Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bring Social Networking to Your Next Retreat

Here is an idea that may help your next law firm retreat be a true bonding experience... and most certainly memorable! The basic idea is to use existing online social networking sites to create an "insiders network" among the attorneys at your retreat.

  • Bring to retreat -- laptop for every attendee (if they are not already bringing their own), at least two or three image scanners, and projecting equipment.
  • Request that all attorneys bring current and dated photos of themselves. Preferably photos taken anywhere but at work.
At the Retreat:
  • Schedule a minimum of 5 hours of retreat time dedicated to participation in building the social network.
  • Start with everyone going online and signing up at a social networking site like MySpace or FaceBook. Waling them through the process is extremely helpful. Once signed up walk everyone through all of the different tools and "homepage" options they are offered. Remember that most social sites allow users to only be viewable by "friends".
  • Turn everyone loose on creating their homepage. Have them add photo's (here is where the scanners come in), pick out their homepage "theme songs, an avatar.
  • Have them make at three "diary" posts about themselves. You may even select what they write about. For instance you could have them write about their favorite childhood memory; the one thing they've done that would surprise other people; and their favorite pastime.
  • Once everyone has created their homepage have them go online and register/signup other people at the retreat as their "friends". The idea here is to start letting participants to see what everyone else has created.
  • Let everyone explore, laugh, ask, and talk about all of the different things they will discover.
  • Start a vote. Let people vote on "most popular" (for whatever reason), most original, most weird, etc.
  • Tally votes and start showing sites on a big screen. Believe me, the conversation will border on hilarious fun for as long as you keep putting new homepages on the big screen.
  • When the fun is over don't forget to remind people they can take their homepage down as if it never existed.
The big picture is to allow people to be seen beyond the four walls of a firm environment. Instead of being bound in politics of position or at-work culture everyone is revealed as individuals. Bonding will happen at a personal level like you would not believe.

Are you ready to take your attorneys to a new place?

Social Networking Retreats ©2007 Bruce Allen

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