You can encourage collaboration in many ways (but not as many as in the “good old days” before the crackdown on compliance!). Here are a few tips and tricks to optimize the physical space and venue to get the most out of your meeting day:
Many boardrooms have long rectangular tables ⎯ so long in fact that the person on one end is too far away from a person on the other end to effectively engage with someone across the room. And then you run into the issue of splinter conversations happening among people who are sitting close to each other.
We recommend a short U-shaped or round table, because everybody is sitting across from everybody else. There’s an intimacy that encourages group sharing, and no one feels like they have a bad seat. And with regards to those “splinter conversations”, minimize these with a strategic seating plan. Place your internal team at key places around the table.
Room Temperature / Light
When people are comfortable in a room, they’re much more likely to participate and less likely to be fidgeting with their jackets, ties, or their hair to either cool down or warm up. So watch your members. If you see that they’re uncomfortable, take the 30 seconds to turn the heat or A/C up or down.
It should go without saying that you never want to book a venue with a lack of natural light – be sure to verify this before signing on the dotted line.
You don’t want your advisors thinking about how hungry they are when they should be thinking about your issues. So make sure the room has snacks. And don’t be afraid to splurge on diversity: fruits and vegetables, sweets, maybe even some fresh fruit smoothies… Just stay away from anything heavy ⎯ carbs and thinking don’t mix.
What do you do to encourage collaboration? Let us know in the comments below.