Editor’s Top Picks: Places Other Than the Office to Have a Meeting

Firmology’s editor, Laura Whitener, has launched a new column. Featuring mostly weekend content, you’ll be most likely to find gadgetry, apps, and ideas being recommended for either the person or the small business. Looking for some top picks but haven’t seen them here on Firmology? Leave a comment below!

Let’s face it: meetings are incredibly boring.  The next time you have a meeting in that windowless conference room, count how many people are training themselves to write with their non-dominant hand (my left-hand writing is fairly legible now, FYI).

Even if you haul in doughnuts or some other food-based bribery, that hour or two of listening to three people out of a room of 11 steer the meeting isn’t going to brighten the situation.

Studies show that changing up the environment every so often helps to stimulate better concentration, participation, and creativity. So instead of instantly killing productivity, here are some conference room alternatives that might make that next meeting more bearable.

4- The Local Coffee Shop

Not only will you be supporting a local business, but your employees will also jump at the chance to get the heck out of the office for at least an hour. Some places might even have a patio so your team can bask in the sun while listening to you yammer on about last week’s sales or whatever.

You might not be able to make going out a habit (especially if the boss is the one footing the coffee bill), but you can definitely spark interest in your staff when there’s the possibility that the meeting will include natural daylight, decent coffee, and a new environment.

3-Have a Walking Meeting

This was inspired by an example NextStep.io gave at their five-minute talk during TechWeek LAUNCH.

Not only are you getting out of the office and off your butt, you’re inspiring your employees to do the same.

Obviously, this kind of meeting would be reserved for one-on-ones or three people max, probably, but it’s both healthy and different than the usual “come to my office” meetings.

Employees are less likely to feel intimidated by their superiors when in a neutral environment, and your peers are more likely to speak freely about their ideas and concerns without the chance of Nosey Nancy listening in on the other side of the door (yes, that still happens. GO SIT DOWN, NANCY).

Plus, you both get the awesome benefit of getting a walk in and some endorphins flowing to help push you through the rest of the day.

2- Go to the Park

For real. Unless your meeting involves chatting about some super-sensitive issues (like firing Nosey Nancy), there’s no reason you can’t move that strategy or numbers meeting outdoors again (see a trend here?).

Most parks will at least have a bench if not a few tables around, or you can get organized and schedule the meeting ahead of time and encourage people to bring their own sling chairs.

If you have the meeting during the lunch hour, consider having a local business cater a simple lunch—most lunch spots can accommodate sandwich, chips, and a drink—or make it a mid-afternoon meeting with coffee.

Similar to the coffee shop suggestion, the park has more of a chance of being quieter and more private, plus you’re still getting somewhat of a walk in.

1- Your Backyard

Obviously you can’t put on a presentation at the park or the coffee shop, but that doesn’t mean the boring board room needs to be the only spot available.

If the presentation involves in-house staff, then consider taking the meeting to your living room or backyard. Especially if the meeting only involves a handful of people (read: five or under), then schedule that presentation for the afternoon and skedaddle on over to your place.

A homier environment is more likely to put the presenter at ease; plus, those of you listening to said presentation won’t be stuck in those sad excuses for chairs in the office.

Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Laura Whitener is the managing editor of Firmology, technology focused news and insight for small business owners and online entrepreneurs. Laura graduated from DePaul’s notable Master of Writing and Publishing program in Chicago. She survives on coffee, apples, and Pandora.

When she isn’t editing or writing, Laura enjoys knitting, adding to her massive book collection, and culinary adventures.

You can find Laura on Twitter and LinkedIn.