Do you have a high-stakes event coming up where you want to ensure your audience is engaged and your internal team members are freed up to fully participate (without having to run the event)? Are you trying to avoid the “same old, same old” format you’ve done many times before where eyes roll or glaze over and it’s utterly forgettable?

One of the biggest, most costly mistakes businesses make in their board retreats, strategic planning sessions, employee townhalls, etc., often happens before the retreat or meeting even starts. This mistake costs companies precious time, effort, energy, and money, because objectives aren’t achieved, team members emerge jaded and resentful of yet another time-consuming meeting where nothing much is really accomplished, at the expense of the work they could be doing, and management is left scratching their heads at what went wrong.

What went wrong is that the company tried to self-facilitate an important meeting, retreat, or strategic planning session.

If you are trying to both run and participate in your own important events, you are probably missing out on a lot of opportunities and potential to play a more active and useful role in these events. When you sit at the table with your executive team and participate in the discussion, you can simply be more effective and your energies better-utilized.

What Does an Outside Facilitator Do?

Clapping Business People
An outside facilitator brings experience from working with and observing many different companies. They serve as a valuable curator of a wide array of problems and solutions that many companies have encountered, and how the successes and solutions have developed for others.

Additionally, an outside facilitator is objective. They don’t have any vested interest in the outcome, so they can bring fresh eyes to old problems. As objective parties, an outside facilitator can come in and ask the “tough” questions and challenge the status quo, without offending anyone or risk any (real or perceived) backlash for speaking up against the conventional approach. Having a facilitator there to lead these sessions ensures that all the hands on deck have a safe space to speak their mind and ideas, and that all hands are on deck to fully participate – including yours.

Facilitators also are able to help bring retreats to a strong closure, because they know how to leave your staff with ideas and action plans that stick. If you’re not specifically trained for these skills, you can lose a lot of the energy and momentum that the retreat could otherwise have inspired. A trained facilitator has specific techniques and training to ensure a retreat generates real, measurable traction, and sends everyone home fired up and ready to go.

No matter how hands-on you usually like to be as a business leader, running meetings at a retreat isn’t the best use of your presence. In many cases, it’s often best to hand the reins to a pro and let them handle the details of running the details of the retreat while you join your team at the table. This frees you up so you can be an active part of the process – brainstorming and interacting directly with your team.

You still set the goals, the agenda, the rules and the tone for the retreat, but your outside facilitator will ensure your vision is brought to fruition.

What is Experience Design?

You want to create a memorable event for your group.  You want it to be innovative, relevant, and unique to your organization.  You want employees and/or customers to “experience” something special.  We work with companies to help them to go beyond “having another meeting” to creating a forum where ideas are shared, relationships are built, and a memorable experience is had by all.  If your next big meeting or retreat calls to persuade, envision, stimulate, inform and educate and entertain, we can help you build it.

How We Can Help: Facilitation and Experience Design

We can partner with you to organize a dynamic meeting from A-Z or simply facilitate a portion of it. We know how to help you create an experience that will keep your audience engaged, excited and have them walk away aligned with your mission and objectives.

We make it easy for you by assisting you to

  • Clarify objectives and the desired meeting outcome
  • Establish ground rules
  • Organize the meeting/retreat/summit format
  • Design the event
  • Formulate the agenda
  • Prep the speakers
  • Align the process with your goals
  • Facilitate the meeting

Our role is to help you achieve your objectives and reach your goals through a dynamic process that keeps people engaged and ready to act!