“Humans need to be outside their comfort zone in order for real growth to take place”
Offsite meetings usually generate a love or hate reaction within the office world, as they are too well known for their mixed bag results. Offsite meetings should be held in a creative space, and used as a tool to bring an office team together to discuss cohesive strategies and goals, and effectively bring them back to the workplace.
Try using a Toronto meeting space like the Gladstone Hotel for your next offsite and use these 9 tips to make it a success!
1. Keep the groups as small as possible
Keep groups from 5-10 people, creating diversity in groups with experience levels, learning styles and job levels. Workshop in small groups and reconvene at the end to discuss ideas.
2. Make sure each participant is invested and engaged
Speak to participants before and after the meeting to ensure their individual goals and expectations are heard, and feedback is provided. Place participants in roles that will challenge them but allow them to be engaged.
3. Establish the social contract a-fresh
Go outside the usual office culture to refresh and create engagement (eg. Business casual to casual) and remind everyone of your role as a facilitator to generate focused discussions.
4. Create a parking lot
Be open to all ideas and develop a list that may be off topic but relevant to the day. Follow up with them at the end of the meeting.
5. Make each session about solving a problem or getting to a decision
Offsites can be expensive so avoid long presentations that drag on, and use your offsite time to break into small groups to solve problems and come together in the end to discuss.
6. Ask hard questions
Challenge ideas and concepts and encourage questions like “What if?” or “So what?”. As a facilitator you can always shift the group back to focus with a simple “Why?”.
7. Push for outcomes
As the facilitator don’t let your team off the hook with “maybe”s or “possibly”s — make decisions and recommendations to further outcomes and responses.
8. Tune into the group dynamics
Allow people to use their voice in different ways, draw people into the conversation and make space for those who listen to make comments and any more ideas they have to add.