Annual company meetings are important in paving the way to building stronger business relationships. It is a chance to improve the company, showcase people’s talents and recognize their contributions and strengths. It is also an opportunity for improvements not only for the growth of the company itself but for the growth of its people as well.
However, a successful annual company meeting does not just happen without being well prepared. Shared below are tips to making the next one a successful event.
Keep things light with stories
The best trick to calm nerves and keep things light is to tell stories. You can do this at the beginning, as an intermission or to highlight some important points. Even nervous speakers can still their nerves by starting with a short story, something related to what is going to be presented.
Don’t stick to a single pattern
Start a meeting with something participants will be excited about and not the usual boring outline from last year. Adhering to templates may work for certain situations but it may not be the best way to welcome an audience that you need to be glued to the event from start to finish.
Break the monotony by mixing things up. Show some videos, allow everyone to stretch every now and then, etc.
Be familiar with your audience
Creating an interesting start and flow begins with knowing who the audience will be and what their expectations are. It will help if audience’s reaction from last year’s meeting is on file so that whatever attendees might have disliked from how it was conducted is not repeated.
Know your guest speaker
If you must know your participants to ensure an interesting meeting, it is a must that you know who your guest speaker will be. How long will the speaker talk, what will be said, will slides be used, what they contain, etc. You can actually have a prior meeting with the speaker to make restrictions, if there are any, clear. It could also be an opportunity to let the speaker know the kind of audience he or she will be facing.
Allow interaction among participants
This means involving everyone who has an interesting and valuable input. There may be a speaker to conduct the meeting but hearing what others have to say could be healthy and helpful. Just ensure that this is conducted in an orderly manner like having an extra podium, for example.
Use PowerPoint to maximum advantage
PowerPoint slides should support a message that needs to be sent across by the guest speaker but not in a redundant manner that would bore the attendees. This tool may be maximized to make
discussions livelier and interesting so use it to its best advantage. Appropriate points may be emphasized using photos, illustrations or graphs and fonts large enough for everyone to read.
Maintain the interest
It’s not enough that participant’s interest is set only at the beginning. It has to be sustained by not losing focus and keeping things short. Limit individual presentations to 10 minutes and the whole meeting itself should be no longer than 3.5 hours.
Admit mistakes but use them to an advantage
Mistakes are actually opportunities from improvement but only if you learn from them. Companies also commit mistakes. The important thing is to know how to own up to the mistakes and not blame but share the lesson learned. Trust is better established this way.
Allow better grasp of the meeting with a takeaway
Speakers, presentations and sections of an annual company meeting are best remembered with an offer of a takeaway. It has to be the main focus of the event that may be used at the beginning, in the middle or as a concluding point.
The importance of rehearsals
Despite being prepared, things could still go wrong so it is best to rehearse everything to make all the effort and the money spent on the event worthwhile. Some people can’t help becoming nervous when speaking in front of people. Ask the assistance of speech coaches to strengthen whatever is weak about a presenter. One on one rehearsal will show presenters’ weaknesses: posture, speech pattern, how they make eye contact or the way they smile or acknowledge a point, etc.
Rehearsal will also show if the meeting will take longer than planned. It will be an opportunity to limit or improve some contents or correct slides. Rehearsing is to make each participant feel the importance of their participation and what they may contribute and the whole even itself in general. In this sense, it is vital that a safe but solid rehearsal system is in order. Videotape the rehearsal to see the key areas for improvement. Another great learning opportunity in making a successful future meeting is videotaping the meeting itself.
Lastly, if there should be any changes before the meeting, make only as few as possible and at least 24 hours before the presentation so that there will be enough time for necessary adjustments.
This could be your greatest statement when everything goes well during an annual company meeting. It will make everyone feel great being a part of it and of course, of the company. When people know they are in good hands with a solid and strong company, no news could be bad news because they know whatever it is, it will be taken care of.