Why a Bean Bag Delegate Package Could Change Meetings Forever

We’ve just announced the brand new Bean Bag Delegate Package that’s now available in our Skyloft venue here at Altitude London. We think it’s going to change the way you plan your meetings.

It’s a very simple concept. We’ve removed the desks and chairs and supplied ultra comfy bean bags in some bright and zingy colours to really wake everyone up and encourage a more productive meeting.

By putting together a relaxed package of tasty street food, fruit infused water and fresh fruit we want to get the creative juices flowing. We really believe that people are more productive when they are comfortable and above all relaxed.

Meetings of old can be like death by Powerpoint. Endless slides and too many hours sat at a desk are not a great way to encourage people to participate, which are probably why lots of meetings are instantly forgettable. There have been lots of surveys about unproductive meetings. In a recent article by Atlassian in the US it was argued that directors and department heads can waste up to 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings. This amounted to over $31billion in lost time over a year.

So how do you make your meetings a little more enjoyable and far more productive? It is a combination of the following which will go a long way to making a meeting have better outcomes.

  • Plan the agenda in advance
  • Agree what the expected outcomes should be
  • Follow up the agreed points to ensure action has been taken
  • Plan time to evaluate the results with all delegates

Good meetings are all about good planning. So make sure you plan so that the meeting doesn’t end up a waste of time. There are lots of things you can do to get the most out of the time. Start with what the expected outcome is and work back so you include things that help this happen.

So what are you going to do to stimulate your meeting’s productivity?

Well think about the location. Is it one you’ve used before? If so how about trying something new or even quirky? Our Skyloft venue with our bean bag delegate package could be just the significant change you need to get things moving in the right direction.

  • Use ice-breakers to get things started
  • Make sure the agenda is an inclusive one
  • Food is a great way to get people productive
  • Use some great “brain food” like fresh fruit and not boiled sweets
  • Keep people hydrated throughout the day
  • Regular breaks and even a few activities help keep people awake

Most people don’t set out to make their meeting one of the statistics about bad ones. But along the way things happen that end up with delegates leaving without the motivation to do anything with what was discussed.

Which is a huge shame considering everyone’s time costs money and all you wanted to do was improve the business.

To find out more about the NEW BEAN BAG package click HERE.

Top tips for a great meeting

Meetings are like marmite, you either love them or you hate them.

I personally love meetings. It’s a chance to get away from your desk, share ideas, be productive, socialise and secretly kill time! It also gives you something to work on for the rest of the week.

Others hate them. They feel they are boring, they drag on, everyone is on their phone and 9 times out of 10 no one is even listening! Don’t get me wrong, I have been in many meetings like this but I have learnt that a meeting is what you make it and they can be fun, energetic and exciting.

With no delay, here are some of my top tips for a great meeting.

 

  1. SCHEDULE SOONER

Wherever possible, try scheduling them in at least a week in advance – That way people have time to prepare and know what they are going in to. Nobody likes ANYTHING, let alone a meeting, sprung up on them last minute. Try to schedule the meeting at a decent time where people will be alert and productive such as the hours between 8.30am and 11am. It’s certainly not wise to do an afternoon meeting when people are just back from lunch and just clock watching until home time!

 

  1. A* AGENDA

Before sending the calendar request, you must have clear objectives and think hard about what it is you want this meeting to achieve. Most importantly STICK TO THE AGENDA. It’s all fair and good having one, but if you waffle off topic and start talking about something completely different, no matter how creative it ends up being, the meeting will either run over (which no one wants) or you won’t actually get the results you wanted to initially achieve.

 

  1. INVITE ONLY

Think about who really needs to be at this meeting. Don’t just invite people for the sake of it even if they are in the same department. Think about who will benefit from it and be considerate that some people are busier than others so may just profit from the meeting minutes. If people feel as though the meeting is irrelevant to them, they will be annoyed and feel as though you’ve wasted their time. Remember time is money!

 

  1. TIME MANAGEMENT

It’s the number one key skill everyone needs to have in life – especially for work and meetings. Simply start on time and end on time. Do not wait for late comers , it’s their problem if they’re late, not everyone else’s and do not have a meeting that lasts longer than one hour or people will naturally switch off. If you stick to these points, people will not only make every effort to attend your meetings but also appreciate you.

 

  1. INTERDICT IPHONES

Put a ban on all things technology – even if it is 2016 and most people don’t even own a pen and paper anymore. The sad truth is if anyone’s eyes are fixed on everything else but yours, then it’s safe to say they will be emailing, browsing online and generally just not engaging in the meeting. Suggestion: provide pens and paper for everyone and guarantee them you will provide clear meeting minutes so they can actively get involved in the discussion.

