Time to Regroup: How to Make Your 'Back to Work' Meeting a Success

Photo by Choking Sun on Flickr

Now is the optimum time to get your team together and plan for the New Year. Think about it. Before long, you'll be knee-deep in end-of-year strategies, fourth quarter planning and the run-up to Christmas (yikes). So before you and your team get snowed under, now's the time to arrange a re-grouping exercise. And the more interesting and inspirational the setting, the more likely you are to have a successful meeting that's memorable for all the right reasons.

Why should setting matter?

For regular team updates, your room at the end of the corridor might do the job. But when you're looking to fire up your team and get those creative juices flowing after the holiday lull, sometimes it's worth thinking a little bigger. You want something that's inspirational. After all, we're thinking 2014. You need to start the New Year with a bang, so why not pick out a meeting or conference setting that's motivational and gets your team in the right frame of mind - right from the start?

How to choose the right space

It's important to align your choice of meeting space with your company culture. For instance, a Fortune 500 or a highly corporate multinational might not go for a bohemian style workspace, unless you're looking to shake things up a bit. Equally, why host a meeting with young creatives or fresh-faced graduates in a stuffy corporate skyrise? There are all sorts of different look-and-feels you can go for. There's the slick city space in a corner room on the 20th floor with killer views. There are back-of-beyond retreats in rural settings with exposed beams and creaky floorboards. How about a woodland escape with a spot of raft-building thrown in? Or, you could opt for an historic place with boardroom grandeur.

Make it memorable

When planning something big - like starting the New Year - you should make your planning session memorable. And, we don't mean memorable because the CEO tripped over a loose corner of carpet. Your choice of venue should provide a setting that's conducive to good business, that fits your culture, and sticks in the minds of your employees. A meeting that's easily forgettable isn't the best way to plan for 2014 - or anything, for that matter. On that subject, why not make it an 'away day'? When you're planning something big, a room-based meeting doesn't always pack enough punch. You could tie it in with some team-building activities, which will really make your meeting a memorable one. Check out some of these suggestions for away days:
  • Team-building and collaborative activities, like a treasure hunt or bridge-building.
  • Sporting activities, like go-karting.
  • A team dinner with daytime or early-evening activities thrown in, like chocolate-making or wine-tasting.
  • A day spent volunteering, helping in the community or working at a charity.
  • An educational visit or tour, perhaps to a regional office or plant.
  • A weekend retreat to a beauty spot, mountain range, forest or coastal town, complete with team activities and planning sessions.
Bear in mind that certain activities won't appeal to everyone. For instance, while paintballing might encourage team participation, it won't appeal to dainty types who don't like mud. Equally, a spa day would send some individuals running for the hills. Also, think about a theme or a purpose. For instance, if you plan to make 2014 the year your business goes green, you could set tasks or activities based on re-using discarded materials, or recycling. The upshot? With a little thought, you can make a significant head start on 2014 and get your team fired up for the challenge. Why not choose a meeting venue that matches your aspirations - and start as you mean to go on? About the author Sue Saldibar is Managing Editor of Officing Today and aBetterOffice. Sue is a creative and tech savvy marketing consultant with 20+ years of experience, most recently in the area of internet marketing. Sue is working to build and improve upon both publications; growing readership and providing promotional and advertising opportunities along the way. Feel free to contact Sue at 949 333-2229 or ssaldibar@abcn.com.