Producing a successful offsite part 4/6: Get their engines warmed up BEFORE they get there

Has it already been a week since my last post?!  Crazy how fast the time flies!

So, we are at the 4th part of the this 6 part series about designing a winning company event.  In previous posts of this series, I reviewed the importance of clearly defining your offsite's ROI, having a defining Theme and leveraging the power of Total Immersion.  in this post I will review the value of conducting pre-offsite activities that allow you to hit the ground running as soon as the offsite begins.

Who says you have to wait till the offsite starts to actually start?  What if you could get their engines going days before they arrive?  That’s the power of a great teaser campaign.

Pre-offsite Teaser Campaign = hit the ground running.

This fourth component is another way of getting the very most out of the offsite.  While 2-4 full days may seem like an eternity for the executives who need to block them out of their calendars in order to attend, from a process perspective, this is still a small amount of time to affect meaningful and lasting change in how people think and behave (even when applying Total Immersion and Theme perfectly).

Once again, we are faced with the following efficiency questions:

  • How can we make it so that people hit the ground running from the very first minutes of the offsite (as opposed to spending the first few hours of the offsite “warming their engines”)?  
  • How can we start impacting the participants even before the offsite formally begins?  

A pre-offsite teaser campaign is all about effectively answering these questions. Much like the Total Immersion and Theme components, this one too has the great added value of being “low cost – high impact”.  A teaser campaign is relatively easy to do once you have a theme, which should of course be the heart and soul of the teaser campaign.

A teaser campaign can be done simply through emails, sent every few days, for several weeks before the offsite, and containing cool pictures, quotations, links to related videos, etc.

Every email should be very SHORT AND CONCISE and include a theme related teaser – nothing more.  The idea is too peak our participant’s curiosity while gradually introducing the theme of the offsite, without fully giving it away.

You can also incorporate teasers into team and management meetings that take place before the offsite – but like with the emails, this should not take more then several minutes and should not give the entire theme away.  It's just about building awareness, positive expectations and a latent foundation for the desired mindset this offsite is meant to cultivate.

In my next post of this series, I'll discuss the importance of also having a follow up campaign as a way of extending the impact of the short offsite, from days into weeks, thus dramatically improving the ROI.