Every year, 512 million people attend meetings and events around the globe—and more than $500 billion is spent on these events annually. Those are big numbers, which means corporate events are expected to be impactful and valuable. How can you ensure the money, time, and effort you spend are worth it? By using strategies to make your event memorable, productive, and useful for your attendees.
1. Choose a theme.
An effective corporate event is a themed corporate event. An event that is effectively themed will allow participants to engage fully in the experience and accept the challenge, activity, or mandate posed by the event. How does a theme accomplish this? A well-thought-out theme creates an engaging storyline that unfolds throughout the event. Each aspect of the theme adds to the story in some way, so the attendee is truly participating in that theme—not just attending.
Be sure to weave the theme into every aspect of your event by paying attention to the details. Some ways to tie in your theme include:
- Encouraging attendees—or at least leadership—to dress according to the theme
- Creating a playlist of thematic music
- Ensuring decor and dining options reflect your theme
2. Get leadership involved.
Having a strong leadership presence will show attendees how serious your company takes the event. Because employees take important cues from their leaders, it will give credibility to the event and encourage employees to fully engage. Keep in mind that leadership involvement requires more than simply showing up at the event and observing. Work with leadership throughout the event’s planning process to ensure your event is aligned with business goals, and then get them involved with the actual activities. Doing so will help you get buy-in for your event from both the C-suite and your colleagues.
3. Encourage interaction among attendees.
One common goal of corporate events is to break down the silos that exist between departments and teams in order to make collaboration and the sharing of information easier and more effective. For that to happen, genuine interaction between your attendees is necessary. Brainstorm creative ways to foster interaction, such as:
- Out-of-the-box icebreaker activities
- Social activities that encourage mingling, such as an interactive photo booth
- A themed social media hashtag that encourages sharing about the experience and/or online contests after the event
- Training techniques that encourage interaction, instead of passivity which is the downfall of events built around PowerPoint presentations
4. Incorporate experiential learning.
Experiential learning provides learning that lasts, making your event worthwhile long after the event ends. In fact, although learners often retain as little as 5 percent of information acquired through traditional learning (think: lectures), experiential learning can boost that rate by as much as 90 percent. This discovery-based learning approach mirrors on-the-job scenarios that employees experience—but is cleverly masked through story metaphors. Because experiential learning often mirrors real life experiences, the skills gained through experiential learning can be immediately applicable on the job, which helps make your event extremely productive. Plus, experiential learning is adaptable to different budgets, group sizes, and training needs, so it can be used for many different kinds of company events. With flexibility and a high retention rate, experiential learning is one of the best ways to ensure your company event is not only memorable and fun, but truly useful as well.
Corporate events sometimes get a bad rap among employees for being time-wasters instead of opportunities to improve skills that can make employees better at their jobs. Ensure that your next corporate event is memorable and productive so your employees go back to their day-to-day duties feeling inspired, engaged, and empowered.