Successful corporate events – beyond the paperweight. Are you really getting value?

Apr 5th, 20112 Comments

Organisations put great effort into creating conferences and events which hit the mark and create the focus and change they want.  We notice in our work that beyond the fanfare and the giveaways so much of the potential benefit is lost.  Why does that happen when we know no one wants that?  Here are our thoughts about important ingredients for the event and beyond (and you can read the full article here).

Here are our thoughts on creating events with lasting impact.

1.       Clear outcomes: not a new thought but it’s the right place to start: When what you do has been successful, what will people be thinking, feeling, doing and saying?

2.       Know where people start from – talk to them before you start the design: How will they arrive ready and prepared?

3.       What’s the message? And who are you to say it?  Know what needs to be said;  match what you say and do;  use real stories that come from the heart.

4.       Don’t stuff the agenda! Avoid Powerpoint hell and constant broadcast mode.  People need space to discuss and explore if they are going to  ‘get it’.

5.       Create sessions which link and flow. How can you design an event with clear themes and yet enough variety to keep interest?

6.       Ensure session leaders can deliver and have the courage to invite participation

7.       Things don’t always turn out as we expect. Make sure someone is testing the temperature in the room and be ready to make changes. Going off script can be scary but responding to what’s actually going creates impact – not your carefully crafted slide deck.

8.       Have a ‘stage manager’ who is the glue so that your delivery team is freed up

9.       Prepare breakout sessions with precision: If you’re not clear what they’re doing, why and what will happen as a result, they won’t be either.   

And…you won’t get bang for your buck (or that old chestnut ‘value’) unless you ensure:

  • Follow up on any actions or ideas that came up
  • The leadership team discuss the themes and act on the results
  • Focus on the next step/ phase on the journey
  • Communicate progress
  • Test whether the event was a success  – have people noticed any change?
  • You know who has authority and licence to keep the impetus going
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2 Responses to “Successful corporate events – beyond the paperweight. Are you really getting value?”

  1. A really interesting read – and congratulations on all this great work (and sounds fun too!)!

    The work you mentioned struck a particular chord with me. Working with various clients in the political domain, it is clear to me that coaches have a role to play which is very different to that of the spin doctors that political figures usually have around them. Clarifying and articulating the vision requires – as you suggest – authority, presence and impact – and an authenticity which comes from a real connection with the self and personal (and organisational) values! After that, the creative sparks just fly!!

    All best wishes for your future corporate event projects!

  2. Jo Hackett says:

    The one lady who held EVERYONE’S attention (even the irritating gossips who always seem to sit behind me, grrrr!) was the volunteer from the British Colostomy society. She was a very attractive 60 something lady, who comes to speak to groups like us because she wants other patients out there to know that there is life after emergency surgery, and that you can live after having a stoma bag fitted.

    It meant so much more to all of us, because this lady has suffered, but also because she didn’t use Powerpoint slides or talk jargon to us. She just talked to us about her experiences. As someone who is now regularly sitting through lectures, but knows that they are a “doer” not a “thinker” (although obviously I can!!) it was a wonderfully fresh approach. She wasn’t just telling us she knows, but she had the confidence to answer questions, because she has been there. Very important in these days of information overload.

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