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Bring the Outdoors to Your Indoor Meeting

2014-01-24

 Want happier and healthier attendees at your meeting? Try bringing the outdoors in!

During these chilly days of winter, it’s sometimes hard to remember that sunny, warm days are just around the corner. And when those sunny days come, do your attendees really want to be in a windowless conference room? Of course not! But with all of the variables, it is understandably hard to commit to an outdoor meeting.


What is a meeting planner to do? Bring the outdoors inside. Finding ways to bring certain aspects of the outdoors to your meeting will likely make your attendees happier and more apt to accomplish the tasks at hand.


So how do you do it? Here are few ways that we are doing it in Cincinnati:


Easy Access to the Outdoors

Sometimes it’s as simple as just having the outdoors readily available. In the case of the Contemporary Arts Center, the outdoors are connected right to their meeting room. A terrace that overlooks Cincinnati’s downtown makes sunlight and fresh air accessible during breaks, or you can even take a small breakout to the terrace. There is no real commitment to all of the issues that an outdoor meeting can bring, but it’s still there for attendees to enjoy.


Takeaway: When scouting locations for your meeting, look for an attached outdoor space. It does not have to be a big space, it just has to be large enough to be accessible to your attendees during breaks. With how much the sun can affect moods, this can be especially helpful during emotionally-charged meetings.

Large Windows

Something that the Contemporary Arts Center and the Westin Cincinnati Hotel have in common is spaces with floor to ceiling windows that bring not only the indoors in, but also incredible views. This will also open your room to make it seem even larger than it already is. And despite being inside, your attendees can still feel the sun on their faces, and you don’t have to worry about what the weather will be like that day.


Takeaway: Make sure your space has many windows. The more natural light you can bring into your meeting, the better your attendees mood will be. Plus, this is a great way to lower your meetings carbon footprint!

Plants

The Cincinnati Zoo is known for their efforts to keep their spaces green, but those efforts can also bring the outdoors to your meeting. In their venues, you can find a heavy emphasis on plant life. These plants can clean the air, making it smell and taste better. This is obviously just like what plants do outdoors. And the increase of oxygen that the plants will produce can lower stress for your attendees, making stressful decisions that much easier to make.


Takeaway: Work with your venue to see how you can make plants a bigger part of your meeting space. They can add to the decor, as well as help your meeting run that much smoother.


How are you bringing the outdoors into your meeting? Has it had a positive effect?



Photo courtesy of the Westin Cincinnati Hotel.