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Offsite Agenda Guide

Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a
High-Impact, Interactive Offsite Agenda

Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a High-Impact Offsite Agenda


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EXPENSIVE AFTERTHOUGHT OR OPPORTUNITY?

You realize your annual offsite meeting is more than just another meeting.

But too often, planners and participants assume that the offsite, other than featuring a golf outing, is just another meeting. It’s not.

It’s a rare chance to step back from the day-to-day, to realign with your vision, and set a course for success that resonates through your company’s culture and future achievements. When executed with precision, it becomes more than a successful offsite—it’s a catalyst for transformation.

Few executives would call their offsite meeting an outright disaster, but the rare management team can look back 6-12 months later and say that the meeting truly changed their strategic goals.

Whether convening at a resort, a hotel around the corner, a conference room down the hall, or even a virtual setting, almost all BD (Growth) Teams spend a day to a week every year away from their regular responsibilities to plan for the future.

Planning your annual offsite meeting probably isn’t at the top of your priority list. You delegate it and don’t pay much attention to it until a couple of weeks before the event when you are asked if you want chicken or steak for lunch. 😊

But without thoughtful design, they quickly degrade into an expensive box-checking exercise, leaving no lasting impact on your team or the business. However, not paying attention to your offsite meeting agenda can be a mistake and a loss of valuable time.

Your offsite is likely a significant line item on your budget—so how do you maximize your return?

The greater expectations, the higher stakes, and the unique nature of strategy discussions require special planning to ensure meaningful and constructive conversations happen. Yet surprisingly, little guidance exists for designing strategy offsites, so we’ve created this guide to help you transform your Annual BD Offsite from a perfunctory meeting into a powerhouse of revenue growth.

This guide will help you better understand:

  • How to make an agenda that focuses on what’s really important for your team and avoids wasting time on things that don’t make a difference.
  • Ways to make sure everyone can talk openly about the tough stuff, which is where the best new ideas come from and allows for team bonding.
  • Action items to ensure the energy and plans from the offsite turn into real actions once you’re back at work.
  • How to pick speakers with something new and valuable to say, not just the same old advice.
  • How to incorporate team activities that help to build a sense of connection and trust to improve team dynamics and collaboration.

With careful planning and design choices, your offsite can align your team, ignite fresh thinking, and propel your organization onwards and upwards.

Let’s dive into your action plans.

MAXIMIZING THE VALUE OF YOUR OFFSITE

An annual offsite is a strategic investment that energizes, aligns, and empowers your sales team, ensuring they are primed and ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the new fiscal year.

Here’s how this investment pays off:

  • Strategic Alignment: Unifies the team with clear priorities and goals, ensuring everyone is moving in the same direction.
  • Targeted Training: Equips the team with the latest skills and knowledge needed for GovCon success.
  • Competitive Insight: Keeps the team ahead of the curve on competitive trends and emerging opportunities.
  • Networking and Relationship Building: Promotes valuable informal interactions and breaks down silos, creating a united front across all teams.
  • Cross-Collaboration: Fosters idea-sharing and best practices among team and invited guests.
  • Recognition of Excellence: Celebrate team and individual achievements.
ASSEMBLING THE BEST PLANNING TEAM

Annual offsite events involve a lot of planning. Selecting a motivated planning team is critical to the event’s success. The planning team will organize, coordinate, and execute various aspects of the meeting.

Here are a few vital steps for selecting the right team:

1. IDENTIFY KEY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

List out all the key roles and responsibilities that need to be covered by the planning team. One individual may perform multiple roles, but some may require personnel from other departments, e.g., MARCOM.

Team Offsite Planning

Roles include:

  • Event Coordinator: Oversees the entire planning process and ensures everything runs smoothly.
  • Content Curator: Manages the agenda, speakers, facilitators, and panelists.
  • IT: Ensures all technical aspects, such as audio-visual equipment and  meeting platforms are in place.
  • MARCOM: Manages invitations, promotions, and internal communications.
  • Budget Manager: Oversees the event budget, ensuring all expenses are tracked and within limits.

