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What is an Annual Meeting?
Annual meetings afford unique marketing opportunities to curate the relationship between you friends, clients, investors, prospectors and vendors. It crafts a meeting place where your exemplary staff can show their stuff. A once-a-year exercise in team building, this meeting will galvanize your entire company, plus it’s an extremely honest way to do business. These moments are humbling but important steps that will make everyone in your company even better. Despite the hum-drum sound of an annual meeting, this is an important opportunity for an engaging, wholesome moment with your entire staff.
How to Hold an Annual Meeting, Virtually
We are all suffering from Zoom fatigue, lack of motivation, and general boredom. The idea of an annual meeting will hold no end of grumbles and moans (even if you cannot currently see or hear them). It doesn’t have to be this way! There are currently no rules (stay with me) and we have a powerful moment to recreate and draft new templates for our businesses.
- Toss out the old, bring in the new. Your meetings might be nothing but last year’s agenda with a few updates. Instead, try to communicate important, up to the minute information. Strongly present your overall goal. Shake things up. Be creative. Try to appeal to the energy level of your employees.
- Respect your audience and involve everyone. We’re all professionals, and we all deserve to be interested. We want to be valued. Ask people what they want to hear. Learn what they want from your meetings. Promote participation.
- Keep Things Short and sweet. Sure, we all have more time right now, but let’s keep our mandatory meetings reasonable. Tell some stories, crack some jokes but keep the content moving.
- Offer a takeaway and acknowledge past mistakes. Make sure the points stay, well, on point. Remember that we are all human and we are going through some things right now. Bring up some lessons, some mistakes, and what has been learned in the last year. Try and be transparent with how your company is doing moving forward.
- Rehearse your meeting ahead of time, especially for Zoom. No one likes awkward pauses or dead air (though some of us enjoy rehearsing even less). Have your presenters keep people engaged by knowing where they are going and what they are saying. If there are slides or graphics, make sure everything is ready to go. Smile, be engaging, and bring in your audience for questions and responses.
- Mix things up, but keep things chill. Maybe keep your annual meeting more casual this year than last year. Don’t make very many last minute changes. Give people time, ahead of time. Be cordial. Be fun.
Importance of Team Building
We cannot understate the importance of corporate team building, especially in this current climate. Your team isn’t just a group of people or employees, it’s the backbone of your company. This body of individuals are committed to you and your company—they’re committed to growth, to goals, to success, to common purpose. People respond to strategy, objectives, purpose, and values. When properly utilized and promoted, a team can be the make it or break it for your company.
Team building exists to strengthen the interpersonal relationships that unite team members, and also to align everyone’s thinking, motivations, and efforts toward specific and necessary goals. There are so many reasons for allocating your time and resources into team building activities. Proper team building strengthens connections, it crafts a strengthened and focused team, it furthers cohesion and makes everyone feel involved.
7 Virtual Team Building Ideas for Annual Meetings
You want a good, successful meeting; your team wants to feel appreciated, involved, and respected. Here are seven great virtual team building ideas for your annual meeting that’s sure to give everyone a little bit of what they want, and who knows, it could create the new normal for fun yearly meetings!
- Start the Meeting Early To Socialize
Even with our families around us, remote work can be quite lonely. Your team is looking for a way to loosen up a bit, and they’re hungry to socialize. Either start your call a few minutes early or make sure that the start of your annual meeting is a space for an informal, fun catch-up time. Allow people to show off what they’ve been up to, whether it’s new hobbies or pets.
- Have a Meeting Moderator
Your annual meeting is an important event, and every great event needs a greater moderator. Have someone from your team handle the meeting’s moderation. This person should greet everyone, offer a few ice breakers, keep their eye on the time, handle each hand-off for each speaker, facilitate some questions and answers, keep track of the agenda and stabilize the overall mood of the meeting.
- Celebrate People at the Bottom of the Org Chart
Let’s be real, everyone is looking for a little bit of praise right now. Your team needs their spirits lifted. Instead of your classic top-down list of your company’s highlights, how about you ask your employees what they found most noteworthy and memorable about the year? You can have them do this ahead of time, or your moderator can do it ‘pop question’ style. Either way, it’s a great moment to highlight the best month/quarter or biggest professional moment.
- Invite Multiple Presenters
Spending thirty minutes (or even an hour) in a content heavy Zoom call is draining for absolutely everyone. No one wants to sit and attempt to pay attention to some long monologue or company celebration. You can easily break up this dynamic by inviting additional people to present information and resources. You can even ask your employees to chime in as additional presenters. Your research team can present a customer’s story, or create diversity by offering information that you wouldn’t regularly present.
- Hold a Raffle with Awesome Prizes
Bring some cheer and anticipation to your annual company meeting with a raffle for some cool prizes! You can call out the raffle throughout the meeting, or give people some incentive to stay through the entire presentation. Add some variety to the prizes, which will heighten the overall mood of your meeting.
- Do a Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Take this twist on your classic scavenger hunt to the next level with a unique and fun experience for your whole team. This is a mashup hybrid virtual games show with fun bonus rounds. Your live host or presenter can take your team through multiple rounds of different styles of trivia designed to boost morale and get your team laughing and engaged! The virtual scavenger hunt is a ton of fun.
- Record the Meeting and Share the Recording
Don’t forget to press record at the start of your annual meeting! You can share the recording with your employees or edit it into fun snippets. Post the videos on your company Instagram or other virtual space so that those who couldn’t make it can watch later. This can also be a great way to see what you want to do differently next year.
At the end of the day, an engaging and exciting annual meeting is one that revolves around your people and celebrates the diversity you’ve curated among your team members. Explore, celebrate, and take solace in the accomplishments of your team this year. Don’t forget to include these important team building exercises! Allow room for growth and meaningful conversation, and you’ll see an annual meeting that’s far beyond any you’ve had before.