What’s the point of this company conference again?

The first quarter of each year is generally when internal company conferences happen. It’s all about setting the scene for the new year, getting staff motivated again after the Summer holidays, and getting our focus back on making money and keeping customers (and bosses) happy.

Sir Richard Branson advocates for a people-focused style of leadership, maintaining that happy staff = happy customers… so it’s very important to set the right scene, to entertain, woo, win over, inspire and motivate staff as they begin the new year. It’s the wake up and shake up start to the year. This should be the point, the punch-line, the goal, the outcome of your annual internal company conference.

So what are the main objectives that need to be met? How can we create a #winning company conference? These are my thoughts, and I’d love to hear yours! Have I missed anything?

  1. Your internal company conference is about sharing information between departments but it’s not about getting bogged down in the detail, the marketing team doesn’t need to know all the nitty gritty about the finance team’s focus, and visa versa, but we do need an overview and an understanding of how processes work. There are certain bullets of information that need to be shared. Be clear about these points. Agree across departments on what your goals and objectives are (for the conference) and stick to those.
  2. Include your audience in your pre-event planning. Sometimes the brand new winning idea can come from the quiet junior receptionist and not necesarily the esteemed director with an eternity of experience and expertise. Create space for those surprises. Create space for comfortable conversation and sharing.
  3. Design the conference specifically for your audience. Taking your team of earthy agricultural types in khaki shorts and veldskoen shoes to a fancy hotel in Sandton doesn’t create a space of safety, and it’ll stump conversation and creativity. You need to have a conference that encourages learning, conversation and sharing. With South African’s cultural diversity it’s often a challenge to find the right venue and mix of content, entertainment, catering etc. but it is possible to get it right.
  4. Staff want to grow, we all have a desire to become more, earn more, succeed more, create more. A well constructed company conference can both feed that desire and create the space for these new opportunities. Junior staff get to engage with their bosses, it should be encouraged. Look for your next shining new star, that future leader, identify ways of nurturing them and helping them grow, because tomorrow we’ll need future leaders to run our businesses.
  5. And in closing, you want just a little slice of something special in your conference, something memorable and fun to take home, whether it was that team build activity, the celebrity guest speaker or your favourite band as entertainment, but you want guests to leave your event and have something newsworthy to tell their friends and family. “It was so much fun… I cannot believe that happened to me!”

Be in touch if you’d like some fresh ideas for your company conference, try a new venue, travel just a little further than the usual usuals, it doesn’t mean a bigger budget, just a more creative use of what you have. #EventMechanics #WeDoEvents

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