 

  1. MEETING MINUTES

Following on nicely from point 5, it is essential that within 24 hours, you submit the meeting minutes clearly noting who is responsible for the agreed action steps and the time frame for completion, plus details and timing of the next meeting, if it is required. See these tips on how to write effective meeting minutes.

 

Try these tips on your next meeting and hopefully it will be productive, valuable and worthwhile.

HOW TO FACE GOING BACK TO WORK IN THE NEW YEAR

Late nights and even later mornings, tons of delicious food, classic films all day, lots of shopping in the sale and most of all, seeing friends and family. #LivingLife

Sadly, that all comes to an end for most of us on the 4th of January 2016. Yes, it’s back to work and back to that routine that we were ever so good at.

But it’s not all that bad, think of the positives.

RE-LIVE ROUTINE – Although it’s nice to eat what you want, sleep as long as you like and frankly be super duper lazy, in reality, it’s not very practical. You’re not achieving anything or making the best use of your time which is as I like to say, ‘procrastination at its finest’. Create a manageable routine where you can work hard, but play harder and I assure you, you will achieve way more than without one.

GO WITH A PLAN – It’s the perfect time to really start your New Year’s resolutions. Did you want a pay rise? How about a quick educational crash course to brush up on your skills? Or even a career change? Whichever one it may be, the first day back in January is the best time to do it.

START AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON – I am the biggest preacher of this. It’s 2016, a fresh start. So any ‘wrongs’ you did last year that you want to put right this year, start NOW. It’s never too late for a second chance and mistakes are our biggest teachers.

DO THE THINGS YOU DIDN’T DO – Join the gym (which sadly I didn’t do last year) start a new hobby, get a new wardrobe, talk to that guy you have had your eyes on or even volunteer at a charity for the day. There’s no time like the present and new beginnings can only be a positive one.

However, my main tip and motive I will be using next year is to just have a healthy, happy and successful year. Grasp opportunities, always be kind and make every experience educational and 2016 will surely be prosperous year for you.

Make sure you thank everyone who was a positive part of your 2015 and be grateful for another year.

Happy New Year!

ALTITUDE TOP TIPS TO BEATING YOUR NYE HANGOVER

Let me set the scene.

It’s New Years Day and your head hurts. Now I’m not just talking about the slight ache you get after listening to your Grandma talk about rationing from WW2 on Christmas day, you are genuinely questioning whether you spent your evening hammering your head against a brick wall whilst listening to old school EDM. You can only muster two words whilst hiding in your bed blocking out any potential source of light… HELP. ME.

Here at Altitude London we are here to help. After years and years of experience in dealing with these situations, we have generated our list of TOP TIPS to avoid feeling like death on day 1 of 2016 – Start as you mean to go on.

 

HELLO H20

Drinking water throughout the night WILL save you the next day. It’s a fact. Aim to drink a large glass of water before you go to bed and leave a glass out ready for the next morning. If you don’t have this ready, then when you wake up the next day and look at the water in a vase with three week old flowers as a potential source of hydration, you will be heavily regretting your actions.

 

EAT TO CHEAT

To cheat your hangover, make sure you have a balanced meal before you go out. Eating properly before drinking will protect your stomach lining reducing the chance of stomach inflammation which is the cause of that next day nausea. In the morning, try to not eat a full fried breakfast in a hope of eating your way out of the hangover, this will only irritate your stomach more adding to your problems. Say no to fried food!

 

FORGET THE FIZZ

Now it’s only right we toast the New Year in with a classy glass of Champagne, but do we really need to drink the whole bottle…and the second? Research has shown that drinking carbonated drinks may accelerate the absorption of alcohol making you drunk faster and feeling so much worse the next day. So say bye bye to bubbly.

 

STAY CLASSY

I know how tempting a cheap Jager bomb with ‘energy drink’ can be after a few drinks but trust me when I say that spending a little bit extra on High-end spirits will save your life. The more expensive drinks tend to be more filtered to remove any toxins and impurities which are the culprits for your unbearable hangover.

 

MIXING IS MADNESS

We’ve all had nights out where the drinks menu, mainly the cocktail section, is more like a tasting menu where you sample everything on offer. Enter, monstrous hangover. Surprise surprise, the old wives tale of mixing your drinks has been found to have some truth to it. Mixing different types of alcohol increases the level of congeners in your body which causes the next day nausea. Try and stick to one drink all night to reduce the after effects.

On that note, Happy New Year and stay safe! #TeamNoHangover

 

5 Top tips to prepare for your Corporate Christmas party

Finally, the year has come where the big boss decides to really pull out the stops for the company Christmas celebration!

What used to be just the usual Christmas party down at the local ‘posh’ restaurant is now a bespoke Christmas party in the corporate world!

So how do you prepare for such an event?

