virtual events

5 Common Virtual Kickoff Planning Mistakes And How to Avoid Them

Annual company kickoffs are an effective way to build excitement for the year and help prime your team for success—especially as we transition toward the new future of hybrid work

Most teams will host online kickoffs this year, which are ideal for connecting teams of all sizes and can easily enhance the traditional kickoff experience. We previously detailed how to host an exciting online company kickoff, and there are just a few more considerations left to ensure your team hosts an amazing meeting. 

5 Virtual Kickoff Pitfalls And How to Avoid Them

We often see teams make several common mistakes when planning a virtual company kickoff. Be sure to keep these considerations top-of-mind as you begin planning your virtual kickoff experience:

1. Last-Minute Planning

A great kickoff will take weeks or upwards of a month to plan, especially as you coordinate with a variety of departments and team members. Form a planning committee two to three months out from your kickoff to start drafting an agenda and gathering the key resources. By starting early, you will also have time to test run activities and any technical elements to ensure you deliver a seamless experience on the day of the meeting. 

2. Hosting a Day-Long Virtual Kickoff

Traditional in-person kickoffs often span an entire business day. Or even multiple days at some of the world’s largest companies. However, a virtual kickoff should not last a full day. Just think about the inevitable screen fatigue. If your kickoff lasts more than four hours, consider hosting it as a series of meetings throughout the week. Or split it into two half-day sessions. 

3. Failing to Spotlight Team Members In Presentations

A successful kickoff celebrates your team and shares business intelligence across all levels—not just your C-suite leaders or company founders. Enable your team members to share their knowledge or spotlight their work by directly hosting a kickoff session or participating in a panel discussion. You should also invite your customers or company partners to address your team, which is much easier to coordinate in a virtual setting.

4. Only Presenting Pre-Recorded Content

Yes, an inherent advantage of a virtual kickoff is that you can pre-record sessions. But to host a truly engaging series of sessions, you should offer a mix of live and pre-recorded content to keep the energy high and avoid potential attendee fatigue. Another potential downfall of pre-recorded content is that your spokespeople may overly rely upon their scripted messages, which could result in inauthentic and robotic-sounding presentations. 

5. Skipping the Entertainment.

Traditional in-person kickoffs usually involve some element of surprise or entertainment, even if it is just a casual happy hour or team meal after the event. Offer opportunities for your team to network and engage with each other during or after the virtual kickoff. Don’t make it another thing to check off the to-do list —have a fun virtual activity everyone gets to participate in together.

Virtual Event Tech for the Best Online Company Kickoffs

You can easily avoid these common pitfalls by giving your team enough time to plan your online kickoff experience. This will, in turn, further optimize the meeting experience to keep your attendees energized—setting your entire organization up for success.

To get the most out of your virtual company kickoff, it’s essential to choose an easily customized platform that supports your intended mix of activities. We’ve built Frameable Events to connect groups of dozens to thousands for engaging virtual events. Learn more about why we’re an ideal platform for your company kickoff.

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Virtual Company Kickoff Agenda Elements That Will Excite Your Team for 2022

To say that 2022 will be a busy year for most companies would be an understatement. The global workforce continues to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic, teams are hedging their bets on the best hybrid work arrangements, and The Great Resignation is forcing companies to rethink how they meet the needs of a distributed workforce. 

The start of the year—and this year especially—is a valuable time to realign your team and rally them behind your company’s goals, while also providing them much-needed reassurance. An annual company kickoff can effectively meet this goal, but what will kickoffs look like in the age of remote work, and can they capture the same energy as an in-person kickoff?

Don’t worry. You can still host a fulfilling online company kickoff that will reinvigorate your team and help address their anxieties about the future of work. So get started with planning your kickoff today by exploring these must-have kickoff agenda elements that work great in a virtual environment.

