The rise of the “meeting design”: creating experiences
A new trend is opening up. The “meeting design” or (meticulous) design of meeting rooms, celebrations, programmes, day long activities… is being used more and more as a method to cause a sensation and impress the delegates at any event of distinction. But we are not speaking only of decoration, no. The “meeting design” is like a film set, with a stage, some actors and a totally defined script, happily open to any improvisation. We shall explain it a little better.
What is “meeting design”?
With the furnishings, lights, decoration, reception, way of speaking, distribution, agenda… everything contributes to building the experience. Therefore, once we open the door to the room or venue used for that purpose, when we set the event off, EVERYTHING becomes part of the “meeting design”. And, because each element we include can change the perception of each person, we have to give maximum care to each detail.
How do we give that special touch to our meetings?
We are going to provide some examples of what could make the conference or event you are organising different. Take note, though, these are only some ideas. When we become familiar with the profile of the participants we can adapt our event to create a surprise on each occasion.
Recieve the delegates in a different way
Normally, we have a Hospitality Desk to give out information and hand out accreditations or other necessary material. At others a hostess politely says “hello” to each person coming into the room. Or, maybe, the organizers may greet in person at the door. Well, we can easily change this method and step outside the norm. If the event and profile of the delegates allow it, why not have an actor, or a doll (any doll, but make it huge!!!), a “super hand” saying “hello”? Whatever you choose, the objective is to make each person coming in smile.
Furnishings in the room
We accept so readily how we perceive a meeting room, we do not think of giving it a different touch. Work tables with chairs always facing the speaker. Well, there are thousands of options, from introducing designer, original or antique furnishings, floor level chairs, carpets….even leaving the room as a large space with chairs on either side for people to sit where they like. Why not? However, remember that whenever undertaking any radical change to what we are used to, we should always have a “staff” member available to accompany and explain to the delegates how to proceed. The idea is to create a surprise that is agreeable not to disorientate people.
Imagine you have a meeting with only a few participants and you decide that each one should go up onto the stage to introduce themselves. (Specifically for only a few delegates, because if there were a lot it would take an eternity). And if somebody does not like speaking in public, no problem. We all go up on stage and that is that! The idea is to participate in the meeting from the moment you arrive and to know that you are operating in that format will deeply enhance that fact. A different format which, from the first moment, tries to create a surprise and and help you enjoy the experience.
Invite participants to play
Whether to break the ice or simply to make participants laugh you can introduce into the meeting a game that makes all the participants present join in. Can you imagine introducing yourself with a microphone in your hand that is a balloon that gets bigger and bigger, and we all know is going to burst? You have to be quick at your introduction, to pass the microphone onto the next person!
Very practical workshops
We are leaving the speaker – audience format completely behind to become at least a 50% practical format. Workshops are the linchpin of this. The theoretical part that places us within context cannot be missing, which directly explains the message, but the fact that the participants experience first hand what we want them to retain, is basic. For example, as we are speaking of “design”, we can make groups and provide material for each team to design a corner of the room as per the explanation given in the theory. Similar to this example, ideas are limitless, depending on the message, product or service we are dealing with.
Experiment with the nearby destination
When we speak of “meeting design”, we do not only speak of what happens in the meeting room. The daily programme can take place inside or outside and can last several days. One of the activities most valued by the participants is to get to know the city where they are, but presented in a different way: interactive visits to museums, sports gymkhanas in the centre of the city, gastronomic routes in groups, cooking workshops.. anything goes providing we avoid the simple tour by itself. We must give it our personal touch and try to be original providing a fun, enriching, relaxing experience..the objective and adjective, you choose!
A surprise on arrival, but also on leaving
When the time comes to leave we can see the event has been a success because we have worked hard at this original format and all the participants have enjoyed it. The Feedback is coming in as excellent. But….. does it all end here? No! What if we propose a final game? For example, imitate the format of the “scape rooms” and encourage a final activity consisting in leaving the room or building using clues and mini games. The idea, once more, is to encourage communication among delegates and their participation from beginning to end.
As we said above this format not only allows for improvisation but actively encourages it, favouring surprise and participation. And what we have mentioned here are only a few ideas. Imagination has no limits and we shall not impose any! Are you up for trying out this trend? We can help you with whatever you need!
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With a career of over 12 years dedicated to the Tourism Sector and specially to the Meetings and Events Sector, in this blog I share with you all that I consider interesting to bring value to our work. It is sometimes difficult to follow a world moving at such a rapid pace. Stop for a second and navigate these sites written for you. Have a nice day!