From the time Microsoft launched PowerPoint as a tool that lets you make presentations and present them as slide shows, the software has been reigning all meetings. Though it should be given credit for bringing presentations to life and adding color to drab sales meetings, it is a fact that even a good thing can be overdone. Attendees sitting passively like students in traditional classrooms just watching a presentation does not anymore bring about the desired results by way of motivating your teams or achieving sales goals. Organizations and event management experts have realized that it will take a lot more than PowerPoint presentations to make meetings more effective. For a meeting to be successful the results need to be measurable in terms of goals achieved. For an attendee to be motivated by a meeting, the meeting needs to be engaging and interactive. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your sales meetings:
1. Engage your stakeholders in planning the meeting. Collect data from the attendees before, during and after the meeting to ensure full participation. Applying the info thus collected will help in making your meeting a lot more productive. For instance, a smart corporate meeting planner would poll the team on what information they need or would like to receive or what goals they have set for the next deliverable period. The data that you give out during the meeting would be based on the inputs to these poll-results. The point is that you want to pass on information to your team through this meeting. They will be happier if they get information that they need or can use.
2. It is not easy to form content for a sales meet based on inputs from the team. These inputs need to fit into the bigger plan – that of the organization itself. The organization’s business goals are the most important. It is crucial to segregate the wheat from the chaff, so to say, before deciding to include anything into the content for the meeting. Besides the stage needs to be set just right for the best content to be absorbed and applied and for the business to move forward.
3. It is a good idea to show people where they fit into the organization or how much the organization depends on their role. People like a feeling of importance; they like to know their contribution is recognized and appreciated. During your corporate event planning, you could also request your customers to give their inputs on what they like about your team or what they would like to get changed in the way your team handles a task. Knowing clearly what is expected of them, will make it easier for your team to set their goals.
4. Make sure to weave some corporate games into your meeting schedule. Make use of the latest technology, like a mobile app or any game that fits into your company’s overall structure and culture. You could even make a game out of quizzing the team on a recent session. This is sure to increase the level of engagement regardless of the value of the rewards given to the winners.
5. Use plenty of visual aids during the meeting. It could be clippings of your team at work or a chart depicting the growth of the organization. Better still, get your team to contribute to building a 3-D model or a sketch of how they perceive the organization or how they would like to chart a course for the future
6. Keep the speeches to a bare minimum, while getting the team on its feet and participating in some activity or the other. People tend to remember activities that they participate in and what they say a lot more than what is said by someone in a speech that they have no part in. Corporate even planners and event management companies can be roped in to give ideas to increase employee participation in a sales meet.
7. A truly successful meeting does not end once the team has dispersed. A well-designed action plan is necessary so that the team can implement the lessons learnt. You could select a few people from your team who would be held responsible for the progress of the entire team. This selection could be on a round robin basis. This will motivate the entire team to keep working on their action plan.
Following these seven simple steps will help to ensure that your sales meeting will get you the desired results. If you would like to learn more about our event and meeting planning services, please contact a local Plan Ahead Events franchise today.
If you conducted research into the working methodologies of successful companies, more often than not you will find a hardworking, efficient team led by a manager who understands what makes people tick.From time to time, this manager will organize more fun, team building events to help keep employee morale high. Of course he has a hidden agenda – he is building a tough team that trusts each other and learns to work together to solve problems. The first off-shoot of corporate team building is a group of satisfied, motivated and devoted employees. Let us take a look at how team building events make this happen:
Every organization, regardless of its size, should plan to set aside some amount of time to invest in corporate team building events on a regular basis. The benefits of corporate team building events are evident in companies of all genres. These events minimize the expenses and time required to recruit new personnel and to train them. They also are the best method to get team members acquainted with each other. A healthy team spirit will help your employees in facing challenges with unity – leading to less time wasted, and in turn, increased profits.
We recently wrote about what you might call the human side of networking and contact-building at events – how to be the kind of person that people want to network with, when to put self-interest and raw marketing aside and focus on relationship building and how your reputation is a lot more important than the length of your contact list. So OK, you’re focused on being a great relationship partner, your credibility and reputation in your industry are both first-rate and you’ve become so focused on helping the people on your contact list that you have to write little Post-It reminders of what it is that you actually sell.
Now what? It’s all well and good to create all these opportunities for the relationship – how do you get some names into the hopper so that you have somebody to build a relationship with? Luckily, the convergence of major events and communications and data technology are making it easier than ever to build that huge list of semi-random strangers for you to convert into partners, clients and customers. (Just keep your eye on the ball. Is it better to find two new prospects and convert them both into long-term clients, or to annoy a thousand people and convert one?)
Here are three ways you can leverage your technological tools and people skills to turn events into list-builders.
Be An Ultralocal Tweeter – Most people use Twitter to talk to their global network. Turn the model on its head for a day – promote your Twitter feed to people you see at the event and then post high-value information about the event itself. “Hey everybody, free donuts at booth 103!” may not be the ultimate in credibility building, but it’s going to win friends and followers. They came for the donut update, they’ll stay for the long-term information you provide.
