Are you staring another boring convention in the face? Below are five ways to add fun and energy to your meeting or annual convention. Have you been drafted to organize your next team meeting or convention? As the event organizer, you have both a fantastic opportunity and a potential minefield. So, we organized these simple tips to help you navigate through the obstacles and be the hero of your next meeting. Keep the following ideas in mind when you organize your convention or meeting! First, less is more. Secondly, establish a common theme. Next, scrutinize every speaker and activity. Organize the agenda based on the time of day. And finally, add something unexpected and fun!
(1) Less is More
Meeting planners and organizers often want to make sure that they maximize the content of the convention so that there is no wasted time. This is a BIG mistake. In fact, there is a code that you will sometimes receive in your exit surveys. If you understand this code, it will help you better organize the agenda later. For instance, if you see comments like, “Let’s do something outside next year,” that is actually code for, “We love the location of the meeting, but we were trapped in the banquet hall all day.” Frequent breaks and free time for participants to explore the venue are key to convention satisfaction.
For additional reading on this topic, you might take a look at “Developing More Efficient Meetings“.
(2) Establish a Common Theme to Add Fun and Energy to Your Meeting
Even first-time event organizers will typically establish a theme for the meeting. However, the theme has to be something that your attendees will be enthused about. For instance, “Change You Can Believe In” doesn’t really mean a whole lot to the attendees. In fact, attendees may be resistant to change. However, “Beat (Your Biggest Competitor)” is something that your attendees will get behind. Whatever theme you end up with, make sure, and focus a lot on the next tip…
(3) Scrutinize Every Speaker and Activity
Make sure that every speaker and activity in every, single, slot on the agenda focuses the group on your theme. You will often be pulled by different executives who want to add their own big idea to the agenda. However, once you get off-topic, it will become much more difficult to keep the main idea clear to the audience.
Last year, we were hired to deliver one of our Build-A-Bike ® team building events during a new re-branding roll-out for a credit union. The theme of their meeting was “Brand Camp,” which was a play on words for the running joke in the movie American Pie. Now the normal Build-A-Bike ® activity doesn’t really apply to the re-branding of an organization. However, because we knew the theme, we were able to alter the activities and the delivery to focus on how each of the small groups building the bicycles had to complete their individual task properly for the customer (the kids receiving the bike) to all get a consistent product. We used that as a metaphor for how the roll-out would need to be consistent as well.
These little touches will make your convention more memorable.
(4) Organize the Convention Agenda Based on the Time of Day
A good rule of thumb for organizing the agenda is that as the day progresses, you want to gravitate toward entertainment versus data. It is always good to start with an energetic speaker or keynote to set an enthusiastic agenda. However, if you have dry or less enthusiastic content, make sure and place those speakers in the morning. Afternoon sessions typically work well with breakout sessions so that there is more interaction. Late in the afternoon, panels of speakers and question and answer sessions work better. Once you get past 4 PM in the day, though, you want to organize something more fun.
I’ve seen good event planners start their last afternoon session with a panel of “old-timers” (seasoned employees) with a couple of beers in front of them. This panel spends the time relaying war stories from their experience.
Team building companies like ours are also often hired for late afternoon or early evening activities.
For a list of fun ideas for afternoon sessions, you might take a look at “Convention Activities that Benefit a Charity“.
(5) Add Something Unexpected and Fun
The reason why our Charity Team Building activities work so well at conventions is that team members are working together on something totally un-work-related and for charity. Coworkers get to see each other in a unique way. In addition, there is always a lot of energy and laughing along the way. These activities allow your attendees to learn something while they are being entertained. So, they work really well — especially late in the day.
So, if you want to add fun and energy to your meeting, keep these five simple things in mind. First, less is more. Secondly, establish a common theme. Next, scrutinize every speaker and activity. Organize the agenda based on the time of day. And finally, add something unexpected and fun!