How to Build an Engaging Online Company Kickoff Agenda

Design your kickoff experience as an all-virtual event, regardless of if there is an in-person element. This approach will keep you focused on what matters—building a seamless, intuitive, and fun digital experience for your team. Then you can adapt the in-person components to blend with the online platform and virtual experience.  

Lean into the advantages of the digital kickoff environment. Features like pre-recorded videos, in-platform messaging, and small-group breakout rooms can all replicate many of the beloved elements of your traditional kickoff event. 

Keep in mind that your virtual attendees need a healthy mix of session types and lengths to stay engaged. Sustain excitement throughout your virtual kickoff by hosting these types of activities:

  • Awards & Recognition: Celebrate both team and individual successes. It is crucial to acknowledge accomplishments from the last year and spotlight team members for their contributions. These awards ceremonies should be fun, personal, and all about your team’s success. 
  • Company Executive AMAs: Spotlight company executives and leaders to share their goals for the year and explain their priorities. Allow your kickoff attendees to ask questions through your virtual event platform and collect questions ahead of time, too, to kickstart the Q&A. 
  • Customer or Client Sessions: Your company customers or clients can offer a valuable perspective to your team, including why they love working with you, what they look for when seeking solutions providers, and how you have helped advance their brand. These sessions are ideal for a virtual environment because they require no travel (just be sure to express gratitude for your customer’s time after the kickoff). 
  • Hands-on Virtual Training Sessions: Help your team work more efficiently by hosting virtual training sessions, either as an entire company or in small group breakouts. These training sessions can troubleshoot common tech challenges, explain how to use company tools and software, or develop skills like time management and conflict resolution. 
  • Improv: Develop your team’s skills in a fun way by facilitating quick improv sessions. These short activities should involve no more than 5-10 minutes of prep before your participants present in front of the whole group or a small breakout group. The activity should align with your company in some way, such as asking team members to create a promotion for a new product, roleplay a customer interaction, or envision their day-to-day experiences if they worked in a different department. 
  • Speed Networking: Kickoffs are essential for connecting team members that usually do not interact. Set up small group breakout rooms for five-minute speed networking. Pose a question for two team members to discuss, and then shuffle everyone to a new partner once the time is up. Use pop-up notifications in your event platform to facilitate the transition.
  • Team-building: A kickoff should strengthen your team’s trust in each other and align them with your brand values. Host a series of team-building activities or sessions that solely focus on helping your team get to know each other better, understand each teammate’s strengths, and reinforce your team culture.
  • Entertainment: After your team finishes your core kickoff content, it’s time to let them have even more fun. Coordinate an exciting activity or experience, such as a group cooking class, live musical performance, virtual escape room, or a happy hour with pre-sent cocktail mixers. Don’t treat this as a box to check in your planning—actively seek input from your team to understand what type of entertainment would be the ultimate way to finish your kickoff.   

3 Virtual Company Kickoff Best Practices

Your online company kickoff will delight your team if you host a mix of the sessions we explained.  

We have three final tips to ensure you truly hit the target on delivering a fulfilling virtual kickoff:

  • Poll your team ahead of time to understand what they hope to gain from the meeting. This will help you fine-tune your agenda and balance your executive team’s needs with your team’s hopes. 
  • Mail supplies to everyone ahead of time so that they have everything they need for the kickoff. These supplies can include workbooks and activity sheets, as well as company swag or other goodies.
  • Coordinate food to be delivered to everyone’s house, or mail gift cards for them to order from their favorite local spot. Plan some informal lunchtime activities or open networking rooms to keep the energy high.

Online Company Kickoff Platform Essentials

As seen by the variety of activity ideas that work great for an online company kickoff, companies need to pick a virtual kickoff platform that can facilitate a blend of networking spaces and presentation stages to maximize the kickoff success.

Frameable Events is a virtual event platform that hundreds of organizations have trusted, and we’re ready to help you host your best kickoff yet. Learn more about our customizable lounges and stages and intuitive features that are sure to delight your team.

