I was rummaging through my files yesterday and ran across this brilliant list of blunders many executives make when planning their annual corporate event. Taken from the book, Never By Chance, Joe Calloway, Chuck Feltz and Kris Young share their “top ten mistakes”:
- Have a meeting just because you “always have a meeting.”
- Go into the meeting without stated objectives and clearly defined outcome.
- Put more focus on what the executives want to say than what the audience needs to hear.
- Overload the schedule wihtout giving participants time to network, process, and just catch their breath.
- Focus on only one mode of communicating (i.e. a podium parade of talking heads), as opposed to looking at multiple ways to communicate with and engage the audience.
- Poor coordination and communication between/among speakers, resulting in conflicting messages or unnecessary repetition.
- Make no provision for building on the meeting’s objectives and goals after the event.
- Structure the event so that the audience is completely passive, not allowing them to interact and affect the meeting and its content.
- Not updating the meeting’s structure to reflect changes in the company, the audience, or the culture at large.
- Not utilizing a production company that understands how to help you design and produce an effective, strategic event and make the most of your investment.
Clearly, events that lack purpose and focus are an incredible waste of time. When planning your annual meeting, it should align with and further the company’s strategy. In fact, every single person on the planning team should be able to ask the question: “What’s the point?” Include them in the strategy and communication planning discussions from the beginning vs. on a “need to know” basis.
Kris Young says, “When working with a focused team like this, creative ideas flow and are on target, and conversations don’t go in circles. Every idea is clearly focused on one specific goal. Every decision is aligned to a specific outcome. Planned messages are clear, and every part of the event is aligned to these messages. All elements – such as executive presentations, videos, outside speakers, set designs, presentation graphics, the look of the room, even entertainment options – are meant to create an experience that will deliver the company’s intended result. Working as part of a team like this and producing a truly successful event is incredibly satisfying and fulfilling work.”
Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if all corporate meetings were truly successful, incredibly satisfying and fulfilling? What would have to happen to make it so?