The factory manager met us at the back gate because it was after-hours and the whole warehouse closed down at 6pm. After our initial greeting, he took our Forum inside the factory to show us how they produced 10,000+ printed t-shirts per day. At the end of the tour, he led us to a space in the center of the factory floor where eight chairs were circled up waiting for us. He left us alone and we sat down. For the next four hours, we ran through our normal Forum meeting in the middle of a massive t-shirt factory during after-hours. It’s a meeting I’ll never forget.
When it comes to where a Forum should host a meeting, first it’s a matter of if the Forum is virtual or in-person. Of course if the Forum is virtual, then the answer to “where?” becomes a simple answer.
If the Forum is meeting in-person, here are four options:
- Office Space – The most common option is for the forum to find someone with a boardroom or conference space large enough to fit 6-10 people. The group will either meet at the same place over and over again, or mix it up by going to different office spaces each month. Some groups that are all business owners like to rotate between each person’s office as a way to tour each office and see their operations first hand.
- Home Space – Inviting people into your home is a very personal touch and builds deep bonds between Forum members. It is even more impressive if, after the Forum meeting at the home, they are all treated to a home cooked meal.
- Restaurant Space – Some restaurants have really nice private dining rooms that they are willing to offer to a Forum for their meeting with the commitment to spending $X amount of money afterwards for the Forum dinner. If you can get the restaurant owner, or head chef, to meet the group and give a little talk about the restaurant, that would be a special bonus with this option.
- Unique Space – Just like my t-shirt factory experience, there are so many places that would make for a really amazing Forum meeting. You just have to be creative with ideas and be willing to ask, because most of the most unique places don’t see themselves as a meeting location. To get your creative juices flowing, here are some ideas… concert hall, Broadway set, town hall, recycling center, sports court, arena, religious center, or university.
Obviously, the location is secondary to the content and agenda. But a well selected location can really increase the overall value of the Forum because it can create many unique experiences that the members will talk about years later.