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How A Virtual Company All-Hands Can Improve Your Meeting Experience

How teams work together continues to evolve as we enter another year of the pandemic, and so should the way that they come together as a company.

While the pandemic may have been the impetus for brand leaders to transform traditionally in-person, high-profile meetings like the annual company kickoff and sales kickoff into virtual events, the benefits are clear. In addition to keeping everyone safe and usually costing a fraction of the cost of their in-person counterparts, virtual meetings allow everyone in the company to join in one space.

A virtual company all-hands can drastically improve the meeting experience for your team and more effectively fulfill the meeting’s goals. Still not convinced? Let’s examine three benefits of virtual company all-hands meetings and why they are the best option for your team. 

Three Advantages of a Virtual Company All-Hands

A virtual-first meeting strategy provides your team with the necessary flexibility to conduct their work. Given the continued uncertainties around in-person work, it simply makes sense to opt for a safer meeting option—and there are clear benefits of holding a virtual company all-hands. 

These are some of the ways that virtual all-hands meetings improve on the traditional in-person experience:

A Mix of Pre-Recorded and Live Sessions Provides Flexibility

A virtual company all-hands can more readily blend pre-recorded and live sessions. This helps your team better manage the timing and delivery of your meeting elements.  

Luckily, you don’t need significant resources to produce and edit your all-hands videos (unless your team is skilled in video production and can dedicate the resources). A great video can be filmed with just a smartphone or webcam as long as you stay authentic with your message.

A less-obvious benefit of pre-recorded content is that you can add captions to maximize your team’s ability to consume the content. This is especially useful if you have a global team that will need video translations.

Additionally, you can share recorded sessions with your team after the all-hands so they can revisit key points. Select videos can also become part of your new hire onboarding process throughout the year, making them a valuable asset to create. 

Breakout Rooms Enable Engagement

The biggest limitation of an in-person all-hands is space. Great all-hands meetings offer a mix of large and small-group activities, presentations, and breakout sessions. Unfortunately, you rarely have the budget to rent out a venue that combines a central auditorium and enough smaller rooms to give everyone in the organization a space to connect. A virtual meeting platform, on the other hand, is optimal for creating this space. 

Breakout rooms are also perfect for networking after your meeting has finished. We recommend you create spaces with leaders from key areas like HR and department heads to answer team questions and expand on the meeting content. If you have employee resource groups and committees, make spaces available for them to come together and discuss how they can put the content they’ve consumed throughout the meeting into action.

Built-In Virtual Meeting Features Maximize Meeting Success

A well-built virtual meeting platform will significantly enhance the attendee experience. With the right features, you can directly address many of the shortcomings of an in-person meeting. At a minimum, we recommend you find a solution that offers these features: 

  • Mute attendees when needed. Side conversations and background noise can distract meeting attendees. An ideal virtual all-hands platform will enable you to control who can speak so that only the presenter has the stage.
  • Engagement is the primary concern during all-hands meetings. You want your team to contribute actively. Non-verbal reactions like thumbs-up or applause can encourage speakers. In-platform messaging helps attendees submit questions or comments without needing to take the entire team’s attention. 
  • Live surveys. Polling your team is easier than ever during a virtual all-hands meeting. Use live polls and quizzes throughout your all-hands to engage your team in the content and gather insights to help you support everyone’s experience. 

The Future of Company Meetings is Virtual

No matter what your hybrid work arrangement will look like, it makes sense to design all your meetings for a virtual-first environment. That way, everyone in the organization can participate regardless of their global location or comfort level with large in-person gatherings. 

The key to hosting an engaging online town hall is to pick a meeting platform that puts your attendees at the heart of the experience. Find out why hundreds of organizations have trusted Frameable Events to create engaging virtual event experiences, and start planning your online all-hands today.

Bring your next virtual event to life with frameable

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Bring your next virtual event to life with frameable
Book a demo