2. CONSIDER PAST EXPERIENCE & DIVERSITY OF PERSPECTIVES

Look for individuals from different organizational departments, roles, and levels with previous experience planning corporate events or offsite meetings. Their experience can be invaluable in anticipating potential challenges and ensuring the event runs smoothly.

3. GAUGE INTEREST & ENTHUSIASM

Try to select team members who are enthusiastic and genuinely interested in contributing to the success of the sales meeting. Their passion can be contagious and contribute to a positive planning experience.

4. ESTABLISH CLEAR EXPECTATIONS & BUDGET

Once you have selected your team, clearly communicate the roles, responsibilities, and expectations to each member and make sure they have the necessary resources, information, and support they need.

MANAGING KEY OFFSITE LOGISTICS

Once your core planning team is assembled, it’s important to lock down key logistics upfront as these will inform subsequent decisions:

  • Budget Parameters: Provide clear cost guidelines and approvals for essential lodging and food.
  • Attendee List: Compile the target attendee profile.
  • Location: Decide if the offsite will be in the office, remote, or virtual forum based on budget, goals, and attendee flexibility.
  • Date and Duration: Select optimal timing and length to achieve objectives without overloading participants.
  • Event Host: Select somebody to be the overall event host. They are critical for connecting events, keeping attendees informed, and raising the energy when required.
CHOOSING THEME, GOALS, AND OBJECTIVES

As you develop your company offsite agenda, anchor it in a theme and objectives that resonate with your team’s aspirations. This will ensure they enjoy the experience and benefit from the time and financial commitment involved.

Choose topics based on your current team state of the union, and address your most pressing initiatives, priorities, and needs. For instance, if identifying new opportunities or customers is a critical area, then a significant portion of the available time should be dedicated to that topic.

If you’re having difficulty coming up with initial ideas to share with your management team, host a brainstorming session with your planning team.

Example GovCon Offsite Themes:

  • Winning Together
  • Powered by Purpose
  • The Power of We
  • United in Growth
  • Make a Connection
  • Connect, Collaborate, Innovate

Want more ideas? View our Guide to Sales Kick Off & National Sales Meeting Themes. It includes over 100 ideas and real-world examples from leading organizations worldwide.

Download Offsite Planning Guide
Download Offsite Planning Guide
AGENDA BEST PRACTICES

Now that you have the event boundaries, you can set the agenda. Here, you outline high-level agenda topics based on your theme, offsite goals, and attendee mix.

Remember, You can invite all the right people and plan the perfect off-site—but if no one takes away anything valuable, it’s just been one expensive party!

The ideal off-site agenda should:

  • Stay true to your theme, goals, and strategic plan
  • Keep attendee’s attention by including:
    • Inspiring speakers, interactive workshops, open discussion, and collaborative activities.
  • Provide professional development
  • Provide networking activities and exercises
  • Allow for breaks between sessions
  • Allow sufficient time for Q&A
  • Recognize team achievements

Your agenda will look different depending on your offsite duration, goals, and priorities.

To get you started, we’ve created a comprehensive list of agenda items to inspire you: 

OFFSITE AGENDA IDEAS

KICKOFF INTRODUCTION

Make sure you start the event with a positive kickoff.

Starting strong gets participants engaged right away. An impactful opening sets the stage for an event that educates, empowers, and motivates your sales team for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

It sets the stage for the event, so you’ll want to pay paticular attention here to both the content and the overall energy of the speakers. Make sure speakers have a quiet place to gather their thoughts and get energized before addressing the crowd to avoid any additional anxiety that might arise.

TIP: Of course, it’s common sense but worth mentioning here—double-check all technical setups and ensure all slide decks from speakers load correctly the day before the event. Ensure everyone submits their slide decks several days ahead of the event to avoid last-minute additions and changes.

Finally, don’t forget housekeeping items. To keep energy high, incorporate essential event details and safety announcements at the end of your kickoff.

