Meet Creatively

by Careen Yacoub

We’ve all done it. Every company tries to create a new, inviting and exciting environment in the same old conference room. If we’re being honest with ourselves, innovation and passion for the task at hand can be severely diminished in a four-walled room that very rarely has windows.

Experts agree that meetings or conferences should have a specific agenda, end time and a break every 30 minutes. But what are you doing to ensure the quality of work produced by your team is excellent? Here in the Lehigh Valley there are a few venues to choose from that can easily give your organization a change of pace for a meeting but “none quite like Bell Gate Farm” says owner Stephanie Stevens.

The Environmental Challenge: is a wonderful resource for when meetings become mundane and unproductive. They supply articles, lists of ideas and even facilitators when necessary. Specific ideas for “spicing up your space” include: removing the table from the meeting room, having couches and comfortable chairs on hand, playing Mozart in the background and even meeting outside. These suggestions present their own challenges, how many companies other than Google have extra living room furniture on hand? Hotel ballrooms are a popular alternative for corporate meetings, but the price companies pay for the convenience of having accommodations on site, and the reality that you’re still in that “same old format” takes away from the objective of thinking outside of the box to engage leadership and creativity from your group.

The Issue of Space:

Take a moment and compare your client facing spaces to your internal spaces. The difference is almost always the amount of room devoted to windows, art, and open space. Chances are the lobby, and waiting area at your office is more beautiful and inviting than any conference room on site. Employees need both emotional and physical space in order to be effective and engaged. The Harvard Business Review states: “The open office has a lot of critics these days. But it remains the dominant form of workplace design for a reason: It can foster collaboration, promote learning, and nurture a strong culture.” Unfortunately, not all industries lend themselves to an open office 100% of the time; financial or legal for example; but there is a solution for when a more open and collaborative space needs to be utilized.

Planning and Timing:

How many times has a meeting been called inconveniently at 4:30 PM on a Friday with no set end time? How productive have those meeting ever actually been? Timing, planning and meeting space are essential when expecting a positive result from key players in your organization. Plan a meeting midweek and serve breakfast or lunch to break up the week and encourage a positive attitude towards the tasks at hand. “Midweek specials” scheduled offsite are especially effective as it encourages the group to create something together to foster familiarity. Michael Wilkinson, Managing Director at Leadership Strategies states “If they create it, they understand it, they accept it, and they own it.” Imagine your group, in a new setting at a strategically timed meeting solving issues for your company in a productive and positive manner. How do you find such a space?

The Solution:

Hotel conference rooms or restaurant private rooms are not a solution that will solve the issue of bland or mundane meeting spaces for your team. Bell Gate Farm, located at 7081 Bell Gate Road in Coopersburg Pennsylvania has both indoor and outdoor spaces to choose from that will easily supply a healthy change of environment. 233 acres of land and amazing views provides the literal and emotional space needed for a productive meeting.

Stephanie Stevens put a lot of thought and energy into each choice she made for her state of the art venue. She ensured that the spaces could be used for more formal events such as weddings or fundraisers but also created an intimate touch that lends the environment to more collaborative and creative corporate meetings. Her personal originality and ingenuity are adamantly represented in each piece of comfortable furniture available in the space, and she even foresaw the needs of a traditional corporate meeting space such as televisions for presentations or the ability to speak to a large group with individually controlled speakers and microphone access.

“I really hope this article inspires people to mix it up a little when it comes to their next important meeting” – Stevens

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