While we realize that the term “meeting” can cause groans of disappointment or sighs of annoyance, we at Bishop-McCann also know that when executed successfully, meetings can be the source of JOY and excitement for attendees. So what’s the difference between a meeting that puts your employees to sleep and one that they’ll talk about for years to come? It’s all about creating an experience.
The truth is, people want to do more than attend; they want to have invigorating experiences and create lasting memories. This shift intensified with the arrival of COVID-19, which truly changed how we view and value our time. As event planners, event hosts, business owners, and team leaders, how do we then add value to our meetings, conferences, and other corporate events? Meeting planning is the key. Including elements that will engage, excite, and delight your guests will take your standard meeting and turn it into an extraordinary experience.
- Why Meeting Planning Is Important
- 5 Tips for Planning Meeting “Experiences”
- How an Event Planning Agency Can Improve Your Meeting Planning
Why Meeting Planning Is Important
The most obvious reason to carefully plan your meetings is to achieve the goals and objectives you’ve set. A lack of a clear plan can result in a meeting that people won’t want to attend. Instead, consider that across the globe and throughout all generations, people are searching and paying for new experiences. Planning enables you to provide experiences for your attendees, adding value and creating enthusiasm.
Further, recent studies show that Baby Boomers down through the youngest of millennials are shopping for experiences; and of course, instantly sharing them through social media. Consider the benefits for your business or brand when your meetings and corporate events are viral sensations for the experience and value they provide for attendees. Therefore, meeting planning becomes essential, not just to ensure you’ve included the business-critical elements, but also to make sure you have elements that will make it memorable by creating experiences.
Five Tips For Planning Meeting “Experiences”
If we’re attempting to create experiences and avoid hosting “just another meeting,” we have to consider how we, as corporate event planners, design the most exclusive and stimulating experiences. How, as event hosts, we offer our attendees something that makes them feel valued and the experience valuable.
Here are a few things to consider to stop planning lackluster corporate meetings and start creating experiences:
1. Be a Disruptor
Think about the businesses that have created disruption within our lives and solved a problem we didn’t know existed. Take Uber for example. People didn’t have issues with taxis; they were fine. But how many of us utilize Uber for the convenience we didn’t know existed previously? Or what about Airbnb? DoorDash? Shipt? No one saw these companies coming, but we all know their names. So, how do we go about meeting planning in a way that brings about disruption?
We do this by diving deep into the mind of our stakeholders: analyzing risks, design, and delivery. By approaching our event design with the stakeholders’ desired outcome at the forefront of our mind, we’re able to more clearly see the value we can provide to our clients and solve issues for them before they know it themselves. Then, we begin to create true value for our clients and attendees.
For one Motivation Masters Award winning event, we created an incentive program that increased sales associate’s motivations, encouraging them to become high performers. How did we accomplish this? By making it an experience none of the attendees will soon forget. For example, on the last night of the trip, we had an evening reception utilizing projection mapping to cover the entire room in digital video content, taking them on a journey through Europe and including a meal in which each course was served in a different European city. In the last 10 years of this President’s Club Program, this was the highest-rated trip, and that was because we knew we had to create an experience. While this particular example may be an incentive program, the same rings true for meetings: you need to create remarkable moments that stay with your attendees.
2. Personalization Is Everything
Whether it’s a hotel remembering a guest’s name, a marketing message with a tailored touch, or individualized swag bags, personalization means everything to an event attendee. Emotional connection drives relationships with consumers and increases loyalty. In fact, the simple act of remembering and using someone’s name can create an instant connection. Finding ways to personalize your event and smaller sessions within events can be simple but impactful. Those small personal touches can change meetings into experiences.
3. Support a Worthy Cause
With consumers and employees expecting businesses and brands to do more, including corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities into your corporate events can add value. Tapping into the shared purpose your business has with your event attendees can make a lasting impression that creates connection among your guests, employees, and other stakeholders.
In part, the activity itself creates the experience. Though CSR elements don’t have to be time-consuming, elaborate, or costly, they should reflect a commitment to a cause through action.
4. Incorporate Health and Wellness
It’s no secret that the idea of healthier and more mindful living is on the rise. Having balance in your daily work life is important for reducing stress and staying at the top of your game. Incorporating health and wellness activities into your meeting planning can be a great way to encourage self care, promote work-life balance, and provide stress relief during your corporate event. Not only does it demonstrate to attendees that your business cares about them and their well-being, but it also leaves them feeling energized and rejuvenated.
At Bishop-McCann, we have found that scheduling health and wellness activities into any event proves to be a successful addition. Here are a few activities that have been very popular with meeting attendees:
- Group run or walk
- Morning tai chi session or yoga class
- Fresh pressed juice bar for breaks
- Make your own snack/trail mix station
- Calming giveaway items, such as rose water face spritzer, aromatherapy candles, or refreshing mints
5. Include Time to Breathe
For longer corporate events with multiple sessions, incorporating breaks is vital to meeting planning. Event attendees can sometimes feel rushed or exhausted after events, but what if you could send them home more informed, engaged, and relaxed? Coffee breaks are nice. Comfy couches are great. Time to sit and sip tea or coffee can be a welcome reprieve. But are those experiences that can’t occur elsewhere? Let us present the Zen Zone!
We incorporated a Zen Zone into a corporate event, giving attendees an area where they could escape the fast-paced meeting environment. We dedicated an entire afternoon to wellness and self-improvement, inviting attendees to the Zen Zone. The result was phenomenal!
The Zen Zone included:
- Chair massages
- Manicure stations
- A health bar where attendees could request fresh juices, smoothies, or protein shakes
- A VR lounge where attendees put on noise-canceling headphones and a VR headset to escape to a private island or the mountains
- Traveling light therapy stations that acted as a therapeutic light experience, putting users in various states, such as deep relaxation, dreamlike, or meditative
During the same afternoon, we offered 10 sessions focusing on a different area of wellness. Some of the sessions included lessons on how to obtain a positive growth mindset, how to step outside of your box, what nutrition tips to follow, and various other aspects of balancing work, family, friends, and time for yourself. The feedback we got from attendees was outstanding.
After having this time devoted to wellness, people return to work happier and healthier. They feel cared for, empowered, and refreshed—ready to seize the day and perform at their highest level. Now that’s a memorable experience!
How an Event Planning Agency Can Improve Your Meeting Planning
Meeting planning is difficult. As an organization’s leader or owner, you have an agenda related to the critical business issues and objectives that need to be addressed at your next corporate event or meeting. Further, you likely have non-business elements you’d like to include as well, such as awards and recognition for significant business achievements. However, you may be unsure of how to create experiences for your attendees. That’s where we come in.
Bishop-McCann has over 20 years of experience planning meetings and events that will wow your attendees. And those who didn’t attend? They’ll wish they had. Let us help you create an event experience that includes the elements you need and the elements that excite your guests through amazing experiences.
Get in touch with our team today, and let’s start planning!