You Can’t Buy Love, But You Can Rent Attention – It’s not always easy to accumulate “Likes” for your company or product Facebook page. The main reason? There’s not all that much in it for them. Change the dynamic with a giveaway. It doesn’t have to be pricey to get some momentum going; “very week, I do a random drawing of the people who have liked our restaurant, and that person gets a free lunch with me.” Pry a few hundred dollars loose from the marketing budget, give away an iPad to a random new friend, and watch word of mouth explode. Interestingly, unless you get really crazy with prizes, you will get very few people liking your page who don’t actually like and use your product. Instead, you’ll be drawing down the vast crowd who already liked you but had no particular motivation to make it official.
Shorten That URL, and Put It On a Card – Sending out or publishing white papers, special reports and similar documents is a tried-and-true channel for Internet marketers. Everybody loves a useful free report. They’re a hassle at a face-to-face event. Sure, you can print out a bunch of copies (expensive) but you either end up short and leaving people unhappy, or you print too many and everyone stares at the Tree Murderer as they walk past your booth. But leaving the document online and telling people the link is clumsy and highly error-prone; even if your report is called “a.pdf” and you work at IBM.com, you’re likely to have a full document URL that nobody will remember, let alone remember correctly . There’s an easy fix: use a free URL shortening service like bitly.com or tinyurl.com, and then print up business cards with that URL and a description of what the document is. (Sure, you could print the cards with the full URL, but nobody wants to type all that.) You can low ball this with free cards from services like VistaPrint.com, or spend a little money and go for a glossier presentation. Many business card printers can also handle QR codes, so your prospects can just scan your card with their smartphone and automatically load the document.
Once of the elements of meetings and conventions that captures the imagination of attendees is the notion of "swag" - free stuff, often useful and sometimes expensive, given out as gifts or promotions. Hardened industry veterans of a thousand press conferences will drop their air of experience and claw through a crowd for a free tote bag; there's just something appealing about free stuff.
Everyone knows the phenomenon - you go to the trade show or the big industry meeting, you get acquainted with a dozen or a hundred new contacts, you go home - and suddenly you realize that you have absolutely no real bond with the people you just "added" to your network. Was it John from Toledo who thought the new product line was going to turn his business around? No, that was Terry from Jonesville. Wait, Terry wasn't from Jonesville, Bob Jones was from…wait, was Bob Jones the one with the funky ties, or the one who always got a chicken salad sandwich at lunch? You have no idea, because you didn't really connect with these people - you met them, you duly memorized a couple of facts (maybe), you put them in your Smartphone or your contact list, but a genuine human connection? Nope.
This isn't a sign that you're a terrible human being or a bad networker. Superficial contacts are not organic to the way our brains process social interaction; someone we see only at a distance or fleetingly or intermittently might be marked by your brain's social networking software as a friend, but in reality they're just a slightly more interactive part of the landscape.
With increasing public awareness of environmental issues, companies today are embracing “green” approaches to doing business more than ever before. That extends to corporate events and meetings – not only are these gatherings a driver of your company’s environmental impacts, they also have a high profile with the public. This high visibility gives your organization a venue to showcase its environmental stewardship and good citizenship.
There are a thousand ways you can “green” up your meetings, ranging from minor changes in material choices all the way to fundamental process revamps that can make a major contribution to “green” progress. Here are some substantive ideas that actually do something for the ecology, while also giving your PR folks something to point at with pride.
Go Local, Go Recycled, Go Austere
Buying locally-produced food and drink, decorations, and other meeting supplies saves fuel and boosts local suppliers. Making sure that your materials are green – programs printed on recycled paper, recycled coffee cups for the hospitality table, recycling bins for disposing of empties – is relatively straightforward and shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. In addition, you can be strategic with your decisions – if one particular item is just impossible to source locally or just can’t be found in a recyclable format, that doesn’t stop you from doing what you can on the other items. Finally, consider reducing the use of material resources that just aren’t needed – rather than bringing a stack of 1,000 brochures (when last year’s meeting saw hundreds left on the tables), publish an online PDF of the same document and give attendees the link.
Raise Awareness – Do Something Real
Few things give people as much satisfaction as actually accomplishing something real with their own hands. At a large gathering, hold a creek cleanup or clear out a vacant lot. Coordinate with local environmental groups to find projects that are of appropriate scale and where your attendees can actually see something positive come out of their efforts. Take before-and-after photos of the place where your work has the best impact and include that as part of the meeting’s follow-up process.
It’s important for your company to make a positive contribution environmentally, and it’s also important that people know about that contribution – so whatever “green” elements you adopt for your meetings and events, don’t be shy about promoting them.
Planning events takes time, thought and effort—and for a really successful event, hiring an event planner to help is a must!—but the pay-off is worth it, simply because at events you have the opportunity to meet with your customers and a have a real, human face to face interaction. Writing in Forbes, Dave Lavinsky points out some of the advantages of events that nothing else can provide:
Read the entire article here.
