So you've decided to take one, two, maybe three days out of work, bring everyone together and run a staff conference. Even if you don't pay for an extravagant venue or fancy meals, running a staff conference is still going to cost you a lot of money - consider potential missed opportunities and business down time.
However if done right it CAN and SHOULD add so much more value to your business.
A conference which is engaging, fun and informative can help with improving:
and much more!
However if you think you can get your staff into a room, simply 'Download Information' and everything will be better again - you're DEAD WRONG!
You've got everyone together - what will you do to inspire them all to make a difference?
1. MUSIC - Play music to lead you in and out of breaks. Music is a highly emotive energizer. It's a great way to get people moving and loosening up. Make sure you use something which is upbeat and appeals to most of your participants.
Also by using the same track it helps in establishing an associated positive memory. Try choosing a song which matches your key conference theme.
2. MOVEMENT - Often you'll find that people will usually sit with those people they are familiar with. It's important to get staff from different locations, departments and teams mixing. After each session have participants change seats. Have people sit in a new spot after each break or session.
You can easily turn it into a fun 'get to know you' activity by asking a 'Have you ever..." question. Those people who have need to swap seats. For example:
"Have you ever..."
Do whatever you want. Just get people mixing.
3. PLAY - Another method which works well 'Between Topics' is playing a 5-10 minute fun team based game. Make sure the game is interactive, easy to participate in, encourages laughter and has a little bit of movement.
You can discover some activities in the Funergize Your Conference: DIY Tool Kit. Mike has packaged together a range of activities and ideas designed to helkp you create an inspirational staff conference experience. It contains a whole bunch of 5-10 minute games which are heaps of fun.
4. GAME TIME - Help create some positive interactions during free time or lunch. Provide staff with a whole bunch of fun board games to play. Games like Operation, Uno, Snakes and Ladders, Guess Who are great for both participants and spectators alike. Make sure you lay them out where they will be noticed and used. If need be you get the ball rolling by issuing the first challenge!
5. SPACE - This one is so simple yet so under utilized. Use different spaces (rooms, outside, under a tress, back of the room, the balcony) to help create different types of energy and movement.
Being 'stuck' in the one room will keep our thoughts and energy 'stuck'. If you want a shift of energy, shift your location. If you want to get really funky you can even set up a space for particular outcomes, i.e. a creative room might have bean bags, lava lamps, chalk board and coloured chalk.
6. GIVE A MASSAGE - Hire a massuese to come in over lunch or end of day and provide staff with quick 5 minute head and shoulder massages. This will certainly help in getting more blood to the brain!
7. COLOUR - Provide staff with colour textas, pencils or even crayons to make notes with. For some staff this really encourages them to get a little creative and playful with writing things down, which helps with embedding information.
8. PHOTO CHALLENGE - Have staff bring in a photo (of them as kids or their favourite pet etc), place them around the conference room. Have a little competition to see who can 'match' the most photos with the relevant staff member.
9. FOOD - Avoid putting out pastries, lollies, soft drinks or sugar laden biscuits. When staff eat food which is full of processed sugar, it only contributes to high peaks and troughs in sugar levels. This contributes to tiredness and foggy-brain. When catering look at foods which contain good fats, high in protein and are low GI. Foods such as coconut yogurt, macadamia and almond nuts (make sure there are no nut allergies first), whole fresh fruit, provide staff the chance to make their own juices and plenty of water. This will ensure participants have good energy levels throughout the day.
10. ENERGY IN = ENERGY OUT - This has to be the most obvious tip on how to Funergize your Conference. If you want your participants to be energized and positive, every single one of your presenters need to be positive and energized. Make sure your presenters are more than just knowledge experts, but also 'communication experts'.
EXTRA BONUS - FAVOURITE PART - This is something which works so well we do this with the kids over dinner. "What was your favourite part of the day" By deliberately focusing on the positives it trains our brains to be more positive, optimistic and appreciative. After each session ask everyone to turn to the person next to them and share "what was their favourite part of the presentation and why?" You can then ask for some people to share what their partner said to the larger group.
Mike Symonds specializes in working with Business Leaders to Energize Staff, Connect Teams and Get Results. Mike is available for Interactive Keynote Presentations, Conference MCing and Workshop Facilitation. Mike is also the creator of Funergizers Employee Engagement Model - 4 simple principles Leaders can use to engage their teams easily and effectively.
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