How does the phrase “corporate event” make you feel? Possible a sense of trepidation at the prospect of incoming boredom.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Getting out of the office and into a new location can be just as good for your staff’s morale as a long break in the sunshine.
The primary goal of a corporate event is to leave attendees with a message that they’ll remember - hopefully, for a long time. But pulling off such a feat is anything but easy. After several hours in a conference room, some delegates will be sunken in their chairs, eyes drooping, even after a heavy dose of coffee.
So what can you do to fight the rot? How do you combat boredom and transform your corporate event into something productive and rewarding?
A lot of companies think that the purpose of a corporate event is to provide management with a pulpit from which they can spout corporate gibberish. But this is just the sort of thing that causes the majority of people to switch off. Only the most fanatical of jobsworths can keep an enthusiastic smile glued to their face under such circumstances.
A better approach is to find ways to include the audience in the process. It shouldn’t all be about the self-aggrandisement of management. There needs to be a bit of to and fro - a bit of, dare we say it, banter.
Where you hold your corporate event matters too - the people in your organisation want to feel as if they mean something to you. Stuffing them into a 1970s box on the outskirts of Basildon probably isn’t going to do anything for your PR.
As the owners of Clevedon Hall point out, delegates want to be pampered. They want to feel like the French aristocracy at the height of the Ancien Regime - if only for a few hours. Don’t underestimate the extent to which the VIP treatment will colour their memories of the day.
Then there’s the intimacy factor: the ability of your employees to get to know you and the other people in your organisation. Remember, corporate events aren’t just another management tool - they’re an opportunity for cross-fertilisation. People who wouldn’t ordinarily connect with each other have the chance to bond over a glass of sparkling wine and a cucumber sandwich. Conversations can prove productive and benefit your business once you all finally make it back to the office.
Inspiration is difficult - especially if you run a process-driven business. But that should be the underlying aim of the day, no matter what the topic of your corporate event. You want to give your employees a sense of excitement about what they’re doing. They need to feel as if their work matters.
Steve Jobs was the master of this kind of thing. He would paint a picture in words of the mighty future that Apple would create. And he used his skills as an orator to bring everyone with him.