As specialists in delegate management and venue sourcing - with clients including three of the Big Four professional services firms and half of the top 15 investment banks - Grass Roots is constantly exposed to, and researching best practice in meetings, conferences and events. So, who better placed than their marketing guru, Tom Lambregts to discuss one of the event industry’s hottest topics...
"Anyone who’s attended a meeting or event that’s lasted more than a few hours can empathise with the effects on the body and mind. The physical sluggishness, the foggy head, the clammy feeling on your face.
Boorish speakers, lame exhibitors, and poor customer service can be responsible. If the content is dull, people will feel dull. Venues too, play their part. It’s important to have air conditioning, natural daylight - even windows that open.
Perfectly conceived and delivered events, in inspiring spaces, with birds tweeting as invigorated guests emerge can still do better though. There are lots of effective techniques available to foster a mindful experience and enhance well-being.
Number one – and obvious – is water. Lots of it. Still and sparkling, and ideally cold. If there’s a charge, deal with it. This is essential. Furthermore, intelligent catering is key. Loading up on sugar to force your body to recover from consuming too many carbs is merely delaying the inevitable collapse. Fruit, grain‐based snacks, light juices, salads and more. The greedy will still eat it, and the diet‐conscious will love it. Healthy food and drink makes you feel good, inside and out. And make it available throughout the day, allowing people to eat when they’re hungry and take breaks; avoiding the collective slump pre‐ and post‐lunch.
It does make me cringe when a speaker suggests that an audience stands up, stretches or walks around the room. But it is quite effective. Better still, utilise the movement between sessions or rooms. Gamify the number of steps people take. The side‐effect will be to refocus the mind on something simple; counting steps and sensing the feet connecting with the floor, and the mind connecting with the body.
Mobiles off. Unless the main objective is for content to be dependent on digital devices, it’s overrated to encourage mobile use. Why do you think people turn them off in the cinema? Focus on one thing and increase your focus. Then, at a defined point, unleash a digital Q&A or sharing challenge. You will get more engagement with this tactic of restriction and synchronicity.
Focus on mindfulness and well-being at your events, and curate a fresh formula for success."