Whether it’s a full day or a few hours, company events are usually jam-packed with information. Employees can mix and mingle, networking as they go. There’s often an opportunity to enjoy a meal or drink with coworkers and chat about work and personal life happenings. And your company’s culture has a stage upon which to shine.
But even the best-planned and meticulously executed company events can be overwhelming. There’s a tight schedule with non-negotiable requirements. Business strategy needs to be covered, recognitions are sprinkled in, and breaks are necessary. As such, picking the right speakers is crucial for keeping team members engaged throughout the day.
Of course, hearing from company leaders is a must. However, they shouldn’t be the only option for speakers at your company’s upcoming event. In fact, guest speakers may just be the missing piece your event needs. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Learn From Diverse Voices
When selecting speakers for your company event, it’s relatively easy to get senior leaders from within. They have business objectives and goals to share that they would gladly broadcast. And there’s value in that conversation, of course. But guest speakers, particularly diverse ones, bring an entirely different message to the table.
From overcoming bias to navigating differing ideas of professionalism, DEI speakers expand the impact and reach of your event. Employees who relate to their talk may feel supported and encouraged to speak up themselves. Those who don’t can gain a new perspective. And the results can be tremendous.
Creating more synergy and inclusion in your team can foster a better company culture overall. It can cultivate an environment that supports creativity and throwing out ideas without fear of judgment. Elevating diverse voices can set the stage for even more inclusive practices to be implemented. And the break from numbers and strategy to something more human can be refreshing. From extremely diverse companies to those aiming to improve, the impact can’t be overstated.
2. Inspire New Approaches to Work
While industries may vary and personnel is different, some problems find a home in many companies. Bandwidth concerns, collaboration gaps, and organization pitfalls plague companies in all sectors and of all sizes. Interestingly enough, that can be a good thing for your company’s event.
Guest speakers bring their years of experience at various companies — both similar and very different from yours — to the event. Many have worked with different personalities through technical issues. They could have even navigated the same obstacles your team may be trudging through at this very moment. And, most importantly, they’ve managed to find a solution that works.
Their anecdotes are new and can spark potential solutions that were unexplored before. Your team can then reconvene and reference lessons learned from the event to implement positive change. Who knows, a new approach may be the difference-maker you didn’t know you needed.
3. Boost Team Morale
As the day drags on and caffeine wears off, it’s natural for minds to wander. Unanswered emails and post-work responsibilities can make paying attention harder. The distractions of being in a room with dozens or hundreds of people take their toll. However, selecting a particularly animated or upbeat guest speaker can inject energy into your event.
Keep an eye out for speakers with interesting topics that encourage audience involvement. Having an interactive presentation delivered with personality can break up the day and make sitting for hours on end bearable. Multimedia presentations featuring videos, case studies, and photos can help keep attention, too.
Really, the goal is to find a speaker who takes an energetic approach while also providing content of value. Ideally, they can use their stories, experiences, and insights to fill a knowledge gap for your company. That could mean speaking to something no other speakers have covered or inspiring new thought processes. Either way, an engaging speaker can help round out your event and leave everyone with a positive response to the day.
4. Encourage Continued Education
Oftentimes, speakers who travel and deliver talks professionally transfer their skillset to other platforms. They may have other recorded talks available online covering different topics. Perhaps they wrote a book or two on best practices in business or the psychology of working collaboratively. These additional resources provide a natural segway for your team to continue to learn.
Even if only one or two people search for the speaker post-event, that’s more team members expanding their knowledge. They’re actively choosing to further their career or personal development by seeking out new material. And they can in turn bring those learnings back to work.
Those team members can share their opinions with coworkers and implement change in the team. They may even stumble upon more guest speakers to look into for future events. Talk about a win for your organization.
Get Them Booked
Employees walk away from company events with a few mindsets. They’re feeling energized and excited to put what they learned into action. They’re in a neutral mindset and will think about things more in-depth tomorrow. Or they’re completely exhausted, glad the day is over, and ready to recharge. And all three are valid responses to a day filled with content and constant social interaction.
The real litmus test for how successful your company event was comes in the days and weeks after it concludes. Are people still talking about the main point that one speaker made? Do books that were referenced find their way onto people’s desks? Those are evidence enough that an impact was made, and guest speakers helped make it possible.