Cool Spaces

Ditch the boring — inspirational meeting venues are there for the booking

Posted on Aug 1, 2016 :: Tourism/Resorts
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

For many business professionals, attending a meeting conjures up thoughts that are, well, less than professional. In a recent survey, business professionals reported spending about 31 hours in meetings a month — with most of that time considered wasted. It doesn’t have to be that way. Off-site meetings can be a great way to remove team members from the distractions of the office so they can concentrate on the critical tasks at hand. Better yet, inspire them by selecting a unique venue for that next all important meeting, planning session or special event. Fortunately, the New North region is blessed with some unique venues to help you out, whether it’s a small planning session or major workshop. In this issue of Insight, we present some of the “cool spaces” we’ve come across in our work. The list is neither scientific nor definitive, just a snapshot of some spaces in our region to inspire you.

Michele Yahr wanted something out of the ordinary for a recent event she was planning for her employer, MBM.

As she described it, Yahr wanted a venue with a bit of pizzazz, a vibrant setting that could spark interaction and conversation. She found it in the Automobile Gallery, a Green Bay-based museum and event space that is a relative newcomer on the Northeast Wisconsin meeting scene.

“It’s nice to have the cars and exhibits available to give an event that extra little kick. It allows guests to have something to do. … The automobiles are a great conversation starter,” Yahr, the director of marketing for MBM, says of the event staged at the venue.

She wouldn’t hesitate to do it again, either.

    “The Automobile Gallery has a number of different spaces from an executive board room to a bar area and a large reception hall, making it a very versatile space for any event I can dream up,” she says.

While meetings and events play a key role toward overall business success, they do so in an era when the word itself has become a pejorative for “necessary evil” or “waste of time.”

Research by the software firm Atlassian found employees attend 62 meetings a month and consider half that time wasted.

So getting it right is critical, whether it’s a small team working on a project or a large workshop event directed toward the entire staff. Having the meeting off-site can be a good start, removing staff from the distractions of emails and phone calls.

If you are going off-site, why not choose a venue that can inspire both creativity and productivity?

“The uniqueness of the venue can certainly create an excitement and allow those participating to clear their mind and meet the goals,” says Joey Reader, founder of A-mazing Events, an Appleton-based event and meeting planning agency. “It gets them out of the office, away from the distractions and can really get the creative juices flowing.”

Certainly, the venue should fit the event, Reader says, and depending on the event, a really unique venue could even save money on decorating costs.

Northeast Wisconsin is blessed with some inspiring venues, from the inspiration offered by the Lambeau Field Atrium to the elegance of the historic hotels such as the Osthoff and Heidel House to unique private venues such as Givens Farm near Hortonville.

Whether it’s a get-together of a dozen or more than 1,000, there are some truly unique spaces available to inspire the team and make that next off-site event a success. In no particular order, here are some of the coolest meeting spaces in the region to consider for your next company meeting or get together.