Creative corporate event ideas are as vast as the audiences that they are designed for. However, if you are looking for a few creative corporate event ideas that your team will absolutely love, you’ve come to the right place! Every leader wants to create a solid team that works well together. We also want to create an atmosphere and environment where teamwork and creativity is high. Unfortunately, in many cases, the normal day-to-day stresses and challenges sometimes get in the way of this team development. In this series, we will share a number of creative corporate event ideas that you can easily insert into your normal day-to-day activities to build teamwork and to create a team culture.
The Creative Corporate Event Idea series has a number of parts based on the type of event that you are planning. Below is a summary of each type of event along with a link to more details about each.
Summary of Creative Corporate Event Types
Annual Team Meetings and Conventions
These are the big meetings where large groups of team members from different regions fly into a single location. The ideas in this post will give you some creative ways to balance education with fun. In big meetings, entertainment is just as (if not more) important than the actual content. These ideas can help you make this year’s annual meeting more interesting than last year’s. The ideas can also keep you from making some of those really big and all too common mistakes
Regional, Quarterly, or Monthly Meetings
These are the medium-sized meetings where a number of different offices or teams get together on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. Typically, the event budgets for these types of meetings are much lower than for annual meetings, and the group size isn’t quite as big. The creative corporate event ideas in this post will help with those meetings that are too big to just have a team outing, but too small to conduct a budget-busting entertainment package.
Weekly Staff Meetings or Team FUnctions
These are the most common meetings, and they often don’t have any budget for “extras.” So, if you want to do some fun team building in these smaller meetings, you definitely have to use a little creativity to make them fun and rewarding. The ideas in this post will help you make your team meetings more interactive. These creative ideas will also help you build a solid team culture throughout the year versus just waiting for the big annual meetings.
Annual Team Meeting and Convention Ideas
For details about event ideas for smaller groups, click either of the links above. Below are some of our favorite ideas for meetings with 125 attendees or more.
Charity Team Building Activities
The absolute best creative corporate event idea is a charity team building event. Although charity activities like Habitat for Humanity or a Golf Tournament benefiting a charity have been around forever. This concept of a program that combines real team development training and a charitable donation is still pretty new. The first of these activities was the Build-A-Bike ® team building event created by The Leader’s Institute ®, but dozens of these types of programs have come on the scene in recent years. The most important thing to remember about these events, is that without the team building activities, the events are just manual labor. So, be careful when choosing a vendor. With the rise in popularity of this genre of activities, a lot of new vendors have come on the scene. Many of these vendors will charge you a premium fee to sell you bicycles or care packages for foster kids, but they are not experts at entertaining large groups of participants. The bigger that your group is the more benefit you will receive by hiring a professional speaker from a team building company who specializes in this type of activity.
Create a specific #hashtag for the meeting, display random event photographs, and posts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the like at breaks and during group activities. You will increase social media posts and also keep the enthusiasm up throughout your meeting. Incidentally, this strategy will also add in the same competitive nature that we described above, if you deliver it correctly. When participants begin to see posts from others in the room, they will feel like they are being left out. As a result, many people who have never even used a hashtag before will post something about your meeting.
Although this is a made-up word, this concept in annual meetings is vital. The term basically means to take the competitive nature of a game and apply it to things outside of the gaming world — such as an annual meeting). Professional event planners and team building facilitators have mastered this concept. Here are a few creative ideas for gamifying a big meeting. The main thing that we have found that gets the competitive juices flowing is creating teams within the group and giving them a “storming/forming” type activity with a reward. For instance, we took this concept to a whole new level when we created the Ace Race ® activity. In this fun team building event, we have each team build a miniature golf course hole out of non-perishable food items like canned goods. We challenge them to make the hole easy enough that at least one member of their team can make a hole-in-one, but hard enough, that other teams will have a challenge. The teams are able to quickly practice on their own hole after the hole is created. Finally, we have the teams compete to be the first team to make a hole-in-one on each of the holes. Although team pride is often enough to get the teams to go all-out, gift cards for the winners increases the enthusiasm. When the activity is over, we donate the food items to a homeless shelter or food bank, so the event is a win/win/win for everyone.
