How to Break the Mold at Your Next Meeting

How to Plan a Meeting

After awhile, even the best meetings start to feel stale. When that happens, attendees begin to assume: If you've been to one of the organization's meetings, you've been to all of them. For that reason and many others, it's important to keep things fresh.

"This industry allows us treasures that we keep for the rest of our lives. You need to find that in all of your events," Dallas-based event planner Steve Kemble said at Northstar Travel Group's Destination Texas event, which took place this week at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel.

According to Kemble -- whose presentation is summarized by Northstar Meetings Group Managing Editor Sarah J.F. Braley in an article at -- there are many ways to keep meetings feeling brand-new. It all comes down to adding a "wow" factor, he says.

Of course, there are infinite ways to wow an audience. Perhaps one of the simplest and most overlooked, however, is with the seating arrangement.

"While options like bean bags, fun for less serious events, don't really work for the traditional business meeting, Kemble noted that changing out the expected look near the stage encourages people to come to the front of the room," Braley reports. "He suggested cube seating, armchairs with a laptop desk or just straight cozy chairs. He also said using a rainbow of colored chairs is a great idea for budget-minded planners."

Another easy opportunity to impress: lighting.

"[Kemble] advocated using wall projection to turn an indoor space into an outdoor space, using lighting and computer mapping. The technology can wrap an entire ballroom or create an amazing entrance to the event," Braley says. "Kemble also loves lighting events with candles … For minimal lighting, using a candle wall in the back brings a sense of drama."

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