This is not another article about meetings and events!
Well, yes, I guess it is but it’s not just another article about meetings and events. So read on. This article is about the winning formula to ace a meeting or event. But for whom? There are countless how to, top this and top that articles that specialize in effecting better meetings, advice being offered to meeting and event planners by many people from the outside looking in. Experts they are called. In essence these articles are targeted at meeting and event planners to help them better connect the dots in effective meeting and event planning on behalf of companies and meeting venues.
The winning formula to ace a meeting or event however, comes from an unconventional source. It comes from a collaboration of people who help make meetings and events a must-do repeat experience; the people who work there. In Chicago’s West Loop is a creative meeting and event space called Catalyst Ranch which has, for 15 years and counting, hosted hundreds of meetings and thousands of satisfied customers for large meetings, small meetings, specialty meetings, and special events.
With time comes experience, and with that comes a kind of expertise that makes you stand out. At a strategic planning meeting for 2017, management took a different approach to hone in and build on the mission of the company whose business is the satisfaction of their clients and patrons. This was a meeting of the minds, all the minds. The entire staff, inclusive of top management, client services, marketing and operations, came together to share experiences, make suggestions and chart the course for the year, while staying true to the authenticity of the eclectic, nostalgic and unique nature of the classically designed business.
So they incorporated all the bells and whistles for their clients into their own meeting – ambiance of the Polka room, icebreaker games, flip charts and markers, ideation breakout group sessions, presentations and food. They used their own facilities and amenities to disrupt, disorient and engage their senses to get results. At the end of the two day meeting, the Catalyst Ranch team had met their goal and then some. They realized that they have the winning formula. The formula that has kept their business in ‘the game,’ that which allows them to survive (and thrive) in the highly competitive meetings venue industry.
And they gladly share it with you.
Here is what you need to know and do to capitalize on their winning formula:
This is real estate 101. Think of location as destination. You need a space that is close to transportation, hotels and other recreation spots. To garner the best from any gathering of people for work or play, the place you select is key. Choose a physical space that has natural light, is bright and colorful, that evokes joy and a sense of play at work.
Content is king. Your Meeting is an event, and your event more of an event when the outcome is a totally memorable experience. It is about creating an experience for the planner and the participant. The Catalyst Ranch wisdom in experience dictates these – creativity exercises, tried and true icebreakers, engagement, innovative problem solving from interaction, real all-inclusive (pipe cleaners and Play-doh always available) no surprises pricing and truly fun snack services. Give people what they want and suggest what they didn’t know they need.
This is a necessary skill. Know what you’re doing. If not, then rely on the guidance of a professional planner. Use a facilitator to drive big change and keeps things on track. Respect participants’ time and investment. Guarantee strategic interaction and a productive meeting or event. Deliver content in an unexpected way – ditch the PowerPoint presentations. Incorporate creativity exercises. Catalyst Ranch lists its expertise in building memories, full service, engagement, interaction and innovative problem solving. Leverage everything they have to offer.
Seeing Catalyst Ranch ushers in a feeling. When even the most tight-lipped of people are bewildered into talking about the venue, their childhood memories spurred by some artifact or toy in the room, everybody wins. A winning atmosphere releases your participants’ childlike imaginations spurred by color, artifacts and toys, unique furniture, delicious menus. Friendly, helpful, super interesting, ready-for-anything support staff rounds out the experience and puts the cherry on top of your meeting atmosphere.
Everyone is happy.
And so, just who is the winning formula to ace a meeting or event for? It is for anyone who is planning a meeting for their department, local association, non-profit, school, church, small business or corporate office. It is for the administrative assistant, HR director, department head and the independent or company meeting planner. Now that you have it, let the winning begin.