This sounds crazy but it’s true. A meeting held in a room with windows will generate more positive discussion and ideas than a closed room.
In modern buildings, it is common for meeting rooms to be in the centre of buildings and have no windows at all. Such rooms with glass walls are better than those with solid walls but you can’t beat natural views and light.
This is especially the case if you need to hold a planning meeting, or a future direction meeting or a problem solving meeting – anything that requires “out of the box” thinking.
If you meet in a room where there are windows, and the blinds or curtains or drapes are closed, then open them. You’ll notice that people spend a lot of time looking outside – thinking.
The argument that it can be distracting is true of course if there is activity outside.
Two interesting exceptions
For instance I once held a meeting in a room where the building next door was under construction and at the same level as us – now it was distracting because it was so interesting watching the builders – we closed the blinds.
Another meeting I attended was immediately adjacent to a 5 star hotel and our meeting room looked straight into one of the rooms which happened to be occupied by a couple who quite clearly enjoyed each others company – we closed the blinds.
I always suggest to clients when I am facilitating a planning retreat, to choose a venue with very large windows, preferably glass walls. Near where I live there are three venues which have one wall which is completely glass. Two look over a golf course, but far enough away not to be distracting, and the other looks over the river. These venues create an atmosphere that simply cannot be beaten for idea generation and positive “blue sky” thinking.
Since it is nearly always the minute taker who organises the room, this post has also been placed under the Minute Taking category.