I got a call from a buddy of mine a couple of days ago. He was super excited: he had just hosted his first-ever offsite meeting. When the team arrived, there were name badges at the desk. In the conference room I had scheduled, our host had put pads of paper and pens on the table. There was a series of drinks with ice and snacks and I had an agenda for them.
The team was impressed. They thought I had put tons of work into planning this event. The reality was that I had just picked up the phone and asked the host to get us a room. I was lucky, because that tone set the stage for an incredibly productive meeting.
My friend lucked out. The friend he had used to coordinate the room (me) worked for an organization that understood the power of formality.
By being formal and by looking prepared, we stress to our teams that what we’re doing is important. It’s worth it to go the extra mile. It’s worthy of preparing and planning. It’s important enough that we took the time to make people comfortable, to optimize our time, and to make sure we’re on the right track.
If you’re looking to have an impact, for something to be meaningful, think about making it formal. Go the extra mile.
Do you need to get a point across? Don’t just write an email, put together an eBook or a one-page slick.
Do you need to have productive teamwork? Set up your own formal meeting. Carve it off. Create anticipation. Surprise people with how prepared you are.
Do you need to be noticed? Then go over and above. Think of something you can do to go out of your way.
I saw on the news a couple of months ago a company who was prospecting an advertising agency. In order to get their attention, they rented a billboard across the street and called them out. You’d better believe that got their attention. They went the extra mile. They made it a little bit more formal, but they did it in a fun way.
Look for those little extra things that can make a big impact.