Where You Meet Matters | Planning a Successful Meeting
Before I transitioned into the Hospitality Industry, I did my music undergrad at my dream university. The culture was akin to something out of a movie. Barbershop quartet on this street corner, trombone practicing etudes by that building, and on Fridays at noon the entire concourse reverberated with the theme song of a Bob Marley biopic. We were living a grown up High School Musical with great music!
The crazy thing is that as awesome as all of that was - what really always stands out to me about my college years instead, were the practice rooms. Two stark, concrete, multi-leveled squared buildings stood at the height of the Music Department’s corner on campus. The practice rooms themselves were minimal - each home to a piano, a mirror, and rather uninspired white walls.
I always struggled to practice in those rooms. I had difficulty ever growing anything creative in the environments.
Turns out there is some major science behind the reservations I had with practicing in those spaces. Our surroundings can severely affect our productivity, and when it comes to your Meeting, you can’t afford to invest time in anything but peak efficiency! Check out these Best Practices to make sure you don’t accidentally cripple your Meetings and Development Days with environmental oversight!
The Character Matters
Ever considered the colors of your Meeting Ambiance? A recent study by the University of Texas evidenced that the colors surrounding a worker can drastically affect their performance and moods. (source)
Those typical bland office colors like beige, white, and gray can actually be linked to extended bouts of sadness and depressive feelings by people working in that environment.
Warmer colors by contrast can be linked to an increase in general positive vibes, motivation, and even greater daily energy!
Similarly, the lighting your chosen venue employs can have a significant impact on the productivity of your meeting. A poorly lit space in a technology driven conference can cause eyestrain and headaches. A lack of natural light to help reduce the effects of artificial lighting can compound issues as well. Your ideal ambiance is one that is well-lit, ideally with as much natural lighting as possible!
If “familiarity breeds contempt” - there is massive benefit to bringing your team somewhere completely different! This will allow brand new associations for them to pair the meeting content with, ensuring maximum retention. At Circle R we believe very strongly in that wisdom. Our meeting venues are nestled within 60 acres of scenic Ranch views, a relaxing pond, and plenty of windows!
The Agenda Matters
Your Meeting’s time is valuable. It represents dedicated time away from your team’s typical duties, the financial investment to decide to have it off-site, and the effort and planning that went into its preparation. Your team is a bunch of rock stars, but even rock stars are people - and people have short attention spans. Maximize efficiency by following these guidelines:
Begin the day with an activity! People are more engaged and more likely to retain when they are being stimulated. Pre-meeting team building is a great way to get your day started and set a great precedent for the day’s benefits!
Work in brain -breaks: You’re undoubtedly going through a lot of information, which is great! But people need time to take it in. Bonus points if you’ve provided a scenic location for your meeting - allow your team short breaks to stretch outside while they process information. They’ll return fresher and more alert for the following session than when subjected to an endless marathon!
Take a break from the ‘trust falls’ and the ‘telephone games’ - At Circle R we offer unique dynamic team building programs that engage physically and mentally.
The Food Matters
The other major unavoidable logistic to consider during long meeting days is taking care of your team’s hunger. “Hangry” employees aren’t likely to think about much in your presentation other than wondering when it’ll be over! Depending on where you’ve chosen to host your meeting, food can either be the downfall or the deal closer of your day.
Remove the frustrations of forgotten delivery orders, missing sandwiches, and locked in meal counts by hosting your meeting somewhere with in-house catering capabilities. These locations will have the ability to adapt to your guest count as it changes, offer buffet style meals, and without a doubt will be able to provide meals that satisfy cravings instead of just covering a requirement!
After lunch is another great opportunity to include additional team building activities or allow an extended break. If you give your team a delicious meal and the chance to move off some of those calories - they’ll be as fresh as when they started the day!
For many, planning a full day off-site meeting can be a hassle viewed as a necessary pain when large amounts of information need to be delivered in a short amount of time. By partnering with the right people and focusing intentionally on key “Meeting Ambiance” instead, you can maximize the benefit of that investment that when executed properly, provides a retainable educational experience that barely feels like a workday!
About the Author: Ryan Spradley
Ryan's primary focus is the Chisholm Ranch House and partnering with our clients for groups of less than 150 guests to build an unrivaled meeting, team bonding, or 5-star evening experience that shows our partners that even a “smaller” client is just as valued as our larger ones. We love his energy and eagerness to serve others.