In a previous blog post we showed that boardrooms can take advantage of design and transcend function to become works of art. But what about the meetings that take place in these rooms? Is there any room for originality there? After doing a little digging we believe the answer is yes. We’ve found some truly unique meeting ideas that, though they might seem bit ridiculous at first, could serve as an inspiration to those look to plan meeting that transcends the usual PowerPoint presentations and paper shuffling.
Here they are:
Meeting Idea #5: Hold the Meeting Underwater
In October 2009, feeling the need for a more unique venue, the Mr. Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, held a meeting underwater. Here he is below signing papers in full scuba gear.
While this certainly might not be an idea any of our readers may replicate any time soon, for president Nasheed, it served his purposes admirably. The Maldives, so we found out, happen to be one of the the lowest lying countries in the world, and is likely to be submerged in the event of rising sea levels due to global warming. While we imagine it wasn't a very productive meeting in conventional terms, President Nasheed's choice of venue made a strong statement about the issues that concerned him and his country most.
Meeting Idea #4: Fall Asleep on Purpose
While it isn't unusual to see someone nodding out during a meeting, John Quincy Adams, while serving as a member of congress, abandoned all discretion and made sessions of congress his own private nap time.
Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams in the Steven Spielberg film Amistad
While this hardly seems like an effective way to participate in a meeting, Adams wasn't actually sleeping, but he was listening to his political opponents whisper their plans and strategies from more than 50 feet away.
Unless you have superhuman hearing, this is generally a very difficult thing to do, but Adams, being a student of optics and acoustics took advantage of a peculiar acoustic phenomenon whereby sound can bounce off a domed ceiling and be heard if you position yourself in the right place.
While you might be hard pressed to find a venue with unique acoustics such as the Old House of Congress Building, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't learn as much about a venue where you hold meetings as possible. Who knows what advantages could be discovered.
Meeting Idea #3 Meet on a seven person bike
While the conference cycle may not be ideal for many kinds of meetings, it can be a great way to stimulate creative ideas in order to solve problems. Psychological studies have already shown that novelty (new venues, new situations) can lead to more creative thinking, which makes the conference cycle an ideal choice for creative problem solving with a small team.
Meeting Idea #2 Hug Dots
At Mensa, the high IQ society, meetings are often held where members play games, watch movies, discuss interesting topics and take turns speaking about their areas of expertise. Oh, and there’s also spontaneous hugging involved.
Hugging at mensa meetings is intended to bring members closer together. Some members, however, are very particular about other who invade their personal space. These individuals are encouraged to place red dots on their nametags to indicate that they don’t want to be hugged. Those who wear yellow dots can be hugged but you must ask them first, and those with green dots can be hugged at any time.
While this might seem like an absurd idea, reserved for the socially awkward, it does serve a purpose. It creates an environment where hugging strangers is more socially acceptable and thus more likely to happen while at the same time providing others who are less hug-friendly to protect their personal space.
Meeting idea #1: Have your Boss Appear in a Sitcom
This is exactly what Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway did for his company's annual shareholder's meeting. The creators of NBC's The office, put together a five minute scene where Warren Buffet visits the Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch office. While the clip is unfortunately under lock and key somewhere at the Berkshire Hathaway offices, Buffet also agreed to appear in a cameo scene in the actual show. Here he is in an interview for the replacement of the Scranton branch manager, Michael Scott:
While appearing in a sitcom isn't the most practical idea for most company owners, it may be interesting to do something similar to show to employees that their fearless leader has a sense of humor.
What other strange or outlandish meeting ideas have you come across?
Want to learn more about planning a meeting? Check out our new Event Planning Guide!