5 tips to knock your next offsite meeting out of the park

You don’t need us to tell you the myriad of ways that COVID19 has changed how organizations meet, retreat and collaborate with their team. But now, as businesses, nonprofits and government entities redesign themselves as the hybrid and and distributed organizations of the future, coming together in person as a team has never been more important.

The trick? Finding a centrally located place that minimizes health risks, maximizes your team’s time together, and builds trust, camaraderie and strategic alignment that ‘sticks’ long after everyone has left the room.

Whether you’re planning your meeting for next week or next year, here are five tried and true trips for making the experience a smashing success.

1. Have a clear game plan and make sure everyone knows what it is

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. The only thing worse than a meeting that feels like it will go on forever is a meeting that actually does, running hours past the designated stopping time.

Show your team that you value their time (not to mention your own!) by keeping things on track with a clear meeting agenda. Use tools like the floor-to-ceiling whiteboard walls featured in every Vibe conference room to post the agenda so everyone understands what needs to happen during your meeting, and anyone can point to the agenda and help push the room back on track when the group needs a nudge.

Take your next hybrid meeting to the next level with a Meeting Owl Pro 360 webcam, available free of charge upon request with any meeting room reservation at the Vibe Coworks Poulsbo location on a first-come, first-served basis.

2. Bring everyone together with superior tech—try the Owl!

If you have a hybrid team, technical woes can severely slow a meeting down, or silence some team members’ important contributions. Use the Meeting Owl Pro at Vibe and kiss your audio and visual problems goodbye.

The Owl is a premium 360-degree camera, mic, and speaker all in one that not only provides crisp and clear video conferencing (using the platforms you already use!) but also helps minimize distractions by capturing everyone in the room, and automatically zooming in on the people who are speaking so that no one’s ideas are lost.

It’s a complete game changer for remote participants, offering them (nearly) all the benefits of an in-person meeting without leaving anyone out.

3. Make sure everyone feels heard

The reason you’re meeting is to build camaraderie and brainstorm together, right? In order for that to work, everyone needs to get a chance to engage with the group and share. Find a system that works for your team and helps ensure everyone has a chance to take the floor where appropriate.

Call names, set talking timers, encourage each speaker to call on someone who hasn’t spoken to speak next–the options are endless. You can even assign everyone their own color with Vibe’s fancy array of expo markers and invite everyone to write particularly great ideas on the board in their designated color. Doing it that way will help you quickly identify who has and hasn’t contributed so far.

Don’t underestimate how rusty your (or your colleagues’) in-person meeting and presentation skills are after so many months of sitting solo behind screens.

Fast-growing companies like Alpha Ledger use on-demand meeting rooms at Vibe Coworks to bring their team together, hold high-level investor meetings, and launch new product offerings.

4. Get the team involved

The best work happens when everyone feels engaged and invested in what’s going on. Give your team opportunities to get involved with things by offering up tasks like taking meeting notes or watching the time.

Ask for input on a few things like whether or not you should host your next offsite in the same facility you did this time, and have each person volunteer for one actionable task that will help move the ideas from this meeting into reality.

While too many voices can sometimes bog things down, finding a few key places where you can ask for everyone’s opinion or help can make all the difference when it comes to keeping everyone engaged and making all the members of your team feel valued.

5. Have fun

Sure you’re here to work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself and your team to a little bit of fun. Breaks are important! They can help inspire even better ideas, and downtime together is a great team-building tool that doubles as a morale booster.

The best meeting locations provide an inspirational change of environment, while also offering the chance for you and your team to get some fresh air, grab a bite to eat, or seeing something new.

Conveniently located in The Centennial, some of the happiest team retreats at Vibe Coworks in Poulsbo have included in-room catering, a private group tasting workshop at High Spirits, after hours events in the speakeasy or at Crabtree Kitchen + Bar, lunchtime yoga at Centennial Park, and a post-retreat kayak paddle in Liberty Bay.

Fan favorites of teams meeting at The Spot—located just steps from the Bremerton-Seattle ferry—have included in-room catering from the likes of Axe & Arrow, El Balcon, or Chung’s Teriyaki, followed by a walk along Bremerton’s three mile Bridge to Bridge walking tour (self-guided, and free!), downward dogs at Thrive Yoga Manette, and top-notch cocktails at the famed Hound + Bottle.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to give your team a chance to let loose and reconnect with one another. Especially after the year we’ve had!