How to Plan a Successful Offsite Meeting for Your Team

Thomas Adams
August 19, 2019

No matter the industry or size of the company, it is crucial that all employees are on the same page and are aware of their company's objectives.

For years, this has generally been achieved by holding meetings where leaders within the company discuss a variety of topics that contribute to developing this understanding. These meetings are very successful in conveying information to the desired group. However, after a while these events become mundane and tedious for many employees.

Companies often implement meetings that are repetitive and fail to capture the attention of their audience. Attendees come to expect the same tired message that has been continuously presented at previous meetings, and so they tune out. A great way to resolve this issue and add excitement to your meetings that can effectively engage your audience is by shaking up the normal flow with an offsite meeting.

In the workplace, there are an array of interruptions that divert your team’s focus away from what is important, which ultimately creates a damper on your overall success. These distractions, when paired with inadequate communication on the manager’s part, lead to a general environment that is unproductive. Employees remain uninformed and unable to dedicate themselves to the common goal. When you are able to get your team out of their normal environment into one that is unique, they will retain their focus and get back on track.

Here are some of the main benefits of running an offsite meeting for your team, as well as some tips for running an effective meeting:

4 Benefits of Running an Offsite Meeting For Your Team

1. Improved Productivity

One of the most clear benefits that come from holding an offsite meeting is increased productivity and focus from members of your team. The unique setting of the offsite meeting, along with the way that they are run, allows attendees to maintain complete engagement with the subject matter without being distracted by common factors that are often seen within a normal work environment.

The interactivity of the event involves each employee in a manner that simply can not be replicated in any other atmosphere. It pushes each employee to put forth their best effort and truly add to the achievement of the company as a whole even after they have returned to the office after the meeting concludes.

2. Unique Capabilities

When you conduct a meeting outside of your regular work environment, you will be presented with unique capabilities that enable you to put on more creative presentations that can be more effective in delivering your message to the group.

For example, many times in the case of offsite meetings, the venues provide you with access to more advanced technology systems that strengthen your presentations and better engage your employees. They will get more out of it because they are receiving information in a way that they may not have experienced before.

3. Enhanced Sense of Community

A sense of community and teamwork within a business is what gives each employee a sense of purpose and inspires them to do their best work regardless of the situation at hand. 

Increasing collaboration between team members allows them to contribute to an overall sort of camaraderie that gives them the opportunity to become more successful as a whole. This cooperation is strengthened during these offsite meetings.

A variety of bonding exercises can be held, along with exposure to peers' varying skill sets, and this will expand the connections between employees in your company.

In addition to this, because everyone is meeting up in a common place, there is increased face to face contact that allows everyone to relate better to one another compared to conferences held remotely.

4. Improved Creativity

Creative solutions, especially in technology industries, are key to running operations in a way that fosters success and innovation. Employees should have the skills necessary to develop ideas in creative ways that target problems within the company and work to solve them effectively. Although many believe that this capability is something that can not be taught, this is far from the truth. 

During offsite meetings, normal operations are shaken up which alter the mindsets of employees and put them in an atmosphere that inspires the creation of new, exciting ideas. This is something that can't always be accomplished when meetings are consistently being carried out in the same setting with repetitive features.

Tips for Running an Effective Offsite Meeting

1. Identify the “Why”

Before beginning the process of setting up an offsite meeting, you must understand the motivation that is pushing you to hold one. Whatever the specific circumstances of the meeting may be, it is vital that you understand the objectives and overall goals that correlate to the presentation.

For any meeting, there is typically an underlying message that needs to be conveyed to the audience, a general theme that is the support and cohesion behind all of the topics presented throughout the meeting. This is just as important for an offsite meeting. You must become well acquainted with the specifics of the meeting and what the takeaway message is for the listeners. The event must fit within your individual standards and what you strive to accomplish in the long run.

Once you are aware of these objectives and the general “why” behind the event, you will be able to efficiently plan the event to support the company’s success.

2. Pick a Good Location For The Meeting

Having a good location to conduct your meeting is a major part of setting up a successful offsite meeting. There are several aspects that come into play when choosing the location. This choice is influenced by a number of components that can be directly linked to your goals for the meeting, as well as the individual characteristics of your company and team.

The perfect spot will align with any themes you have developed and the message you’d like to convey to your attendees. Each venue has benefits and downsides that differ depending on what you are looking for.

The best way to ensure that you are deciding on a place that will do its job effectively, truly leaving an impact on your employees, is by doing a site visit beforehand. During this visit, you can scope out the area and see how the amenities that the venue provides fit with what you are aiming to do.

3. Arrange Groups

A great way to further the impact that this meeting will have on your team is by organizing groups that will work with each other for increased collaboration during the span of the meeting.

When you arrange small groups that can connect with one another, you will be facilitating a general environment that is rooted in teamwork and productivity. These groups should be small, with no more than ten people in each, so that everyone has a chance to participate in activities and share their ideas.

These should be specifically chosen to focus on diversity in terms of each participant’s level of expertise, experience, and strengths as an employee. You can bring in different people, depending on the goal of your meeting, who can add fresh perspectives to the group and create a deeper understanding of the message as a whole, along with developing their own success within the workplace. 

These groups should be arranged before the event so that everyone understands what is to happen once they arrive. Along with this, you as a manager should begin taking the necessary steps to start engaging the attendees before the day of the event. They should be excited and invested in the goals of the meeting well before they even arrive.

This will help to guarantee that each employee is invested and will maintain focus throughout the presentation, as well as giving them the resources and information required to provide them with an adequate understanding of their individual role in relation to everyone else.

4. Make Each Session Worthwhile

The truth is that offsite meetings can be fairly expensive for the companies that hold them. The combination of all of the amenities contributes to increasing the overall cost. Because of this, it is important that you make exceptional plans that will produce sessions that are worthwhile each time. 

There is no time to waste on mundane, unimaginative meetings that fail to accomplish your objectives and do not further the engagement maintained by your attendees.

Each session should be about resolving a problem or presenting solutions that will enhance the performance of the company as a whole; in general, each meeting should have a purpose that is easily recognizable by employees that they can align themselves with.

Questions should be asked and then turned over to your employees, so that they actively work to develop answers that are constructive and valuable. Limits should be expanded so that even the more difficult questions can be answered and effective decisions can be reached in a timely manner.

Another way to achieve this is by targeting group demographics so that everyone is appropriately represented. No single party should have a greater voice than another. This significantly reduces the impact for the audience.

Many voices should be interwoven into presentations and the meeting as a whole, so that each department and team member can relate to the overall message.

Start Holding Offsite Meetings with Your Team

Overall, offsite meetings are a great way to infuse new energy and motivation into a team or a company as a whole. While they do require more logistics in terms of setup and cost, the return from employees in increased collaboration, engagement, and motivation is often well worth it.

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