees are partied-out. But, no! Kicking off the new year with a kickass corporate event is the perfect way to keep the happy holiday spirit rolling as everyone re-focuses on the work at hand. Throw the right event, and you can reinforce their renewed sense of motivation and look forward to a great business year.
GIVE YOUR FUNCTION A KICKASS NAME
Nothing screams “this is gonna be a snoozer” like phrases such as “kick-off event” and “annual meeting.” It's an unwritten rule that this really means: "you're going to be subjected to a recitation of major decisions regarding the company's future that have already been decided without any input from them." Frankly, they’d rather you just sent a memo.
Instead, think up a name and theme for your gathering that will excite employees about this year’s focus. What’s your #1 goal for the year? Even something like "2020: A Year for Innovation" or "Breaking Barriers in 2020" sounds a lot more intriguing than "2020 Kick-Off Meeting."
SET THE STAGE . . . LITERALLY
What’s even worse than a boring event name? A boring event. Let everyone know from the moment they step into the room that this will be an experience to remember. This is your chance to invoke emotion as well as deliver talking points – a cohesive opportunity to tell your corporate story for the upcoming year.
Simple ways to have a great stage presence:
- Create an immersive atmosphere by dressing the room and stage using lighting, graphics, even moving images or video. To do that well, you’ll need to consider the size and placement of your audience, who will be on stage and what they’ll be doing, and above all, what message do you want to convey to your employees with this gathering?
- Use LED tiles to comprehensively brand your space – backdrop, banners, the podium. You name it - the sky is the limit with this technology.
- Skip the posters with your corporate logo and use projection mapping to display images on tables, the floor, walls, or transform objects into imaginative 3D exhibits.
HIRE A KICKASS SPEAKER OR MC
Of course, you want the CEO or president of the company to say a few words, but let’s be honest. Hiring someone from outside the company to engage and inspire the team will leave an indelible impression. "But how do I find an engaging speaker?" you might ask. Look for someone who:
- Can read a room. If people are not responding the way you hoped, a smart speaker can quickly switch gears to reconnect with employees.
- Is tech-savvy. PowerPoint is so yesterday (or yester-year). Find someone who is familiar with innovative tools that foster audience interaction.
- Knows how to inspire non-tech participation. Not everyone loves using apps to answer surveys or polls as part of their audience participation. A savvy speaker knows how to pose questions that elicit audience members to raise their hand and answer, too.
- Adds value to your event. Don’t pick just anyone to headline your event. Your goal is to inspire your employees, so choose a presenter that relates to your business, values, culture, and theme.
CREATE FUN WAYS FOR EMPLOYEES TO PARTICIPATE
Presentations, no matter how snazzily delivered, cannot ignite excitement and inspire teamwork on their own. So build in ways for employees to engage with one another as well as the speaker. This could include interactive activities like surveys, trivia, polls, or Q and A using an app:
- Use an instant survey app to ask employees for ideas to help improve the business in the coming years. Then divide them into groups to brainstorm how to implement the best ideas.
- Set up lounge areas where co-workers can mingle with one another to relax or chat or play a game.
- Try a new team-building exercise to unite colleagues.
- When the event is over, ask everyone to identify what they liked best, so you can make next year's gathering even better.
You know what they say about all work and no play – that applies even to corporate meetings. Your employees work hard all year long, so they deserve to unwind together and have a good time. Who cares if your company can’t afford top-dollar names like Lady Gaga or Justin Timberlake? Quality talent lurks nearby, we assure you. Hire local musicians, a magician, a hypnotist, a comedian, or circus acts to liven things up.
KICKASS MEANS FLAWLESS
Every smart event planner has an ace up their sleeve – their AV team. Not only will you need their expertise to organize and flawlessly execute the audio, lighting, and video details of your event, you can plug into their expertise before you make even one planning decision. No one knows better what will work best in whatever setting you have chosen, and no one has more creative ideas on how to make the most of your space within your budget. Talk about kickass!
You’ll have everyone rolling up their sleeves, high-fiving, and shouting, “Let’s get to it!” Not only is this going to be a great year, but your employees will also be counting down the days until next year's big event.