Experiential learning

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“Entrepreneurship” has been a buzzword for years now, ever since the tech boom propelled big-name entrepreneurs to the forefront of cultural consciousness. These days, corporations large and small want to tap into the power of entrepreneurial thinking, even if their employees aren’t technically entrepreneurs themselves. As markets shift and change, having teams of nimble-minded employees who are able to solve problems creatively—traits commonly associated with entrepreneurs—has become a big goal of companies for their employees.

But how can companies boost entrepreneurial thinking in their employees? The answer: experiential learning.

How Experiential Learning Boosts Entrepreneurial ThinkingThis unique type of hands-on, discovery-based training fosters an entrepreneurial mindset in trainees. In fact, top universities around North America are incorporating experiential training into their entrepreneurship programs, reaffirming the link between the two. At prestigious Rice University, MBA students have the option to join Entrepreneurial Experiential Learning Labs to develop entrepreneurial skills. And at Babson College, Professor Sebastian Fixson has identified several links between entrepreneurial leadership and experiential training, which he explores in the classroom. Fixson states: “We have found that experiential learning, and the active engagement of the student in the learning experience, is the most effective method for enabling students to develop the cognitive ambidexterity characteristic of an entrepreneurial leader.”

Watch the video: Understanding & Integrating Experiential Learning Into Your Existing Initiatives

Here’s how this type of training contributes to the development of three key modes of entrepreneurial thinking: problem-solving, willingness to take risks, and taking initiative.

1. Problem-Solving

Experiential training boosts participants’ problem-solving skills in a big way. How? Its hands-on nature puts the onus on the learner to figure out the lesson of the training, meaning it puts the learning outcome into the participant’s hands. That’s in contrast to more passive training methods, like lectures, videos, and workbooks, where a participant is required to read, watch, or listen. These methods of training do not guarantee the learning sticks with participants, as it does not activate creativity, because everything they need to know is in front of them.

In experiential learning, the discovery-based training requires full participation by all trainees. Trainees must work through scenarios that mirror real-world workplace problems, without knowing what a solution looks like—it’s up to them to create and carry out the solution, which also creates complete accountability for the result. That’s what ignites entrepreneurial problem-solving skills. Without a clear path or plan in front of them—or a lecturer at the front of the room—participants must rely on their own creative and innovative instincts and often do so with conviction.

2. Risk-Taking

True entrepreneurial innovation just can’t happen if a company—and its employees—are too afraid to take calculated, well-thought-out, disciplined risks. Only by being willing to take risks can you reap big business rewards. In addition to being an incredibly effective tool for sustained learning, experiential scenarios can also help make participants comfortable with taking these kinds of risks.

That’s because, in an experiential activity, participants must take risks and get out of their comfort zones to “win” at the experience. Moreover, these sessions are designed to make doing the uncomfortable as comfortable as possible by creating a safe space for trial and error. As explained, an experiential scenario mirrors the problems that participants face on the job—but doesn’t mimic these problems exactly. Instead, they’re masked using a fun, game-like metaphor, like searching for gold in a desert. Using a metaphor removes the discomfort that participants feel at the prospect of making a misstep on the job (as nobody wants to make a mistake at work), which allows them to stretch themselves creatively and take risks to solve problems. The threat of failure just isn’t as strong in an experiential learning scenario, and that’s by design. Once participants see that taking risks can pay off big-time, they’ll be likelier to reflect that kind of calculated risk and coordinating confidence into the “real world,” if their company supports a high-performance culture driven by innovation.

3. Taking Initiative—and Responsibility for One’s Actions

Finally, experiential learning helps participants adopt an entrepreneurial mindset by driving them to take initiative—and take ownership of their actions. Creative thinking and innovation will fall flat in an environment where everyone tries to pass the buck.

So how does experiential training accomplish this? As discussed, this training method is designed so that participants must take actions to solve the scenario’s problem and therefore learn from the experience. Unlike the on-the-job scenarios that they mirror, however, these experiential scenarios are stripped down so that participants can clearly see how their actions lead to certain consequences, good and bad. Budget constraints, deadline extensions, and other common workplace issues aren’t present to cloud the results of participants’ actions. The result? Participants know exactly how their own actions influence the success or failure of the session. That does two big things:

  1. It gives participants the confidence they need to take decisive action on the job, because it illustrates clearly how big an effect their actions have on outcomes.
  2. It eliminates opportunities for participants to hide behind excuses for poor outcomes, which instills a sense of personal responsibility. Thinking like an entrepreneur means being action-oriented, a trait that experiential training helps instill.

Have you implemented experiential learning initiatives in the past? If so, what other ways have you seen experiential learning boost entrepreneurial thinking in your employees?

