Stay Connected to Nature – During Your Meetings – This Winter

By Olivia Orman

It is tempting to hibernate inside during the winter when it is freezing outside.  Though it is impractical to conduct an outdoor hammock meeting, who said it was too cold to appreciate the great outdoors?  Encouraging a balance between nature and productivity will boost the concentration and wellness of your company associates, making your business outing more meaningful all the way around.

Where to Meet and Experience Winter Nature

First, and foremost, you do NOT need to hold a company meeting outside to enjoy the cold, snowy terrain in winter. With a little research, you will find that there are many indoor venues at parks all around Missouri that are suitable for the occasion.

Klondike Park Meeting Facility – Augusta, MO  

Klondike Park Meeting Facility is a three-story conference and event space centered between several interesting sights.  The Hogsback Trail, the Missouri River overlook, and the white sand beach are some of the notable features to explore while meeting in this park.

Riechmann Indoor Pavilion – Columbia, MO

This red cedar timber pavilion is situated at Stephens Lake Park.  Riechmann Indoor Pavilion is close to an 11-acre lake, a sledding hill, and a miniature beach, illustrating how there is a wide array of multi-seasonal features to visit during breaks.

McClung Park Indoor Pavilion – Jefferson City, MO

A quaint park near the capitol, McClung Park has an indoor pavilion surrounded by open greenery.  This indoor pavilion is currently under renovation, and it is expected to reopen in September 2020.

Working with Time and Temperature

While planning an “outdoor” winter meeting, there are time and temperature challenges to consider before placing a facility reservation.

There fewer daylight hours during the season, so meeting in the afternoon ensures your company will have plenty of light during the day.

Your group will also want to feel sufficiently warm while taking short outdoor breaks.  Layering up is one solution, but deliberately sticking to the afternoon timeframe will ensure the day is at its peak temperature.

Configuring the Meeting Schedule

Where your company gathers dictates the layout of the meeting schedule.  If there are various points of interest at the park, you may decide to allocate three or four exploration breaks that are 20 or 30-minutes long, with two or three 30 to 45 minute intervals of presentation and discussion.

If there is less to see, or it is below freezing, it would be more suitable for a couple of 10 minute breaks, with two or three 30 to 45-minutes of productivity at a time.  Either way, your company associates will experience some connection to nature.

Embracing the Cold

It can feel intimidating to enjoy nature when it is cold outside, but your company will feel renewed after meeting unconventionally.  With some careful planning, even our profession can be invigorating, starting with the structure we model our meetings after.


Olivia Orman is a contributing writer from St. Louis.

About the author

Joe Clote

Joseph W. Clote is owner of Publishing Concepts, LLC a communications and marketing firm based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mr. Clote is Group Publisher of MeetMed™ and Missouri Meetings & Events™ (MM&E) magazine, a quarterly publication read by thousands of meeting and event professionals, and producer of the St. Louis and Kansas City trade shows under the MM&E name. Mr. Clote has extensive sales and marketing expertise in the travel, tourism, fine art, insurance, and software development industries.