Tag Archives: Discussion

How Do You Plan an Off-Site Meeting? Several Suggestions

Situation: A CEO wants to schedule an off-site planning meeting with her top staff. She has heard about the potential efficacy of off-site meetings and is intrigued by the idea of taking her staff away from the office for a day or two to concentrate on planning. She is curious about typical agendas, time frames, objectives and who should be involved in the meetings. How do you plan an off-site meeting?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • General considerations
    • Set the objective of the meeting in advance. Tell everyone involved the objective so that they are thinking about this prior to the meeting.
    • The staff involved depends on the objective of the meeting. Select participants to fit the need.
    • Include a team building event. One purpose of off-sites is to help the team or teams get to know each other better and improve collaboration.
    • Have an agenda for the meeting and meet without interruptions. Have participants notify key customers or contacts in advance, schedule back-up contacts if necessary, and don’t allow interruptions.
    • Hold the meeting during work hours. Options: one day, local for easy travel and return home; or two days, nice setting, dinner the first day, and late afternoon return home the second day.
    • Do you need a facilitator? This depends on the goal and organizer’s comfort with the topic of focus.
  • Typical Agenda:
    • A speaker or educational component pertinent to the meeting goal.
    • Breakout and group discussions to think through important issues.
    • A team-building event.
    • Some fun – dinner or an evening activity that allows individuals to talk in a relaxed setting.
  • Examples of effective events:
    • Broad agenda – What can we do better?
    • All-hands meeting – prompts contribution by all.
    • Opportunity for CEO to communicate the company vision and involve employees in the planning process for the coming year or period.

Can You Increase Value in Social Network Discussions? Four Thoughts

Interview with Kenneth Vogt, CEO, Crooner Labs, Inc.

Situation: Individuals participate in social networking sites for several reasons – to network, to promote their businesses, products or services, and to gain insight through crowd sourcing. For these audiences, what are the best ways to increase the value in your discussions?


  • Encourage participants to move from a short-term to a medium-term focus. Short term focus is about lead generation, immediate results and “Buy, Buy, Buy Now.” Think of the man in the flashy sports coat selling cars on late night television. It may generate a “sale” but with low engagement and commitment. If focus you instead on engagement, you start to build growth which is more sustainable – which will stay alive with more momentum.
  • Clarify your objectives. Are you interested in sales or influence today, or this quarter? How much effort do you want to put into it and what payback do you seek?
  • Be patient. Take the time to develop quality content. This time is an investment which pays back both medium and long-term.
  • Stop treating people as though they are stupid and can be manipulated into buying from you. There is a karmic cost to this approach. Look instead at the potential benefit that you can provide that will attract people to your content. Think in terms of reciprocity – give first and let others decide how they will respond.
  • Some time ago I tried an experiment. I proposed a simple question: “What do you want?” I asked the question three times, each time with a different thought in mind – first annoyance, then confusion, and finally empathy. But rather than speak the questions, I sent them via instant message one after the other. The words on the page were exactly the same each time, “What do you want?” Yet without tone of voice, expression or body language, the receivers could instantly tell me what I was thinking in each case. The same works in social networking. People can read where you are coming from based on how you position your content. So if you want to increase the value of what you have to say or offer, offer it openly and invite your audience to respond.

You can contact Kenneth Vogt at kvogt@croonerlabs.com

Key Words: Social Network, Discussion, Focus, Objectives, Value