About the author

Dave_RootDave joined Eagle’s Flight in 1991 after having spent a number of years with a Toronto-based accounting firm. Since that time, he has held a number of posts within the company, primarily in the areas of Operations, Finance, Legal, and IT. In his current role as both Chief Financial Officer and President, Global Business, Dave is focused on ensuring the company’s ongoing financial health as well as growing its global market share. In pursuing the latter, Dave’s wealth of experience and extensive business knowledge has made him a valued partner and trusted advisor to both our global licensees and multinational clientele.

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Far too often, millennial employees are mistakenly labeled as entitled, unsatisfied job-hoppers. According to a Gallup study, however, it’s not that they’re necessarily entitled. Instead, it’s that many of them feel indifferent and detached. According to the study, only 29 percent of millennials are engaged and feel an emotional and behavioral connection to their job and company. What’s more, another 16 percent are actively disengaged, meaning they are susceptible to burning out or negatively impacting a company.

That’s a whopping 55 percent of millennial workers who do not feel engaged with their work. So what does this mean? Are all millennial employees a risk to your company? Are they all actively seeking new opportunities?

While situations certainly vary from company to company, overall, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a 2015 IBM study indicates that 47 percent of Gen X’ers would leave their job for one that offers more money, compared to 42 percent of millennials. Additionally, 70 percent of baby boomers think their organization ineffectively addresses the customer experience, compared to 60 percent of millennials.

As this illustrates, many millennials’ thoughts and beliefs aren’t all that different than their older peers. They don’t all need a trophy for every single accomplishment, and not every millennial is willing to jump ship if a job doesn’t fulfill their agenda. Read on to find out what type of corporate culture supports the success of millennials and in turn, the organization.

What Do Millennials Value?

For starters, it’s worth noting that the millennial workforce is more racially and ethnically diverse than those before them. According to the Brookings Institute, this racial diversity is the generation’s most defining and impactful characteristic. This diversity has led to a more accepting and charitable collective worldview, as illustrated in a recent Deloitte survey, which showed that 77 percent of millennials are involved in charity or a “good cause.”

Since 2013, Deloitte has measured millennial world and professional views. As this year’s survey illustrates, many feel accountable, to a fair degree, for many issues in both the workplace and the world at large, but that they are unable to make a meaningful influence. It’s in the workforce, however, that they feel a greater sense of control. It’s here where they feel most impactful. They are excited by the influence they can have on their peers, customers, and suppliers, even if the impact is on a smaller scale.

Despite the fact that many struggle with debt, millennial workers are generally not motivated by money. Instead, as the Deloitte survey already illustrates, they are driven by making the world more compassionate, sustainable, and innovative. To drive this point home, according to a Net Impact survey, 40 percent of millennials deem getting a job that can make a difference as “very important.”

Aligning Culture with These Values

As a whole, millennials are driven by making a difference. The truth is that many companies use words such as “impact” and “purpose-driven” without truly understanding what they mean to their organization. To help attract and retain millennial team members, it’s up to your organization to implement the type of corporate culture that not only discusses altruistic views, but also embodies them.

While it’s true that not every company can save the world, they can certainly strive to be transparent about how they’re using technology and resources. They can also strive to create shared value and enact social and environmental changes. Remember, it’s not necessarily the scope of the impact that millennial workers care about—it’s the efforts in the first place.

Part of this rests in your organization’s ability to align its cultures with the values of your millennial employees. In the same Deloitte study, 86 percent of respondents believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance, with the top issue ranking as “education, skills, and training.” In this regard, it’s important to create opportunities for development, coaching, and mentorship.

As the Gallup study illustrates, the relationship between a manager and its millennial employees is a vital link in performance management. In fact, 44 percent of millennials are likely to be engaged with managers who hold regular meetings. Consistent feedback not only impacts engagement, but it also produces positive performance. Employees who regularly meet with management perform better for their team and company.

Providing feedback and implementing a leadership development program not only aligns your organization with values shared by a majority of millennial employees, but it can also result in growth for both your employees and your company. These programs enable you to cultivate leaders from within your organization. By offering leadership training to your entire organization, you’re able to ensure that frontline professionals with no direct reports can develop their individual potential and leadership strengths.
About the author

John_Profile_WebSince 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.


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What Great Leaders Do to Make Culture Transformations Effective

Culture transformations have the power to make a company more efficient, effective, and profitable in incredible ways. If a company’s leaders do not take an active role in the transformation, any attempt at permanently changing culture will fall flat. So, what role should leaders play? Here are three things all great leaders do to lead their organizations through a successful culture transformation.

1. Great Leaders Start Now

Leaders at the top of an organization usually know if their company needs to undergo a culture change. Whether it’s departments operating in silos, a lack of innovation, or another culture issue, it’s often clear that change in the culture has been needed for some time. Unfortunately, even if leaders acknowledge this need, it rarely makes the top of the to-do list. There are always more pressing matters to attend to—matters that seem to have much more of an immediate effect on the company’s bottom line than amorphous culture changes would.