TIP: Create an offsite meeting PowerPoint template that all speakers and faciliators will use to create any supporting slides, which will ensure your team offsite feels like a cohesive event.

ICE BREAKERS & WELCOME ACTIVITIES

Icebreakers are an easy way to increase attendees’ interaction before diving into more serious topics. Why not kick off your offsite with a “Newbies Quiz” that turns typical awkward introductions in front of a group into a fun activity that takes the pressure off them? Using something like the Three Truths and a Lie game is a quick and fantastic icebreaker to introduce new hires and hear some of their best personal stories.

“STATE OF THE BD UNION” PRESENTATION

Your business development team is a highly motivated group of professionals who want to improve their sales figures throughout the year. Your offsite is an excellent opportunity for your corporate leaders to provide an overview of where your organization stands and the goals for the next year. This presentation should cover the qualified pipeline, pending bids, backlog, expected bookings, and revenue shortfalls.

A specific area for discussion is the identified revenue gaps for the current year and how to balance winning contracts in the year of execution with business development efforts required to be positioned to win contracts in the out years

GUEST SPEAKERS

Inviting guest speakers to present at your offsite meeting is a great way to get your audience engaged and thinking differently. You could invite customers, leaders of other teams, or outside community members to come and speak at your event. Hearing their stories firsthand can inspire and motivate your team.

Enlisting experts or motivational personalities can energize your audience. While high-profile keynote speakers with industry renown are valuable, don’t overlook the potential impact of emerging voices within your field. These individuals often bring innovative ideas and a relatable presence that can resonate with your team.

To select the “best” offsite meeting guest speakers, consider the following:

  • Purpose: Pick speakers who align with the theme and goals of your offsite. If you need several speakers, think about how each one fits into the overall plan.
  • Audience: Select speakers who will connect with and excite your team.
  • Budget: Speaker fees vary a lot. Decide on a budget and find the best speaker within that range and consider travel times. Remember, a big name doesn’t always mean a better fit for your event.

TIP: Put your keynote speaker early in the agenda. This will maximize attendance and impact. Supplement this with guest speakers in breakout sessions, and make sure they reinforce the event theme and goals so you maintain focus and momentum throughout the event.

Download Offsite Planning Guide
Download Offsite Planning Guide

PANEL DISCUSSIONS

Are you looking for an engaging and insightful format to cover a topic? You may want to try panel discussions! Panel discussions can be a dynamic way to delve into a subject during an offsite.

Gathering a group of guest speakers and leaders to share diverse perspectives on a specific topic is rewarding for the audience and those involved in the panel.

If you want to use panel discussions, consider the following:

  • Choose a Topic: Select a specific topic or issue. This sets the stage for a focused dialogue.
  • Select Your Panelists: Carefully choose panelists with unique insights to ensure a rich, varied conversation.
  • Decide the Format: Will your panel interact with audience Q&A, or a moderated discussion without direct audience input? Both have their merits.
  • Prepare Questions: Draft clear, topic-related questions to guide the discussion.
  • Select a Good Moderator: Your moderator is critical. They should guide the discussion, keep the pace, and facilitate audience interaction.

TIP: Your panel could be as simple as a group of experienced BD, Capture, or PM Team members providing their perspectives on lessons learned or best practices from recent wins or losses and what could have been done differently.

BUSINESS LINE / DIVISION STRATEGIC OVERVIEW

To ensure your team is fully informed about the strategic trajectory, customer dynamics, and organizational capabilities, it’s crucial to incorporate sessions dedicated to each facet of the business.

If your team interacts with various business units, allocate specific time slots for representatives from each division to share insights on their strategic plans, market trends, capability enhancements, and exciting projects.

This will give your team a comprehensive view of available services and where growth is being targeted, enhancing their ability to spot opportunities with customers.

TIP: Consider involving key functional departments in the event. Having them participate as attendees, where they can add different perspectives during discussions or as speakers and panelists, can foster collaboration, which is essential for success.

