11 Tips to Brain-Friendly Meetings

By Food For Thought, Hospitality News, Meeting & Conference Planning Industry.

  1. As a planner of meetings and conferences, be sure your message is consistent with the experience. For conferences with a consistent message but an experience that differs from the message, it can be tiring and overwhelming for the brain.
  2. Before beginning a meeting or conference, ensure attendees know the outcome they want from the meeting. The experience is more satisfactory and is easier for the brain.
  3. Technology won’t turn your brain to mush, but you should limit incoming messages by disconnecting and breaking from the technology to prevent overload. Our brains haven’t been caught up with the current culture yet and need a break to function/
  4. In your office, you choose what you want to pay attention; usually it entails multitasking and doing 5 tasks at once. At meetings, our attention is being pulled to only one thing; as a result, meetings can be tiring for the brain and therefore, numerous breaks are extremely necessary.
  5. Andrea believes in working different muscles of the brain by getting up and doing team-building exercises or other brain exercises. “When different parts of the brain get tired, they need a break. We need to work different muscles.”
  6. Attendees aren’t traveling to conferences for content anymore; instead, it’s about connecting to people and face-to-face interaction. She suggests allowing your attendees to do different things that are relaxing, such as a nature walk (which made the daily agenda for Event Camp DC).
  7. Room color, emotional pictures, artwork and plants all play a role in creating more brain-friendly meetings. Andrea advises on venues to find a middle ground,  without overdoing it such as plants and art work.
  8. Ergonomic chairs that are not too low or too high assist in creating brain-friendly meetings. The attendees for the session were amazed to know that rigid chairs make clients less flexible in negotiation.
  9. Give attendees a choice in what they can do at their conference. If they need a break and choose not to attend a session, that’s okay. It will make them more relaxed and engaged.
  10. Food at meetings plays a large role! If you haven’t read our white paper with Andrea Sullivan and Executive Chef Craig Mason, The Science of Food for Thought: Enhancing Meetings Through Food find out what food will make your attendees tick and which will make them wind down for a nap during the middle of your meeting.
  11. Like breaks between sessions, a good night’s sleep is a necessary. Attendees (and people in general) must sleep to function. Andrea explains, “While people sleep, the brain isn’t sleeping. It’s busy consolidating memories.”

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