It’s your first time – you need to pull out all the stops. Think of it as a ‘first date’ (minus the date part!)

1. First thing’s first, the outfit.

Now this isn’t just a cheap sit down meal where you have the typical Aunt Bessie Christmas dinner washed down with a couple of pints and Echo Falls. It’s a Bespoke party; with fine dining, Champagne on arrival, fine cocktails, canapés, entertainment (that isn’t karaoke!) plus so much more , so you need to dress for the occasion.

I suggest for Men, black tie. It’s elegant, classy, smart and sophisticated. You can’t really get it wrong, but if you’re unsure, read the dos and don’ts here.

For Women, the possibilities are endless! I suggest keeping it classy and elegant, similar to the men’s black tie. Anything too short or too bright just won’t fit the occasion. Velvets, silks, lace and sparkles are always a winner. Take a look at some beautiful dresses here.

2. Doll yourself up!

Hair and makeup should complement the outfit. Men should be clean cut and slick, women need to be fabulous and glamorous. I would always opt for a red lip and a soft smoky eye – It reminds me of the ‘Great Gatsby’ era which is wonderfully chic. Make sure your footwear is comfortable though – there’s nothing worse than being in pain all night and being part of the bare foot brigade – sort it out!

3. Transport;

This may be the boring bit, but it’s very important you have this covered. You need to ensure you know your route and form of transport that is operating at that time. Check TFL journey planner before-hand and TFL updates on the night.

4. Drinks;

I won’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t drink (as I’m the worst person to advise) but know your limits! The last thing you need is to be telling some home truths to colleagues or crying in the toilets about life – You don’t want to be the talk of the town back at work!

5. #TeamNoHangover!

Now this is the main point, the next day cure. Take 2 panadols before bed chased down with a pint of water. When you wake up, have another pint of water and a good cup of tea. I would avoid having the typical greasy fry up and have a nourishing breakfast – my suggestion would be poached egg on toast with a fresh orange juice.

Back to the good stuff; Check out our Christmas parties  for an insight as to what to expect.

Finally, have an amazing Christmas party!

BLOGGER BIO

Sophie Millington is a marketing professional, writer and performing arts fanatic! Working for Altitude London as a marketing executive, Sophie has responsibility for marketing for the ALTITUDE GROUP retail brands. Follow Sophie on Google Plus.

Top Tips to Plan a Successful Business Conference

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been to a bad conference once or twice in our business life. The topic may be interesting and the speakers may be inspiring but there’s something missing. So we asked Louise Greenway, Altitude’s events manager to come up with some handy tips to make your conference memorable for the right reasons!

Here are Louise’s top four tips to help you inspire your delegates:

  1. Interaction

Your delegates may have come to your event on their own and want to get the most out of their day… But the best way to engage them isn’t to talk at them the whole day. We’re social creatures after all! Consider including and making the most of smaller, interactive breakout sessions which will allow maximum time for your delegates to engage with speakers and other guests. In my experience, these are the sessions that guests find the most informative.

All of Altitude London’s venues can be divided up into smaller spaces to create informal breakout areas but if you are looking for something a little more distinct, our Belgravia meeting rooms can be hired as private meeting spaces that have incredible views.

  1. Content management

You’ve probably got a lot of content to get through and loads of fantastic speakers booked… But remember that there are points when your guests need a break. Not only does this give them a chance to recharge for the next session but also digest the information they’ve received and also network with other delegates.

During these breaks you can offer your guests something more than tea and coffee. Not only can extras like cakes or smoothies make your event stand out from the rest but it will boost your guests’ energy for the next session.

You may event want to treat them to a Champagne reception at the end of the day, giving them a chance to network with other delegates and speakers, increasing interaction even further.

  1. Making a Statement

They say that communication is only 30% verbal. Make sure that your methods of communication, from audio to the presentations themselves are designed to connect with your delegates. Each of Altitudes event spaces has state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities and we include plasma screens and flip charts as standard in our Day Delegate packages. That said, every event is different: Altitudes in-house expects can tailor your packages further, helping you to find the right set-up to suit your event.

The Millbank Media Centre has a cinema sized screen and stage, perfect for running interactive and captivating presentations, screenings and Q&A sessions in high definition and surround sound. You can use this hidden gem as an optional extra or centre-piece for your conference.

  1. Make it as easy as possible

It may sound obvious, but organisation is absolutely the key to a good conference. Yes, there will always be the last-minute delegate registrations but the further you can plan ahead the less stress you’ll have to combat on the day!

At Altitude, our dedicated event managers are also there to help event organisers every step of the way, confirming your audio-visual requirements, mapping out floor plans and devising menus to make sure that you are as prepared as possible.

You can talk to Louise Greenaway or any one of the Altitude events team today.

You can read more about our inclusive Day Delegate packages HERE.