Four critical moves to ensure your commercial kickoff, meeting, or summit is a success


Published on: September 2023

Written by: Patrick Kammerer

In a world where TikTok-length attention spans are the rule not the exception, executing a successful commercial kickoff, meeting, or summit is more challenging now than ever before.

People’s short attention spans mean that during a typical commercial kickoff, engagement levels plummet. Hours of back-to-back meetings with no actionable takeaways are not only boring for employees, but they also don’t make a difference for your business.  

So – how do you make the most of your time together? Get creative. By injecting a little creativity into your meeting format, you’ll eliminate the monotony and give your team an experience that will accelerate results, foster innovation, and keep their TikTok brains engaged the whole time. Whether your next commercial kickoff is in-person, remote, or a hybrid, here are four moves to ensure it is a success.

  1. Be savvy with your investment. When organizing a commercial kickoff, it’s tempting to prioritize hiring a high-profile speaker – but getting a big shot on stage isn’t what will really engage your people. Go beyond the surface-level and consider the core elements that make an event memorable: Are you investing in quality content and impactful messaging? Are you allocating resources to find a remarkable venue? Are you curating immersive experiences that will go beyond the event? These factors are all more important than booking a big name. By focusing on investments that drive value, you’ll ensure that you’re maximizing the potential of your kickoff and providing attendees with an unforgettable experience.
  1. Don’t pack your agenda so tightly that there’s no space for reflection. We’ve all had the experience: bouncing between speeches and roundtables and workshops—taking voluminous notes—and then returning to our everyday work with no idea how to apply what we learned. When building your kickoff’s agenda, schedule ample time for thoughts and reflection. That’s important during in-person events. Even more so for virtual gatherings. A 90-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute break? That won’t cut it. Time breaks based on how much people can absorb before they get overwhelmed and tune out.
  1. Make it a two-way conversation. If you position your people as passive recipients of wisdom from the top, you’ll quickly lose their attention. Eventually, you’ll lose them. Build in opportunities for everyone to share their insights and ideas and help set the direction for the company. The benefit is twofold – people will get to share their ideas with leadership and leadership may be able to uncover some even better insights.  
  1. Be conscious about building in networking opportunities. In-person, individuals left to mingle without a purpose tend to coalesce into clumps of co-workers they work with every day. In a virtual room, the conversation will be dominated by a few extroverts, leaving everyone else feeling unheard. This does not promote engagement or inclusivity. Instead, set intentional opportunities to connect. Build in time for “speed dating” where people meet each other for a rapid-fire five minutes of conversation or create small break out groups of intentionally diverse teams to spend 30 minutes together. Whether virtual or in person, connection is everything and it’s your job to be intentional about making it happen. 

Hosting engaging commercial kickoffs in today’s TikTok world will never be easy. However, by being creative about how you craft the experience, you’ll run an engaging event that will inspire and equip your team to be successful. Whether you’re launching a new product, kicking off a new quarter, or setting sales goals that will help your organization reach its next billion-dollar target, leverage these tips to help your commercial team kick things off with the right foot forward. 

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