Planning for Effective and Productive Meetings

Think back to Kindergarten. And yes, for some of us that might seem like decades ago (because it was). The excitement of monkey bar contests at recess, trading Little Debbie Swiss Rolls for Oreos at the lunch table and reporting a gold star on your worksheet after a long day of fighting to sit still. It didn’t feel like it then, but our understanding of meetings began at the age of 5 years old. A designated room with a clear start and end time. A set agenda (lesson plan) established by a facilitator (the teacher) working towards an end goal. And a group of attendees (classmates) who arrived prepared (homework completed) to participate in the day’s activities.

So why don’t our meetings today conjure up the same form of excitement and energy we experienced in the classroom? It would be naïve not to recognize the increased responsibility and stress associated with adulthood decisions and professions. But, even more telling is the way we chose to organize, plan and facilitate our meetings. So in true myth busters fashion, here are 4 best practices from our primary school educators that prove meetings don’t have to be boring.

Allot time for breaks.

We have a tendency to think of meetings as marathons, but it takes a special person to remain energized and visualize the finish line when they’re already feeling the leg pain at mile 8. In school, we were trained to be sprinters. Our teachers worked us in high energy spurts separated by much needed breaks—i.e. recess, nap time, lunch, music class. In the same way, we shouldn’t expect our best, most innovative work to be accomplished without a single break. So plan to sprint with 10-15 minute breaks in between sessions. Escape your meeting room and reenergize in Roam’s design-focused coworking space or grab your favorite specialty drink at the café. You and your team will re-enter the meeting refreshed and ready to tackle the next meeting session. And let’s be honest- there is nothing we regret more than not appreciating the luxury of nap time when we had it. So just think of this as an adult version of your cherished childhood break.

Coworking space at Roam Buckhead & Roam Galleria

Don’t present. Facilitate and engage.

Trying to keep your meeting attendees focused and alert after listening to presentations for more than 30 minutes can be challenging. Rather than replicate stale college lectures, mimic “hands on” kindergarten lessons by utilizing Roam’s meeting room offerings to engage your participants. Write on our whiteboard walls, glass windows and dry-erase tables to stimulate creativity during brainstorm sessions and strategy discussions. Allow attendees to use colored post-it notes, flip charts or blue painter’s tape to physically chart new system processes or product launch campaigns. Roam’s meeting rooms are blank slates awaiting the unique and creative customization of your team.

Left & Right: Home Depot utilizing the Garage at Roam Galleria; Center: Sketch Effect depicting the outline of a talk at Roam’s Local Collective

Environment is key.

Physical environment greatly impacts creativity, energy and team engagement. Can you remember a single classroom that wasn’t covered from floor to ceiling with colorful bulletin boards and student drawings? Teachers spend all summer decorating their classrooms to enhance the education experience. Realistically, meeting planners and facilitators don’t have that kind of time. So that’s why we’ve taken care of it. Roam has intentionally crafted and designed each meeting room to stimulate fun, productive and engaging meeting experiences. From hanging canoe light fixtures to mountain-top inspired spaces, every detail of our meeting rooms will keep your team motivated and inspired.

From left to right: #7 Connect, Retreat, Outpost, Summitt

Bring back snack time.

We may have outgrown Goldfish and animal crackers, but not snack-stocked meeting rooms. Allow our meeting coordinator to organize your food and beverage needs including coffee/tea service, gourmet snacks and catered breakfast/lunch to keep your team energized and focused throughout the day. Stay focused on the meeting details, and allow our team to handle the rest.

So you see, meetings don’t have to be boring. And at Roam, we make it our mission to ensure that your meeting is taken care of from start to finish so that your group can have a stress-free and productive session. Contact Roam today and let us host your next meeting in our innovative workplace!