Ever read one of those blog posts about ditching the conference room in favour of weirdly exotic places and wished you could plan a meeting like that? Well… you can. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that the only difference between those who have meetings while skydiving, skinny-dipping or paragliding and those who sit in boring conference rooms are that the former stopped asking whether they were allowed to do it or not. When working with international clients, we are often asked to help them plan meetings in Italy and book venues for their corporate events. And, after exploring every possible avenue or meeting planning, we started asking what qualifies as a venue? And we realised the answer was broader and less defined than we imagined. Here’s a quick list of surprising “venues” to plan meetings in Italy.
Planning a meeting? Take a hike!
Literally. Have you ever thought of planning a meeting on a hiking trail? The trend originated, as so many trends do, in the USA, and it’s catching like wildfire in Europe as well. If you think about it, there’s nothing surprising about it. If you’ve ever hit the hiking trails anywhere, with a group of friends, with family or even with strangers, you might have noticed that the sustained – but not exhausting – exercise, the fresh air, and the beautiful scenery are generally conducive to deep and satisfying conversations. If you are about to plan a meeting in Italy, this year, we suggest you look beyond the sleek conference rooms of Milan and the imposing historic buildings in Rome and explore the hiking trails of the Apennine mountains, the beautiful Mediterranean bushland in Sardinia or one of the scenic trails in the Alps: you will find yourself spending an incredibly productive morning, while staying fit and avoiding burnout. Does it work? No doubt about it. Why does it work? Because there is a whole outer layer of formalism and weariness that we believe is proper and called for in a meeting room, but that actually hinders our professional efforts. And it is way too hard to hold on to that kind of mannerism while climbing, sweaty and puffed out, along a mountain trail. And if you cut off your colleagues mid-sentence to draw their attention to a family of deer or a soaring eagle or a strangely-shaped flower, we guarantee no-one will mind.
Plan a meeting in a sauna
Yes, you read that right. Yes, we mean naked. This, you might have guessed, is not an Italian tradition. While the ancient Romans did indulge in group saunas and, for all we know, discussed state business while soaking in the hot water, modern-day Italians do have the tendency to only discuss business while fully-clothed. An interesting trend for “business saunas”, however, has been developing independently in Finland and – of all places – Japan. In Countries where it is customary for most people to frequent saunas regularly, many companies and even public buildings – of the kind that would normally have a gym for employees and managers – have started adding saunas to their leisure facilities. Sauna meetings work pretty much like you would imagine they do. More suited for quick sessions – mostly ten to fifteen minutes – they are an excellent way of letting off literal steam while strengthening business relationships. Precisely because they require attendees to overcome some level of personal embarrassment, sauna meetings are an excellent way of building both self-confidence and mutual trust and, in companies where they are a regular feature, they tend to be exclusive and to be identified with top-level executive privilege. If you ever plan a meeting in a sauna, however, we recommend you discuss the specifics with everyone involved beforehand: you wouldn’t want something so unique to come as a surprise.
plan a meeting in a unique venue
Plan a meeting in a cableway
Why? Because the view is spectacular and the privacy is absolute. And because, if you are trying to impress your clients, this is the way to go. We have organised several corporate events involving the amazing Skyway Montebianco Cableway, which goes up to 3466 metres, all the way to the peak of the highest mountain in Italy. If you are trying to get your business partners on board with a new amazing idea, something that requires them to broaden their horizons and overcome boundaries, discussing this while going up in a cableway will drive the point home with very little effort on your part. Book the whole car for your group and have an amazing meal waiting for you as you reach your chosen station. Turn what could have been just a plain old meeting into a perfect day.