From launching a new product to connecting with key stakeholders, corporate meetings tackle a myriad of important tasks. Therefore, regardless of the reason, the way your meeting is conducted will have an impact on the health of your company. How can you achieve your goals in a way that is exciting and new? Here are some creative ideas for meetings that are both fun and effective.

Create a Unique Space

Step away from the status quo and try something new! Your location, décor, and room setup can be strategically used to maximize engagement.

  • Break away from standard tables and chairs or forum style seating and get creative. Surprise participants with comfy chairs or couches.
  • Minimize the florescent lights and implement softer lighting by using lamps.
  • Brighten up drab rooms by implementing bursts of color into your meeting space. Fresh flowers and greenery will do wonders in creating a vibrant fresh feel.
  • Consider holding the meeting in an exciting new destination. This will communicate how important and special this meeting is, as well as change the mindset from ordinary to unique. A change of scenery will provide a break from the normal responsibilities. Attendees will be able to better absorb new material, plan for the year ahead, and brainstorm new ideas.

Make Attendees Feel Special

Personal knowledge of each attendee is not necessary to make your group feel special, though it certainly doesn’t hurt in making a long-term impression. Small details such as meals or take-home gifts can transform what could be an obligation into a VIP experience.

  • At the start of a brainstorming session, surprise participants with a snack at each place setting.
  • For networking events or other less structured times, hire a barista to make custom coffee drinks.
  • Use local restaurants to cater your event. Bringing in local favorites will be a treat for both locals and visitors!
  • Provide attendees with meal, snack or drink options by hiring a few food trucks. (Imagine having custom fruit smoothies instead of tea, coffee, water or juice!)
  • For destination corporate meetings, plan the menu around the favorite dishes of that region. For one meal, you could even have your attendees participate in a cooking class.
  • For smaller groups, leave the venue and hold a casual meeting at a local restaurant. Some restaurants even cater to these kinds of events by offering special guests who have expertise in sales, leadership, etc.
  • If you are launching a new product, consider giving out the product as a gift to your participants. For more expensive products, give out a few as prizes. Alternately, allow for plenty of hands-on time with the product so participants not only learn about the product, but experience it firsthand.
  • Include artisan activities that could double as a take-home gift, such as a pottery class, glass making, leather works, fabric weaving, etc.

Interactive Content

Striking the balance between material that is both highly interactive and useful can be a challenge. In your attempt to host a fun-filled meeting, don’t lose sight of your objectives! Here are some fun ideas that will maximize efficiency.

  • Use self-labels to break the ice, spur conversations, networking and help make connections among participants more memorable. Simply ask participants to include a creative way to describe themselves such as “Jane Doe – marathon runner” or “John Smith – jazz sax musician” or “Jack Jones –food connoisseur.”
  • Fill lectures with stories and visuals that are more than just slides within a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Try unconventional discussion formats. Let your group observe the discussion of a table full of the company’s leaders. Leave a few chairs open for attendees to join the conversation and ask questions.
  • Use one-on-one pairings as a way to get participants to think outside of the box, or look for ways to solve problems on a micro-level. For example, pairing customer satisfaction facing roles with product development can be helpful to understand how to better sell, service/support the product as well as how to address common complaints without impacting future sales, etc.
  • Schedule a time for participants to take turns presenting their ideas in 5 minutes or less. Then discuss which ideas stand out, what challenges they present as well as ways that the challenges might be mitigated.
  • When training employees on new material, use gamification apps to quiz attendees on information as it is presented.
  • Conclude lectures with a call to action. Then break into small groups either to brainstorm ideas or role play what was just learned.

Bond Through Shared Experiences

Remember to leave room for team building and networking opportunities. Plan group activities where attendees can form relationships and make memories together.

  • For destination meetings, take advantage of your setting and schedule excursions to points of interest and historical sights. Provide your group with options.
  • Even if you are not in a new destination, you can still plan a fun team building-event. Attend a sporting event, plan a scavenger hunt, or take a class together.
  • Demonstrate your company’s values by participating in a volunteer opportunity together.
  • Have a game room where attendees can connect with each other in a natural way.
  • Bring in live music to an evening networking event.
  • Don’t forget to encourage attendees to share their experience on your event’s social media page!
  • Use small groups as a way for senior leaders to interact with team members. Use these interactions as a way to further understand the leader’s vision as well as leaders to understand the challenges faced by teams in execution of daily activities, ideas and innovation, etc.

Many meetings don’t have the desired impact because they fail to think outside the box. Instead of sticking to a cookie cutter model, give your participants a unique experience by implementing these creative ideas.

Does your next corporate meeting or event need a facelift? If so, contact Gavel International to see how working with a meeting planning company can benefit your organization.

Eloisa Mendez

With over 25 years of experience in the meetings & event industry, Eloisa has worked closely with a variety of clients on events ranging from small incentive trips to large corporate meetings. While growing her career at Gavel International, Eloisa has managed all aspects of the event lifecycle, including site selection, creative materials, attendee registration, rooming list and transportation management, entertainment bookings, and website development. Eloisa was progressively promoted in recognition of her meeting management expertise, professionalism, and genuine passion for driving improvements within overall event operations. She was recognized as the 2000 Employee of the Year and is currently the General Manager for Gavel International.
Eloisa Mendez