There are many reasons a meeting can be boring: the culprit may be the configuration of the venue itself. It’s possible that your surroundings aren’t conducive to developing new ideas or having profitable discussions, and it may be time to make some changes to your meeting settings.
Creating a setting for inspiration and creativity is not as hard as it sounds. A few simple changes can really make a big difference. Here are several ways you can alter the venue to improve blasé meetings.
Let the Light In
Sunlight can really help brighten the mood of a meeting. If your conference room doesn’t have any windows or there’s simply no way of letting in natural light, you may want to change locations.
You could even take your meeting outside, if possible. The natural surrounding can really help with short-term memory and creativity. If your meetings could use a boost of inspiration, this might be a good way to trigger it.
Finally, if there are no other options available to you, take frequent breaks to go outside. This can help you have a more productive meeting, because sitting and listening the whole time has a way of killing concentration.
Allow for Eye Contact
Meetings tend to go better when everyone can see each other’s face and make eye contact when appropriate. If your conference room just doesn’t allow for this, you may need to find a circular or U-shaped desk that enables everyone to see one another. Alternatively, if you don’t have a table or don’t need one, you can accomplish the same thing by adjusting your seating arrangement.
Add Some Color to the Walls
Most meeting rooms are pretty boring: they tend to have blank, white walls with no pictures and no color. Do a little bit of a study on the science of colors before jumping right in and making your meeting room more engaging. It can really have a big impact on everyone’s mood.
Good colors tend to be orange (for social interaction), as well as red and yellow (for creativity). Purple tends to be uplifting and calming, while blue and green are good for encouraging relaxation.
Random doodling and sketching has actually been shown to help with focus among some people. If you seem to have trouble keeping your team members engaged, you might want to encourage doodling during future meetings. One way to do this is to have plenty of pens and paper on hand. You can also create a desktop surface where your team can scribble with non-permanent markers. You do, of course, want to make sure no one is missing any critical details within the meeting, so encourage team members to doodle within reason and ensure that they’re not floating off into a different headspace altogether.
At our office, we give our conference rooms city names to add some flavor. We also try to meet in different rooms whenever possible. Standing up for a meeting versus sitting down can make a huge impact, and we incorporate both styles when appropriate. Finally, when the weather permits, we always try to meet outside on the patio. It’s a great way to change things up and get some much-needed fresh air to talk things out.
If you tend to have meetings at the same place and same time every week, a little bit of variety can go a long way. Fundamentally, it comes back to the purpose of the meeting: if the goal is to stimulate engagement and share profitable ideas, then you absolutely need to make your environment more appealing. Take a look at your venue and see how you can make it more interesting for everyone involved.