Shallow, surface, and materialistic are words we can use to describe the vanity in our world. Vanity may not go a long way but it does coax us to a particular road. Vanity in any experience can raise the tolerance of our attention.
The heralded Don Norman once said that attractive things make people feel good which makes them think more creatively. When we get a good vibe in the first few seconds we are more willing to engage. This is why when we design workshop experiences for clients we ask a lot of questions about the audience. We even asks questions about their fandom in music, television, and movies. Those are the domains that our attention prioritizes most and so we play with soundscapes, interiors, and experiences using what our audience gives us.
When you think about the design of spaces in fashion you can see how this is true. The objective may be for you to buy something in a retail space or in a website but the path is for you to get joy from the space and want to share the space. Snarkitecture is a firm that is brilliant at designing spaces. They have designed spaces that people want to be, post, and buy.
As you set up workshops, meetings, and moments of collaboration think beyond the food and think about the full experience and tone. What is the soundscape, what is the landscape, and even get into how it smells. These entry points will make all the difference. This is also a great tip for inclusion which is evident in the spaces Bill Strickland has designed for decades in the hoods of Pittsburg, PA.