I specialize in finding new ways to approach old problems. Boring team meetings are a given at most companies. So are lackluster event spaces. To write an article that paired everyone’s least favorite type of work activity with an awareness of local event spaces, I put together a creative list.
Break Out of the Boardroom: 5 Types of Meetings that Work Best Offsite
Originally Published in Lynchburg Business Magazine
Imagine sending out a business meeting invitation where people not only accept quickly but also are excited to add it to their calendars. Get a better response from your employees by breaking out of the boardroom with these five meeting suggestions.
High Energy Brainstorming Session
According to a 2014 Stanford study, walking improves creative thinking. In fact, any type of body movement stimulates the brain more than sitting. That is why top executives, such Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, are often seen taking meetings on the go.
To plan a brainstorming session around movement, look for a venue with nearby attractions. For example, Farmville is home to some popular outdoor opportunities including High Bridge Trail and the Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat, featuring a ropes course. You can work with the nearby Hotel Weyanoke for your indoor meeting needs and incorporate some high energy outdoor activities into the schedule.
As General Manager John Shideler explains, “With a small meeting venue like ours, we have several gathering spaces that allow folks to relax, dine together, or take in a morning sunrise on the rooftop. Guests can venture out to local businesses for team building activities such as zipline adventures, kayaking or pottery making.”
To make this type of meeting work for your group, explain your goals to your venue’s coordinator. That way, the front desk can better assist attendees. “It is really important to ensure our hotel team has an itinerary of every aspect of the event on and off property,” Shideler says.
Entertaining Team Building Day
Boredom is the top reason people are searching for a new job in 2018, according to a survey of nearly 5,000 professionals by Korn Ferry. Almost a third of those job seekers are looking for a new challenge. To keep your employees engaged, try planning an offsite team building experience.
Your meeting location is everything—and right now, Downtown Lynchburg is the place to be. The restored Virginian Hotel is one of the newest additions to the thriving area. They have meeting room options for groups of all sizes.
By holding your team building day at the hotel, you can give employees a chance to explore the downtown area as a group.
“The biggest misconception is that there is nothing to do in Lynchburg. Downtown Lynchburg has many exciting restaurants and activities from hiking to historical tours,” says Cindy Draws, Director of Sales and Marketing.
Welcoming New Client Proposal
Americans sit through a combined total of 11 million meetings every day. Add to that the average of 281.1 billion emails sent and received each day and you can see why businesses must fight for a prospective client’s attention.
If your company’s conference room could use a little updating, consider moving a meeting with a client offsite to a local meeting space. Krysta Inglett, Director of Sales for Residence Inn by Marriott, recommends setting the tone with a welcoming atmosphere. “It can be hard to enter a business event where you feel like you don’t belong. It can hurt your networking and connections,” she says.
If you choose a relaxed location, that friendly feeling will extend from your event into the ongoing business relationship. Then, your prospective client will associate your organization with a warm welcome, instead of a run-of-the-mill meeting room.
Eye-Catching Awards Ceremony
In a world with discouraging employee turnover rates, business leaders need to show team members their appreciation. In 2012, the American Psychological Association conducted a study of Americans to understand employee motivations and performance. Not surprisingly, 93 percent of employees said that they are motivated to do their best work when they feel valued. Yet, 21 percent of workers say they do not feel valued.
If you want to say “thank you” through an awards ceremony, an eye-catching venue enhances the experience. A beautiful meeting room, like those at the Craddock Terry Hotel, can show how much your organization cares. Director of Sales Kim Wolfe recalls a business event by Dawson Ford Garbee with Berkshire Hathaway that took full advantage of their facilities. She said the planners “created a unique atmosphere that spoke to their audience with fun, colorful up-lighting around the room and engaging logo items throughout the space.”
The Craddock Terry has made some recent improvements to their event area as well. “We have recently updated our banquet chairs for more comfort, lighting that’s brighter to enhance our space, and brand new audio visual equipment to stay up-to-date,” she says.
Mary McKee, Director of Sales at the Kirkley Hotel, also emphasizes the benefits of a beautiful awards ceremony. “Many local businesses utilize our space for general sessions and breakouts during the day,” she explains. “In the evening we can transform those same spaces into an employee appreciation or team building event for up to 300 people.”
Engaging Executive Planning Meeting
Business leaders can help eliminate distractions during an executive planning meeting by moving the session out of the office. Bring your team together in an event venue like the Hilton Garden Inn Lynchburg. “The best business events take place when the meeting planner offers something unique and different,” says Director of Sales Jennifer Adamczyk.
She says meeting organizers should present content in a variety of engaging ways including through PowerPoint, video, live speakers and webcasts. A fun theme is also helpful. “A theme to the breaks and meals or seating options rather than the classic classroom style keeps the event interesting,” Adamczyk explains.
She recalls one of the most successful events at the Hilton Garden Inn. “It utilized our entire meeting space and had their attendees move from the training session into open space they used for interactive work,” she remembers. “Rather than use classroom seating, they sat in a large U-shape which encouraged interaction. The meeting planner provided fun food for the breaks and lunches, something different every day.”
With so many excellent venues in Lynchburg, you can find the perfect site for your next meeting or business event. By using an event space, you’ll find that the participants are more engaged and productive. Then, the RSVPs will return quickly the next time you send out those meeting invites.