A well-thought-out agenda is a sequence of activities and breaks that forms the backbone of any event. It guides participants logically through the event, giving them a clear understanding of the process and the desired outcomes, thereby increasing the team’s ability to achieve the desired result effectively and quickly.
But what makes a good offsite meeting agenda?
An overloaded agenda exhausts the participants and not only reduces the receptiveness and thus the effectiveness of the event, but also turns what is actually a positive event into a predominantly negative experience.
For these reasons, breaks should be an integral part of every agenda. These provide participants with the necessary time for relaxation, small talk or a quick snack in between and an opportunity for regular changes of location. To make the breaks as effective as possible, it is advisable to offer several separate rooms in which the participants can divide up. If you only have a few rooms available, you can try to divide up larger rooms using portable partition walls or creatively arranged seating. However, make sure that this also provides peace and quiet for individuals, not just groups. Depending on the weather conditions, outdoor areas can also be used as a retreat.
Flexibility in the agenda
Without the necessary flexibility, the worst case scenario is rushing from one program item to the next. The team flow can be interrupted, the breaks for the necessary exchange can be too short and the hoped-for results cannot be achieved.
The right agenda finds exactly the right mix of commitment and flexibility. By the way: Professional venues that specialize in hosting offsites are just as flexible as you are and also respond professionally to spontaneous requests.
Agenda for the meeting participants
The success of an offsite depends largely on the participation of the people present.
It is therefore essential to involve the participants on several levels in the design and implementation of the event and to select activities in which all participants want to take part.
Avoids imposing a predetermined agenda. Instead, give participants options to actively participate in shaping the agenda so that they can take a position.
If possible, incorporate more participant-specific elements into the event and adapt the agenda to the needs of the participants in real time.
If participants are in a heated discussion or need a few minutes to finish a task, give them the time they need.
If it becomes apparent during the course of the offsite that your team would benefit more from a team building activity than the design thinking workshop that was actually planned, try to adapt the agenda, because although more moving parts mean increased complexity in the planning and execution of the event, this flexibility results in an interesting, participant-centered event from which more value can be gained.
To ensure that you don’t lose sight of the actual goal of the event despite all the flexibility, we recommend an offsite manager or moderator to support you.
The right mix
As with all things in life, the same applies to the perfect offsite: “Balance is the key to everything”
Strive for the right balance between entertainment, personal development and content-related work when planning the agenda.
Winston Churchill once said:
“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught”
And that’s how many people feel.
When participants have fun, they are happier, more motivated and demonstrably more productive. They are also more willing to take risks, participate in activities and learn new things.
Accordingly, fun and entertainment should not be neglected on an offsite.
We therefore recommend adding mindfulness exercises and interactive games to the agenda that combine entertainment and content-related work.
Hiking together through the snow or playing a round of volleyball together is not only fun, but also strengthens team spirit and cooperation.
Offsite Meeting Agenda Template & Checklist
Develop a concept for the event at the beginning and define an overarching goal for the event together with your team. What do you want to achieve with the event? This question should be clarified in advance.
Specify the duration of the event. How many days should the event last or how many days do you need to achieve the previously defined goal? The time span can then be broken down into hours or 30-minute slots.
Create a list of participants – Who will be attending the event?
Set a budget. Your budget will significantly influence the quality and result of the offsite.
Who organizes the whole thing?
Before you get down to the nitty-gritty – the planning, organization and coordination – consider whether someone in your own team or company has the capacity and skills to organize the event or whether you would be better off hiring an external service provider with experience.
How and where will the event take place? Book the necessary venues.
As you have already learned in our previous mail, the choice of venue depends on various aspects, including the number of participants, formal or informal, theme of the event and budget. Make sure that the location meets your requirements and provides the appropriate facilities.
Plan activities that break up the program and at the same time give the event an exciting character. Remember to plan enough breaks.
Organize transportation to and from the event, both for participants and speakers.
What should the catering for the team look like? Relaxed and casual with a barbecue around the campfire or a sophisticated 4-course meal? Tailor the catering to the needs and preferences of your team.
Participants’ diets can be extremely varied, so remember to take allergies and special diets into account.
Moderator or coach?
Ask yourself whether the addition of a facilitator or even a coach could help you achieve the goals of the offsite. A moderator helps to keep the team on track and ensures that the team is committed and that fun is not forgotten. A coach can provide additional input and new perspectives.
Infographic for the agenda of a team offsite
Summary for the meeting agenda in Team Offsites
In summary, it can be said that a balanced agenda consists of active participation as well as quiet moments . It is the mixture of content, entertainment, personal development and breaks that is decisive for success.
In the end, a careful agenda should encourage everyone to allow new impulses, to switch off from everyday life and to talk to people with whom they have normally spoken less or about other topics, in short: to make the most of their time together.
To make your offsite meeting a success, make sure you have a suitable location. We at meetreet have visited over 400 locations in Europe and present them here.