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.
So you need a destination for an important conference or business meeting and wouldn't mind mixing a little bit of pleasure in as well to maximize positive attitudes? Offering incentive travel locations will more than likely optimize attendance as well excitement of employees once they arrive. Here are a few destinations to consider for your destination meeting places
with a few details to consider as well.
with a few details to consider as well.
Why should you invest in face to face events when you can save time and money with virtual events and on-line seminars.? Here’s why!
1. Learning occurs through a variety of options: lectures, panel presentations, hands-on workshops, inspirational keynotes, and other unique opportunities, such as tweet-ups. You can pick a session in whatever style suits your learning needs. And don’t forget about the informal learning that happens in the in-between moments of an in-person event, during meals or waiting for a presentation to begin.
2. There are fewer distractions at face to face events. Have you ever attended an online event only to be interrupted by people stopping in your office, phone calls, emails or meetings? Even though almost everything is on demand these days, carving out time at your office to watch an hour presentation is difficult. When you book yourself a ticket out of town and turn on your “out of office” reply, you attend the event and focus on learning and networking.
3. You share in the energy and excitement of other fellow attendees. Nothing replaces a face-to-face conversation, not even Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Having the time to talk to your peers, both in your industry and in other industries, gives you insight into what other people are doing and lets you benchmark best practices. You find that you aren’t the only one facing a particular challenge, and you just might find a way to apply what someone else is doing to your own situation.
4. You get to connect with the presenters. At in-person events, you get access to speakers and experts. You often have opportunities to sit down with industry experts at lunch, round table discussions, or one-on-one consulting sessions. The input received from asking specific questions in person gives you an edge you can’t get from a virtual event or online seminar
Though online technologies and social networks are critical to the way we work and have opened up countless new opportunities, we’re still human. Whether we’re working out problems with a colleague, closing a sale, or networking, better rapport is established in person.
At Plan Ahead Events, we not only plan meetings; we are advocates for them and show our support for the meetings industry. And we know that as much as virtual meetings can solve some challenges for people who cannot physically attend the actual meeting for one reason or another, the virtual world can never replace the real world of face to face experiences.
And this was the message carried by Jacques Attali to delegates at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives' Global Education Conference in Paris. "I understand that a lot of things can be done on videoconferencing,” said Attali, but “quality events, where people will learn something” are extremely valuable to an organization.
Attali, who was named by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world, said the music industry has demonstrated the importance of attending events.“I very often think that music is the best way to forecast the future,” he said. “Look at what happened to the music industry. Try to sell a CD – nobody wants to buy it. Try to sell a concert ticket – you will find a lot of people ready to buy it. Why? Because it is an experience. An event. Where people share life experiences.”
According to Attali, a French economist and former advisor to President Francois Mitterrand, the most important place in an office is the coffee machine. When employees meet at the coffee machine, their interaction is “outside hierarchy” allowing them to freely discuss ideas – a vital source of innovation for a company.
People meeting people and talking face to face: irreplaceable!
Exhibiting is expensive, especially for a small business, and when comparing your efforts to the larger companies surrounding you, it’s hard not to worry about getting lost in the shuffle. Here are five free ways you can stand out as an exhibitor by investing a little extra time and attention (instead of cash) to impress your target audience.
1 – Revise your company description
Your company description (often included for free in online and printed event directories produced by show management) is the most overlooked opportunity to effectively market your company. Attendees plan their time on the show floor according to these listings. Stand out by taking full advantage of your presence within this resource. Hook your target audience with a great opening, highlight your unique offerings, and make yourself easy to find by providing clear contact information.
2 – Cut the clutter
Organize your booth to minimize distractions and allow your company’s offerings to shine. Remove unnecessary furnishings (like trash cans and chairs) and don’t bother bringing redundant literature or boring giveaways. Don't put barriers across your booth (like long counter tables) that separate you from attendees. If you have trained your staff properly, the attendees who come into your booth will be focused on your offerings and remember your company positively for your clear message.
3 – Say hello
It doesn’t cost anything to maintain a positive attitude for full show hours and warmly greet each of the attendees walking by your booth. Remember that trade shows provide sensory and information overload to the attendees. If you don’t say anything, your target audience might not even notice you’re there. When you choose to engage those passing by, you provide them with an extra opportunity to become aware of your company and its offerings.
4 – Maximize your time outside of the booth
Even when you aren’t working in your booth, be present outside of set show hours. Attendees will notice and see that you care about participating in the event and that you are interested in strengthening connections. In order to accomplish this, you will need to schedule your time before you arrive – set appointments with clients, prospects, or partners for each of your meals, review the event agenda to select networking functions and educational sessions to attend, and plan to spend any free time in the hotel lobby or other areas where you are likely to encounter attendees. Also, keep a copy of your schedule in the booth so that additional meetings can be added on the fly.
5 – Follow up
Rumor has it that 80% of leads obtained at trade shows do not receive any follow up contact. This means that you will stand out from most of the other exhibitors just by taking whatever time is necessary to reach out to your visitors after the event has concluded. I recommend creating a plan before you leave for your trade show so that you will be able to jump right into calling, emailing, or using other methods to follow up immediately upon your return.
