How to Make Events Meaningful

It is with great joy I am running my first live, in person training event since armageddon March 12. That’s nearly three months! Gathering in person is a serious commitment when it’s so easy to stay at home. We’ve got to make it special and meaningful. Here’s how.

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Like many, I’ve extended my offerings so that people can continue to access professional leadership development and connect with one another even while confined to home.

Whether we gather virtually or in person, events should always be meaningful, full of purpose, and mindful of feelings.

Here is my quick list for when you begin planning your team interactions again, especially live gatherings.


Are you focused on:

  • Change
  • Culture
  • Strategy
  • Productivity

These are distinct and need to be kept separate from one another. Otherwise the purpose of the gathering can become diluted.


Are you planning on:

  • Generating ideas
  • Making decisions
  • Problem solving
  • Answering questions and clarifying
  • Celebrating

These require different cognitive functions and facilitation processes. Best to keep them separate.


At the end of the meeting, what do you want to walk away with?

Some examples are:

  • 3 ideas to test
  • A decision on strategic priorities for the next three months 
  • Changes to simplify a troublesome system
  • Answer staff questions on the current change initiative

Knowing where you want to end up will help sharpen the focus of the meeting.


During and following the meeting, how do you want you and your team to feel about the experience?

Some possibilities are:

  • Curious
  • Hopeful
  • Interested
  • Focused
  • Exhilarated
  • Excited

This is a hugely neglected aspect of the gathering experience. Feelings will happen regardless, so we might as well be intentional and thoughtful about it. When we keep in mind the emotional experience of a gathering, we can avoid problematic emotional distractions, as well as emphasise the positive ones.


Related Articles:

How to Create An Event Worth Going To

How to Make Sense of Normalised Chaos

How Good is Your Strategic Plan? Avoid These Mistakes and Use These Tips


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