Most of you will be hosting or attending your Sales Kickoff meeting virtually in early 2021. How can you get the most out of the experience without the eyeball-to-eyeball interaction you’re used to at these events? Whether you are putting the event on, or going as an attendee, what you do before, during, and after the event is critical to call it a success.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Before: make the “audience” part of the show:  the late, great David Bowie said the thing he liked about concerts in the electronic or “rave” category is that that the attendees were a part of the concert itself. Adopt that idea and put ownership of portions of the meeting in the hands of attendees. If the sessions planned are for a Product Launch, new IT tool introduction, or market segment expansion, have the attendees deliver parts of the presentation with relevance to the topic. For instance, how will the product launch help a customer to grow, resolve an internal operational issue with the new IT tool, or close the communication between teams to grow new markets. Be specific!
  • During: drive the participation rates: have team members hold one another accountable for participation. Put them in pairs or small groups and ask them to alternate taking notes and providing feedback. Prep the individuals and teams for what comes next, which is how they will determine the follow-up step for each of the presentations attended.
  • After: don’t wait for follow up: most presentations at face-to-face or virtual conferences wrap up with the presenter saying “contact me with any questions.” Well, that rarely works after you’ve heard three or four speakers. The follow-up should start there and then, with the spokesperson from the smaller teams setting dates and times for specific items to discuss on the Product Launch, new IT initiative, or market development plans.

Putting this mechanism in place before the virtual meetings will take some additional time. The good news is your management team and event coordinators will save a ton of time on the back end not having to chase for follow-up or next steps when attendees disperse. Put the time in now, and the results will follow.