January is the month for annual kick-off meetings, and planning for them is already in full swing. These meetings get everyone prepared, excited, and ready to work on New Year 2020 business plans. A well-organized kickoff meeting can set the tone for the first quarter and beyond! So how do you ensure they are productive and build the trust, alignment and engagement you seek?

How to Run a Great 2020 Kickoff Meeting

Productive annual kick-off meetings obtain high ROI through careful preparation. Some key steps to take are:

1) Build Your Kickoff Team

Organize an event committee with representatives of all the key operational/functional departments that will participate. Discuss the agenda with these stakeholders and nail down their roles.

2) Upfront Planning and Organization

Come to agreement on desired outcomes. Decide together on the best event venue at which to hold the event. (We recommend an offsite meeting venue to get the team away from the office.) Choose the activities that will best raise attention, focus and engagement.

3) Keep the Group Active

The more activities you can weave into your agenda, the greater your chances for success. The marshmallow-spaghetti challenge or human knot game may work well for building collaborative connections within the teams who have to carry out your 2020 plan.

4) Set Expectations

A kickoff meeting is a great place to set project expectations and get agreements on goals and milestones. Using the kickoff to establish realistic expectations from the start will help ensure smooth communication and help minimize any misunderstandings as work proceeds through the following months.

5) Manage Feedback

Folks will need to share their perspectives. It’s OK to leave time within the agenda for discussions. Acknowledge other viewpoints and talk through them to create alignment and better understand what team members are thinking. Working through objections allows the team to own the goals more deeply. Come to understanding on what topics can be deferred to keep the agenda moving.

What to do after the kickoff meeting?

The post-kickoff meeting schedule is just as important as preparation.

1) Send Follow Up E-mails with Notes

Follow up with a written summary to cement agreement and next steps with everyone. Include meeting notes keeps everyone on the same page and focused on where the team is headed.

2) Regroup Internally

Get your kickoff team back together to discuss what went well, what could be improved upon, and what still needs attention.

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Hosting a kickoff meeting is a lot of work, so it needs to be paired with rewards. Our clients report that fresh perspectives come with the fresh air of a bay cruise! It really clears minds and improves focus. If you hope to build morale, inspire creative ideas, and increase productivity levels, you won’t find a better backdrop than the San Francisco Bay! Call us at (877) 346-4000, or you may also reach us via our online contact form.