How a pro uses Wonder for successful gatherings : Facilitator Lee Gimpel reveals his secrets!

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How a pro uses Wonder for successful gatherings : Facilitator Lee Gimpel reveals his secrets!

Written by Lee Gimpel

As someone grounded in group facilitation, I see a room as a place for people to gather. That room is a tool. The question, then, is what we do with that space. This is really the essence of event design or meeting strategy. Whether it's a board meeting or a networking event, gatherings of people rarely just go great because we've gathered people. They take thought and planning.

Part of this thought and planning comes down to what the leader, host or the facilitator tells people. What are we going to talk about today? How are we going to do it?

But, beyond that, we can help nudge people into better situations and to have better events with subtle cues. That can be how we arrange the room, for example. The placement of tables and chairs -- or the absence of tables -- can be a big determinant of how a group meets. We can also use signage as a shortcut to help people understand what to do in groups or what the flow of an event is going to be.

It's for this reason that I really like Wonder's ability to easily change the background of a space. It might take a little bit of forethought and planning to do this, but it's much easier than doing it in a physical space.

I think there is a lot of utility in stitching in instructions to the space itself, seemingly on the floor or the walls. I also think it can be really helpful to divide the room into obvious, different areas. We can use different colors, shapes, pictures or text to indicate what the different areas of the space may be. Even if it's just a flat, inactive image, the visual cues it provides can really help participants understand what to do and how to get the most value out of the meeting.

Generally, be it in a physical room or in an online space, we might just bring people together for a networking event and tell them to wander around the room until they meet someone; we hope it's the right person and the right topic. But with just a few little subtle changes, we can help give people the cues that they would use to understand that there are, for example, four different topics of interest in the room and that they can move around to talk about those different topics, or ignore some topic completely if it's not of interest to them.

We can do something similar when it comes to exhibitor booths, poster sessions, or things like information kiosks. We can easily transform a flat, open space with visual cues that make the event a lot better for those who are attending.


Lee Gimpel is the founder of Better Meetings in Washington, DC. The firm helps organizations turn meetings from boring and unproductive to engaging and effective, be they staff meetings, board meetings, retreats, or annual conferences. Working to improve online and in person meetings, Better Meetings provides meeting facilitation, training, and strategy.

We love to see the changes happening to Wonder. We used it as our networking platform for our 11th International Translation and Interpreting Conference. Our members loved it so much that they returned to it on their own (we left the platform open to them). 

To make the space more inviting, we created a custom background, rooms designated by language—English, Portuguese, Spanish, Adventurous (trilingual).

As Lee puts it, subtle cues and the right visual can do wonders for the success of a meeting.

Thanks @Abrates Social! This is exactly what we are here do: create the most amazing social gatherings in the virtual world and want you all to leave a Space feeling reinvigorated and excited! 💚 Thanks again for these wonderful words :)