234: How to create an excellent company gathering – with Lindsey Caplan (PART ONE)

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What makes an excellent company gathering? Is it the food or drinks served? Maybe the decor or activities? Or is there something more underneath that makes it memorable and sparks positive change?

My special guest today is organizational psychologist and communication strategist Lindsey Caplan and she’s simplifying how to create an excellent company gathering. She calls it “The Gathering Effect” and it’s all about getting the strategy and communications underneath a gather right as your first step to maximizing your efforts and make change stick, no matter what type of gathering you are planning – a team retreat, a training class, an all-hands meeting, or even a new hire orientation. 

Here’s how. 


My special guest today is Lindsey Caplan and she’s simplifying how to create an excellent company gathering.

We tackle and simplify all aspects of it, including:

  • What a “gathering” is and can be in a work environment and why it’s so important & timely for companies to get right, especially now
  • Why studies show that 70% of organizational changes fail and how to avoid that for your organization when planning your next gathering
  • There are 4 effects that a gathering can produce – how to distinguish which is right to help you achieve your goals
    • Gain compliance
    • Inform people
    • Entertain people
    • Engage people
  • When engagement is key, how to create it in your next gathering and what the common pitfalls most People & Culture, Employee Engagement and/or HR people face in the planning process
  • …and ultimately, what “scripting”  is as it relates to creating a company gathering and the three elements to keep in mind to ensure success
    • Framing: How to get buy-in from the audience
    • Space: How to help others absorb the material
    • Structure: How to help people get from A to B
The Gathering Effect model

The Gathering Effect model

This conversation is the last in our series focusing on alignment and integration… and I love that we wrapped this series talking about (in essence) belonging, specifically in the workplace. I think this is a key challenge for many employers right now as they are trying to retain their top talent and also manage a hybrid workplace where some people work from home… some work in the office… and some are a mix in between. 

Having a strategy for your company gatherings has never been more important than now… get the communications right and get clear on your goals to be most effective. 

This is one more way you can create better alignment with your fellow co-workers… one more tool in your tool belt to integrate in, because when we are aligned, there is less friction and the entire bus is headed in the same direction, together.

You can do it, I believe in you… it’s time to simplify!

Q: Are you ready to create an excellent company gathering? If yes, this one is for you.

It’s time to #DoTheThing!

<What’s catching my eye this week>

My challenge for you this week:

How are you going to take what you’ve learned in today’s episode and to help you create an excellent company gathering? What’s one thing you’ll do differently? Share it with me, privately or publicly. Snap a photo of you doing the thing, and tag @thesimplifiers on Instagram for added accountability and support!

Links, books and apps mentioned:

Book: Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard – Dan Heath + Chip Heath

Article: 3 solid strategies to fix terrible meetings in a hybrid workplace – Lindsey Caplan + Josh Levine – Fast Company

Podcast: How to think like a designer, featuring Ryan Hanson, CSEP – The Simplifiers Podcast

Podcast: How to squash your limiting self-beliefs – The Simplifiers Podcast

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About Lindsey Caplan

Lindsey Caplan – She is an organizational psychologist and communication strategist who began her career as a comedy writer in Hollywood, on shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Malcolm in the Middle. 

She uses the lessons learned there to help organizations script their change efforts to boost morale, engagement, and retention for the long term. She earned a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Creative Writing for the Media from Northwestern University. Most of all, she is fueled by a strong desire to teach and help others succeed.

Where Lindsey hangs out online:

Website: gatheringeffect.com

LinkedIn: @lindseycaplan

Lindsey’s vote for the perfect guest on The Simplifiers Podcast:

…you’ll just have to wait and see in PART TWO of this conversation!

Lindsey Caplan

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