Make Social Media a Part of the Meeting with an Event Wall
Create a specific #hashtag for the meeting, display random event photographs, posts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the like at breaks and during group activities. You will increase social media posts and also keep the enthusiasm up throughout your meeting. Incidentally, this strategy will also add in the same competitive nature that we described above, if you deliver it correctly. When participants begin to see posts from others in the room, they will feel like they are being left out. As a result, many people who have never even used a hashtag before will post something about your meeting. Also, be sure to give shout outs on social media with pictures to let your attendees know that you enjoyed putting on the event for them.
Just creating a hashtag isn’t enough though. You need a good Event Wall program so that you can easily display a selection of the posts. There are a number of options, but if you are new to Event Walls, try Everwall or HootFeed by HootSuite. Everwall is simple, and you can try it for as little as $39 per event day. If you already have a HootSuite account, HootFeed is an add-on service that creates a pretty robust Event Wall. If you are looking for more bells and whistles, take a look at the blog post called The Top 10 Social Media Wall Tools on the Social Tables website.
Another good way to get your audience involved in the presentations is with an app called PresentersWall. This app allows audience members and attendees to ask questions and interact with each presenter while the presenter is still on stage. This is an excellent way to make each presentation more interactive.
Give Them Some Free Time
Many big meetings are booked at phenomenal resorts or hotels, but the attendees never get to see it. The attendees will often complain about this by saying something like, “Can we do some type of outdoor team building?” What they really mean, though, is, “Can we enjoy this great resort? I don’t want to spend the whole time that I’m here in a banquet hall.” (But they won’t say this.) Instead of booking non-stop meetings, speakers, and activities, add in some time for the attendee to just explore the resort. Sometimes, we just want to hang out at the pool for an hour or so and relax. You will get exponentially higher satisfaction ratings if you give your participants time to relax, just a little, and enjoy the great location.
Schedule Appropriate Speakers and Activities for the SPecific Time of the Day
The later you go in the day, the less content and the more entertainment is required. So, when you create your agenda, start with the most important content-rich speakers. A common technique is to have the executive present early in the day. (I’ve also seen planners have success by starting the morning with a motivational speaker.) Get all of the educational, content-filled sessions early in the day. (This is the main stuff that you really need your audience to understand and remember.)
After lunch, it is a good idea to make the sessions more interactive. Traditionally, event planners will often schedule smaller, breakout sessions during this time of the day. Just keep in mind that just because the meetings are smaller doesn’t mean that the sessions will be more interactive. It is important to interview breakout session instructors thoroughly and request sample videos, etc. A good interview question is to just ask, “What kinds of activities will you include in your presentation?” or “How will you make your session more interactive?” Be careful not to make the mistake of trying to fill in breakout session “holes” with unskilled presenters. All it takes is a couple of poor speakers to drop the satisfaction level of your attendees pretty dramatically. (By the way, if you have presenters with great information but who haven’t developed the solid speaking skills yet, try sending them to a Fearless Presentations public speaking class. These programs are well worth the investment!)
An alternative to breakout sessions is to lead a “Panel Discussion” on an important topic. Ask three to five of the top people on the topic to be on a panel. Just have each of them prepare five to 10 minutes of his/her best ideas on the topic. Have a moderator introduce each speaker and allow each to deliver their statements on the topic. Then, open the session up to questions from the audience. By having a panel of speakers, there is very little pressure on any one of them to organize an entire speech or answer every question. So, these sessions tend to be more spontaneous and more of a discussion versus a lecture. (We tend to get some of our highest satisfaction survey ratings on sessions like this versus single presenter sessions.)
Once you get past the 3:00 PM time frame, you want to focus more on entertainment versus content. By the way, this is the slot in the agenda that many of the Charity Team Building Activities are scheduled. So, it’s okay to continue to teach this late in the day, but you want to just make sure that the sessions have a lot of fun as well.
Want a Few Creative Corporate Event Ideas for Your Next Meeting?
Are you looking for help organizing your next annual meeting or team event? One of our event specialists might be of assistance. Call us at (800) 872-7830 for details!