If your company has developed a social networking presence on Facebook (and even if it really hasn’t), you can use Facebook as an inexpensive, effective, and scalable tool for promoting specific events. The more investment you’ve made in your social media presence, the more effective this strategy will be – but even Facebook newbies can get good results for compelling events. Here’s a step-by-step mini-guide to effective event promotion.
Step One – Create an Event Page
It couldn’t be simpler – click on the Events section of your company page, and click “Add Event”. Add as much exciting information about the event as you can. The earlier you can nail down specifics, the better – paid or free, exact time of day, exact address of venue, etc.
Step Two – Alert Your Network
Invite everyone from your company’s fan base for whom the event would be appropriate. You can do this directly on Facebook, and you can increase the response rate by also sending out an email blast to the same folks as well as to your general promotional list. Remember, lots of the people who aren’t (yet) fans of your company are nonetheless still on Facebook – so be sure to let them know the event is on.
Step Three – Support From Outside
Don’t just use your Facebook event page as the event’s main web presence. There are still people who aren’t on Facebook, or who have mixed feelings about the site, or who just aren’t very active there. You will want to have a standalone event page or website outside the Facebook infrastructure, and have your Facebook event page point to that external site.
Step Four – Encourage Viral Spread
The real strength of social media isn’t your company having a platform to show off its message; the strength is that your customers and fans will do the sharing for you. Nothing is more powerful than an organically viral message spreading because your fans are excited about something. Encourage that spread by providing ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons on your Event page (and on your off-Facebook page as well). Write a blurb for the event on your company’s main page, and post regular updates about the event both on the event page, and the company page. Have your employees and staff post notices about the event on their own Walls.
Step Five – Tout Your Numbers
Know what makes people want to attend an event? Seeing that a lot of other people are attending too. The higher your attendee count rises, the more likely indifferent or wavering target customers are to sign on themselves. You can pre-build some momentum by accumulating a group of people who are going to come before actually posting the event page, so that you start off with a quickly-growing numeric count. That can really build momentum in the early days of an event announcement!
There are many other ways to leverage Facebook for event promotion, but this covers the basics you need to get your event moving! Find out about more ways to increase attendance through promotion and advertising with Plan Ahead Events.
ESPA is celebrating event and convention services managers for being "superstars of service." It includes networking events in cities across the country where ESPA members can network with colleagues, recruit new association members, and showcase to meeting planners the role they play in producing successful events. The host who organizes the most creative or unique event will win a complimentary registration to ESPA's 2013 annual conference.
"Event and convention services is vital to the success of any event," said ESPA President David Dvorak. "It's important that we take the time to celebrate our profession and all that we do...and what better way than with our peers on Sept. 20."
Holding a golf event can be a terrific way to combine business and pleasure for your company’s own staff or for your clients and customers. Because 18 holes of golf takes about four hours, golf makes a great foundation for an all-day meeting format. Participants get to enjoy a round of their favorite game, while there’s still plenty of time to take care of business. Here are some tips on planning your golf event to get the most out of it.
Business or Pleasure?
Is your event going to be a substantial business meeting with some golf thrown in, or a golf game accompanied by some business? Most courses will accommodate a large event with either an 8:30 AM tee time, or a 1:00 PM start. Paradoxically, if your meeting is intended to be more business-oriented, you should get the golfing done first: golf in the morning, lunch and the meat of the day in the afternoon. That way, participants aren’t yearning to fast-forward through the business to get to the golf. For a lighter, more recreational event, have your business events in the morning and then let folks head to the links.
Know the Numbers, Know the Players
Beware the course sales executive who tells you that her facility can easily handle 144 golfers a day. It can, but at the cost of long delays and a lagging play experience that will leave golfers grumbling. To keep the pace smooth, a limit of 72 or 108 golfers (18 or 27 foursomes) should be observed. In addition, if your event is intended to foster a lot of company-to-client interaction, you will want a company representative in each foursome, so plan your guest count accordingly. In addition, realize that individual golf skill will vary widely, and highly-skilled players will not have much fun if paired up with duffers. Query your invitees about their skill level (“novice”, “intermediate” and “expert” should be sufficiently granular) and try to match foursomes accordingly.
Food and Drink: Fancy or Functional?
The catering budget for an all-day golf event can go up like a skyrocket if you let it. If your company is intending to present an affluent, lavish image this might not be a problem, but most organizers will want to keep the budget low where possible. Consult with the facilities staff at the club to find the most economical arrangements; breakfast buffets and boxed lunches are one good way to shave the food budget. Most courses will gladly provide water or soft drinks on a pay-for-consumption basis, so these items can be offered to guests without having to buy a fixed amount up front. Finally, it’s a good idea to check with your company’s executives to find out what clubs they already belong to. Many courses will give steep discounts (and not just on food) to events hosted by their own members, and you can leverage your people’s connections to keep the company’s costs down.