Sara and Marc found much that was broken within the traditional notions of meetings and workspaces, so they sought to reinvent the entire industry. They explain, “If ever there was an industry in need of a ground-breaking idea, it is meetings. Often deemed mind-numbingly boring, they’re the ugly stepsister of event planning. Our mission is to entirely reinvent the ‘product’ of meetings and infuse it with energy, creativity and a refreshingly offbeat SoHo sensibility. We’ve done away with beige walls and big conference room tables and replaced them with settings that are designed to inspire. Whether you have a need to brainstorm with your team, pitch an idea to a potential client, launch a new product or host a high-level corporate board meeting, Meet is optimized for success.”Many of Marc and Sara’s ideas for Meet the Apartment were inspired by previous frustrations. They identified what was missing, and went about finding solutions. “We all know that when you do a pitch or a meeting at a hotel, the attention of the staff is not fully on your meeting. It’s split between servicing hotel rooms and running the restaurant. In even at the hippest hotels and clubs around the world, the meeting rooms are bland and uninspiring. Meet has one sole focus – making sure that you have everything you need for a successful pitch or creative meeting.”
Meet at the Apartment also revolutionizes the concept of a meeting by taking meetings into new territories – places that inspire a different kind of thinking and interacting. For example, “One of the signature features of Meet At The Apartment is that you can brainstorm while sitting around the kitchen table. We recognized that everyone loves to hang out in the kitchen, eating snacks and brainstorming. So we put a meeting table in the kitchen!” In addition, specific design choices were made to optimize focus and attention. As they explain, “Meet at the Apartment employs a very stylized black-on-black décor throughout the upstairs area of our space. It was not only a design tactic but also a strategic decision, as it dismisses distraction and allows the guests to be the focus.”
When it comes to actual meetings, Marc and Sara offers some advice on how to stay organized and efficient. “For us, the key to staying organized and efficient has been to keep the project teams small and to make sure that we don’t inject so much ‘process’ into the workflow that we’re spending more time in meetings than we are doing the actual work. As a leader I believe in the three email rule. No email exchange should go beyond the third email. After the third email, the person needs to either call or set up a short conversation to discuss in person.”
And to ensure that any meetings are successful, Marc and Sara rely on four basic rules:
- Bring outside people into the meeting to facilitate and participate. Bring in people that are in a different business than you are to lend a fresh perspective.
- Think through the flow of the entire meeting and optimize the right times to brainstorm, take a break, etc.
- Prioritize on action – make sure you don’t leave the meetings and jump right back into your daily workload. Leave with tangible next steps and fast-track the results. Follow up — make sure the meeting is not a one off.
- Every meeting should have a moment of celebration – when people get together you should celebrate success and people on the team. Embrace things that are moving in the right direction.
We agree that workspaces and meetings should be re-thought, so we’re glad that spaces like Meet at the Apartment will be popping up in cities around the world. Hopefully, they’ll set the bar for everything else!
This article is part of a new series about how creative workspaces inspire productivity and help make ideas happen.