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How to Plan a Successful Off-Site Meeting

How to Plan a Successful Off-Site Meeting

Creating a work environment where creativity is fostered and innovation is supported can be difficult when new projects and daily tasks keep piling up. To find productivity and increased collaboration among team members, it is important to step out of the hectic work zone. Often times, company off-site meetings are organized for this purpose.

While off-site meetings have been considered a powerful strategy to increase collaboration among the office employees, they can do a lot more when planned properly. Unfortunately, many companies struggle to organize successful off-site meetings.

Therefore, in this post, we’ll show how companies can plan a successful off-site meeting.

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1.        Define the Goal of an Off-Site Meeting

Off-site meetings require company money and employees’ time. Therefore, it is important to define the agenda of the meeting with the entire team. Common goals of off-site meetings include working on a new product plan, creating a new strategic plan, increasing teamwork among employees, celebrating a major milestone or just providing a break to employees from their routine work. Once you have defined the agenda of the meeting, communicate it to your team members.

2.        Gather Anonymous Suggestions

It is important to gather suggestions from your team members while planning the agenda of the meeting. When you communicate your agenda to them, they may not be able to suggest changes to it. That’s because they will feel like they are challenging your authority. Therefore, you should solicit anonymous suggestions about what should be included in the agenda and what should be removed to yield better results.

An outside facilitator can be of assistance in this matter as they can gather feedback from the team members about the agenda of the meeting, solicit their suggestions and convey them to you.

3.        Set Your Budget

Setting the budget is important no matter what type of event you are planning. In order to make sure that all the important details of the off-site meeting are planned properly, you must set your budget ahead of time. Decide how much money you can afford to spend on an off-site meeting.

4.        Choose the Right Venue

Once the agenda of the off-site meeting has been decided and the budget has been declared, the next step is to choose the venue. In order to ensure that everyone can easily arrive to the meeting, you must choose a venue that’s easy to reach for the majority of people. If you can’t choose such a location, consider providing transportation to your employees to ensure that all your guests can attend the off-site meeting. Choose a venue that accommodates your employees and can be used for entertainment sessions, if they are included in the meeting agenda. Make sure the venue has the right audio video equipment and proper lightning.

A venue should also align with the goals of your meeting. If you wish to remind your partner or your team member how much they are valued, consider choosing a luxurious venue. If sustainability is a priority for your company this year, select a courtyard or venue with greenery to remind your employees what you are working towards.

5.        Invite the Right People

Since you know the agenda of the off-site meeting and what you want to achieve from it, the next step is to invite the attendees. You may have to invite stakeholders to the meeting if their decision is required on important plans or projects. If you wish to recognize the efforts of top performers in the meeting, you’ll have to invite all your employees to the meeting.

Inviting the right people is essential for the success of an off-site meeting. Invite the attendees a month before the meeting is scheduled to ensure that they can prepare themselves and make arrangements to attend the meeting. You should also share the expectations and agenda of the off-site meeting a week before the date of the meeting. This will ensure allow your attendees to come to meeting prepared and are able to highlight all the important matters.

6.        Set Ground Rules

Make sure that all your attendees know that your off-site meeting is an open space where everyone is allowed to speak up and challenge any other member of the team without fear. However, don’t assume that your team members who don’t speak up will magically feel comfortable and address certain issues because they have gathered together at an off-site meeting. Consider encouraging people to debate and discuss alternative strategies and perspectives.

It is also important to make your team members aware that the content of the meeting is confidential. They are not allowed to share what’s discussed in the meeting with anyone else including other employees back at the office.

7.        Food and Drinks

Dry throats and empty stomachs can be distracting for your guests. If the off-site meeting is going to last for several hours, serve quality food and drinks to your guests. Choose a menu that has plenty of options for your guests. However, don’t offer heavy meals as your attendees will likely become sleepy after eating it and won’t be able to stay active during the meeting afterwards. Water and coffee should be available throughout the off-site meeting to keep all your attendees awake and hydrated.

8.        Fun and Entertainment

Fun and entertainment doesn’t mean that you should have your guests get into go-karts and beat each other in a race. You should also not hire a DJ to play songs in your off-site meeting. These kinds of entertainment activities will cause your team members to disengage from the agenda of the meeting. Keep the activities simple.

Cooking competition, golf lessons, magic show, and fire shows are a few activities that you can include in your off-site meetings. These fun activities will help you break up the day and foster relationship building among your team members. They will allow your team members to take a break and blow off steam. After enjoying the fun activities, your attendees will become more active and will be able to concentrate more on the agenda of the off-site meeting.

Fun activities that build into an off-site meeting can also help your team members to communicate with each other more openly and get to know each other better. This can improve collaboration and teamwork among your employees.

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9.        Plan Everything in Advance

Plan every important detail of your off-site meeting at least two months before the actual date of the meeting. This will give you enough time to make the preparations. If you plan early, you’ll be able to handle any unforeseen circumstances that can potentially impact your off-site meeting.

10.    Set the Stage for Productivity

Throughout the off-site meeting, make sure to document the ideas and solutions that are presented by your team members. Make sure to walk away with items that you can work on after the meeting is over. Assign one responsible person the task of taking ownership and following through with important projects.

When the off-site meeting is over, ask your team members to share their feedback and discuss what they were able to accomplish. Feedback of the attendees will allow you to improve your future off-site meetings and understand the things that were really effective. When the team will share their accomplishments, you’ll be able to realize the value that your off-site meeting adds to the company culture.

11.     Prepare a Schedule

Prepare a schedule for your off-site meetings to ensure that every activity happens on the right time. Decide when food will be served, when guests will be given a chance to enjoy fun activities, how long the discussion in the meeting will last and when will the attendees be asked to share their feedback.

Off-site meetings are a great platform for discussing important plans, getting team members aligned, rewarding the hard work of employees, learning from one another and having fun. To plan a successful off-site meeting, leverage the tips highlighted above. Although you can plan a successful off-site meeting by following our advice, we suggest you hire a professional event planner if you haven’t planned an off-site meeting before. The reason is that focusing on all these important details will be hard for you if you lack the experience of planning company events. A professional event planner can make all the arrangement for your off-site meeting.

If you need to hire a professional event planner, contact The Great Event. At The Great Event, we have produced cutting edge event experiences for Fortune 500 companies and national organizations. Our professional event planners can deliver quality customer service tailored to your company’s needs. We can cater all your requests and make all the required arrangements for your off-site meeting.

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