Meeting Planning Tips from Chad Simons
Chad Simons has been behind the scenes, planning meetings for hundreds of company offsites and retreats and he’s witnessed effective meetings as well as ineffective meetings that challenged the participants and didn’t achieve the meeting goals. Chad is director of sales at The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake. He’s helped companies and associations plan leadership development and business plan retreats and meetings for 17 years. Chad offers ideas about how to execute a successful offsite meeting or retreat.
- Use Experiential Learning. The most ineffective meetings Chad has seen are those where there’s a single presenter and six hours of PowerPoint presentations in a dark room. “People come out of the meeting exhausted from sitting with no interaction,” Chad says. “Effective meetings give everyone an opportunity to lead and participate. A good meeting has everyone participating, talking solving problems and contributing ideas. A good meeting also has a lot of small group work, one-on-one discussion and mixes people up so everyone works with a variety of people.”
- Use A Skilled Facilitator. The best investment a company can make is using an objective, quality facilitator, says Chad. “A skilled facilitator will help plan the meeting and agenda. The real value is during the meeting, where he or she will keep the group on task, getting everyone to participate and adjust the tempo of the meeting to adapt to the group’s needs. The Collaborative Leadership Center works with groups like the Prouty Project, Meaningful Connections as well as independent facilitators and will refer companies to a facilitator that matches their needs.
- Encourage Creativity. There are many ways to engage a group to tackle a tough business issue, solve a problem or create ideas. Ropes courses provide a physical challenge that promotes team work and problem solving. Interactive games like complexity challenges using GPS are also entertaining sessions that strengthen teams. Chad recommends using a facilitator who will help identify interactive, creative sessions that involve the entire group.