October 14, 2022 | By Warwick Merry

Too often our end-of-year festivities are full of senior managers waffling on about the great year gone by. Seemingly endless speeches full of management speak that actually seems to de-motivate the team rather than the other way around.

So how can we make end-of-year festivities more vibrant, memorable and worthwhile?

Here are a few ideas:

Make it about the whole team

While management may think the year-end celebration is about the results, it isn’t. It is ALL about the team. So, when you plan it, consider what the entire team would enjoy. Paintball and go-karts may be fun for some but personally, that wouldn’t appeal to me or many others. So, celebrate your team in a way THEY would like. Maybe a combination of elements to ensure all are included. How would your team like to celebrate their year?

Reduce your speeches

Speeches are important. The speeches are a key point in the event. Just make sure they are not endless. This is NOT the time to inspire the troops! This is the time to say THANK YOU and then step away from the microphone. Five minutes should really be more than enough.

Only give core awards

If you give annual awards, don’t make the process seem endless. A client said they were used to giving 45 awards at their end-of-year function. We have reduced it to about 10. The other awards, while important, were more appropriate to be presented at a division or workgroup level.

This makes the major awards more esteemed and means that you are more likely to keep the attention of the audience for your entire awards program.

Increase the fun

Why not introduce more fun to the event? Either the delegates bring the fun or you bring the fun to the delegates. Silent discos, silent karaoke, colour by number, jumping castles, a massive ball pit – there are so many options. Embrace the inner child of the event and run with it – while ensuring no one is forced to do something they don’t want to (never a winning strategy). Encouraged, yes, but forced, no!

Make it last

Your investment in an end-of-year event is not insignificant, so make sure it lasts. Use photos, video footage, stories, social media – whatever you have – to talk about the event throughout the year. Even tell your customers about it. It will make you “more human” as a company and your staff will love the fond memories.

Go out on a limb

In the ever-increasing struggle to make this one better than the last one, why not go out on a limb? See if you can get your usually “serious” senior managers to be part of something more frivolous.  Maybe a masked singer with the CEO as one of the singers? Fancy dress with face mask and a guess who? Dunk the senior management team in a tank by throwing a ball? The options are plentiful. The upsides are significant as the senior team members become “one of the people”.

What can you do to ensure your end-of-year events are more vibrant, more engaging or more awesome?

Warwick Merry is a Certified Speaking Professional, dual Certified Virtual Presenter, recipient of the 2021 Global Outstanding Intrapreneur award, the 2022 Breakthrough Speaker Award and 2022 Nevin Award for service to the speaking industry. For over 20 years he has been hosting and producing online, hybrid and in-person events. He is the host of the Making Events Awesome livestream and Facebook group.