Tips for making your off-site meeting a raging success
There’s advantages to holding an off-site or project kick-off meeting to make sure you’re aligned on strategy and functioning as a team. However, it’s important to get the agenda and venue right to ensure all team members are engaged and you make the most of the experience.
We’ve probably all been to an off-site or kick-off meeting before. The ones where your team heads off somewhere to start a certain project (what I refer to as a kick-off) or just nut-out more general strategies for a business (an off-site).
Think of some you’ve participated in. Were they a success? Why or why not do you think?
These types of events can be a powerful tool for leaders to get input from their staff, increase team bonding and formulate. Particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic has caused such a dramatic change to many of our working practises.
However, the success of these events hinges on getting all the elements in order. Here are a few tips for getting your next one right.
- Determine your purpose
There’s nothing worse than an off-site which lacks direction. If you’re going to invest the time and energy, then it’s worth giving a lot of thought into what strategic goals you want to achieve or problems you need to overcome. Ask team members and possibly others involved in the project (if applicable) for their input.
- Get buy-in from the team
As a leader, try to share your vision and what you hope to get out of the meeting. This will help everyone feel like they are working towards a shared goal. An off-site where staff feel they’ve been dragged there for no clear reason is an instant turn-off.
Once you have this initial buy-in it is important to keep it up throughout the event to ensure everyone remains engaged. There’s nothing worse than starting on a high only to lose momentum. Keep an eye on all team members, particularly those that are quiet or withdrawn, and think about how you can help them get involved.
- Nail the agenda
After you’ve got your purpose and team support, the next step to work on is a detailed kick-off meeting agenda. How do direct the time you have towards achieving your desired outcome? This might mean keeping long presentations to a minimum and instead engaging in activities which promote teamwork and creative thinking.
Incorporate input from the team and have a look around for sample agendas such as this one (but do adapt to your own needs).
You also need to think about whether you want to include other activities or events. Would bringing in external speakers, trainers or experts be useful? Could a team building activity take it to the next level? I’ve hosted many an off-site meeting here including a team building activity with our horses and seen the magic an outside perspective can bring – especially a horsey one!
- Find the right venue
It might not be the first thing that occurs to you but finding the perfect location for your off-site meeting is a big help in making sure everyone is present in the moment.
Some questions to ask:
- Will your team find it easy switch off from their everyday work? Should you find an event venue away from the office? Perhaps think about a casual dress code or a ‘phones off’ policy to keep people present in the moment?
- Is the off-site meeting location accessible for as many staff as possible?
- Think about what your team needs. Perhaps they’re tired and would like a change of scenery? Would getting away provide a breath of fresh air? Can you consider an alternative to typical corporate meeting rooms or conference venues?
- Do your staff members have family obligations? Would an overnight event suit or not?
- What is your budget? How much do you have to spend on a venue?
I’m very proud of our facilities here at Leading Edge Life Skills. We’re in Terrey Hills, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, yet it feels as if you’ve driven hours out of the city to a rural retreat! We have a fresh, new conference room which is spacious and can be configured for all kinds of conferences, kick-off meetings, off-sites and other events.
Our packages include our Team Building with Horses programs for something truly effective and different. We can also include accommodation at a boutique hotel nearby and dinner/evening events one of the nice restaurants in the area. Bushwalking and other leisure activities are available.
Have you been on an off-site recently? Was it a success? Tell us about it in the comments. For more information on our off-sites please email email@example.com