An off-site business meeting offers employees and office managers an opportunity to recharge their batteries, and build up enthusiasm for new projects that will take their business to greater heights of success. Off-site meetings help to focus creative energies, while giving employees and management a chance to discuss new ideas and formulate new marketing strategies. But a successful off-site business meeting requires planning, and plenty of forethought. To make your next business meeting a success, you need to consider all aspects of the gathering, from the venue to the refreshments; from the presentations to the down-time.
Keep It Casual
The goal of every business meeting is to encourage open discussions and interactive problem solving. When choosing a venue for your business meeting, look for an event space with a comfortable atmosphere. You want to avoid a stark white room with bare walls and rows of straight backed chairs. This will tend to make your guests fidgety, and ultimately their attentions will flag. Find an event space that can offer well lit, comfortably furnished rooms that are conducive to relaxed, but effective, brainstorming.
Casual should also be the watchword for your guests. Encourage your employees and speakers to dress comfortably. After all, this is a day away from the office, and you can make it more productive by helping your employees make a break from the office routine.
Plan Your Agenda
Comfort isn’t everything, of course, and you want to have an agenda laid out that you are prepared to follow to the letter. Print out a schedule of topics and events to be covered throughout the day, and hand them out to all of your guests. Be sure to schedule time for refreshments, and breaks throughout the day for a bit of socializing. Establish from the outset just what it is you hope to accomplish by the end of the day’s meetings and presentations, but make it clear that the day is going to be enjoyable as well as challenging and productive.
Serving refreshments at any off-site business gathering is always a sound idea. It not only helps to keep your guests fueled for the day’s events, but also builds natural breaks into the day to allow your guests to recharge, swap ideas, and discuss the day’s proceedings.
Start the day off with a light menu of coffee, fresh juices, muffins and bagels to show your team that you appreciate their work, and that you intend to look after their needs throughout the day. Breaking for a light lunch midway through the day’s activities will help to avoid possible burnout from an afternoon of non-stop presentations, and will give your guests the opportunity to recharge their batteries and spend some time together away from the office.
To keep the day rolling along, and to avoid interruptions, it’s always a good idea to instruct your guest to turn off their cell phones. Ringing telephones in the middle of an important presentation can diffuse the flow of vital information, and can begin to annoy and distract the other guests. Let your employees and guests know that there will be breaks throughout the day that will allow plenty of time for phone calls.
End the Day on a High Note
Schedule some sort of fun activity at the end of the day’s proceedings to help everyone unwind. You want your guests leaving your business meeting charged up and in a good mood. This can be something as structured as a trust building exercise, or something as simple as setting aside a half hour or so for cocktails and chat. By ending your business meeting on a high note, you reinforce a feeling of achievement and forward mobility in your employees. It seems like a simple idea, but it is one that is often overlooked when people are planning off-site business meetings. Always leave them with a smile.
Off-site meetings can be a powerful tool for business owners and office managers. It gives employers and their employees a valuable opportunity to discuss new trends in their industry, plan new strategies, and address any changes in the business’ operations. Remember, choose a comfortable venue, plan your days activities with an eye toward productivity and enjoyment, and send your guests back to work renewed and ready to succeed.