How to turn a meal into a team building event

Let's face it: Meeting attendees need to eat. As a meeting planner, food and beverage decisions are therefore among the most important decisions you make.

If one of the goals for your meeting is teambuilding, however, you might want to think as carefully about how you feed them as you do about what, when, and where you feed them.

"Plated dinners are elegant. Buffets are convenient. And food stations are fun. If you want to bring attendees closer together, however, there's one meal style that blows all others away: family-style," reports Successful Meetings, which identified family-style meals as one of last year's top meeting-industry trends based on their ability to create a large impression on attendees without a large budget.

Family-style meals are great, according to Successful Meetings, because they simultaneously feed attendees, entertain them, and forge team bonds among them.

"Unlike banquets, which segregate attendees at 10-person rounds that make conversation feel forced and formal, family-style meals embrace communal tables and large serving platters that turn 'breaking bread' into 'breaking ice,'" Successful Meetings continues. "The result: People who sit down to meals as strangers stand up from them as friends."

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