Small meetings and executive retreats can have demanding agendas – senior leadership refocusing the company mission, a department launching a new project or a team seeking fresh creative spark. These all require sessions that successfully convert goals to practical strategies. As a planner, you need to open doors to innovative thinking and take care of every detail so your attendees can focus. Try these proven tips from the ProMeetings team to make sure your small group accomplishes something huge. The destination makes the difference. Consider everything you want to achieve at your meeting: solving challenges, envisioning new goals, rejuvenating your team and socializing together. You’ll want to transport your group to a venue that inspires the creative thinking and collaboration this gathering requires. So pass up the bland, could-be-anywhere destinations and see unique experiences that will have your team excited from the moment they arrive. Guests coming to Kiawah Island, for example, are immediately immersed in the beauty of South Carolina’s Lowcountry and eager to discover nearby Charleston, winner of the coveted World’s Best City Award from Travel + Leisure magazine in 2016. This kind of enthusiasm can set an upbeat tone that carries through your entire session. Ditch the distractions. You’ve scheduled an offsite so your group is free from daily responsibilities and ready for clean and uninterrupted thinking. During the planning phase, take the time to describe exactly what you need to the sales teams at prospective venues. You want to be confident your meeting environment will be responsive and ready to cover every detail – from set-to-go technology to plenty of healthy snacks – to provide a hassle-free experience. Once you’re onsite, consider “disarming” your meeting by having attendees leave their devices at the door. This step will create what’s called “thick presence”, the rare opportunity to engage in discussion and decision-making without interruption from calls, emails and other distractions. Give your ideas some legs. When you have a hefty agenda to work through, it may seem counterintuitive to encourage your team to walk right out the conference room door. But taking a break for movement and exercise is a sure-fire way to boost energy and creative thinking. Here on Kiawah Island, attendees often break for “walking meetings” along the beach or nature trails, and return to the conference room refreshed, clear-headed and ready to tackle the task at hand. Build in some breathing space. Small meetings and retreats have a manageable number of participants, a real advantage for planning fun and rewarding activities. Structure your session so participants can mingle between sessions to network and build relationships. While all our conference guests can take advantage of the island’s abundant leisure and entertainment, we find our small groups especially enjoy unusual or custom activities like fishing charters, wine tastings and cooking classes. The ProMeetings team also works with Ooh!Events, our preferred DMC partner, to arrange excursions to Charleston’s popular downtown attractions, shopping, historic plantations and heritage sites. Let the Kiawah ProMeetings sales team help you plan a memorable small meeting or executive retreat. In addition to private villas in natural settings, a popular island venue is the Five-Star Sanctuary, a casually elegant hotel reminiscent of a grand Southern seaside mansion. In this gorgeous island setting, amenities include five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes, more than a dozen dining options and endless recreation and eco-adventures. To learn more about meeting on Kiawah Island Golf Resort, contact our Director of Group Sales, Marty Couch, and his team at 800.576.1585.