Are you planning a meeting but struggling to come up with ways to make your event engaging to keep the attention of your guests? We are here to help, by sharing some tips for engaging your guests, creating unity amongst attendees, driving content focused conversations and just having plain old fun. Keep reading for some ideas to implement at your next meeting, retreat or team building.
Your attendees come to a meeting with hopes of networking or leaving with valuable information, but might be timid when it comes to striking up a conversation. A great and easy way to get your attendees talking is by table topics. Use table topics at your meal period, networking break or as its own break-out session to encourage your guests to talk about concepts that have been discussed during your meeting. Assign a topic to each table using card stock and sign holders to display the topic. You may also wish to assign a facilitator at each table to keep the conversation going. You can offer just one topic per table or multiple topics, depending on how much time you have for the session. If you are using this exercise as a break-out session, you may wish to rotate the groups to different stations. Establish some prompt responses for each topic such as: solutions to the problem at hand, possible outcomes of change, steps to implementing the change, or improving a process. Table topics are a great way to take the guesswork out of conversation and make your attendees feel more comfortable about participating in the conversation, enabling them to leave with valuable information to implement moving forward.
One benefit that came out of the Covid era was that organizations realized how important mental health and unity are to their company’s success. We have loved seeing this idea put into action recently at The Conference Center with various groups, through what we identify as “Brain Breaks”. Give your attendees brain breaks at your next meeting, by making a fun activity available for them to work on independently, but one that also contributes to a collaborative team effort. One way we’ve seen this implemented was with a large jigsaw puzzle that was set up on a table in a public lobby area. As guests had time, they would work on the puzzle. By the end of the multi-day conference the puzzle had been completed, and it was exciting to see that the puzzle was also reflective of the organization’s mission and goals. Another creative way we’ve seen this done is using a custom coloring poster, attached to a board or hard surface. Customize a large coloring poster, by incorporating your company’s logo, mission or the theme of the event. Set out some markers near by and allow guests to take a much-needed brain break by displaying their creativity on the poster. This will become a beautiful show piece after the event that can be displayed at your company’s headquarters. These brain breaks allow your attendees to relax, collaborate and destress all at once!
We would be remiss if we didn’t suggest some fun novelties to get your attendees moving, connecting and laughing. We love the idea of oversized yard games and these never go out of style. Consider our on-site venue, The Clubhouse at Cameron Campus, when you have a retreat or meeting that would benefit from yard games. Set up Connect Four, Jenga or Corn Hole and let guests have a little friendly competition. Use this as a networking tool by mixing up the attendees into teams, perhaps with colleagues they may not know as well. Throw in some fun prizes for game winners. Triad Lawn Games is our go to vendor for this fun add on. Another popular novelty idea is a photo booth with props. The best part about the photo booth is guests receive a souvenir to keep. Make sure to include social media tags at your photo booth station so that your attendees can load their pics to your social feeds and of course, make those props related to your meeting theme. One vendor we love for photo booths is Fotogenic Photobooth. Let us press the easy button for you by coordinating one of these options at your next meeting!
While your guests are enjoying activities 1-3 above, make sure to feed them some tasty meals or snacks. However, snack time does not have to be boring. Consider an ice cream buffet or themed movie theatre snack bar. Our caterers at Plain and Fancy can ensure that your next break is a crowd pleaser. Looking for something more traditional or “grab and go” as guests head to their break out session? Guests are loving our packaged snack option, which is easy on the budget and great if you are short on time. Don’t forget the staples such as cookies & brownies, a fresh crudité display with herb dipping sauce, the ever-popular charcuterie, or chips and salsa. Food brings people together and has the power to wow your guests, so make sure your venue has a reputable vendor with great food and exceptional customer service