Venue: a hotel just far enough from work not to be at work, but not so far that you can't go back to the office afterwards. Check.
Catering - horrible coffee with so much caffeine that you are on edge for the whole day. Sweets on the table that you have no will to resist and end up eating all day long. Odd combination of foods at only just above average buffet lunch (in this case Hawaiian pizza and weird chilled risotto). Check.
Work planning - all day spent talking about what we're doing now, not what we need to do (which is assigned a hurried 5 minutes at the end). Check.
Personalities - old school staff who think that everyone should have an in depth knowledge of the highly dull vs. new staff who are keen to develop a range of skills. Check.
Follow up - feeling that although you've spent the whole of the next day writing up the notes they'll forever be consigned to the round file on the floor. Check.
It was in fact a useful day for me to get a good overview of what everyone does and how I'll fit in. I also went for a walk in the bush (as in forest, not giant shrub) with one of my colleagues at lunchtime and we got lost and nearly missed the afternoon session.