It’s time to plan: annual reports, brainstorming sessions, and team-building. In other words, it’s time for a corporate meeting. Here’s what you need to know to make your meeting successful, memorable, and cost-effective.
Choose a location within an hour’s drive of your corporate headquarters or, if it’s a full corporate retreat, within driving distance of a major airport. Save money and create ambience by thinking outside the typical locations. Find locations in small towns, historical centers, or at arts or sports venues that offer the necessary space for meetings as well as easy parking and lower-cost amenities.
A few years ago, the standard corporate meeting was in an over-air conditioned hotel or spare office space. Those spaces aren’t going to reenergize your team. Instead, choose a place that has character and flexible meeting room options.
The location should have both large and small group meetings. That will allow you to do a more complete event, where teams, subcommittees, and taskforces can start tackling their charges, and you can have whole-team sessions, too.
Be prepared to welcome those who simply can’t attend in person as well. Have each team preset a videoconferencing option and ensure the location has access to high-strength wireless or, even better, fiber internet.
In Good Taste
No meeting is successful if your team is hungry, but planning and balancing a menu is a skill. Choose a location with a solid catering reputation or one that can recommend nearby vendors. Work with the event team to craft options that meet the dietary needs of your team members. Food is the best way to make someone feel included, so don’t put these decisions off.
Some of the best parts of a corporate retreat are the informal meetings during early-morning lakeside walks or evening drinks. This doesn’t mean trust falls and ice breakers – think more broadly:
- Plan an outdoor picnic or small group hikes to show you know your workforce’s interests and abilities.
- Link up with the local museums or arts facilities to bring in speakers to inspire your team’s creativity and hone their problem-solving skills.
- Work with an event planner to create a list of extracurricular activities your team can enjoy after the work of the day. Think open mics, festivals, and service projects.
- Find a way, through social media or a memory book, to help keep track of both the good ideas and the good moments from your event. Display them at your corporate headquarters as a way to cement a positive corporate culture.
Sorting it all
Planning a corporate event is intensive. Save yourself some time and energy by working with an event planner, either an independent agent or one associated with the location, to help you check all the boxes. If you choose the local agent, they can also help you find the secret gems in the area that can help make your event all the more memorable.
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