Facilitating a Meeting, Retreat, or Workshop

Event Planning Checklist

Why Should Your Organization Have Meetings, Retreats, or Workshops?

  • Creates stronger bonds between members.
  • Keeps members knowledgeable and up-to-date with the organization.
  • Retreats and workshops can interrupt the repetition of regular meetings, keeping people engaged.
  • Allow for members to interact with each other outside of the education environment.
  • Provides opportunities to share more memories together
  • Takes away the daily worries peoples have and just have fun!
  • Foster participation amongst members.
  • Influences teambuilding.

Planning a Meeting

  • Establish early on a schedule for meetings and advertise them (how often will you have them? How long will they be? Where will they be? Who is required to attend? Will there be separate board member meetings?).
  • Establish an agenda (What is important to discuss? What order should items be discussed?). Let members know what to expect.
  • Establish what assistance you need (do you need AV equipment? Are any guest presenters needed or coming?).
  • Engage other members. While meetings are often important for information sharing, if only you are talking to reading down the agenda, members may become disengaged. Delegate parts of the meeting to members, ask members for their insight, and encourage them to be active participants.
  • Build in some fun time! Meetings are one of the few times your organization is all together so make the time count. Add an icebreaker, team builder, or check-in to your meeting to allow members to engage with each other. Make meetings fun to go to!

Evaluating a Meeting

Meeting Evaluation Checklist

  1. Was the meeting well organized?
  2. Did the meeting start on time?
  3. Was the location booked ahead of time?
  4. Were members informed about the meeting?
  5. Were guests introduced and welcomed?
  6. Was there an agenda?
  7. Was the purpose of the meeting made?
  8. Was there a smooth shift from the last meeting?
  9. Were the officers prepared in making their announcements?
  10. Was one topic discussed at a time?
  11. Did anyone who wanted to speak have the chance to?
  12. Was discussion relevant to the topic on hand?
  13. Did the head of the meeting sum up what was discussed and decided?
  14. Did the meeting move along at an effective pace?
  15. Were all previous tasks completed?
  16. Did the meeting go through what was planned on the agenda?

Participation

  1. Members of the organization engaged in the discussion and decision-making.
  2. The head of the meeting answered questions in the best way possible.
  3. Members were able to voice any suggestions.
  4. Tasks were able to be divided.
  5. Members were able to help plan for the following meeting’s agenda.

Attitude

  1. Attendance was good and everyone who came was on time.
  2. Members knew each other.
  3. There was a little icebreaker at the beginning (See icebreakers packet).
  4. There was some humor throughout the entire meeting.
  5. Members and board members easily interacted and helped one another.
  6. Members are comfortable in giving their opinions.
  7. There is a light and happy atmosphere.

Planning a Workshop or Retreat

  1. What is the main purpose of having one?
    • New member orientation
    • Teambuilding
    • Motivating members
    • Officer transitions
    • Goal setting
    • Problem solving
  2. What is your organization’s budget?
    • Affects the retreat activity itself as well as other factors.
  3. Is equipment needed?
    • TV? DVD player? VCR? Monitors?
    • Overhead
    • Notebooks, handouts
    • Will they be already provided? Is there a cost?
  4. How long should the retreat be for?
    • One day, overnight, whole weekend?
    • Consider other activities such as football weekends, upcoming holidays and breaks as well as Study Week and Finals week. These times are not favorable when planning a retreat.
  5. Where will it be?
    • Campus, camp, hotel, someone’s house, restaurant?
    • For a best bet, it should be somewhere close to campus or somewhere most people are willing to drive to.
  6. Will there be a need for transportation? And if yes, what?
    • Car pools
    • Bus for larger groups
  7. Will there be food and drinks?
    • Pot luck
    • Restaurant
    • Catering
    • Have a food and drinks committee?
  8. Will there be any recreation?
    • There should be some “free” time where members can freely communicate to one another without having to worry about other distractions.
  9. Who should attend?
    • All members or just board members?
    • Advisor or retreat assistant (It is useful to sometimes have someone else plan the retreat, because it will take away the stress from all the members. It would also keep everyone in the group in the same level as far as planning power.)
    • SORCE Staff are available to assist organizations in planning retreats. Call 5-5576 for assistance.
  10. What is on the agenda?
    • Make sure that there is a specific agenda formed ahead of time that will help to accomplish your goals.
    • Even though the agenda should be planned to the minute, it should also be flexible.
    • Distribute the agenda to all members participating ahead of time so that they will be prepared and it will make the retreat go well without any problems.

Who Will Do What?

Forming committees will decrease the amount of responsibility a small amount of people will take and will instead increase the productivity of planning the workshop or retreat.

  • Finding information, reserving the location, transportation accommodations.
  • Planning the menu, ordering, food arrangements, tables/chairs, allergies.
  • Cooking crew, catering.
  • Set-up and clean-up crews.
  • Recreation director.
  • Workshop coordinators.

Qualities of a Good Workshop or Retreat Coordinator

  1. Judgment – Be able to evaluate the situation thoroughly.
  2. Attentiveness – Be able to listen and acknowledge other’s opinions.
  3. Evaluation skills – Be able to understand the opinions given clearly.
  4. Respect – Be respected by group and vice versa as well.
  5. Concern – Be interested about the group.
  6. Listen – Be able to listen to the input and feedback the group provides.

Timeline for Planning a Workshop or Retreat

(this should be flexible based on your group)

Two Months Before

  • Have the exact date and time of the event, knowing that there will be no major conflicts.
  • Inform all those participating.
  • Know and reserve the location.
  • Form additional committees if needed.

One Month Before

  • Have an idea of the retreat’s schedule/format.
  • Contact any other resources.

Two Weeks Before

  • Send letters to all participants with the necessary information, including costs, travel arrangements, what to bring, ideal clothing, etc.
  • Reproduce schedules, maps, and any other essential handouts.
  • Gather the needed equipment (slide projectors, monitors, visual aids, etc).
  • Make final arrangements for food if there will be no catering (what are the people bringing? Who is cooking?)

One Week Before

  • Contact the retreat location and finalize reservations.
  • Have final committee meetings and be sure that everyone is aware of each of their responsibilities.

Day Before

  • Call the committee heads to check for any last-minute problems.
  • Rest so that you can be energized for tomorrow! Have fun!

Retreat Ideas

  • Camping/hiking, eating out at a restaurant, movie nights, game board night, outdoor sports, ice skating, picnic.