WILY: Need more from a meeting? Move the location.

A few weeks ago I formed an informal sort of mastermind group for the project managers where I work.  Anyone who works on projects, professionally or accidentally, in the PMO or lines of business was invited.

We've only had a couple of meetings, so the team is in its forming phase.  Meetings have taken place in a conference room, around a table.

Today the room where we meet was being painted.  There were no other conference rooms available on short notice.  We ended up ducking in an empty hallway to have a stand-up meeting.  

The change in environment seemed to have an immediate impact on the meeting.  Normally quiet members were suddenly asking questions and sharing tips.  Away from the formal table, it felt like a group of friends having a chat.  And the conversation was free and easy.

If you have a meeting that's become stale or needs shaken up, something as simple as changing the location can help.  Meet in the lunchroom, outside, or offsite.  Even just getting up and standing in the hallway can break down the barriers of formality and start the group storming or performing again.