How to Put Your People in the Right Mental Space, With the Right Meeting Space

Written by Paul Marchildon, on August 13, 2013.


“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, author, diplomat, guy who disliked meetings.

Meetings are necessary – but we treat them as necessary evils instead of the vital tools they can be. When we use meetings as opportunities for change and growth instead of extended coffee breaks, they become indispensable for the right reason. A critical element of effective meetings and events is choosing the right space. The right physical space puts your people in the right mental space. 

Everything comes from the brief, and when you are trying to hold an engaging, informative, fun event, that brief is complicated. When choosing the venue, you want to look at the purpose of the meeting. What are the communication objectives?

Meetings Lacking Effectiveness?

Paul Marchildon, an experienced Leisureologist, can work with you and your team to design meetings that will capture your audience’s attention from start to finish.

If, for instance, a company is asking its people to be more creative, to collaborate and exchange ideas, why not go to the happiest, most creative place on earth? The Disney Institute offers, among a variety of terrific programs, a seminar designed to help you create and nurture an environment in which collaboration, innovation, and creativity thrive. You are in the Disney environment; these people are obviously subject matter experts. You are having the Disney experience, and you’re relating it to what they are sharing.

Of course, sending your people to Florida for a multi-day seminar may not be in the budget, and that is a critical consideration. (Though Disney does hold one in Niagara on the Lake….)

If revenues are down, or the company has struggled, you probably don’t want to hold a meeting or an event at a venue like Disney or the Ritz Carlton. Sometimes organizers think, “What better way to help our people forget their worries and cares for a little while than surrounding them with luxury, with flowers that smell expensive and music that sounds expensive!” Meanwhile, employees are thinking, “This is just wrong. Good-bye, raise. Good-bye, bonus.” A less “comfortable” (read, “opulent”) hotel or venue will be far more comfortable for everyone.

But what if revenues are up, or you’ve just had your best quarter in years and you want to recognize and reward people? The Ritz may be a perfect idea, especially if you incorporate the Ritz’s service mentality and use it as a parallel to your own success. Again, you are in that experience, relating the meaning to your own organization. Same venue, very different messages received by employees.

A venue is more than a room. It is a means of transforming meetings into vehicles that will drive us forward, further and faster.

Paul Marchildon

Paul Marchildon

A self-proclaimed Leisureologist and Motivational Speaker, Paul Marchildon applies his vast expertise in human engagement to help leaders create more productive, effective organizations. Building on an influential career as a pioneer in employee incentive and loyalty programs, strategic creative communications, social media and mobile marketing, Paul provides insight into the advantages of incorporating a leisure culture in the "work" place. He is past president of Society of Incentive and Travel Executives’ (Site) Canadian Chapter and founder of Atlantis Creative Group (now part of Maritz Canada). He is one of a select group of Canadians who have received the Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE) designation.