I’ve been fortunate enough to present and/or run workshops at 500 conferences in 23 countries over the past 10 years. I’ve seen huge spend with low engagement and tight offsites on a shoestring with real cut through.
In this series “conference hacks” I’ll be sharing some insights that will assist those organising conferences to ensure you nail your next offsite:
Conference Hack #1: Lead from the front
Its critical that the opening session comprises the senior leader rally their team and setting the inspiration and context for:
- i) why they are present for the meeting
- ii) reminding them why they exist as an organisation.
Don’t read notes. Don’t bore your team with powerpoint. The Senior Leader MUST set the tone right from the start. Speak from the heart, not from the head. CONNECT WITH YOUR TEAM. This is way more effective than a “punchy corporate video” or entertaining MC. Don’t try and palm it off and outsource this critical session.
This opening is NOT the time to get into death by powerpoint (In January 2018 at a large Tech companies Kick-of in Bangkok the leader in the room showed this by physically throwing his laptop off the stage and then launching into his rallying cry). This worked and set the scene for a high energy 2 day kickoff.
Its OK to repeat yourself. Often Senior Leaders feel like they are embarrassing themselves by saying the same thing over and over to there tribe. Fear not. That is your job. You title should be CHIEF REMINDING OFFICERS (Research has shown that for an employee to embrace values or principles, they must be reminded a minimum of 7 times).
It’s critical the senior leader is sitting front, centre and on show for all the team to see. You must lead from the front and set the example. Be engaged. Concentrate on each presentation and speaker. Ask questions. DON’T check your phone. Don’t leave the room immediately after your opening address. Set the example.
I’ll never forget a presentation I delivered in the Hunter Valley where the billionaire founder was present and he perfectly set this example to his team. There wasn’t one phone picked up through the entire conference and all eyes were focused on the stage. If he could, you can too. Busyness is a form of laziness… a lack of priorities. How important is it that your team is engaged on what is being presented on stage while they are not clocking billable hours? If it is important, move it up your priority list too (… and if its not that important, save yourself the budget and don’t waste your time on an offsite).
Next weeks blog….. Hide your bits….