Believe it or not, some people do not like attending meetings. Say what? And while we can’t all be Meeting Geeks, I do have a few tips and tricks for my fearless meeting hosts to ensure that their guests (who may not share our fervor for assembly) have a different, more inspired meeting experience.

Welcome Attendees with Tunes.

Depending on the theme and purpose of your meeting, consider having music playing overhead as your guests arrive. For example, if you’re goal is to energize your team, music by The Beatles, Toots and the Maytals, and Catfish and the Bottlemen is a great way to motivate and align. Brainstorming and strategic planning meetings can be kicked off right with music from Albuquerque’s very own The Shins. And if your core motive is to educate and inform, there are some awesome café-style jazz playlists to get the toes tapping. Depending on the time of day your business function is, and the type of mood you want to create, a well-chosen playlist will enhance attitudes and generate enthusiasm for the remainder of the meeting.

Provide Alternative Seating Options.

Speaking from experience, some meetings create unexpected social anxieties – even those meetings where you are surrounded by your colleagues. It is so important for meeting hosts to understand that not everyone in the room is as confident and comfortable as you are among large groups of people. To alleviate unease felt privately by some individuals, provide alternative seating options such as bar-height tables and chairs or even lounge-style seating. Most of us feel cozy in our favorite café or tavern… Offering similar seating scenarios at your next meeting can alleviate the “crowded” feeling in a space which contributes to some meeting anxieties.

Work a Video into Your Program.

Not all TEDx talks are 30 minutes long. There are powerful, humorous, inspired talks which can be integrated nicely at the beginning of your meeting or just after a lunch break. One of my favorites – I have played this for numerous gatherings over the years – is Candy Chang: Before I die I want to… It’s just over 6 minutes and with 4.5+ million views, it’s something your guests will be enthusiastically talking about long afterward. Download it here If time allows, and you’re seeking to generate laughter in your program, consider showing the 9-minute talk by James Veitch: This is what happens when you reply to spam email. Download it here This is an entertaining way to give our minds a break during those annual company retreats and continuing education seminars. Enjoy!

Serve Better Food.

Did I ever tell you about the time I attended an economic development luncheon in July, and the hotel served Beef Stroganoff? Seriously? The room we were in was a bit dark and everyone at my table forked in complete bafflement at their plates. When people return to work from an off-site meeting, and they’re asked, “How was the meeting?”, how many times has the response been, “Okay. Food was lousy.” Folks, pay attention here: Food is THE BEST OPPORTUNITY to make your next business meeting a Grand Slam. Albuquerque is home to amazing LOCAL restaurants and catering companies that are eager to prepare a brilliant eating experience custom tailored to your budget and meeting style. Be sure your guests aren’t having to ask the person sitting next to them if what’s on their plate is fish or chicken… Contact one of our delicious local restaurants to ensure the catering at your next off-site meeting leaves your guests looking forward to the next outing.

I believe wholeheartedly that meetings are the medium for information exchange leading to innovation, personal and professional education, sales efforts and productivity. And overall, meetings contribute to the wellbeing of our local economy and community.

As always, if you have your own meeting tips you would like to share with the Gravitate community, drop us a line! Cheers to your Most Amazing Meeting Ever!