For decades, we’ve been a strategic partner to clients in the midst of change. We design and execute experiences that align organizations to tackle their toughest business challenges.
Well-orchestrated meetings are a catalyst for business growth, increased competitiveness and real-world change. They motivate people to adopt cultural or operational change, to rally around a vision, or to conquer the challenges sparked by mergers and acquisitions.
However, enthusiasm, inspiration and buy-in aren’t byproducts of simply getting certain people in the same room. It takes more than that.
It takes winning hearts and minds. It takes fostering a connection to each other, to the vision of the company and to each attendee’s role in executing that vision. Seeing, or even better, experiencing that connection is what motivates and energizes.
Here’s where to start doing that at your next meeting.
Carefully Design the Experience
Well-designed meetings showcase consensus on the message, starting with senior leadership. Even when senior leaders are aligned on the business objective, each leader can interpret the implications differently, resulting in a disjointed appearance.
Presenting a cohesive message comes from identifying the common threads and unifying them. The process prepares the leadership team to define a singular vision that promotes buy-in throughout the organization.
Once the message is clearly defined, it can be explored creatively. Using experiences to communicate the core message means structuring the entire experience deliberately. It should feature iterative experiences that ladder up to accomplishing the business objective. The orchestration helps the audience understand the message, and ultimately champion it, which is the key to cascading the message throughout an organization after the meeting ends.
Be Authentic and Inclusive
Authenticity can be overlooked, but it is always powerful, especially when you are asking someone to change. The messaging needs to be transparent, accurate and genuine. Buy-in from your audience won’t happen if the experience doesn’t ring true.
Create two-way dialogs during your meeting to promote authenticity. Design ways for attendees to connect with key leaders through breakout groups, moderated conversations, panels or other experiences.
The dialog can go a long way towards building trust, even in the midst of a challenging transformation. Modeling how to approach discussing difficult topics can be crucial for your leaders in attendance as well, especially if you need them to foster the same dialog with their teams after the event.
Challenge Your Leaders
Reaching your attendees during the meeting is step one. The ultimate goal is for your attendees to take your message and make it their own. You can enable that through peer-to-peer collaboration and idea sharing. The more they interact with each other and your message, the more they will understand it and be able to translate it back to their team and put it into action.
Activities that require real-world problem solving create specific, actionable takeaways. These takeaways should be structured to lead up to the final, overarching challenge. End with a compelling challenge for your attendees to take back to their teams and drive the organization forward.
Answer the Question, “Now What?”
Provide your leaders with the platform, tools and messaging needed to activate the vision with their employees. Sustaining momentum is a matter of following-up, working to keep the initiatives top-of-mind and evaluating progress.
The leaders themselves are often the most crucial channel for communication, but every channel should be a part of the follow-up. While key metrics change with the specifics of the business objective, what doesn’t change is the importance of planning out the follow-up beforehand. Executing a follow-up plan will make it easier to define what needs to be accomplished at the next meeting.
For more than 20 years, JPL has provided strategy and execution for annual business meetings and leadership meetings, often at critical moments for our clients. JPL has made our reputation on partnering to make sure meetings connect.
Learn more about our meetings and events capabilities.