If the goal of your meeting is networking or teambuilding, it might be tempting to conceive ways to force meeting attendees together. Relationships will be stronger and more fruitful, however, if attendees build them organically.
That doesn't mean meeting planners have to be hands-off, however. Rather, it means they should look for ways to facilitate connections rather than fabricate them. That starts with the meeting venue, according to Successful Meetings
contributor Julie Barker.
To bring attendees together naturally, she says, planners should look for meeting spaces that feel less like conference rooms and more like kitchens.
"The point [of kitchens in meeting areas] is not to microwave your cold coffee, but to relax and chat as everyone seems to do when they congregate in a residence's kitchen," reports Barker, who says kitchen-like setups -- imagine, for example, café-type tables and an island -- work especially well for popup meetings and brainstorming sessions where the vibe is more casual.
Take, for instance, the new Luskin Conference Center at UCLA in Los Angeles. "The Luskin Conference Center … [has] 'nutrition hubs' that have a kitchen-like feel, with dual seating at cocktail rounds, though without the island," Barker says. "Along with coffee, tea, and healthy snacks, there's chilled water on tap."
And, like the kitchen at any social gathering, plenty of conversation, too.More Tips:http://www.successfulmeetings.com/Strategy/Meeting-Strategies/Meetings-Hotel-of-the-Future-Marriott-Radisson-REDQuestions, Comments, Suggestions?Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.