Balancing Act for Sales Kick Offs and Award Events

As everyone returns to the office refreshed from their festive break, many companies are dialling up the enthusiasm to rally their employees with sales kick-off and award events. Designed to motivate the company’s sales teams and supporting functions crucial to the company’s targets, these events serve to recognize top performers, boost team morale and provide an open forum to clarify the company’s goals and individual’s targets for the year ahead.

On one hand, the bosses want to fill the entire event with intense educational content to ensure their messages are driven home. On the other hand, the organising committee strives to add interactive activities and entertainment since they believe that this will boost attendance and foster team bonding. So how do we strike a balance between the two sides?

Crystal Chua, Director of My Private Chef explains what a sales kick-off event would usually entail. “These days, companies are watching their costs, so such events are kept a bit tighter – usually one or half a day. These would typically be comprised of an educational portion in the day, followed by a nice dinner party so everyone can network casually after understanding their own tasks. Companies with more budget to play with organise two-to-three-day company retreats in regional destinations like Indonesia or Thailand, and may also include additional team building and leisure elements to break the ice and boost team spirit,” she says.

Much to the delight of staff, this company’s Annual Dinner was kicked-off with a Chinese drum show performed by the senior management team (image courtesy of Leighton Asia)]

Much to the delight of staff, this company’s Annual Dinner was kicked-off with a Chinese drum show performed by the senior management team (image courtesy of Leighton Asia)

A firm believer of creating that ideal balance between education and entertainment, Crystal feels that engaging activities help to ensure a longer impression of the key messages that these events aim to propagate. Ideally, the educational aspects could even be conceptualised as entertaining activities. “Instead of one way dialogues, the format of such events are becoming more interactive and paperless. For instance, our recommendations for live engagement tools and small working groups to complete activities have been very well received. Out of the box motivational speakers are also popular these days, as people can apply the success stories or great ideas to their own work,” Crystal explains.

To subtly reinforce key corporate messages across various event touch-points, organisers could also consider activities that are analogous to the intended message. Rock climbing to represent reaching new heights; building an edible artwork at the dinner party to show team spirit and creativity; or edible (chocolate/fruit flavoured) “Lego bricks” that attendees can add to an existing installation demonstrates each members’ contributions to create something greater, are just some examples.

Rock climbing can be representative of each team member contributing to taking the company to new heights (image courtesy of Flickr)

Rock climbing can be representative of each team member contributing to taking the company to new heights (image courtesy of Flickr)

When planning the entertainment segment of your event, it’s vital to consider the profile of your guests. As My Private Chef’s clientele are comprised of the discerning and well-heeled, the team usually turn to the world stage for ideas. Introducing a mini crash course for guests or senior management to stage a performance drives audience participation, while unique acts that are gravity-defying or dramatic (think aerial acrobatics or fire or water dancing, when venue permits), will definitely be memorable for the guests.

Guests insert their own additions to the interactive Lite Brite Board (image courtesy of imjphoto.com)

Guests insert their own additions to the interactive Lite Brite Board (image courtesy of imjphoto.com)

Previous examples that the bespoke dining events agency has executed include AIA Premier Awards at Gardens by the Bay. With 300 out of the 400 guests receiving awards that evening, a strong emcee was essential to keep the event on time and the audience engaged through stage games. Another event for Facebook involved hosting a secret supper for their regional team planning meetings. The WOW factor for this event was its surprise location at an aircraft hangar that perfectly tied together its aviator event theme.

When executed well, educational portions of your sales kick-off events will flow seamlessly between educational and entertaining, while also commencing the year on a high, alongside a united and motivated team.