To keep attendees engaged and entertained, find ways to shake things up! From creative room setups to music to energizing F&B, these 10 techniques will get the creativity flowing at your next meeting.
1. Add Elements of Surprise
When your attendees enter the room for breakfast, quickly make them feel important for being there. A simple way to do this is to create a “step and repeat” photo backdrop made with company and venue logos, and have a professional photographer capture each attendee to mark the day. Post online and make the photos available for PR use, as well. All on its own, a feature like this signals that this is a real meeting event.
2. Get Bold With Your Meeting Theme
The theme is a “hook” that sets the tone for the meeting, and yours should be memorable. Think about modeling your theme on an upbeat song that speaks of empowerment, and then give it a place in your meeting playlist. Classics like “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” resonate with many people, but also consider the age range of your attendees. Millennial audiences have an entirely different soundtrack to their lives, so maybe “Hand Clap” by Fitz and the Tantrums might be a better groove.
3. Promote Playfulness
Cover the tablecloths with big sheets of white paper, use colored markers instead of pens, and have the attendees brainstorm at their tables. Bring in a graphic recorder to translate meeting conversations into images and text on whiteboards around the room. You can even introduce games, as long as they align with the goal of the meeting.
4. Shake Up Your Seating
Mix up the seating in the room. There are a variety of configurations beyond classroom-style or the traditional U shape. Add some high-tops, ottomans or swivel chairs to the mix. The message: In this room, it’s ok to think outside the box.
5. Hold a Contest
Many attendees, especially those in sales, thrive on competition, so break out into small groups to solve a problem. Have a leaderboard track their progress and offer a prize. One idea: Monopoly money that attendees can then use at the end of the meeting to make a purchase from a pre-selected group of prizes. Tap the hotel for ideas from previous meeting groups.
6. Speak With New Perspective
Bring in speakers from outside your industry for a fresh perspective to get attendees to shift their way of thinking. Your local CVB can connect you to experts from local colleges and universities or help source local outside the box speaking personalities. Or search out an inspirational speaker through the National Speakers Association; locally based speakers are often willing to negotiate reasonable fees if your meeting date fits into their schedule.
7. Include Energizing Foods and Snacks
Work with your convention services manager to offer F&B options that will boost energy levels. 100% fruit juices, yogurt-based milkshakes or fruit smoothies, fruit and cheese kabobs, trail mix and granola bars are only a few examples of snacks that won’t lead to an afternoon energy crash.
8. Add Movement to the Meeting
Whether that means morning yoga or stretches between sessions, attendees need to get the blood circulating to be at optimum performance.
9. Think Beyond the Projector
Out-of-the-box AV sets the stage for creative thinking, whether it be video mapping, which projects images onto 3-D objects or irregular surfaces, or social walls with real-time feeds from attendees on Twitter and Instagram.
10. Consider an Open Space Format
Let attendees choose the topics they want to talk about, rather than involving everyone in every discussion. Set up stations in the corners of the room with whiteboards for recording ideas, and let them move freely from one to another as the mood suits them.
Whatever the purpose of your meeting, it can become more fun and more memorable with just a few simple adjustments. The important thing is that your meeting guests leave with a sense of satisfaction at what they accomplished and how they did it. And that reflects on you!