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5 Common Virtual Kickoff Planning Mistakes And How to Avoid Them [via Social hour]

This post originally appeared on the Social hour blog.

Annual company kickoffs are an effective way to build excitement for the year and help prime your team for success—especially as we transition toward the new future of hybrid work

Most teams will host online kickoffs this year, which are ideal for connecting teams of all sizes and can easily enhance the traditional kickoff experience. We previously detailed how to host an exciting online company kickoff, and there are just a few more considerations left to ensure your team hosts an amazing meeting. 

5 Virtual Kickoff Pitfalls And How to Avoid Them

We often see teams make several common mistakes when planning a virtual company kickoff. Be sure to keep these considerations top-of-mind as you begin planning your virtual kickoff experience:

1. Last-Minute Planning

A great kickoff will take weeks or upwards of a month to plan, especially as you coordinate with a variety of departments and team members. Form a planning committee two to three months out from your kickoff to start drafting an agenda and gathering the key resources. By starting early, you will also have time to test run activities and any technical elements to ensure you deliver a seamless experience on the day of the meeting. 

2. Hosting a Day-Long Virtual Kickoff

Traditional in-person kickoffs often span an entire business day. Or even multiple days at some of the world’s largest companies. However, a virtual kickoff should not last a full day. Just think about the inevitable screen fatigue. If your kickoff lasts more than four hours, consider hosting it as a series of meetings throughout the week. Or split it into two half-day sessions. 

3. Failing to Spotlight Team Members In Presentations

A successful kickoff celebrates your team and shares business intelligence across all levels—not just your C-suite leaders or company founders. Enable your team members to share their knowledge or spotlight their work by directly hosting a kickoff session or participating in a panel discussion. You should also invite your customers or company partners to address your team, which is much easier to coordinate in a virtual setting.

4. Only Presenting Pre-Recorded Content

Yes, an inherent advantage of a virtual kickoff is that you can pre-record sessions. But to host a truly engaging series of sessions, you should offer a mix of live and pre-recorded content to keep the energy high and avoid potential attendee fatigue. Another potential downfall of pre-recorded content is that your spokespeople may overly rely upon their scripted messages, which could result in inauthentic and robotic-sounding presentations. 

5. Skipping the Entertainment.

Traditional in-person kickoffs usually involve some element of surprise or entertainment, even if it is just a casual happy hour or team meal after the event. Offer opportunities for your team to network and engage with each other during or after the virtual kickoff. Don’t make it another thing to check off the to-do list —have a fun virtual activity everyone gets to participate in together.

Virtual Event Tech for the Best Online Company Kickoffs

You can easily avoid these common pitfalls by giving your team enough time to plan your online kickoff experience. This will, in turn, further optimize the meeting experience to keep your attendees energized—setting your entire organization up for success.

To get the most out of your virtual company kickoff, it’s essential to choose an easily customized platform that supports your intended mix of activities. We’ve built Social hour to connect groups of dozens to thousands for engaging virtual events. Learn more about why we’re an ideal platform for your company kickoff.