Adam Kidan on Outdoor Meetings

Nontraditional meeting spaces can set an informal tone but make sure that vibe is correct for the meeting.

Ever get tired of conducting business in a stuffy office?  You’re not alone.  A recent New York Times article discussed the trend of businesses scheduling meetings in non-traditional spaces rather than company conference rooms.  While shedding the formal office setting can be a valuable way to connect with clients, the article reminds you to avoid common pitfalls of trying to change up the business meeting norm.

Especially in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities, more and more businesses are taking their meetings to the outdoors.  Poolside or cabana meetings are becoming increasingly more common in the business world.

Some of the advantages of these types of gatherings are a more comfortable environment.  People often feel more at home out of their suits and ties and may be more willing to speak honestly.  The danger however, can be making the meeting so casual that it has the opposite effect and ends up making a potential client even more uncomfortable.  The NYT article offers several good guidelines to make sure this doesn’t happen.  The first is dress code.  You will want whomever you are meeting with to have a clear idea of what is appropriate dress for the meeting space.  When scheduling the meeting, make sure you explain the type of space where the meeting will take place and give the other attendees an example of what to wear.  If you are not the one deciding on the meeting space, make sure to ask about appropriate dress.  Just because you are attending a poolside cabana meeting doesn’t mean you should wear your swim trunks and a tank top.

Another key to a successful nontraditional meeting is to know who you are meeting with.  Having a good idea of the people you are inviting is a good way to gauge whether or not a certain space is appropriate for the ocassion.  Taking meetings outside of the office is a great way to set an informal tone, but be sure that is the right tone for both your guests and the subject matter of the meeting.

If you follow these and the other guidelines set out in the NYT article, you should be able to host a successful meeting in a unique space.