Moving Toward Technology and Team Building
You walk in, grab a boxed lunch, take a seat next to someone you recognize from your department, perhaps making a little small talk as you settle in. The speaker fires up a PowerPoint, and you try to be attentive as you sit through yet another presentation on quarterly earnings or cash flow projections.
This is the business meeting of the past. Times have changed, and corporate get-togethers have evolved to meet the changing ecosystem of professional organizations.
At the forefront of this change is the increased use of technology. While this does mean business meetings are seeing an upswing in audiovisual tools and technological gadgets, these tools are not replacing face-to-face interaction between team members. They are more often being used to enhance the experience and help fuel discussion and interaction.
“Companies often come in with their own ideas for how they want their business event to go, and we encourage their creativity and provide the environment and technical needs,” says Dorie Smiley, Director of Operations for Academy Center of the Arts.
Today’s businesses are certainly looking for creative ways to engage their employees. Oftentimes business meetings are used as a way to focus on team building, as opposed to traditional lecture-style meetings.
At Academy Center of the Arts, businesses are presented with myriad opportunities for creative team building activities. Smaller groups might opt for a class in the art or pottery studio, while larger corporations can rent the warehouse studio for a larger event. Companies also have the option to have their event in the gallery. Meetings might also be a hybrid style, starting off with a company-wide gathering and then breaking out into smaller groups for team-building or specialized training.
“These business meetings are moving toward a more casual, friendly environment,” says Smiley. “Companies are able to combine fun activities with team building and leadership training.”
These out-of-the-box meetings also facilitate interaction between people and departments that might not normally communicate, and they give everyone a chance to meet and interact with company leaders.
Some meetings are even more focused on getting team members rejuvenated and incentivized to continue working hard and meeting goals. At Tresca on 8th, some companies choose to pamper their employees with dinner, drinks or even spa days.
“We love to hear from clients about their unique visions for their events,” says Tara Cofer, co-owner of Tresca on 8th.
While the content and structure of these meetings are taking a creative turn, so is the environment. Many companies are opting for themed business meetings to add a casual and fun element to what is typically considered a formal gathering.
“I’ve seen themes ranging from casino night and black tie to The Great Gatsby and Winter Wonderland,” says Cofer.
The key to making these meetings successful events is catering to the company’s vision and unique needs.
“Whether it’s a small, intimate employee retreat, a cocktail party for potential or existing clients, or a fun Christmas party, we help bring all the elements together to make the event a success,” says Cofer.
Today’s business meetings are vastly different experiences from meetings taking place just a few years ago. The focus of these meetings is increasingly moving toward building successful teams, fostering a healthy work environment and engaging with the community. Employees are being seen as more than cogs in the corporate wheel—they are crucial elements to a company’s success, and today’s business meetings are finally reflecting that truth.
By Chelsea Sherman