Great leaders, however, know that the time for a culture transformation is as soon as you identify the need for one. As it would equip your colleagues with the new skills and behaviors they need to optimally approach their jobs, putting one off just makes achieving every other company goal harder. Plus, great leaders recognize you can concretely analyze culture transformations. They know that strategic changes drastically improve employees’ well-being and the company’s bottom line. For example, an organization can measure the success of an innovation culture transformation in part by how many more products the company brings to market or how many new system processes are developed or improved. Great leaders use hard data tied to concrete outcomes to light a fire throughout an organization and underscore the need for immediate culture change.

2. Great Leaders Take Responsibility for the Final Outcome

While leaders don’t necessarily need to be involved in the tactical, day-to-day implementation of culture transformations, their robust involvement is imperative to success. They need to be culture change advocates who are vocal about the need for a transformation and the expected outcome. When a company’s leaders take culture transformation seriously, so will its employees.

What’s more, a great leader never tries to pass the buck when it comes to the result—success or failure —of a culture transformation. While a great leader smartly relies on HR to help implement one, they take responsibility for the final outcome. When leaders and employees throughout an organization see how authentically executive leadership cares about a culture transformation, it sends the message that the latter is a top priority.

3. Great Leaders Walk the Walk

Great leaders not only talk the talk about the importance of culture transformations, they walk the walk. In other words, they change their behaviors right alongside their employees during a culture transformation. They don’t believe they’re “above” doing the hard work that culture change demands. That’s because great leaders understand the importance of modeling appropriate behaviors. Leaders have an outsized influence on establishing cultural norms in the workplace. Therefore, when a leader’s actions and words are out of alignment, that muddles the message for employees who then may wonder: If our CEO doesn’t do things the right way, why should we? Culture transformations start at the top with leaders who embrace change with their words and embody it in their actions.

That’s why it’s also so important for leaders to adopt new behaviors early. The sooner they transform their own behaviors, the sooner employees will follow suit, which cuts down on confusion and swiftly ushers in a new culture that fosters high performance. Great leaders take the “leading” part of their jobs seriously during a culture transformation in blazing the changed behavior trail for the rest of the organization.

Have you tried to implement a culture transformation at your organization before? How (or how didn’t) your organization’s leaders contribute to the change?


john_profile_webSince 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.


Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

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Corporate Event

Obvious news flash: Many decisions go into planning a corporate event, from finding the right location and determining menu selections to agenda constraints and giveaways or no giveaways. You even need to consider lighting. Before you can plan the details of your event, take time to brainstorm what will truly make it successful. These four tips will help you plan an event that’s memorable, informative, and dare I say, fun.

1. Determine the Goals of Your Corporate Event First

Educate, inform, drive behavior change, introduce, celebrate, or improve skills—these are all potential goals. Whatever you choose will drive the rest of your event planning, from your budget and venue choice to content and approach. Ensure the goal is strategically aligned with the company’s overall business goals, which will improve the chances that your executives are more eager to buy into your plans. Determining goals first also allows you and your team to clarify a plan of action for measuring event ROI, something else near and dear to the executives.

2. Incorporate a Fun, Relevant Theme

Pick a fun theme to excite and engage your participants throughout the event. You can even get them involved beforehand by asking them to  brainstorm ways they can come to the event fully immersed in the theme—outfits, bringing theme-related items, viewing related videos prior, or team-related pre-work. Themes don’t just present an opportunity to amp up excitement; they can also be used to make your corporate event feel more cohesive, especially if it spans multiple days. Weave elements of your theme throughout different activities to connect the dots for participants.

When you do decide to incorporate a theme into the event, make sure you pay close attention to the details. A half-hearted attempt at carrying out a theme may deflate participants more than it pumps them up, whereas a carefully considered and well-executed one sends the message that your company has invested time and energy into creating this event—and participants are expected to do the same.

3. Keep Participants Engaged with Immersive Activities

If one of the goals of your event is to teach participants new skills, explore training approaches that require active participation. Getting your participants out of their chairs and interacting with one another creates excitement throughout the event. Plus, participatory learning is often more effective in the long term for retention. When participants learn by doing, that knowledge stays with them much longer in comparison to passive learning strategies. We have all been there before and know it’s far easier for participants to “clock out” on a lecture or PowerPoint presentation than it is with an engaged a hands-on learning activity.

If you’re thinking about including immersive training activities at your event, be sure to consider experiential learning. In an experiential learning exercise, participants are tasked with working together to tackle a fun but challenging “project” and the skills needed to successfully complete the challenge are the same ones needed to succeed at work. One of the biggest benefits is that it teaches participants new skills and allows them to practice them during the same exercise. Allowing participants to practice in a conference setting, wherein they’re able to get immediate feedback from facilitators, gives them a chance to refine and perfect those skills before they use them on the job. Plus, experiential learning is a good fit for all types of learners, thereby making it ideal for events put on for a diverse workforce.

