Checklist for Planning an Effective Offsite Meeting
Are you preparing to organise an offsite meeting but aren’t sure what’s involved? Then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together some information to make your next offsite meeting a huge success!
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What is an Offsite Meeting?
An offsite meeting is one that’s held away from your company’s office. An offsite meeting is held in a different location for many reasons and there are a number of benefits to holding an offsite meeting. For instance, maybe you have too many people for your onsite meeting room to handle comfortably. An offsite meeting place gives you plenty of space, so everyone doesn’t have to knock elbows with the person beside them.
Another benefit of an offsite meeting is to change up the environment. When everyone meets in the same meeting space time and time again, the result is less engagement due to familiarity. An offsite meeting facility offers a new environment, which can increase inspiration and engagement and chosen carefully, comes with a load of useful perks.
So, how do you go about planning for an offsite meeting? We’ll go over these steps in the next section.
Preparing for an Offsite Meeting
Here are the steps you can take to ensure your offsite meeting is a success!
1). Book the Venue
The very first thing to do is find the right offsite meeting venue. When searching for the best meeting facility, be sure to consider the number of attendees and what the space should provide. For instance, will you need AV equipment or access to printers? What about connectivity? These days everyone needs access to fast Internet.
So, the meeting facility you use will need to provide the right equipment, along with high-speed Internet access (with both wired and wireless connections). What’s more, remember to find a meeting room that has plenty of power sockets. Attendees will need to keep their devices charged, too.
Next, will you need to have the meeting catered with refreshments or an entire meal? Then this is another essential service that needs to be provided by the meeting room facility. Remember to include any dietary restrictions for those who might be attending. This may include vegan/vegetarian options, gluten-free food, and more.
2). Plan & Send an Agenda Before the Meeting
Once you’ve found the right meeting facility, it’s time to plan the meeting. The best way to create the meeting agenda is to communicate with all attendees. Everyone needs to be involved in setting up the agenda.
Next, remember to consider the amount of time the meeting will run. Your agenda should be created to accommodate this time. Ensure that most of the agenda is spent on the main aims of the meeting. This may involve communicating directly with teammates, brainstorming, problem-solving, and more. Make sure there’s enough time allocated to everything that needs to be included in the meeting.
Once the agenda has been decided on, then be sure to send it out to all attendees in advance. This way, everyone can browse the agenda and let you know of any changes that need to be made before the meeting. All participants will know what to expect at the meeting before they arrive as well as complete any necessary prep.
3). Decide on Meeting Facilitators
Will more than one person be facilitating the meeting? If so, then you’ll need to decide on who will facilitate different aspects of the meeting.
This is another great reason for establishing the agenda and sending it out well in advance of the meeting. All participants will know who is responsible for presenting the different topics/sections and how much time they’re allowed.
4). Allow Time for Team Bonding & Reflection
An offsite meeting is a great time for team bonding and a time of reflection. For this reason, make sure to provide plenty of time for individuals on the team to talk with one another. This can be done before the meeting starts and during breaks and meals.
It’s best to avoid rushing everyone. One of the goals of an offsite meeting is to ensure all attendees have time to get acquainted with one another if needed, have time to discuss issues as well as get them resolved.
5). Ask Meeting Attendees for Feedback
Finally, it’s always a good idea to ask meeting attendees for feedback on the offsite meeting facility. Ask them how the meeting went and if the offsite meeting room was beneficial to the success of the meeting.
This can be done through an online survey or even paper feedback forms. Ask participants if they enjoyed the meeting, if they felt it was productive, and if the offsite meeting room was helpful/comfortable.
This information can be used for your next offsite meeting!
What to Avoid in an Offsite Meeting
In the first part of this article, we reviewed how to ensure your offsite meeting is a success. In this section, we’ll take a look at what to avoid when planning your meeting offsite.
1). Failure to Explain the Main Goal of the Offsite Meeting
When opening your offsite meeting, it’s always a good idea to reiterate the reasons for having the meeting away from the office. The reason is that everyone faces time constraints. Meeting attendees don’t want to be left wondering why it was necessary to have the meeting away from the office.
So, make sure to remind everyone about the reason(s) it’s beneficial to have the meeting offsite. Once this is taken care of, then you can move on to discuss the important points that need to be covered in the meeting.
2). Don’t Forget to Schedule Breaks
While the meeting is important, remember that breaks are also a necessary part of any meeting. When breaks are not included, everyone becomes worn out and tired. Their focus and energy ebb, causing a loss of productivity.
Remember to let attendees know where everything is located, too. Otherwise, time can be lost through things like searching for the toilets and getting something to eat.
So, be sure to schedule breaks into the meeting time. And if the meeting will last all day, then it will also be necessary to schedule time for one or more meals. You may want to find a meeting facility that offers catering services or choose a meeting room in a location that provides easy access to cafes and restaurants.
3). Failure to Manage Energy Levels
One of the goals of an offsite meeting is to increase engagement and participation from attendees. This means it’s essential to manage energy levels throughout the meeting.
The meeting needs to start off in a positive way. What’s more, positivity should be maintained throughout the meeting. You want attendees to leave filled with inspiration and energy. You may need to consider some activities at the beginning and end of the meeting to drive attendee engagement and maintain energy levels.
Summing It Up
So, there you have it! An offsite meeting can be an amazing way to bring your team together and get things done.
Just be sure to plan the meeting correctly to keep the entire meeting positive and productive. Your team may not only enjoy the experience but take away improved collaboration and productivity, too!
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