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Five fundamentals for your internal company conference

For today’s business in New Zealand, an internal company conference has become an essential team building fixture in the calendar.

My simple definition of an internal company conference is a structured meeting of all or some staff with a focus on team building, training and the future.

They can be particularly beneficial for organisations that have staff located in multiple offices and locations, so everyone can get together to plan for the future.

They can be just as beneficial for organisations that have staff in the one location, so time can be set aside to plan for the future.

Now does your company have an annual conference? … It should!

If so, do you walk away feeling reenergized, reconnected and motivated for your future at work? … You should!

Personally, I believe a staff conference is one of the most important dates in the calendar.

We just staged our annual company conference over three days with staff flying in from all over New Zealand and Australia.

It not only provided the opportunity for staff to reconnect and bond, it enabled us to present our direction for the future and include our whole team in a planning process.

Over the past 12 months, we have also experienced an increasing demand from our clients to plan and deliver their company conferences.

With more New Zealand companies like our clients investing heavily in staging a company conference, it is crucial that it is effective and achieves solid outcomes.

In our planning, we ensure that an internal company conference has five fundamentals. These are:

1.       Clear outcomes
2.       Designed for the audience
3.       Inclusion of people
4.       Personal development
5.       Fun

1. Clear outcomes

Every conference should have a clear goal – what the delegates will walk away having learnt, achieved or experienced. This should be highlighted at the beginning of the conference.

There should be goals or desired outcomes for everyone in attendance.

2. Designed for the audience

The first fundamental provides a nice segway into this point. Your conference should be designed for your delegates – your staff team.

Ensure the content enables your staff to learn, understand, engage and experience, which will enable them and your company to develop for the future.

3. Inclusion of people

I reinforce the point to ‘ensure the content enables your staff to engage’. Involve your employees in presentations and provide the opportunity for your people to express their ideas and feedback during the conference, not just in a survey at the end.

In the ‘Future of Management’ (2007), Gary Hamel says “Picture , if you can, a company that doesn’t think of itself as a company, but a community of people that are working to make a difference in the world, where the mission matters as much as the bottom line.” This is what employees desire today.

4. Personal development

In research conducted by ‘Great Place to Work’ (2015), the number one thing employees want from their work is the ‘opportunity to grow’.

A company conference provides a timely opportunity to provide corporate training and professional development for groups of employees simultaneously and cost effectively.

5. Fun

We put the ‘fun’ in these ‘fun’damentals! Once again this tiny little word features in another one of my blogs.  We all like to have fun and we perform better when we do. So make sure to balance the serious and intense sessions of a conference with some fun activities.

Company conferences do require concentration and can be quite mentally draining so the inclusion of fun can keep everyone energised, invigorated and present.

If you include these fundamentals and put good thought and planning into your next company conference, you will create an event to take your company and people into the future.

After all, positive team cultures create success!

Dwain Richardson, Managing Director, Corporate Challenge Events – a specialist in delivering conferences with content in New Zealand and Australia