Ditching the Conference Room for Creative Meeting Locations

Ditching the Conference Room for Creative Meeting Locations


Meeting over food is a great way to develop professional relationships, as it helps take the edge off of the business situation, and helps people open up in a more friendly and relaxed environment. It also shows to others that you want to meet with them in a less professional manner, and appreciate them enough to treat them to a meal. When selecting a restaurant, be sure that the menu has a bit of diversity to it, and be sure that there are a few vegetarian options. Before selecting a restaurant, ask everyone attending if they have any dietary restrictions, as a restaurant could spoil the event for those with food allergies and others on vegan diets. This should go without saying, but be sure to get a reservation a few days in advance. It can be rather awkward and embarrassing if you have to wait more than 15 minutes for seating, all because you didn’t get a reservation.

The Local Cafe

This is a great place to meet early on in the daytime. It is also less formal (and less expensive) than meeting up at a restaurant. Cafe’s are also known for having good Internet connections, and you won’t need to worry about disturbing others in the not so quiet atmosphere. While you can have meetings with more than one people, we would recommend sticking to five or fewer people, as space may be limited, and it may become hard to hear others at your table.

At the Hotel

If you work with others who are constantly on the go, why not hold your meeting in their hotel lobby or an open conference room. It’s more convenient and less stressful for them to meet close to where they are staying, and it makes perfect sense early in the day or in the afternoon. Check with the hotel to see if they have any spaces that you can take over for a period of time, if they have projectors, ample seating, and are tech friendly, and if they would be able to provide food or beverages for your meeting.

On a Boat

meeting boat

On the note of meeting in a relaxing environment, it’s hard to beat a networking event out on a boat. Whether you’re taking everyone out on your own personal pontoon boat, or renting a luxury yacht for the evening, being out on the water puts people in a great mood and encourages interaction and conversation. If you’re using a personal watercraft, it’s better to take out a comfortable and spacious luxury style pontoon boat like these ones as opposed to a crowded speedboat. Pontoons also offer a level surface, allowing occupants to walk around freely.

The Local Park

As long as it’s a nice day out and you don’t need much of any technology aside from your cell phones to meet, an outdoor meeting environment can be enjoyable and memorable for all parties involved. If you are the organizer, be sure to have an idea of the layout of the mark, and make sure there is a picnic table or set of benches available for you to use. If possible, try and find an area that has proper shading so no one has to worry about getting a sunburn. Also go to your local community website to be sure that there won’t be any distracting events going on during your meeting.

Your Home

If you already have a good relationship with the person(s) you are meeting with, then it may a good idea to invite them over to your home for your next meeting. Be sure you designate an area for everyone to meet that has ample seating and is relatively quiet. If you have kids, make sure they have something to keep them occupied or have a friend’s house to go to. If you have pets, check to make sure that no one has any bad pet allergies, and clean and vacuum the meeting areas for hair. If the weather is nice, and you have a patio that has proper shading, consider meeting outside.

Virtual Conference Room

Sometimes it’s best to give the everyone attending a meeting the choice of where they want to be. There are plenty of paid services like Go To Meeting and free ones like Skype that allow people to meet from anywhere in the world and communicate just as effectively as they could in real person. It should be noted that while this can be convenient, we would only recommend organizing a virtual conference with others if you’ve met them before and have a good relationship with them, or if a virtual conference is the only option available.