If you work with a team that holds pre-scheduled meetings on a frequent basis, consider establishing a dedicated project space or consistent meeting location. Choosing the same meeting room for your project team could actually impact your group's productivity.

Dedicated project spaces provide similar contexts where a project mindset is more readily achieved and neural connections are unimpeded. In a sense, the space owns the group's creativity and ideas. This concept, called distributed cognition, suggests that thinking processes are embedded in the work environment.

Physical setting can become the "cognitive space" for the team. It helps members maintain a state of shared minds and focus. As a result, groups with dedicated project space work more quickly and efficiently.

Physical and other external cues trigger memory, influence creativity and generate group focus. Consider, for example, the last time you bumped into a familiar face at the grocery store, yet couldn’t remember how you knew the person. Later, you make the connection – the familiar face works out at your health club or frequents your chess club. Your recollection of the person was delayed because the context was missing.

The same phenomenon applies when recalling details from your project meetings.

A project space may provide other subtle influences, such as scent. The facility's heating and ventilation systems or cleaning agents or the even the coffee maker determine the room's scent. The human olfactory sensors are closely tied to memory. Upon encountering a familiar scent, we can be taken back to grandma's living room, your first house or last year's budgeting meeting.

Next time you decide to meet casually in a novel location with your project team, you may want to reconsider. To give your team an advantage, chose a consistent and familiar location.

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