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The Art of Convening

people sitting in a meeting
The most important element of any successful meeting is the outcome. Have you ever attended a long meeting that seemed to have no clear purpose and - worse - no foreseeable end or outcome? We've all been there at some point. Meetings often fail when they're held without a purposeful agenda, with an overloaded agenda, or without a specific outcome in mind.

It's tempting to lose confidence in the power of convening and forget about the energy created by bringing people together in a quiet, comfortable setting.

For decades, The Johnson Foundation has refined the art of meeting and provided meeting expertise resulting in the birth of key national and international initiatives and organizations such as NPR, National Endowment for the Arts, International Criminal Court and the Presidential Climate Action Project. Now, our proven and proprietary convening model is available to assist you in achieving your desired meeting outcomes.

What Separates Us From Other Venues?

At Wingspread, our hospitality and convening experts are available every step of the way as an asset to you. Before, during and after your meeting, we provide a whole array of fully customized resources and experiences designed specifically to help your meeting result in a solution or desired outcome. Depending on your needs, these services can include meeting preparation, agenda creation, team building facilitation, event nurturing and more! There is no "one size fits all" approach here, and all of this comes standard when you host your meeting at Wingspread.
aerial view of hotel

Agenda Planning & Beyond

When you host your meeting at Wingspread, you'll receive much more than just an inspiring location with great service. Utilizing more than 50 years of convening expertise, our team will provide customized recommendations prior to the meeting, and we will work with you to build an impactful agenda that's tailored for success.

Follow-Up Is Our Forte

After the meeting, we conduct surveys of your attendees. Unlike most venues, our surveys are primarily looking at how successful the meeting was based on the established goals and desired outcome. Often, we find that attendees are more candid with us than with internally conducted surveys. We then compile the results and provide them to you with recommended best practices to ensure your attendees get the most out of their time together. We truly mean it when we say your success is our passion!

The Perfect Setting

Wingspread is truly a special venue. It’s a unique and natural environment where people feel free to express themselves and also to feel free to listen to each other. We’re often told that the exclusivity, relaxation, inspiration and clarity you receive while on property is difficult to explain, but ultimately priceless.

Roger Dower, President Emeritus of The Johnson Foundation, once said, “We look hard at what constitutes a successful meeting. You can plan all you like and control every variable, but at the end of the day, there’s still a little bit left that’s all about magic. It’s about the place, and Wingspread brings that magic. There is something about the building, its design, the inherent culture of the building that brings itself out in our meetings and encourages participants to do more and better things than they would [normally] do.”
Board room setup
Conference Center Patio with Firepit

The Importance of Whitespace

Much of the magic described by Dower happens not just in the hours of formal meeting time each day, but between those points, during social time. We like to call these informal moments, the whitespace of a meeting or retreat. Because we give our meeting attendees room to breathe, time to clear their mind, and scenic grounds to walk around, we find that they're often able to de-stress and think differently than they would back home. A large percentage of productivity actually happens during those times when attendees are in casual, small group settings – sometimes over a cocktail or around one of our many fireplaces.

To learn more about hosting your next meeting or retreat at Wingspread, call us today at 262.681.3358 or click here to e-mail us!