We’ve all been there — struggling to stay awake through a seemingly endless meeting with a forgettable power point presentation, uncomfortable chairs, and weak coffee. Of course, this is the exact opposite of what you hope to achieve if you’re the one in charge of planning the meeting. What can you do to make your meeting memorable? Try some of these tips to make your next gathering unforgettable:
1. Get out of the bored room. Nothing says dull like a sterile conference room with hard chairs and fluorescent lighting. Instead of the same old space, move your meeting to a venue that inspires creativity, such as a museum, an art gallery, an historical site, or even a park.
2. Keep it casual. Encourage attendees to leave the suits, ties, and heels at home. By keeping the atmosphere casual, they’ll be more comfortable and more likely to lean into the meeting agenda.
3. Take a seat. Offer a variety of seating options to ensure comfort. From sofas to upholstered chairs, high top tables with stools, or hard back chairs at tables, present attendees with several seating choices that allow them to work to their best ability while remaining relaxed.
4. Ice breaker. Instead of writing their own name have attendees write the name of someone they admire on their nametag. This alternative to traditional identifiers will spark some interesting conversations.
5. Eat up. As an alternative to serving tepid coffee, sugary sodas, or fatty chips, serve healthy snacks and drinks, such as juices, teas, or sparkling water. If you do want to serve coffee, consider having a coffee bar and barista to make specialty coffee drinks. Healthy snacking alternatives might include energizing foods such as fresh fruit, veggies with humus, trail mix, or Greek yogurt with a selection of fruit or nut toppings.
6. Take part. Rather than lecturing at a room full of people, engage with attendees with a Q&A session, small group challenges, contests, or even a game show exercise that encourages participation, gets people talking to one another, and makes the meeting enjoyable.
7. Themes like a great idea. Incorporate a theme into your meeting. For example, if you’re looking for ways for attendees to build on their strengths, consider a superhero theme and have them list their own superpowers. Pass out take-home swag that incorporates the theme and reminds them about the outcomes of the meeting.
8. Make it social. Create a dedicated Facebook page for the meeting and ask participants to check in and share photos and selfies. Create a social media hashtag for them to use with their posts.
9. Get them involved. Design your own mobile event app that will dramatically increase attendee engagement. Offer registration, live polls, live Q&A sessions, itineraries, schedule changes, and more. Bonus—you’ll cut down on paper use.
10. Speak up. Choose a keynote speaker who specializes in uplifting and inspiring messaging that will get your attendees excited and involved.