ISES Quick Tips For Event Planners: January 2016

Ruth Wikoff-Jones, CSEP, on special events that blend business and entertainment to motivate.

Do you have a business event that you want to spice up? Consider adding entertainment options to engage and delight your employees. Here are a few quick tips to improve an otherwise boring meeting:

Look for the fun in your content – Motivating your employees to learn isn’t something you can make them do. It takes a creative approach. Look for ways to incorporate unexpected elements. If you always hold your employee meetings in the same place, it might be time to change it up. There are a myriad of option for meeting spaces outside the traditional meeting room. Have a movie or regional theater nearby? Ask if they will rent during off hours for a meeting. They might even have ideas for you: A sneak peek of an upcoming movie release, retro night or an improv class.
Get to know your attendees – Make the meeting personal, whether that’s providing your team’s favorite snacks and beverages or sharing fun facts throughout the meeting. A quick survey a few weeks before your event can help you plan everything, including décor, take-aways and door prizes so employees feel valued. You might even see a trend in their favorite colors or sports teams that you can use to theme or brand the event!
Hire a professional facilitator or master of ceremonies (MC) – Let’s face it, not every company leader loves being in the spotlight. They have a message to deliver, but to make it stick, it’s best to hire a professional that can reinforce it. Take the pressure off your executives! These pros can help keep the day move along smoothly, gauge responses and adjust the pace in a way that leaves a lasting impression.
Schedule breaks – It’s important to remember that people learn best in short bursts. Allow for breaks—short ones—that offer opportunities to mix and mingle. Just be clear on expectations for when you will return to the action, especially if the break includes small group activities or food and beverages.
Provide a variety of ways to deliver your message – With an increasing number of ways that people learn (in person, on demand, push notifications and even by phone), it’s important to be ready to experiment with some of them. Include options like interactive technologies at mini trade shows set up around specific topics or share information through a social wall at the event. For employees that can’t attend the event, find a way to virtually include them if they’d like to participate remotely.

Ruth Wikoff-Jones, CSEP, is a senior event procurement manager with Aimia, a company focused on building loyalty through employee engagement. She is the vice president of communications for the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter of the International Special Events Society and has been involved in the meetings and events industry for more than 15 years.

The International Special Events Society (ISES) is the world's largest community of event professionals with over 5,000 members worldwide. The Minnesota chapter of ISES is comprised of leading professionals in every aspect of the event products and services industries. For more information on how an ISES professional can help you with your event, please contact