The best gift you can give meeting attendees

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings

Newsflash: You don’t need to give meeting participants iPads, Kindles or cash to reward and recognize them in style.

In light of this annual season of gifting, we offer you 5 affordable, effective ways to recognize and motivate your people during events—and beyond.

First, consider that the #1 motivator for almost every employee or meeting attendee isn’t, in fact, money (whew!). According to Mel Kleiman, internationally recognized expert on recruiting, selecting and retaining the best hourly employees, it’s actually recognition. Yet over 60% of American workers say they have received no recognition for their work in the last year. (huh?!)

Take advantage of recognition as a most powerful motivator in and beyond your meetings–with any or all of the following recognition tools:

1.   ROCK your event: Random Acts of Conference Kindness: low-cost gifts given in memorable ways:

A juicy example of integrating anticipation into an event, referenced in PCMA’s Convene Magazine: SHRM staged a powerful surprise at a 20,000-attendee convention. Their Random Acts of Conference Kindness (ROCK!) segments fostered interaction and happy surprise—without without a hefty price tag. Lisa Block, SHRM’s director of meetings explained:

Out of nowhere, staff appeared bearing gifts. They came, they delivered, they disappeared. Mugs, T-shirts, Starbucks cards, free cab rides to the airport, front row seats for keynote sessions. And all the winners got a “ROCK’d” ribbon to commemorate the occasion. The campaign cost under $5,000, including ribbons for recipients [that’s less than 25 cents a person!].

2. No More “Unsung Heroes.”

We all know how it feels to be an Unsung Hero. Imagine, then, the power of being a SUNG hero. Along with the synergy and memory you create when award winners are lauded with a song written—and sung live at the meeting—just for them. Ask us  about how to effectively and affordably integrate recognition-based songs for individuals or groups at your next event.

3.   Can you hear me now?

For most of us–especially Gen X, Y and Millennials–recognition may simply be the chance to be HEARD. Via social media, it’s easy and free to encourage conversations and input–before, during and after meetings. Engage everyone with:

  • Pre-event surveys to take the pulse of what folks want to see at the meeting
  • The chance to give feedback on content in real time. Ask us  about cool, affordable tools that tap attendees cell phones as audience response devices)
  • Open Space as a breakout session. This is a free, attendee-run, scalable format via which you’ll generate an enormous amount of useful input, ideas and content from any sized group.

4. Whose Award is it Anyway?!

Invite an improvisation comedy troupe to your meeting (or tap internal folks). Using a skit called “a day in the life,” have them re-enact top performer(s’) days for your audience–with embellishments. Videotape the skit and post it on your intranet to showcase effective high performance of your best people.

5. Thanks for the memories.

“My team created a scrapbook chronicling the impact I’d had on their company and gave it to me on my last day in the office,” said Professor Linda M. Lopeke, principal of “People who’d worked on my teams wrote testimonials and creative graphics highlighting some our team successes. It’s the best gift I ever received in my 40-year career.”

The biggest benefit of recognition? You may feel as uplifted as your recipients—giving just feels GOOD.

Send us your favorite, low-cost recognition tool—and we’ll recognize you in style!