Design, Delivery, and Dynamics

“Leah, what does Popular Mechanics magazine about stealth jet bombers have to do with marketing at Target?”  Read on, my friend.

Every month the Guest Insights and Marketing Business Intelligence team gets together for what we call our monthly “Summits.”  The idea came out of team member feedback, as teams were yearning for more opportunities for training and skill-building.  A few years back, we started implementing these gatherings that take place  one Friday morning of each month.

Our leadership (senior managers, directors, and vice president) have made these Friday mornings a priority on their busy schedules so it’s another great chance to not only hear updates, but just get to know them better in a relaxed environment (ps  – Fridays are always casual here at corporate, so it changes the atmosphere a bit already!)

This month, our main topic was on facilitation skills.  Not boring meeting facilitation, mind you.  We asked one of our creative research & design agencies to join us and share their knowledge on effective team gatherings including tips on design, delivery, and dynamics.

Which brings us to why I was reading the Popular Mechanics magazine above.  One of our exercises was to think of a meeting we have coming up, and write down our objective (e.g., “share new consumer research findings with our business partners.”)  We were then given various magazines and asked to find stories or compelling infographics, and then share how it could be used as inspiration to deliver our meeting objective in a creative, relevant way.  While I ended up choosing an image of something unrelated to the story on stealth jets, the hardened biker’s portrait I found was just as awesome. 🙂

A few other great tips on facilitation that I thought I’d share:

— Within the first 5 minutes, get input from the group, even if it’s as simple as asking what activities they’ve enjoyed so far during the spring weather.  It will help your participants to feel like they contributed to the meeting from the start.

— Make sure you clearly define what your team wants to get out of the time you have together.  “At the end of the day, success looks like….”  This helps to keep your group on task and away from the rabbit holes!

— Powerpoint is not always needed.  But if you do use it, every slide should provide an opportunity to share a point of view and start a conversation (not merely presenting facts.)

— Facilitate in ways that work for your personality!  “You’re not going to get up tomorrow and be Jerry Seinfeld.  But use your strengths to your advantage.  Talk about your kids as examples if it’s important to you.”

In general, Target is pretty good at providing development opportunities to learn and grow throughout your career here.  Much of it happens on-the-job, taking in your surroundings and learning from each encounter and project.  Formal courses are also provided by the marketing department (all free, of course) that you’ll take when you on-board and as desired throughout the years.  Then, there are occasions like this morning where our leaders and peers have devoted time and resources to giving us specialized (and fun!) training on some of the hard and soft skills that we need in order to be more effective in our day-to-day jobs with our partners.

And with that, I’m off to enjoy the BEAUTIFUL 70 and 80 degree weather.  Oh, how I’ve missed it!

Learn more about Target opportunities in marketing & advertising here.