By - Sandi Webster

Tips for a Great Advisory Board Retreat

Your advisory board members only get together a few times per year.  That’s not enough time for them to get to know each other.  Regular interaction allows them to understand how each other can best contribute to your company.  Having a retreat gives them the time to communicate in a social setting.



  1. Pick a place

Select a place that everyone will like.  Make it easy for traveling, have great accommodations and meeting rooms on the same property or in close proximity.  This property should have all the amenities needed to accommodate your board members.  The goal is to make them comfortable and easy to work on your business while they are at the retreat.

This place can be close to home but will allow them to “check out” while they are working on advisory board projects, or you can have a retreat with exercises that is more of a training session.

If you are planning a retreat away from home, consider inviting a plus one.  This way, they can combine the retreat with a personal getaway.  If the retreat ends on a Friday, they can spend the weekend exploring the local area.

  1. Icebreaker

An icebreaker helps to get everyone started with an activity that they have in common. It should engage and energize your audience with ease.  Have an interactive element to your icebreaker to get your members to participate.

Icebreaker topics that are easy can be sharing their favorite vacation, why they are on the advisory board, what is their current profession – if any, latest business book they read that can help your company.

  1. Breakout Groups

Group exercises create teamwork among board members. Small-group breakouts allow them to form relationships. One exercise that I like is to have teams work on a strategy for your business or help to solve a pressing business problem.  For example, if you want to launch a new service or product, have them work on how and when to launch, things you need to think about, the audience for your new product – is it different from your current audience?

These working sessions will be productive for everyone.

  1. Virtual Retreats

Since the pandemic, many boards are having virtual retreats.  If your members are not ready to travel, you can still have a good virtual retreat.

    • Instead of travel, block out a day or two dedicated to your retreat – or make it two half-days to give them time to do other things.
    • Make sure the platform is easy to use – Zoom is a favorite and most people have been Zooming since the pandemic. Microsoft Teams has also become a familiar one for businesses.
    • Still have an icebreaker to open up the meeting and it’s much easier to have breakout rooms!
    • Encourage members to keep their cameras on, especially during the icebreaker and in breakout rooms.
    • You can also send them packages with snacks, or order lunch for them wherever they are so can still eat together – make the retreat less formal.

I hope you try these ideas for having a board retreat for your advisors.  It can be fun, and your board members will walk away with a much better insight into each other and your business.