‘Tis The Season, For Kick Off Meetings


By Troy Hazard

It’s about this time of the year that everyone is planning their ‘kick off’ meetings for 2020, and speakers and agents are typically taking briefs from event planners about all of the things their clients are looking to ‘launch’ at those meetings, to kick start the New Year.

But what if the kickoff meeting wasn’t just kicking off the New Year, it was instead kicking off a narrative for 2020?

Knowing how important these meetings are to an event planner, we’ve come up with a formula to carry the message well beyond the kickoff meeting, and campaign it throughout the entire year.

Here’s an example of how that works.

At the moment I am working on a speaker brief for an event in January with 1,000 participants. This is for an incredibly successful 30-year-old business that is about to push through another inflection point in its growth. As a result, there is a lot of change going on in the business, which trickles down to a lot of information to consolidate into a series of key messages at the event, mine being one of them as the opening keynote.

In our first (scheduled) briefing call I encouraged the event planner to consider how we might broaden the sphere of influence, beyond the brief, to include client stakeholders from their learning and development department, their HR department, and their field team of representatives. The main reason for the request was to engage anyone that would have contact with the event participants on a regular basis, after the event.

Then we collaborated to develop a 5-part plan on how to take my core messages and campaign a narrative throughout 2020.

  1. From the initial briefing with the event planner, I crafted a custom keynote that reflected stories and case studies from the 13 companies I’ve owned, that directly related to the changes the business was about to go through.
  2. Then I recorded a short video outline of the keynote content so the event planner could socialize that with various client stakeholders.
  3. From there, we set about working out who would be part of the 2020 ‘team’ to campaign the messages throughout the year and invited those individuals to a second briefing call. On that call we outlined the communication elements we felt would be beneficial in ensuring the message was carried well into 2020.
  4. We then shared those elements in a short video with all client staff that were attending the event as event support.

a. I was to deliver a 60-minute opening keynote that finished with some participant interactivity to, ‘get the 2020 conversation started’.
b. We developed narrative and some short ‘sound bites’ so the clients’ staff could share ongoing thoughts about the messages in the corridor conversation throughout the event, delivering a common voice.
c. The clients’ learning and development department also created a webinar that was scheduled to happen a month after the event, to recap on some of the messaging, and to remind participants of the more tactical application of the themes day to day.
d. I would then shoot a series of 60-second custom videos for the client to circulate over the balance of 2020, to call back to the key messages and themes.
e. Field representatives were also given ‘sound bites’ of the core messages to continue the narrative with participants in the field throughout the year.
5. I then created a ‘teaser’ video to send out to participants introducing the theme for the event and giving them a taste that, ‘this is not a typical kickoff event, this is truly going to be a launch into 2020’.

The end result will be that we will have everyone aligned to the message, and participants more engaged both at the event, and throughout 2020.

It’s a formula I’ve worked with year on year for many years, and the results are outstanding. All it requires is a little more engagement from a few more stakeholders, and the minds of many make a much bigger mark on so many more participants.

This year, when you are preparing for your kickoff meeting take a moment to consider how you can kick 2020, into 2021.


Troy Hazard is a keynote speaker on business strategy, growth and change. He is an Amazon business books bestselling author and television host. He has owned 13 companies over 30 years and has consulted to 300+ companies in 16 countries.

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