Meetings are a necessity in terms of everyday working life and also creating smaller gatherings or workshops as part of a larger business event can be fruitful if done right.
The key is to keep the learning alive and to consider new and interesting ways to make sure you keep everybody focused and maintain the level of productivity and innovation you want.
Here are some actionable ways to boost learning retention and foster a love of development within your meetings and events.
1. Change Location
There’s a reason retreats and a change of scenery can boost morale and productivity. Moving your meetings to different locations can make you more innovative and creative as you become inspired by your new venue. Things like this Nordic experience can allow you to extend meetings over the course of several days and get the most out of your team without it feeling like work.
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Credit: Sargent Events Geneva
2. Foam Additions
Make meeting halls, rooms and conference centers more comfortable, especially if you’re going to be in it for the long hall with these foam seating additions. Aside from looking cool, these show attendees that you care about comfort while also trying to get the job done. The best part is that these are adaptive to suit benches, single seating and full length sofas so you can match to your venue furniture.
3. Adjustable Desks
Being able to adapt to different types of learners in the same meeting is advantageous for making sure everyone stays on the same page and engages. Standing meetings could be a great approach for short, energetic gatherings. These adjustable desks are easily moveable for quick standing meetings or can be seated for those that last a bit longer which means no matter what type of meeting you hold, you’re always prepared. Standing can help break up the day between long sitting periods of inactivity and boosts productivity and encourages learning and comfort.
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Credit: AJ Products UK
4. Collaborative Creativity
Encouraging and build teamwork to improve long-term productivity and morale. This group painting idea is a fun way to help to unleash some joint creativity and collaborating together as well as creating a masterpiece that everyone can enjoy later. If your team are any good, you can hang it in the office.
About last weekend... THE MASTERPIECES! 👊🏽👊🏽 Facilitation of Airtel Nigeria's TeamBonding session with Group Painting! teambonding #airtel #nigeria #lagos #Cncnigeria #creativity #adaptability #teammates #trust #belief #innovations #delegation #collaboration #training #time2learn #solacontagious #nerveng #workforce #corporatetraining #grow
Credit: Sola Adewumi, Cncnigeria, Airtel Nigeria
5. Talking Stick
A talking stick is a great meeting design tool facilitators often use to ensure that everyone is given a voice on equal grounds. It’s also an excellent way to ensure that the quieter members of your team aren’t being ignored and get the opportunity to speak.
I’m looking forward to delivering Wellness Philosophy for Support Workers in a few weeks. One element I’m particularly looking forward to is hearing what was the most important part of the day for each participant. We do this through use of a #talkingstick as the person holding the stick has the sacred power of words. #learning #teambuilding #companyculture #capacitybuilding #wellness #personcentred #ageing #agedcare #CHSP #HCP #RAC #HACC #nfp #Montessori
Food is essential at a meeting to fuel the brain. This is a cute, efficient option for each attendee that has something healthy, sweet and savoury to see everyone through. It’s small details like this that can show employees you care and also avoid that switch off when tummies start to rumble.
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Credit: Saba Event
It’s important to offer employees a place to feel comfortable as it encourages creativity and often, finding a solution to problems can come when your mind is engaged elsewhere. So, creating meeting spaces like this that are informal and feature games can promote better flowing thoughts and result in greater productivity. Honest! This informal space stops meetings turning into a chore.
Meeting sessions can be a great opportunity to brainstorm new ideas and solutions and don’t forget the power of old-fashioned pen and paper at visualizing input from the group. Here, flip charts are a key component of this meeting room set up with several contributors recording different information at once. Workshops like this that involve the whole team can foster relationships and bonding, as well as solve issues quicker.
9. Swing Seats
Who doesn’t want to feel like a kid again? Swing seats are a quirky way to keep employees or attendees amused and avoid fidgeting or lack of focus. It would certainly make them more interesting and encourage some movement. If only your boardroom or event venue had one of these!
10. Takeaway Zen Gardens
Offer stress relieving activities during your meeting to help participants find a better balance. Allowing employees a short break with a creative activity can be better for innovation and breaks up the day so that they look forward to meetings, instead of dread them. Plus, these zen gardens are a cool memento to take home or an interesting giveaway idea.
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Credit: Heaps Stacks
11. Segmented Areas
Mini-meetings can be beneficial to share short snippets of information so having segmented areas like this, either at the office or at a corporate event can be excellent for doing business. These would also be a great idea as a breakaway area where attendees could have an informal discussion and brainstorm before heading back to the main meeting. High tables and bar stools take up less space at the venue too.
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Credit: Design Foundry
12. Floor Chats
Get cosy and create a meeting space anywhere with a blanket and some pillows. This playful event space has different seating options from high tables, picnic benches and floor chats to create a blended event experience that is adaptable to suit attendees mood. Floor options in particular can be excellent for a pop-up meeting or “fireside chats” to promote team building and bonding.
