9 Reasons for Holding Your Next Meeting Off-Site

Meetings can be a huge waste of time.  So many factors intersect at one time during a meeting, making it a mine field of personal agenda, workplace conflict and any number of other issues.  Nonetheless, meetings are important and for knowledge workers, they can be invaluable or dare I say, priceless.

The finest resource that I've come across for meetings is Pat Lencioni's Death By Meeting, in which he says, "The greatest myth about meetings is that they are inherently bad." Believe it or not, meetings can be incredibly fruitful and even energizing!

Our admin team went off-site yesterday, adding some style to our pre-year planning.  Why bother spending extra dough to go off-site?  Read on.

  1. Off-sites allow you to choose your location.  Rather than the meeting room at work that is sterile, windowless and climate-controlled, an off-site allows you to hand-pick the meeting location. 
  2. Off-sites allow your team to decompress.  Having to drive to the location, allowing gathering time and even providing a savvy ice-breaker can enable your team to decompress with ease.
  3. Off-sites allow for true breaks.  Rather than running back to your computer to check email, an off-site allows team members to go for a walk, grab some fresh air or just sit quietly during a break.
  4. Off-sites allow for fun.  As you've hand-picked the location, an off-site can allow your team to enjoy true down-time. Whether it's a silly game to get to know one another better or some kind of demonstrative skit, an off-site promotes letting your hair down.
  5. Off-sites make you communicate for longer than one hour.  Let's face it, most meetings are running against the clock but an off-site provides more time in the agenda to cover the really important stuff.
  6. Off-sites provide better food.  'Nuff said!
  7. Off-sites allow for personal reflection. Many off-site locations are restful, expansive and very peaceful.  Use this to your advantage and provide breaks but more importantly, encourage team members to take some time by themselves to think strategically about critical issues that affect your organization.
  8. Off-sites disconnect from annoying forms of technology. Without a computer around every corner, an off-site provides distance from annoying forms of technology.
  9. Off-sites make the team feel especially valued.  When your boss is paying money for your team to travel and get off-site, you feel valued.  It makes being on the team a privilege rather than a right. 

Resources for the Road
Download an excerpt from Death by Meeting by Pat Lencioni
Effective meeting planners head off-site
Tips for planning an off-site meeting or retreat

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