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Bored at Board Retreats? Try This!

Posted By Chrissa Waite & Melissa Ladd, issaFacilitation, LLC, Friday, April 28, 2017

(adapted from their 2017 Summit Session)

Does your organization have a love-hate relationship with its annual board retreat?  Or maybe it’s been ages since you’ve gathered outside of routine board meetings.  Board retreats should be both fun and purposeful.  Attendees should leave feeling energized, inspired, and that the time they spent was worthwhile.

The purpose needs to fit your current needs, but could include things such as:

  • Teambuilding
  • Onboarding new board members
  • Establishing, or reviewing progress on, strategic objectives
  • Celebrating accomplishments
  • Discussing improvements to board or organizational processes and practices

So how can your meeting facilitator make these topics fun and energizing? 

One facilitation technique issaFacilitation uses with our clients is called Kinetic Voting. We have seen that when participants are out of their seats, they will be more engaged, and we encourage you to try it!


What is it?

  • A technique to get reactions or votes, based on where people stand in relation to a line

When would you use it?

  • Board discussions on future services: increase/decrease/stay the same
  • Visualize how many people are in agreement or disagreement with a topic

How will it help?

  • Includes everyone
  • Increases energy in a long meeting or retreat session


  • Everyone stand on the line on the floor
  • In response to each question, stand
    • On the line if your answer is “stay the same”
    • One step in front if your answer is “more/increase”
    • One step behind if your answer is “less/decrease"
    • Off one of the ends if your answer is “don’t know

Kinetic voting is just one creative idea to achieve the purposeful results of your board retreat, while promoting full participation and energy.  Wishing you happy board retreats!


About the authors:

Melissa Ladd and Chrissa Waite, the “issas” of issaFacilitation, have over 20 years of combined experience facilitating groups through teambuilding, strategic planning, conflict, and organizational improvement.  They are Certified Professional Facilitators and certified Project Management Professionals.  They enjoy helping groups achieve results using visual, engaging and participatory techniques, in a shorter time period than could be done without facilitation.

Together SC members receive 10% off on annual board retreats!


Tags:  Board Governance  Board Retreats 

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