I must say I am kind of impressed by the participant driven design of @ymcofficial event spaces. From playfulness, to serendipity, to surprise. All elements are well pondered to surprise attendees. I am looking forward to an amazing #blendabudhabi tomorrow. . . . #kudos #eventprofs #experience #meetingdesign #eventdesign
13. Swivel Group Chairs
Switch out uncomfortable benches for individual swivel chairs at large meetings and conferences because although benches work better in utilising space, they aren’t very helpful for learning if sitting for long periods of time. You can upgrade this idea by adding cup holders, foldable tables to rest on as well as charging ports for devices for your employees to add small details that matter. These swivel chairs offer the right amount of comfort and allow attendees their own space when taking part in this learning lab.
Right now it is ’calm before the storm’! 🌪Today is day 1 of the Meetings & Events Fair in Copenhagen, Denmark. The place where almost all of Denmark’s venues and meeting industry suppliers are gathered to show off their skills. Here is the MPI Denmark Learning Lab where we will have 7 different talks over the next two days. We have great expectations and will see lots of activity for these two days. If you are in the vicinity, drop by and join the conversations in the Lab. See you there? 👀 . . . #eventanne #nomagicrequired #meetingdesign #meetingprofs #meetingplanners #meetings #events #eventprofs #eventplanners #eventdesign #eventmanagement #eventmanager #conference #experience #experiencedesign #experiencemanagement #experienceeconomy #immersion #immersioneconomy #immersiondesign #futureofmeetings #kursuslex #mødeogeventmessen
Credit: Event Anne
14. Sustainable Influences
Employees and attendees are putting a greater influence on sustainable elements when it comes to meetings, so show your commitment and do away with bottled water. Add pitchers or large jugs and glasses to avoid using paper or plastic or if you want to do something quirky, get options like this boxed water. It’s an excellent idea if you still want that individuality without the environmental impact that comes with it. Does this directly influence learning? Probably not, but keeping hydrated is important and it goes a long way for conscious attendees having the right attitude towards the meeting and company as a whole.
15. Big White Space
Seeing learning as it happens or while it’s being collaborated on is important for the group to make sure they are on the same page! This traditional whiteboard can still be useful, particularly when presenting, demonstrating or brainstorming. You can upgrade this idea by using digital whiteboards in the office which can send the creation to attendees once you have finished so everyone gets a visual electronic copy, which can be better for retention, rather than notes or minutes.
Agenda for today's @anomalous_collective meeting. Have we even told you that we are part of a group? We have a Anomalous Space offering event space with screening room (A_Space) and meeting room (B_Space). Also Anomalous Visuals who provide video and photographic production and content creation. All working together for your creative needs. #worlddomination #bigplans #collaboration #anomalous #venue#meetingspace #eventprofs #eventproduction #contentcreation
Credit: Anomalous Events
16. Sticky Walls
Get people up and out of their seats using sticky notes to group ideas and brain dump. Not every idea is a good one so this can be an excellent way to get them all out there, and then organise them into potentials and throw away. Although sticky notes aren’t exactly technological, they are still an excellent tool that many utilise, just remember to make notes or take photos in case you lose one because you don’t want to lose the idea!
17. Interactive Infographic Polling
If you’re looking to engage with attendees and understand exactly what they think, create something like this live infographic. Attendees take their own colored string and tie it at the start, they then connect to their opinions and preferences on the graph and at the end the thicker strings that group together show the consensus. While you could have obviously done this as an online survey, this is much more memorable and creates real-time findings that are more interesting and can be discussed there and then.
Flip ➡️ . #AttendeeActivation + #LiveInfoGraphic 📌 This custom activation station allowed guests to share a bit of their background and values with other attendees, while gathering info for our hosts. . We’re showcasing an event today that truly proves that regardless of size, any conference can be a memorable and engaging experience. We partnered up with our friends at @bpimedia to design the DC #PowerUpSummit2018. . . . 📐#teamdf | 💡#electrumproductions | 📸 @jasondixsonphoto | 🏛 @intercontinentaldcwharf . . . #lovewhatyoudo #eventdesign #eventdecor #eventproduction #eventfabrication #decor #design #scenicdesign #scenicproduction #dc #dcevents #igdc #eventplanning #meetingplanning #eventmanagement #eventplanners #meetingplanners #eventprofs #meetingprofs #womenindesign #womenownedbusiness #events #eventlife @bizbash
Credit: Design Foundry
Meetings are essential, so ensure you utilize them to their full potential by using different and interesting ways to promote learning and retention. From seating and layout, to facilitators and stationary, these are excellent places to start to get attendees excited about meetings again!