77% of sales professionals agree that collaborating with departments like Marketing, Finance, and Engineering is vital to achieving their goals. Source: State of Sales

SUCCESS METRICS & MEASUREMENTS

If there are any changes to annual goals, performance reviews, or incentive compensation packages, you may want to address them in your offsite. Ensure that everyone understands what will be measured and how it will be measured, and allow sufficient time to answer questions.

NEW TOOLS, PROCESSES, & PROCEDURES

If you are considering investing in new tools, processes, or procedures, this can be an excellent forum to get feedback and answer all questions. Usually, one segment of the event is dedicated to this topic, where things like upcoming changes to expense reporting, travel, CRM, databases, AI enhancements, or other topics that impact your team’s efficiency or effectiveness.

TIP: Don’t waste offsite time covering topics or new tool training that can be completed at other times.

GROWTH STRATEGY REVIEW

As your company embarks on a new fiscal year, aligning and communicating your team’s strategic vision and objectives in your off-site is crucial. This is particularly important during the annual offsite, where leadership has the unique opportunity to set the tone and a clear vision for how your team will contribute towards success over the next 1-3 years.

Strategic Vision and Objectives Alignment: To foster a shared understanding, clearly articulate how the company’s strategic vision and goals are shifting and what this means for everyone. Emphasize each team member’s role in realizing these ambitions over the next three to five years, focusing on how the team will drive this progress.

Markets and Accounts: Clearly articulate any changes required to target markets and accounts and how these changes impact the team.

Must Win Opportunities: Dive into specifics about upcoming “Must Win” new and recompete opportunities the leadership team identified as critical for corporate success.

TIP: Collect instant feedback from the team on strategy and goals. When confronted with new objectives, people tend to have a lot of different ideas. To get their full buy-in, it is crucial to make it a two-way conversation and address their concerns.

Download Offsite Planning Guide
Download Offsite Planning Guide

LEADERSHIP FIRESIDE CHAT / CEO PERSPECTIVE

A fireside chat is an informal yet structured interview between a moderator and a guest. It’s a unique opportunity to uncover the Guest’s personal stories and ideas. It also goes by names like “Ask Me Anything” or “A Conversation With…”

The fireside chat format has indisputable advantages in your off-site. This laid-back, interactive format puts speakers at ease and allows for a two-way conversation with the audience.

TIP: This format is worth exploring if you want to freshen up your meeting or event and build trust between BD teams and executive teams.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Collaboration is at the heart of every successful team.

To create a collaborative environment at your offsite, use breakout sessions focused on specific topics of interest or skill-building to segment your current team. This is always more beneficial than having the entire team attend plenary sessions where the topic or speaker holds little interest for them.

Sales Role Play Scenarios

When considering breakout groups, knowing that these slots often consume most of each offsite day is helpful. Breakout sessions tend to be 30-120 minutes long and are a great environment for team building. You can consider shorter sessions (think TED Talk-style) if you want to present higher-level topics quickly. You’ll need more time for more robust content, like training or professional development.

statistic offsite team planning interactive breakout

When deciding on your breakout topics – consider your audience and then plan a well-rounded experience that’s fun, productive, and has topics of interest for most attendees. The topics should focus on your company’s big bets, how to deal with challenges, skills improvements, lessons learned, or engagement with subject matter experts.

TIP: Create breakout sessions for meet and greets or topic discussions. This will allow attendees to meet and interact with each other. This can be critically important for remote teams.

TEAM-BUILDING ACTIVITIES

If improved collaboration is needed, you might need to include some team-building and networking activities in your off-site agenda. These activities must be built around your theme and engage attendees in fun and collaborative challenges to strengthen team bonds—a great opportunity for teams.

This type of activity is critical for virtual events, where your team might have never personally interacted with others on the team. Online events often lack the crowd participation of in-person events.

It can be rough concentrating when someone is talking for hours on end. That’s why it’s essential to get the audience involved. While it is impossible to recreate the same nuance and environment of in-person gatherings, you can allow people to socialize in other ways.