The best way for a small companies to stand out amongst all of the larger exhibitors participating in your event is to invest extra time, not money, in your exhibiting efforts.
Sometimes it seems that there are so many things that can be done without hiring professional event planners; the attraction is that you can do it cheaper on your own. But what is the real cost of doing it on your own?
One of the areas where you need professional planners is booking a speaker. While anyone can potentially go on the Internet and hire just about any speaker they want, what happens if there is a problem with that speaker? Problems such as illness, bad weather, or even scandal. If you book on your own and the speaker cancels at the last minute or even close to the last minute, you're stranded, so to speak. You don't have a life raft or a Plan B. Forging strong event planning partnerships means that you have someone taking the responsibility to work around the problem and find you a speaker. Good event planners want to keep your loyalty and their own reputations in tact, so they will do whatever it takes to correct the situation. In this case they will use their contacts with reliable speakers' bureaus to do not only damage control but to find a speaker who meets or exceeds the expectations you had of the original speaker. And you can't ask for more than that!
A majority of planners are increasing the elements of volunteerism and charity at their meetings and events, in part simply because "it's the right thing to do," according to a recent M&C Research survey. Among other reasons cited most by the 114 respondents: Such activities boost participants' morale (48 percent), they often are part of a broader company initiative (38 percent), and attendees specifically request charitable agenda items (24 percent). Just 32 percent have no plans to increase volunteer activities at their meetings.
More than one-third (35 percent) of survey respondents would add a charitable element to meetings even if doing so increased their costs. See the Plan Ahead Events position on CSR on the home page of our web site.
According to James Houran, a psychologist and partner at HVS Executive Search, measuring the financial return on investment (ROI) from meetings and events is only the tip of the ice berg, the ‘tangible ROI.’ He advises paying attention to ‘intangible ROI.’ This concept involves asking:
• What did the attendees get as far as personal value from a meeting?
• Did they feel that attendance at a face-to-face meeting gave them more than they would have gotten by participating in a webinar?
• Did they feel that they were provided a long-term benefit – either toward professional development or building their own business?
Houran says, “Companies and associations are looking to planners to help them develop and deliver branded experiences when putting together events. They are seeking experiences that are high-value and are different from other options for spending money on employees. What is going to motivate them to want to participate in meetings? How do we turn a meeting into a real value episode, where people want to come to the meeting and to contribute, and know they’re going to walk away with something? More than being functional, planners will be strategic on the individual and organizational level.
He sees agreement on several trends outcomes:
• face-to-face meetings still offer things that can’t yet be replicated by electronic formats.
• people feed off each other’s energy and that can only happen in person.
• people can get energized at a meeting to the point of acting on what they learned when they get back to their offices.
• the outcome of the meeting is not just on the business at hand, but at the attendee level.
• the best events transform attendees in a fundamental way.
Customized menus, LCD projectors and meeting rooms with good acoustics top the list of things that meeting planners want most in a complete meeting package, according to the The International Association of Conference Centers (IACC), based on feedback from customer roundtables about conference center products and services.
The results, according to IACC, were the following top 10 rankings of the most important items in a complete meeting package:
1. Customized menu that accommodates dietary requirements
2. At least one LCD projector
3. Acoustically rated walls that guarantee no sound distractions
4. Wireless high-speed Internet access in guest rooms
5. Set-up fees included in the package
6. Meeting room rental expenses
7. Flipcharts with easels, pads and markers
8. Pillarless meeting rooms
9. An easy-to-read, one-page invoice
10. Skilled onsite audio/visual and IT technicians
A study released by the Kyoto Convention Bureau found that at least 10 minutes of meditation before a meeting can significantly improve event efficiency, boosting retention of taught information by an average of 12.5 percent overall, and by up to 117 percent for a single learning task.
According to Rev. Matsuyama, a Zen Buddhist priest who assisted the Kyoto Convention Bureau with its research. "People who come to attend seminars and meetings are often under pressure and tired either because of long journeys or work-based stress. If they are to take on-board new information, they must first make room for it. Simple meditation exercises can make all the difference. Enter the meeting in a calm state of mind; take a few deep breaths. The difference is profound and it can also have a brilliant effect in bringing out a lot of positive energy in you."
Memory, language, comprehension and listening exercises were performed by a group of 20 on two occasions, separated by 12 days. A task-completion improvement of 12.5 percent was found with delegates when they performed a 10-minute meditation exercise in advance of the session, versus the session preceded by no such preparation.
James Kent of the Kyoto Convention Bureau believes it’s likely that future meetings and events will include some form of meditation. “The findings of the survey are simply astonishing," Kent said. "Japan has traditionally been known for meditation, and we are very happy to have some of the finest schools of meditation and teachers here."
According to Kent, the Kyoto Convention Bureau is starting a pro-meditation campaign based on its findings. " Despite the challenges Japan is facing, we are so convinced by the research that we are starting a campaign to persuade organizers around the world to take up the use of meditation. Above all, these simple five- to 10-minute meditation exercises are not meant to take time away from people's work — but to help them be more successful at their jobs."