From bored to floored!
Four ideas to design a GREAT team off-site.

Written by: Tim McCleary, Chief Experience Officer

I was sitting in a ballroom of a New York City hotel. The room was filled to capacity with more than 100 employees seated in teams of six. The room went dark. An over-sized projection screen lit up with a high octane video, punctuated with music and sound effects that put us in the center of the action of six customers’ lives.

When the house lights came back up a few minutes later, a team of energetic facilitators briefed us on a business scenario we were challenged to solve with our table teams. As we settled into the challenge, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a half-dozen people filtering in from the back of the room.

With a closer look, I recognized them. They were the actors we had just seen on screen. Suddenly, this all became real. The actors floated from table to table, remaining in character as customers the entire time. We leaned into the task at hand as though our careers depended on it.

That experience is etched in my memory. And to this day, gives me goose bumps.

What made this meeting special was that it defied the default approach of presenting deck after PowerPoint deck, sharing challenges, statistics and a sea of words that leave the room’s occupants uninspired, and if the presenters are lucky, still conscious.

So, how can you create a deeply involving experience at your next off-site?

Here are four ideas, inspired by our team designing and delivering client off-sites for more than 15 years:

  1. Start the planning of your off-site with the design of the meeting, not the booking of the venue. How can you capture the imagination of your attendees and challenge them to bring their skill sets into the room to learn, stretch and creatively solve a business challenge?
  2. Book a venue that accentuates your meeting design. We’ve rented everything from commercial photo studios in New York City, to a children’s museum in Los Angeles, to a theatre-in-the-round in Charlotte.
  3. Carefully consider what you’ll feed your team. Healthy, low-carb meals and snacks can keep them energized and help avoid the after-lunch crash. Be bold and eliminate sugary drinks (but, keep the caffeine flowing!).
  4. Partner with professional experience designers and facilitators. After all, you deserve to roll up your sleeves and be involved, too!

Thanks for being involved today.

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Urban Emu is an experience agency with a fast growing team of experience designers, facilitators, strategists, researchers, UX/UI designers, and software engineers that create innovative experiences to improve and transform businesses.

We love to hear about ideas big or small. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us regarding your project.