4. Invest in Retention Tools and Strategies

No corporate event should be a “one-and-done” affair. If it focuses on teaching participants new skills and information, make sure you have a plan in place to help participants remember the lessons learned. Some post-event retention tools may include:

  • Online videos or webinars that serve as refreshers on event training
  • Interactive online games that test participants’ knowledge and retention of key concepts
  • Group discussions that explore the challenges and solutions addressed during the event
  • Forums on which participants can post follow-up questions and discussions

Keeping retention in mind throughout the planning process also helps you design components that support long-lasting learning.

If you planned a particularly well-received corporate event before, let us know what elements you think contributed to its success.


PaulAs Executive Vice President Global Performance, Paul has extensive experience in consultation, design, and delivery of programs over his 20 year career with Eagle’s Flight. Through his genuine personable approach, Paul is not only a trusted advisor but also a valued partner to his clients; he works seamlessly to ensure that Eagle’s Flight solutions are aligned to their needs and desired outcomes. As a result, Paul is the account executive for Eagle’s Flight largest account. Many of his clients are multi-year accounts from multinational, Fortune 500 companies.

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corporate event planning

From SXSW to TED Talks, there are a few national and international events that stand out among all event planners. Not only are these noteworthy events massively popular, but they are wildly successful. From engaging participants from diverse backgrounds to inspiring attendees to take a specific action, these special events capture interest and make an impact on attendees, for days, months, and even years after.

Experiential learning is a training method that engages participants through immersive, themed training events. By transporting participants to another world, themed scenarios such as a jungle expedition or a treasure hunt make learning more intuitive, memorable, and enjoyable. Creating an exciting environment masks work scenarios and real-world situations and creates a hands-on experience that encourages participants to take risks.

Studies show that when participants learn by doing, they retain 75 percent of the new information and skills learned. In this regard, it’s important to pay attention to the details and transform a dull meeting room into a verdant jungle or tropical island, complete with sensory, auditory, and visual props. If it is appropriately themed, then the participants are likelier to accept the challenge, activity, or mandate posed by the experience as “intriguing” and to engage fully.

Hands-on learning encourages participants to work through problems together by actively engaging, rather than the passive listening that’s required by traditional, presentation-based training.

Here are two inspiring themes for your next corporate event that easily incorporate experiential learning.


Calling all movie buffs! Give your audience the chance to serve as producers during the Golden Age of Hollywood at your next corporate event. By emphasizing creative expression and group collaboration, this theme encourages team members to think outside of the box to create a final product.

Designate individuals to serve as producers and agents who are tasked with the overarching goal of making as much money as possible. Team members must work together to assemble the necessary resources to create the most effective, engaging movie idea possible within a specific category. They must negotiate contracts to secure the talent, the screenplay, the score, the location, and the special effects.

Finally, teams work to create movie posters designed to illustrate the talent they have acquired and to market their movie to the public. By tasking team members with the goal of creating a final product, this theme encourages team members to pull together resources and interact with nearly everyone in the room.


Who doesn’t love a thrilling mission? Channel your inner James Bond and create a spy-themed corporate event. Because many people get their news from social media, you can bet that these platforms are an easy way to connect with your team members. Start dropping clues about your meeting before it happens. Whether you choose to designate a Twitter feed to send out cryptic messages or Facebook to send out visual clues, building excitement before the event can build engagement.

On the day of your event, in addition to serving martini-glass appetizers and delivering registration packets stamped “CONFIDENTIAL,” be sure to continue the social media efforts. Research shows that 70 percent of top companies and brands consider it “extremely important” or “very important” to extend and amplify event programs using social media. In the context of a spy theme, you can send your team members on a mission that involves cracking a cyber crime and requires attendees to tweet information on Twitter to crack the code.

”Missions” can help team members diagnose, learn, self-correct, and respond with improved outcomes. After the event, be sure to debrief participants—while still retaining the spy theme—to reveal the connections between the training exercises and their professional realities. By equipping teams with the tools to engage in proactive problem-solving, you can illustrate how these newly acquired skills are relevant to the real world.


Ian_ProfileIan has been with Eagle’s Flight since 1997, and is Executive Vice President, Global Accounts. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of British Columbia. Ian spent 12 years at Nestlé Canada and brings a wide range of experience that includes practical business experience in management, sales, program design, development and mentoring. He works closely with the Global licensees to ensure their success as they represent Eagle’s Flight in the worldwide marketplace. He has developed outstanding communication skills and currently is the Executive in Charge of a large Fortune 500 client with a team of employees dedicated to this specific account. As a result, Ian has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and strategic direction.



Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.


