How to Turn a Long-Distance Business Meeting into a Memorable Staff Vacation
For many business managers, hosting a long-distance seminar or meeting can play havoc with their schedules, budget, and time. But one idea some corporations are doing these days is to turn this mandatory business meeting into a staff vacation. Some have had great results gamifying the process of get-away meetings that require people to drive a long way to their destination. With a little planning and “hype,” you can turn a hum-drum corporate meeting into a fun-filled staff sabbatical.
Here are some ways you can make your business meetings with staff more fun and still get the work in that you need to:
- Announce it in plenty of time to get people excited about it. Steve Jobs never announced the unveiling of any new product before he first talked about it and hinted about it in a mysterious way in meetings at least a year before its release. And when he finally did, he didn’t say, “It’s a music player,” (referring to the iPod in 2003.) Instead he chose the words, “It’s a thousand songs in your pocket.” The same is true of corporate seminars. Pass a memo around that says something like: “Any staff members who are fearless, dying for adventure, and are our future corporate leaders, start packing for an adventure of a lifetime,” rather than “There will be a required leadership conference in Tampa, Florida this summer June 2-6. Anyone not showing up for this required and unbearably long focus meeting will be fired in July.” You tell me-which would you respond to more positively?
- Consider allowing staff members to bring friends or families with them. I know this can be a challenge, but if you set some rules ahead of time on this, such as making sure everyone is present for the meetings, required work, and so forth, it shouldn’t be a problem. Google has done this for years, allowing staff to live, eat, rest, and bring kids there and they are considered the #1 best place to work on the planet and generate billions annually.
- Offer incentives. Think about offering some “spending money” to those who are first to register or something like that. People love a good contest. If you give them something extra, you’ll be surprised at the level of enthusiasm you’ll have at your meetings.
- Make the meetings as fun as possible. Even when you are talking about something serious, it’s good to have fun with it. Even serious executives need to take a step back sometimes and laugh a bit. Schedule some entertaining related to your field of industry, such as a stand-up comedian who understands the “rat race” of business.
- Offer prizes for attendance and participation. You want people engaged. You want them to get into what is being presented at these meetings. So offer incentives during the meeting for participation and for illustrating that they are getting the point of what you are trying to do.
- Finally, have fun! Remember that, though the meeting is required, you have asked people to uproot their regular schedule for a week or more and be totally dedicated to the cause. So make it fun.
If you follow these tips, you may find your corporate meetings away from home base are more enjoyable, more successful, and more productive. Remember, it’s not so much what you say but how you say it that matters most. And don’t forget to come back to our travel blog weekly for great vacation spot advice, tips, and (in the case of the video below) “where not to go” for your corporate meeting/family destination information! Safe Travels!