Meeting Design: How to configure venue space and delight your attendees

12/03/2019

Chances are you spend quite a lot of your working week at meetings. Necessary, yes, but meetings can also be considered a distraction to getting stuff done! For those of us who work in meeting design, this is a tragedy. We know that when properly designed, meetings are a positive force for organisation growth and efficiency and they can also be hugely satisfying and fun!  The parting sentiment of participants and the outcomes depend on meeting design.

Types of Meeting

Meeting design starts with a few simple questions:

  • Why are we having this meeting?
  • What do we want to get out of it?
  • What are the aims and specific objectives for the time we’re going to spend together?
Answering these questions will help us understand what type of meeting we’re proposing. Once we know that, we can start on meeting design.

All meetings tend to fall into one or more of the following categories – information, motivation or innovation. Each type needs a particular format and design. Below are some tips to help you configure venue space, deliver different meeting outcomes and delight your attendees!  You can also find an interesting take on meeting formats on the Catalyst blog of our friends at Convene in the US.

Information Meetings

Information meetings are about updating, sharing information, getting the team up to speed. They tend to be “top down”, where a presenter has information they need to convey.

An Information meeting could be the launch of a new company product or a learning and development or training session. In all cases the presentations should be segmented into digestible bites of no more than 20 minutes each.

Information meetings work well with the venue configured in theatre, classroom or cabaret style with the presenter using powerpoint, keynote or prezi from a podium or small riser at the top of the room.

To foster engagement and active learning, audience engagement platforms like Sli.do can be used. Sli.do is an on-line platform accessible from a smart phone or tablet that allows for audiences to participate in live polls or to pose questions.

Motivation Meetings

Motivation meetings are all about inspiration, getting aligned with company culture and saying thank you to teams. These meetings are participative, interactive, immersive and highly engaging.

When the objective is motivation then you want to set a high energy pace and get participants moving and interacting. The rigid, formal set up of an information meeting won’t work for this type of event.

Start your meeting with a healthy stand up breakfast where folks naturally interact and connect with each other. Use a variety of seating types for the “formal” part of the meeting including sofas, bean bags, bar stools, cocktail tables.

Have group activities and challenges but divide the groups according to weird and wonderful criteria – for example, have the participants organise themselves chronologically according to the month of their birth. Then divide them in 3’s, 5’s or 7’s depending on the group size.  If discussion is involved, always have an odd number in the group.

Innovation Meetings

Innovation meetings seek to channel the wisdom of crowds, to find solutions to challenges by unleashing creativity. These meetings need to surprise and delight to unlock the imagination quotient and find new ways to do old things.

Brainstorming is a tried and tested technique in companies when they want to harvest new ideas or find alternative solutions to on-going challenges and is at the heart of innovation meetings.

It’s well known that the creative juices are more likely to flow when they’re stimulated by a change of environment or triggered by a particularly symbolic action.

What might emerge from your work team if, for example, their brainstorming took place in a dressing room at Croke Park? What creativity might be unleashed if they sat in the very seats where teams receive half time talks that turn games around?

At Croke Park Meetings & Events we see information, motivation and innovation meeting on a daily basis – these meeting types are well represented in the almost 2,000 events we host every year. So, talk to our team about your meeting design and check out specific details about our smaller meeting and larger conference facilities.


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Contact our team on +353 1 8192300 or email us if there’s anything we can help you with.

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