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If a key executive member—including you—left your organization tomorrow, would your company crumble? The long-term success of a business depends on the sustainability of leadership. If your company is currently successful, it can be assumed that your leadership program is effective. However, many companies do not invest in the resources to prepare future leaders for future roles.

Developing a strong leadership pipeline can help your organization not only achieve immediate success, but also ensure that success over a longer period of time. To help grow your leadership strategy, consider these five techniques.

1. Mentoring and Coaching Initiatives

Coaching and mentoring are crucial components of an effective leadership pipeline. That’s why it’s important for your strategy to engage existing senior leaders so that they devote time to nurturing potential leaders across your team. Establish a mentoring program and make it a responsibility for leaders to coach employees through both formal and informal mentoring sessions.

An effective coaching program emphasizes the connection between the coach and the student. Your leadership team must first take the time to connect, to understand, and to build trust and respect with their team members. Once this is established, it’s far easier to share industry insight and expertise, instruct on important organizational operations, and share role-specific hard skills.

2. Leadership Development Programs

Implementing a leadership development program allows you to cultivate leaders from within your organization so that you have a stable of prepared, talented individuals who can step up when need be. While many organizations have programs that either cater toward senior-level employees or require team members to apply for consideration, think about offering leadership training to your entire organization. When you keep the program open, you create a pool of candidates to fill open positions.

For front-line professionals with no direct reports, leadership training can help develop individual potential and overall leadership strength for the future. These programs drive focus, improve efficiency, and maximize individual contributions to the organization. For mid-level leaders, or those who display focus and confidence in their assessment and coaching techniques, leadership programs help develop their own capabilities in order to tap into the potential of those they lead.

3. Real-World, Real-Time Experiences

On-the-job training programs should be supportive and challenging. To truly groom leaders, offer them more and more responsibilities over time and challenge them with new situations and assignments. Much of what individuals learn happens in real time, so encourage them to work through situational problems to experience real-life workplace situations. Ultimately, it’s your executive team’s responsibility to offer team members the necessary training and resources to be successful.

4. Regular Feedback

According to a Gallup study that measured how Millennials want to work, regular meetings and consistent feedback improve engagement and performance. The survey found that 44 percent of Millennials are more likely to be engaged when their manager does meet with them on a regular basis. Despite these benefits, only 21 percent of Millennial workers meet with their managers on a weekly basis. Your team members want feedback; it’s up to you to provide it.

Relevant, on-the-job training can mirror real-life situations. Without feedback, however, employees are left to assume that their behavior is acceptable. It’s clear that feedback is an essential motivator in developing leaders. Be aware that this applies to both negative and positive feedback. On one hand, a leadership team that does not correct poor employee performance can’t expect change. Conversely, without positive feedback, employees are not provided with the opportunity to flourish and grow.

5. Cross-Departmental Learning

Silos and turf wars impact even the strongest organizations. That’s why it’s up to your current management team to create opportunities in your leadership pipeline for different departments to work together. After all, executive leaders must actively engage with all employees. When departments collaborate and communicate with each other, they gain a greater understanding of the role of other team members and how they function, as well as a more comprehensive overview of how the entire organization functions.

Below are some ideas for cross-departmental learning:

  • Team building events
  • Peer mentorship
  • Cross-departmental project teams
  • Job shadowing assignments

Not only can cross-departmental exposure help future leaders understand your company as a whole, but it can inspire ideas for their own roles. This type of learning can improve productivity and ensure that individuals have the right amount of diverse work experience to step into leadership roles.


Ian has been with Eagle’s Flight since 1997, and is Executive Vice President, Global Accounts. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of British Columbia. Ian spent 12 years at Nestlé Canada and brings a wide range of experience that includes practical business experience in management, sales, program design, development and mentoring. He works closely with the Global licensees to ensure their success as they represent Eagle’s Flight in the worldwide marketplace. He has developed outstanding communication skills and currently is the Executive in Charge of a large Fortune 500 client with a team of employees dedicated to this specific account. As a result, Ian has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and strategic direction.

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Corporate event

Planning a corporate event can be overwhelming, even for the most experienced professionals. Between juggling vendors, speakers, and event staff, there are numerous moving parts that must be perfectly aligned. From establishing goals to leveraging technology, there are many decisions your organization must decide before the day of your event.

To be an expert, sometimes you must learn from the experts. That’s why we’ve compiled advice from across the industry to help you plan your next conference. Below are four tips that industry professionals admitted they wish they had known before planning a corporate event.

1.  “Establish the goal or goals of the meeting. That’s the first step to success!” – Vince Alonzo, Successful Meetings

Good planning means knowing exactly what you’re trying to accomplish—well before the day of your conference. Clearly defined goals and objectives help keep you on target through the entirety of the event and help companies eliminate wasted resources. Think of your goals as both the overarching purpose of your event and the road map to success. Your goals flow from the question, “What do you want to be true when your participants walk away?”

