Is your Twitter feed more interesting than the meeting you’re sitting in? It’s time to bring some excitement to the table. With a creative approach, solid planning and expert execution, a company meeting will leave everyone energized.
Kimpton specializes in helping business clients host meetings and events worth remembering — the kind of get-togethers that inspire, focus on healthy food and unleash the fun. Here are our 10 foolproof tips for having a memorable meeting.
Tip 1: Dress casually. Inviting guests to dress casually sends a bold message — a message that you are committed to fostering a relaxed atmosphere. This enables attendees to be more comfortable which, in turn, creates more energy and promotes creativity.
Tip 2: Present differently. Few speakers do PowerPoint decks well; most people have too many slides and too much text. To make sure everyone stays engaged with the speaker, encourage presenters to create decks that are rich in imagery and keep verbiage short and sweet.
Tip 3: Encourage participation. People stay more interested when they are able to participate. So involve your guests in the presentation by asking questions, seeking feedback, and reading materials out loud.
Tip 4: Plan icebreakers. Interactive presentations are great; presentations that force audience members to interact directly with each other are even better. Encourage speakers to split the crowd into breakout groups and plan collaborative icebreakers so attendees can play along. Help everyone bond and you’ll help them create more visceral impressions of the event.
Tip 5: Break things up. Instead of scheduling the day around two or three lengthy breaks, build in four or five (or more) shorter breaks. These sessions of downtime will help folks clear their minds and inspire them to stretch their legs, which will help creativity.
Tip 6: Offer a variety of seating. We know it’s important to arrange meeting rooms to a client’s specifications. But it’s also important to mix it up — and to inspire your group to do the same. Reserve part of the set-up for high tables with bar stools or soft-seated vignettes. Flexibility is key; the more options attendees feel they have, the more comfortable and involved they’ll be.
Tip 7: Move people around. If you’re assigning seats, re-assign them after every break so everyone can meet new neighbors and get fresh perspectives on every session of the conference. This may seem like a small act but regularly changing points of view can help spur the imagination, foster different perspectives, and ultimately make for a more productive meeting.
Tip 8: Serve healthy beverages. Instead of sodas and coffee — which are full of sugar and high in caffeine — serve options such as pressed juices, smoothies, coconut water, and teas for a more natural pick-me-up.
Tip 9: Embrace high-protein foods and greens. Eggs, multigrain breads, vegetables, and whole-grain salads are considered “brain food” and always are great options for guests. Especially when compared to standard meeting fare of the day, such as sandwiches and chips.
Tip 10: Promote snacking all day long. Many people prefer to eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals in the morning, afternoon and night. Consider offering high-energy snacks all day long, rather than just at breaks. Think DIY trail mix, fresh fruit, and vegetables with hummus. Grazing will likely give attendees more energy throughout the day.
Of course the overarching tip is simple: Have fun. Meetings that are joyful, lighthearted, interactive and thought provoking are the ones your guests will remember most and generate the best results.
— Matt Vilano