There’s an art to ensuring your offsite meetings are a success. Here, our experienced Twickenham Stoop Conferencing and Events team share their insights.
When done well, offsite meetings can be a brilliant use of time.
Best case scenario; you bring your team together, make decisions and all go back to the office the next day and start taking immediate action. Worst case scenario; people don’t feel their voice is being heard, nobody can agree on the outcomes you’re driving toward and your meeting has derailed before the first coffee break.
How do you ensure you achieve the former rather than the latter? Below we reveal the secrets of hosting successful offsite meetings.
If you want to get your money’s worth, you’re going to be tempted to cram is as many people as the site will hold. Try keeping the group size small however (5-10 people max) because any more and you’re likely to struggle to have an inclusive conversation. Going too far the other way and not having enough attendees means you’re unlikely to get the diversity you need to make your gathering worthwhile.
When deciding who to invite, consider factors like experience and job role. Unless you’re holding a meeting for a specific team, you want a mixed bag of attendees and it can be helpful to include someone from another area of the business as well. If your offsite meeting is about brand strategy for example, a member of the customer service team is likely to bring in a fresh and valuable perspective.
One of the most important aspects of hosting successful onsite meetings is to ensure that your attendees are invested. A great facilitator nurtures engagement before, during and after the event.
Prior to the meeting, check in with each participant individually to find out what they’re hoping to get out of the day. Review the agenda with them and highlight the activities that are aligned with their goals. This helps them to appreciate that your offsite meeting is going to offer them some kind of value.
Sadly, almost every group has at least one participant who is of a more disruptive nature. If you’re worried about a certain individual, think about assigning them a role that channels their disruptive tendencies into something positive. You could, for example, ask them to be the designated ‘challenger’ during certain discussions throughout the day. This lets them have their say but it will be done in a way that helps the group consider the full breadth of problems and possibilities before reaching a conclusion. Because you know when they will be speaking out, it also ensures you maintain control throughout the day.
In order to get real value out of your offsite meeting, you need your employees to exchange ideas so you can benefit from the creative thinking that comes from this. Avoid wasting time-consuming information as a group. This means no hour-long presentations or document reviews which will just end in people’s thoughts wandering to what’s for lunch.
If you really need your attendees to consume this information, ask them to read it in the office beforehand. That way you can get straight to the important bits on the day.
The secret to hosting successful offsite meetings is to establish clear outcomes for the day and this means making decisions. If you think the group is going to struggle with this, try the DACI framework which has been designed to help users make effective decisions in a timely manner.
If you want to host successful offsite meetings, your venue is very important too. Here at Harlequins, our professionally-finished facilities and West London location make The Twickenham Stoop the perfect venue for your next event.
We have a large selection of rooms available, each featuring integrated AV and a range of facilities to allow your meeting to run smoothly and impress your audience. What’s more, we work with you throughout the booking, planning and execution of your event to ensure the day runs smoothly.
We have a number of promotions running throughout the year – don’t forget to check these out so you don’t miss out on any money-saving offers.
For more information about hosting your next meeting at Harlequins, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.