To ensure that events are as stress-free as possible, it’s important to create a comprehensive checklist that includes the following information:

  • Purpose: What does the event need to achieve?
  • Budget: How much do you intend to spend?
  • Expected ROI: What is the expected financial return?
  • Measurement: What tactics will you leverage to measure success?
  • Roles and responsibilities: What are the roles for individuals involved in planning?

Objectives should be explicitly detailed and defined in measurable, tangible terms. Templates can serve as a starting point for strategy when you’re planning your next event.

2. “What does your audience want? Give it to them!” – Event Manager Blog

Once you’ve established the goals of your meeting, it’s important to consider what your audience wants. While listening to a series of lectures and presentations may be traditional event strategy, for many individuals, it’s not overly engaging. To ensure your team members are actively absorbing information, you must engage them with interactive activities and discussions. No matter the size, or overarching goal, of your event, it’s crucial to create a shared experience based around a shared objective.

3. “Hire a professional and build the right team to make you shine.” – Tahira Endean

Events require myriad disparate roles to contribute to the overall success of the conference. Compiling a team of reliable, relevant professionals not only helps your organization appear prepared on the day of your event, it can also boost audience engagement. Plus, industry experts—when equipped with the necessary guidance and insight—serve as extensions of your team.

Once you establish your goals, you can hire outside experts for specialized skills training that supports these objectives. Additionally, you can work to identify appropriate entertainment, performers, and emcees who fit the theme of your event and keep the conference moving along.

4. “I would say hire a professional. There are complexities, risks and specialty skills required.” – Issa Jouaneh

Professional event planners have years of experience and can translate their expertise into a successful event. Due to their year-round involvement, it can be assumed that they’ve experienced many event styles and preferences. Because these professionals have been involved in such a variety of corporate events, they generally will be able to lend you their budgeting and time management expertise no matter what type of event you’re planning.

Also, with experience come connections. The more involved event planners are in the industry, the more developed their relationships are with suppliers and producers. Often, these relationships lead to low rates, top-tier service, and flexible negotiation ability. Also, because of their collective purchasing power, corporate planners can ensure that clients get the most of their investments.

5. “Definitely leverage upon #eventtech when planning the space/venue and seating. Keep the event’s goal in mind when doing it!” – Laura Lopez, Social Tables

The event planning industry has changed quite bit over the past decade. Advances in technology can improve both your event planning and participant engagement during the event and keep the message alive after the event.

Having the right technology is an essential component when planning an event. Define your technology needs for every element of your event, including participant engagement and specific, activity-based actions. Some ideas include:

  • Engaging the participants with a conference app, before, during, and after the event
  • Using a conference Twitter feed
  • Utilizing wireless voting

It’s important to designate who will be responsible for setup and execution. From internet and AV equipment to outlets and charging stations, all aspects of event technology must be considered when planning your next corporate event. Finally, it’s essential that you provide attendees with adequate details about gaining internet access in all spaces.


Eagle’s Flight is an innovative leader in the development and delivery of practical training programs for the global business community. Through the use of experiential learning, we assist organizations of all sizes to gain a competitive edge by significantly strengthening their workforce.


Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

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The Essential Corporate Event Planning To-Do ListPlanning a corporate event of any size can quickly make you go crazy. We get it—there are so many moving parts to keep track of! That’s why to-do lists and templates are an event planner’s best friend. Start with this high-level to-do list when you begin brainstorming your next conference or training. These are the big pieces to keep in mind as you develop your event plan. Check them off as you go along—or use this list to create subtasks under each to-do item that relates directly to your event.

  • Align your event with your organization’s overall goals. Want to make sure you get executive and employee buy-in for your event? Clearly outline how your event supports stated business goals. The C-suite will appreciate that you’ve tied the event to the company’s bottom line. Your employees, meanwhile, will appreciate that your event has a concrete purpose (beyond the typical, vague “professional development” reasons)—they won’t view your event’s training as just busywork!
  • Determine benchmarks for the success of your event. Before you start planning your event’s logistics, it’s important to define what success looks like. What will be your event’s key takeaways—and how will you measure success? What’s your expected ROI? Almost every component of your event should be designed with these benchmarks in mind.
  • Develop a fun, thorough theme. Theming your corporate event is an excellent way to amp up excitement for your participants. You can also strategically use your theme to tie all of the day’s sessions and activities together, weaving a common thread throughout. Theming your event is only worth it, however, if you put in the effort to ensure the theme is cohesive and creative. From themed dining options to getting company leaders to dress up according to the theme, success lies in the details. Your participants will pick up on a perfunctory effort, and then your excitement-inducing theme may do the opposite!
  • Find ways to engage employees. Even if your corporate event involves more keynote speakers than hands-on activities, it’s still crucial to keep your employees engaged and involved throughout the entire event. Social media can be a big help here—encourage your employees to post pictures and key insights on their own social media channels, using a designated event hashtag. To avoid the dreaded dead-eyed stare from the crowd, get your participants up and moving frequently.
  • Measure your event’s ROI. After you wrap up your event, it’s time to determine how you performed against your benchmarks. Collect feedback from participants through surveys or small group discussions to see how your event was received by employees. If your event focused on teaching participants new skills to change behaviors, you could use skills assessments and reports from their managers to determine how well they’ve retained information and if they’ve actually applied their new skills on the job.
  • Design a retention program. The learning doesn’t stop after your event ends! To ensure your participants put their new skills and knowledge to good use, develop a post-event retention program that reinforces what participants learned during your corporate event. Combine online tools—like web-based quizzes, review videos, and online forums—with in-person strategies like one-on-one check-ins with managers or group review sessions with colleagues.

