As we start off the new year, it is important to set a positive tone and align your employees with your company’s 2024 targets, goals, and vision. A kickoff event represents the start of a new business year for every company and can be done any time within the first quarter from January to March. Kickoff events create a great opportunity to recap the previous year, discuss what you can improve on, and how the team plans to achieve success in 2024.

In this blog, we will provide you with some tips on how to ensure that your first annual event is inspiring, experiential and clearly charts the course for the new year.

Pick a Theme

Over the last 9 years of putting events together, I have come to see the importance of a theme. A well-designed theme challenges the team to move to the next level of performance or growth is both inspirational and aspirational, and communicates the direction the entire team is moving forward towards. It doesn’t just rally your people behind one powerful narrative but also dictates the set-up, look, and feel of your Kickoff event and the experience that you will be creating.

 

Vi Agroforestry’s 40th Anniversary event features a thematic walkway highlighting milestones over the years.

 

Once you have decided on your theme, you can now get started on designing your participant experience.

At Stawi we believe that there are three pillars of participant experience:

  1. Communication
  2. Engagement
  3. Look and Feel

Communication

Your kick-off event does not start once your employees get into the event space but before. Start off with creating invites that are in line with your theme. The purpose of your communication is to create a mixture of curiosity and excitement. We usually recommend not just sending a calendar invite or email but making use of an E-Shot or video that is embedded into your email or any other communications channel. Once you’ve captured their attention and created anticipation we can now look at in-event engagement.

Another aspect of your communications plan is event capture through video and photography. Clips from your sessions can be used at later times in the year to remind your staff team of commitments and goals that were made during the kickoff.

The final aspect of your communications plan for your kickoff event is how you will recap it. We usually recommend having video content to recap a few days after your event, and again two weeks later. Photos should be available immediately for your teams to download on demand.

Incorporate Storytelling

Take your employees on an emotional journey right at the start – this is the best way to get them all on board. If you don’t manage to captivate all participants from the beginning and prepare them for what’s coming, your event will sink like a rock, or (even worse) your team will not recognize the urgency and the participants will lose motivation.

 

 

Don’t ever leave out numbers, data, and facts in your kickoff meetings. They’re key to reinforcing goals with your team. It’s important to tie this information directly to your projects and goals. However, it’s even better if you can weave some emotion into the kickoff through stories.

At Stawi, we like to do a little storytelling. Weaving data into a narrative adds an emotional and memorable dimension. Sharing stories of challenges, triumphs, and teamwork makes the information more relatable and engaging. The benefits? Increased team connection, improved retention of information, and the transformation of your projects from mere data points to legendary tales.

Engagement

To inspire your staff team to achieve the theme in 2024, your team building activities need to be more than an indoor spaghetti tower experience, or an outdoor sports day. The activities that you choose need to bring the theme to life in the hearts and minds of your participants and most of all be memorable.

For example experiences like Knowing Me Knowing You help in building trust and chemistry within the team. And while it is a perfect indoor icebreaker, it can also take place outdoors. While an experience like The Big Picture brings the theme to life through the work and hands of your team  The Big Picture is a strategic theme-based team-building activity where a piece of artwork depicting the organization’s vision and goals is designed and customized.

 

 

Each team paints a small piece of one large jigsaw puzzle that, when combined, forms a stunning painting. It’s a metaphor for collaboration, emphasizing how individual talents and departments – different pieces form a whole and contribute to organizational success. The completed artwork is placed within your office and serves as a reminder of your year’s theme, company goals, or any other take-home from the Kickoff event.

We have other impactful experiences, such as Bean Around the WorldBakerthon, or even Flat Out Afloat that can be customized to your theme and communications plan.

It is important to start by appreciating the people and milestones accomplished in 2023. Challenge your teams to look back at some of the important things that they were able to achieve and take time to celebrate the people (who), the achievements (what), and the process (how) to succeed. This can be done either as a team (in groups) or by the leadership with input from the team. This process usually creates an atmosphere of self-belief as the team looks forward to 2024.

 

Event App Engagement

How great would it be if your staff team could have the agenda, communications hub, event, and location information in the palm of their hand? This would minimize questions, and confusion and ensure that everyone focuses on the most important parts of the experience and not FAQs or logistic-related questions. We have developed an event application that does just that. It handles all your check-in and registration needs, hosts your agenda, and can have timings changed in real time for a seamless experience. Our event app, ProconnectX, revolutionizes your event management. Attendees can access real-time updates, engage in live polls, connect with fellow participants, and now explore the venue’s amenities and local attractions close to your venue!

 

Look and Feel

Choosing the right location for your kickoff event involves more than just picking a place; it’s about creating an atmosphere. The venue is important because it sets the tone for the event and impacts the participants’ experience. A well-chosen venue can enhance the event’s theme, provide the right ambiance, and facilitate guest comfort and convenience.

 

 

 

Whether it is an indoor or an outdoor venue, our partner, Tuziidi, offers an ideal location solution. Tuziidi’s carousel of close to 200 venues sorted in different collections ensures a quick and convenient selection process, allowing you to decide on the location within just 10 minutes.

Audio-visual elements play a crucial role in communicating your message effectively. Visuals and sound intertwine to convey your theme, leaving a lasting impact. The right AV setup transforms information into a captivating story, engaging participants and reinforcing your key objectives.

While hotels often have built-in projector screens and basic audio systems, these may not meet the technical demands of your event. Choosing Stawi as your AV supplier ensures dedicated technical support, up-to-date equipment, and a customized setup tailored to your needs. At Stawi, we collaborate closely with our clients to comprehend their vision. We then create a complete experience, tailored to their brand and audience, all while keeping the budget in mind.