The Power of Your Venue as a Value-Add

By Jenny Sauer-Klein

When hosting an in-person event, your venue is more than just a place to do business; it sets the mood, and shapes the atmosphere from the moment attendees walk through the door. The right venue can create warmth, foster a sense of possibility, and set the tone for innovation. 🤩

Your venue creates an energetic container for your event. You want to intentionally choose a space that aligns with the vibe of the event and helps you create the transformation you are seeking. When harnessed correctly, the venue can be a significant value-add for your experience. 

When deciding what type of venue to hold your event, ask yourself these questions: 

  • What kind of space would participants be excited to spend time in?  
  • What type of space will help my participants to be successful? 
  • What are the feelings you want the space to evoke? 
  • What kind of tone are you looking to set?

💭Imagine how you might think about your event design differently if it takes place in a hotel ballroom vs in a grassy field. 

If you’re hosting an event for entrepreneurs, it might be ideal to host at a coworking space. If it’s an event for artists, maybe you can host it at an art gallery. 

When we were looking for a venue for our upcoming event, Offsite for Offsites, we wanted a space that took participants out of their day-to-day office environment, evoked a feeling of inspiration, creativity and innovation. That’s how we ended up at Ciel, a creative space in West Berkeley, CA with tall ceilings, lots of natural light, flexible layouts and lots of plants! 🌱

Here are some examples to get you thinking of which kind of environment is ideal for your experience:

 

But what if I don’t have control of the venue?

Sometimes you may not have the budget to rent the space of your dreams, or you may not have control over which venue is chosen. If you’re hosting your event in your normal office space or a hotel conference room that might not feel very “alive” – you can still be intentional about how you use the space to catalyze the meaning and impact of your event. With a few thoughtful tweaks, you can add soul to any space and create a vibe that matches your program.

Here are some strategies we’ve used to turn a space from drab to fab: 

  • Ask participants to bring a childhood photo for a guessing game that gets everyone mingling and creates a gallery full of personality
  • Use “Blind Portraits” as a connection activity and use everyone’s masterpiece to decorate the walls with everyone’s contribution. 
  • Ask participants to bring an object of meaning from home and create a display of all the objects at the front of the room.
  • Rent plants or create bouquets of fresh flowers to place around the room.
  • Move the furniture into a shape that disrupts the normal flow of business. Do you normally sit around round tables? Consider a set up with just a circle of chairs to see how that shifts the energy. 

Your event venue isn’t just a backdrop; it’s a game-changer that sets the tone for the whole experience. 

When you tap into the potential of your space as a value add, you’re not just hosting an event; you’re creating a vibrant, enriching space that fosters connections and sparks inspiration.