The right tools, checklists, and a clear goal in mind can help make your next event a rousing success. If you’ve planned well-received corporate events in the past, how have you kept track of all the important planning components?


As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Sue has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle’s Flight.

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Corporate Event Ideas for Introverted TeamsEvents generally involve activities centered on networking, communication, and interpersonal conversation. They’re a time for strangers to meet and coworkers to connect. In other words, corporate events are the ideal environment for outgoing, extroverted individuals.

However, despite the notion that events cater toward extroverts, a considerable amount of event-goers are actually introverts. According to author Susan Cain, introverts make up anywhere from a third to one half of the American population. This might seem at odds with the truth, especially when you consider the concept of the “extrovert ideal”: the bold, brazen personality type that seems to thrive at these events.

Sure, overstimulating, high-energy company training events may be the corporate norm. However, it’s entirely possible to rethink events and tailor them to suit introverts—all while encouraging productive meetings and events across your entire organization.

Whether you’re hosting a staff retreat, conference, or social gathering, here are some ideas on creating a corporate event that caters to introverted team members.

Get People Talking

It’s a myth that introverts don’t like to talk. As blogger Carl King points out, once you get an introvert to talk about something they’re interested in, they could talk for days. What does this indicate? That sometimes it’s up to you to get your event participants talking.

Experiential learning sessions are immersive, hands-on training experiences that reflect real-world work scenarios. Crucially, however, these experiences don’t directly mirror real-world scenarios. Instead, they mask similarities between learning activities and a participant’s day-to-day reality by incorporating fun, engaging activities.

These learning activities help get people out of their comfort zone by creating a safe, supportive environment that naturally encourages participants to try new strategies to solve problems. By making people feel comfortable about trusting the experience, participants are drawn into the experience and, therefore, into relationships with their group.

Because they are part of an immersive experience, they are less likely to feel self-conscious. Ultimately, experiential learning activities draw people out of their comfort zone at a relaxed pace.

Break into Small Groups

Introverts often prefer friendly, one-on-one conversations. In this regard, big groups can be overwhelming—especially when strangers are thrown into the mix.

Events are an ideal time to divide large groups into smaller teams. Break your attendees into pairs or trios and instill passion, not just competition, in the form of group activities. Focus on internal competition, where individuals are invested in both the process and the outcome of the activity.

Another technique that inspires similar results in medium-sized groups is the implementation of round-table discussions. Gather eight to 10 people per group and challenge them to answer questions or work through certain situations. Appoint a group leader to ensure that everyone has a chance to voice their opinion.

Leverage Your Social Power

Many introverts like to think before they speak. As Cain claims in her book Quiet, introverts often feel like they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. To allow introverted attendees time to collect their thoughts—and write them down—consider implementing social media and social networking into your corporate event.

Send out a company-wide question or situation via Twitter or Facebook several weeks before the event and encourage event participants to comment. Let them know that you will be selecting several responses and reassure them that no further action—such as speaking in front of the group—is necessary.

Sending messages via social media allows team members to think on their own time. Plus, it also encourages audience participation days or weeks before the event even begins.

Provide Time to Recharge and Refuel

Another myth surrounding introverts is that they don’t like to go out in public, according to King. The truth is that introverts absorb data and experiences quickly and look forward to processing their experiences. In other words, introverts appreciate time to recharge.

It’s important to positively engage introverted individuals during your event. However, it’s equally important to offer them some sort of refuge. Designate dedicated quiet spots or an on-site café or conference room as a refuel station for coffee and tea. While it’s tempting to jam-pack your day with activities, make sure you provide time for team members to process what’s happening around them.

Ultimately, it’s important to add a little variety throughout your corporate event to keep all participants engaged. Schedule events outdoors, take breaks in different areas of the space, and keep your participants moving when possible. The more you make your introverted team members feel comfortable, the more willing they are to participate and engage with the training.


