It’s February—which means we’re in the thick of sales kickoff season. It’s a time when we align strategy, build camaraderie and generate excitement about the upcoming year.
And when conference calls, virtual meetings and email are becoming the bulk of our interactions, leveraging these face-to-face opportunities is critical.
After a recent whirl of SKOs, punctuated by our own Decker team kickoff last week, here’s a quick 3×3 rundown of what works and what doesn’t.
- Play to people’s strengths. When it comes to highlighting your key speakers and leaders, consider new presentation formats. Who is great at commanding a keynote? Who might be better in moderated conversation? On a panel? Pre-recorded on video? Is there another format for relaying the same information? Change it up! It keeps your audience on their toes.
- Create space to build relationships. The kickoff is likely your one (and only) chance to bring your entire team together. One of the biggest benefits is to allow those relationships to happen. If it was just about getting everyone to hear the same message, there are plenty of ways to do that via your favorite webcast technology. You spent a lot of money flying them in for this event, so make it count. While tempting to pack in another session over lunch, try adding a “no agenda” part to your agenda. They’ll catch up, share war stories and best practices, and have a network of people who they can call on to help them hit their goals.
- Manage your agenda. Most large events never provide a detailed agenda, so participants just hold on for the ride. Totally fine and expected, especially since there are so many last-minute shifts and changes to the schedule. The only problem is that without a great emcee (which we highly recommend), people don’t know what’s coming up next unless you manage the cadence of the event. Do that by telling them the most important thing they need to know – when they’ll get a break! Be sure that you are clear about when/where you need people, and for how long. Also, add more breaks than you think people need. They’re gonna be drinking a lot of coffee…
What Doesn’t Work:
- Keeping butts in seats all day. Don’t forget to schedule some physical activity to get the blood flowing! Nobody wants to sit all day. And depending on the weather outside – giving them a chance to get some sunshine is a major bonus!
- At all costs, avoid repetition! A nod to the theme is one thing, but rehashing it thousands of times is not. While good ideas are worth repeating, be careful not to overdo it. It can backfire. What’s the best way to filter this? Do a dress rehearsal with all the key stakeholders.
- Packing in too much – for too long! Shorten the length of presentations so that presenters have to ruthlessly prioritize their messages. Then punctuate those talks with enough breaks to let the content sink in.
Have you been to a kickoff this year? What else would you add? Here’s some more advice for planning your next high-stakes event.
Hopefully I don’t need to break down the word as some will joke, however, we all assume too much. We assume people know what we mean, we assume people appreciate an effort or a message we share. We assume THEY know what WE are thinking. They don’t, so let’s be … Continue reading
(Part 4 of a series by Bert Decker) “If we don’t change our model, we are going to crash.” Those were the words of the leader of one of our multi-billion dollar clients, which accents the amazing changes in leadership over the last 40 years. As we close out the decade, … Continue reading
(Part 3 of a series by Bert Decker) We live in a one-click world. Technology has shortened our expectations of time. Impatience reigns – sometimes that’s not so good, but it’s reality. The ability to deliver communications faster and better – now that’s good. Paraphrasing a favorite client: “The better … Continue reading
(Part 2 of a series by Bert Decker) When Decker started 40 years ago Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t alive, the Mac hadn’t been introduced, and gas was 88¢ a gallon. Social media – what was that? We were one of the first communication companies to use video for coaching feedback, but … Continue reading
Since founding Decker Communications, Inc. in 1979, Bert Decker has seen dramatic changes in the communication landscape – yet many things remain the same. In this special series on the Decker blog, he’ll give some insight into these changes over the last 40 years. He calls it “View from the … Continue reading
When someone runs for President of the United States, and a regret they have is that they were possibly “too serious” – that’s a learning moment for all of us. “I did feel a heavy sense of responsibility. I wasn’t as loose or open as I could have been.” This … Continue reading
In a recent Leadership Presence for Women program, we were discussing the Decker Grid™ when a participant raised her hand. “Can I use this on my husband?” she asked. This question comes up a lot, and the answer is a resounding yes! While Decker’s main objective is to teach communication … Continue reading
A few times a week, I endure a rigorous indoor cycle class where all I want is a decent workout. As a communication junkie, what I’ve noticed (and that bugs me more and more) is the use of “I” language. Now, I get that we all learned the importance of … Continue reading
When I returned to work after having my first baby in 2008, I asked where the nursing mother’s room was. I was informed that there wasn’t one. When I persisted, I was told I was the first woman ever to ask. In 2008. Over a decade later, women still face … Continue reading