An organization virtually shuts down during all-team meetings, so it is extremely important to make the investment worthwhile.
In my previous blog post, I talked about using different internal perspectives to your advantage. Using feedback from previous manager meetings along with my leadership team’s input, we set out to make Truly Nolen Pest Control’s 17th annual Manager Meeting, Jan. 7-9 in Orlando, Fla., a unique experience for more than 150 attendees.
Here are three fundamentals for a successful internal leadership meeting:
1. Message over content
Internal meetings should inspire and evolve your team members’ thought process — not just give them black-and-white facts that they will most likely forget. The big-picture message should trump the details of the meeting. The message should showcase that they are part of a winning team and their efforts are part of a bigger picture. If you need to distribute information to your leaders, do so before the meeting in an email or webinar. The face-to-face time should be spent on critical messaging that can only be done in person. Often, leaders spend too much time gathering and focusing on the details and minutia. Instead, leaders should spend more time synthesizing their message. I am proud to say we held our first-ever paperless manager meeting by adhering to this belief of pre-distribution, followed by the use of iPads and iPhones, to deliver information during the meeting.
2. Engage the audience
Always have a fun factor to engage the audience. The experience of your team members is just as important as the message. Let’s face it — the presenter is often more excited about the content than the audience, so leaders need to get creative on ways to make the experience fun. There are many ways to engage your audience and give them a good meeting experience. My favorite is through competition — the more ridiculous, the better! This year, we had some fun at our annual manager meeting with a “Color War.” We divided the company into two, different-colored teams and during each presentation, our leadership team had an opportunity for managers to gain points for their respective team. Other ways you can engage attendees include through music, live debates, hot wing challenges, break-out groups, role play and recognition.
3. Have an impact
Make the meeting last beyond the time you meet. Prepare your follow-up plan before the meeting. You’ve invested in planning, coordinating and executing the meeting — now it’s time to follow-up. Your message hopefully impacts the minds of the audience and therefore changes their behavior after the meeting. Whether you’re rolling out a leadership theory or showcasing a guiding principle for the organization, you must have a follow-up plan (i.e. roundtable idea sharing, recognition for employees that had success with the message). Because of our follow-up plan, each of our managers at Truly Nolen took the information they received and started delivering the message to their team members in unique ways the following week.
I am proud of the way this year’s manager meeting evolved and am already looking forward to embracing these fundamentals again in 2021 for next year’s meeting.
- Shape better customer experiences with team input
- Use different team member perspectives to your advantage
- Strive for positive interactions across every medium
Scarlett Nolen was promoted to president of Truly Nolen of America in March 2019. Nolen has worked for the company since 2012 in multiple roles. Most recently, Nolen was the district manager for the “Growth District,” a district of new service offices throughout Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Prior to joining the company, Nolen graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Experimental Psychology and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.