Ian has been with Eagle’s Flight since 1997, and is Executive Vice President, Global Accounts. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of British Columbia. Ian spent 12 years at Nestlé Canada and brings a wide range of experience that includes practical business experience in management, sales, program design, development and mentoring. He works closely with the Global licensees to ensure their success as they represent Eagle’s Flight in the worldwide marketplace. He has developed outstanding communication skills and currently is the Executive in Charge of a large Fortune 500 client with a team of employees dedicated to this specific account. As a result, Ian has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and strategic direction.


Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

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Outside the Box Corporate Event Ideas

Incorporating creative ideas into your next event can help turn an unremarkable afternoon into a memorable one. You may even make a lasting impression on a handful of members on the team. Over the past several years, creating memorable experiences has become a primary focus for a younger generation of working professionals.

Labeled as the “experience economy,” this mentality represents how the Millennial generation defines happiness. According to recent research, the Millennial generation is less interested in possessions or career status than they are in living a life defined by creating, sharing, and capturing memories through experiences. In fact, 77 percent of Millennials say some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended, whereas 69 percent believe that live events and experiences connect them to other people, the community, and the world.

As Millennials account for more than one-fourth of the total U.S. population, this emphasis on experiences can manifest itself across corporate events as well. While we aren’t suggesting that you must host a high-energy festival to pique the interest of your Millennial employees, it’s still entirely possible to incorporate creative concepts into your current event strategy. The following are some ways to do that.

Pecha Kucha

Japanese for “chitchat” or “chatter,” Pecha Kucha is an alternative presentation format where hosts show 20 images for 20 seconds each. Devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture in 2003, the format was intended to serve as an alternative, simple way to engage audience members.

Rather than rely on PowerPoint presentations and long-winded speeches, Pecha Kucha forces speakers to present only their strongest points and refine their speeches to focus on material that is immediately relevant to their audience. Speakers are able to supplement their presentations with pictures and images, with the only rule being that they must not pass the six-minute mark.

Granted, not all presentations should be confined to six minutes. However, if it fits your subject matter, it’s worth a try.

World Café

The World Café—sometimes referred to as Knowledge Café—is a structured conversational process designed to spark discussion across small groups that are then linked to larger groups. First organized in 1995, these events emphasize not only speaking and listening, but also alternative forms of learning such as visual.

Generally, the event kicks off with a keynote address in which a facilitator provides a series of open-ended questions based on a predetermined topic. Next, groups gather around small, round tables, where participants discuss and digest the problems at hand. Finally, the smaller groups come together as one large group and, through collective intelligence, discuss options and solutions.

Above all, the World Café method emphasizes the importance of creating a comfortable environment for participants. The goal of this style of corporate events is to create an inviting environment that mimics friendly conversations with friends. Much like experiential learning, this corporate-event technique requires participants to actively engage in an immersive challenge that mirrors problems they face in the real world.


Championed by the technology industry, an unconference—also known as an Open Space conference—is a participant-driven corporate event style that’s based on the idea that team members have as much collective knowledge as the group of presenters. The format creates space that fosters peer-to-peer learning and collaboration by encouraging audience participation.

Sessions will run the gamut from informal to formal topics. Generally, all of your conference participants will gather to be guided through creating an agenda together. It is not necessary to prepare sessions; nor is there a prescribed “right way” to lead a session. Instead, unconferencing is designed to provide an open format that encourages organic interaction and discussion. If you need help getting things off the ground, below are a few ideas for sessions:

  • Longer presentations: Generally reserved for big ideas.
  • Short presentations: Five to 15 minutes of prepared material and comments, followed by interactive discussions.
  • Group discussions: Have team members introduce a topic they are interested in, while others join the conversation.
  • Big (or little) questions: Encourage team members to openly ask questions and then discuss potential answers.
  • Show and tell: Have team members provide quick presentations on projects, demos, or anything else they’re involved with.

Again, it is not necessary for those attending to understand the exact process in advance; the format will become clear as the conference unfolds. What’s more important is that those gathered have the opportunity to put their own ideas and sessions on the agenda.

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning sessions are truly creative ways to inspire interactions among your participants while naturally building a wide range of skills and abilities. These events mask critical training as immersive challenges and can be centered on a theme. What’s more, experiential learning programs can be designed to address specific business topics such as improving communication, collaboration, accountability, and decision-making.

By appealing to their senses, experiential learning fully engages individuals and inspires them to reflect on their decisions. This ensures that event content is relevant to your team members’ responsibilities and goals.


Ian has been with Eagle’s Flight since 1997, and is Executive Vice President, Global Accounts. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of British Columbia. Ian spent 12 years at Nestlé Canada and brings a wide range of experience that includes practical business experience in management, sales, program design, development and mentoring. He works closely with the Global licensees to ensure their success as they represent Eagle’s Flight in the worldwide marketplace. He has developed outstanding communication skills and currently is the Executive in Charge of a large Fortune 500 client with a team of employees dedicated to this specific account. As a result, Ian has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and strategic direction.


Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight

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