Many different types of team-building activities exist. Group size varies from large groups, breakout sessions, or 1-1. The focus could be anything from philanthropic or community activities to trivia group quizzes, dance-offs, or building paper skyscrapers.

TIP: Align your team-building activities with your theme and encourage everyone to participate.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & TRAINING

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Team Offsite Training Topics

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Q&A SESSIONS

Q&A time is often where you get the best feedback on your team’s thinking, challenges, and buy-in to new ideas. Yet, it’s often not given as much importance as it deserves.

While presenting key information is vital, fostering an environment of openness and transparency is crucial by showing your team that their voices matter.

Make sure you include plenty of time for Q&A in your company offsite. Instead of waiting until the end of the day to address them, answer questions in dedicated time slots after every speaker while the content is still fresh in people’s minds.

TIP: Make it easy for attendees to submit questions while they listen. To encourage people to express their real concerns, you should allow them to submit questions anonymously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO CONSIDER

When planning an agenda for an offsite event, considering the following additional social activities that enhance the experience and ensure a well-rounded and productive gathering:

  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner hour(s)
  • Health and Wellness breaks and activities
  • Networking hour(s)
  • Live entertainment (comedians, music acts, etc.)
  • Happy Hours
  • VIP special activities, cultural or local experiences, or other exclusive events
  • Company swag or products that support your theme they can reuse throughout the year
REAL-WORLD AGENDA EXAMPLE

Below is a sample of a 2-day GovCon offsite meeting agenda template with time frames:

Offsite Agenda Example Template

Want this time frame template? Sign up for our Offsite Planning Guide below.

DISTRIBUTING YOUR AGENDA
  • Distribute your agenda at least 2-3 weeks in advance to give attendees ample time to prepare.
  • Ensure your detailed agenda is available both online and offline.
  • Identify and label which sessions are mandatory for all attendees.
  • Have a clear communication plan for notifying attendees of any last-minute changes to your agenda. For smaller groups, email notifications may suffice. However, consider using push notifications through an event app for larger events.
Download Offsite Planning Guide
Download Offsite Planning Guide
WRAP UP

An effective offsite is more than a mere gathering; it’s a transformative opportunity to infuse your team with purpose and direction. As we conclude this guide, remember that an offsite isn’t simply a cost—it’s a strategic investment in your company’s future.

By harnessing an excellent planning committee, a meaningful theme, and a well-balanced agenda, you can catalyze change and kindle the kind of engagement that translates into tangible results. Then inject plenty of good humor, food, and fun, and you’ll have the makings of a fantastic offsite event!

Whether in person or virtual, your offsite is the perfect chance to unite your team, align strategies, create enthusiasm, and encourage collaboration. Today’s leading companies know the value of investing in their people. A well-orchestrated offsite demonstrates your commitment to your team, equipping them with the necessary skills, tools, and vision to reach their goals.

The value of the offsite will be evident months later, with successful initiatives and impactful business decisions stemming from your strategic planning. Participants will leave recharged, and follow-up surveys will show the significant returns of your investment.

By taking an intentional, thoughtful approach, the annual offsite evolves from an isolated event into an integral driver of organizational success. It becomes a galvanizing experience that equips the leadership team to take on the opportunities and challenges of the year ahead with purpose, unity, and vision. The company emerges sharper, stronger, and better positioned to achieve new heights.

Let this guide be your blueprint for an offsite that doesn’t just meet expectations but sets a new standard for what a collaborative, strategic, and enjoyable event can achieve. Embrace this chance to lead with vision, unite your team in action, and chart a course for a future marked by achievement and success.

And don’t forget to solicit feedback from attendees to drive the future vision of your future off-sites!


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OUR OFFSITE GUIDE COVERS:

  • Offsite Agenda Guide
  • Offsite Best Practices
  • Real-world Agenda Example
  • 8 Effective Role Play Scenarios
  • Themes & Training Topics
  • Month by Month Checklist
  • Offsite Schedule Template

    8 EFFECTIVE ROLE PLAY SCENARIOS FOR YOUR OFFSITE

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