May 10, 2023

Bringing Your People Together (Pt.2)

Pre-S: Hi, again! It’s me, Sara, following up with part two of our two-part series on designing and facilitating team offsites.

Last week, we talked about the purpose and essentials of planning a team gathering. Next, let’s consider how you’re going to make the most of your time together in both productivity and team connection.

This is the “magic” — the stuff that will make the experience (from planning to clean up), smooth and meaningful. We’ve organized these into three sections: before, during, and after the offsite.

Let’s dive in:


Designate a captain. Choose one person to "own" the planning and agenda. This will streamline decision-making and logistics.

Plan ahead. Start crafting the agenda at least a month in advance by sourcing major topics worth discussing from the entire team.

Delegate. Assign each team member to own 1-2 agenda items. This means they'll plan the time, facilitate the session, and own any pre-work or next steps.

Focus on pre-work. The bulk of your time together should be spent discussing content, not reviewing it. Prepare a Google form for goal reflections, a Miro board for department status updates, and pre-reads for any product or departmental change discussions. Remember, preparation is as important as the gathering itself.

Identify key outcomes. You'll always have a long list of conversations, ideas, and strategic decisions to make. Prioritize your outcomes and focus on the items that require all the people in the room.


Enjoy good, leisurely meals. Schedule a dinner at a spot with great ambiance and nowhere to be after. Make the dinner a no-work-talk zone. Invest in spending time together like you would with friends.

Plan some fun. Seek out activities that will get your team doing something that puts them out of their comfort zones. Make it intentional and active.

Embrace flexibility. Your agenda may be perfect, but conversations may flow in unexpected ways. Trust your gut and be flexible.

Silence the noise. Remind the team to prepare to be away from emails, client calls, and other work demands. Being present is vital. If work sessions or calls are necessary, schedule them in advance.

Pay attention to details. Find small ways to exhibit your values. Handwritten notes, small gifts, or cooking meals for one another go a long way.

Open the doors. Bring outside people to your offsite. They can offer perspectives, lead professional development sessions, or collaborate with your team.


Capture and delegate. One person should capture all the to-dos from the retreat and share the info back in an organized way. Create accountability structures to make sure the work gets done.

Send gratitudes. Thank your teammates and anyone else who made the experience special. Tell them why their contributions made a difference.

Debrief. Gather feedback from participants and note what worked well and what didn't. This will help you plan the next one more effectively.

I know this may seem like a lot, but trust me, it's worth every ounce of energy. You’ll do better work, achieve your long-term goals together, adapt to the shifts in life and work, and have more fun along the way.

If you need any more help, the Ei team and I are in your corner.

So, when’s your next offsite? What do you hope to add or change?

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