I spoke to a client this week to discuss how I could assist them in the remainder of the year. I was told by his Senior Vice President that all funds for training, including those related to the team events at their annual meeting, had been cut. She stated that the meeting would be focused on the essential needs of the organization, and she didn’t intend to spend money on “fun”.
It is wrongheaded to think that team building is unnecessary and excessive in these difficult financial times. This attitude is in direct contradiction to the old saying, “Tossing the baby with the bathwater”. EducationNews.Org published a study that found that the average attention span in classrooms was ten minutes. This is also true for large-scale plenary sessions. It is not necessary to waste your time or money on team-building exercises.
These are the steps to ensure that your meeting is not only successful but also affordable.
1. Specify your goals
Identity what you want to achieve during the meeting. Your goals should be specific and achievable within the time allowed. This is an essential part of the process. Your team should share the plans. This is WIIFM. Your audience should know, “What’s in it for me?” Clarifying the goals will help your audience to see the value of the meeting. The audience will invest more if the goals are clear and include the return on investment. At the beginning of every session, it is essential to share the plans. Ask questions. It is essential that your audience knows where you want to take them.
2. Use PowerPoint to Avoid death.
You can break up the session by asking questions, having discussions at each table, or solving problems. Engage the audience with the material. They will be more engaged if they are able to understand the importance of the material (see #1) and if they have the opportunity to interact with it. The “break” between lecturing and presenting should occur every 15-30 minutes. These are not coffee breaks. These are work breaks. They should share the results of their work with others. Wireless microphones should be available for larger groups to allow everyone to hear the reports.
3. Use activities
Get them moving. An experienced team-building company will work with you to create activities that directly address the material and help your team achieve the goals. A provider who is able to understand your goals will motivate your team to work towards them and even have fun. A company with qualified facilitators and a firm that understands the business environment is a good choice. You can screen potential vendors by sharing your goals with them and listening to their suggestions on how they can help.
Controlling expenditures is essential in today’s business environment. It is necessary to make some cuts in meeting expenses. Do not make the error of cutting vital tools that are essential to a successful meeting. The most important thing is not how expensive a meeting is, but how effective it is.