MT Expert - Innovation: Make meeting rooms more fun

Austerity may be in vogue these days. But that's no reason to stop thinking creatively about your meeting environment.

by Nick Eve
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
The Government's austerity measures may have impressed US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. They might even work. But the very word austerity carries connotations of hardship and negativity - and this seems to be creeping deeper into the bones of even the most buoyant and energetic corporations. People seem to be leaning towards the negative attitude that, because of the downturn, we should put all fun, creativity and light-heartedness on hold until things pick up.

And a result, companies are spending less and less time and energy thinking about things like the environment in which meetings are held.

We all recognise that the business arena is a serious one, and like George Osborne, we accept that budgets should be carefully spent. But there is no reason why, when trying to convey a corporate strategic message, the setting should be bland, business-like and devoid of any creativity.

In fact, the more we remove the elements that create an engaging environment, in an attempt to save money, the more we are in danger of destroying any hope of engagement. Chances are that we could actually be undermining some of the core values of our corporation or brand.

Whether the audience is employees or customers, the space in which a corporate message is delivered can and should be creatively branded (unless the message is that the company is closing down, perhaps). This helps to convey the correct motivational feel, and to capture the audience's emotional attention.

We are, by nature, creatures who respond to stimuli. If you put us in a bland corporate meeting room, the kind where we might have our quarterly appraisals, and then ask us to be inspired by a new project and convey enthusiasm - well, it just won't work.

If, on the other hand, we are in an area (albeit still in a corporate office) which is created by clever use of lighting and messaging, it is a whole different story. And that's just it: scene-setting is not just for the theatre. It inspires, it motivates, it generates interest and it shows the audience that they are valued.

There is little point in gathering a group of people together to tell them about your bold forward-thinking strategy if delegates feel the messages conveyed are at odds with the subliminal cues conveyed by the look, feel and delivery of the presentational tools.

The George Osbornes of the corporate world should rest assured that this need not be a costly affair. In fact, if you ignore this vital element, and your meeting is neither memorable or engaging, you could end up wasting a lot more time and money in the long run.

So rather than giving in austerity, we must continue to recognise the power of creating engagement through as many platforms as we can.

Nick Eve is the founder and CEO of Pumphouse.

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