We don’t tend to think of meeting planning as a particularly scientific endeavor, but Dave Kovaleski at MeetingsNet has put together a very interesting list of science-tested tricks that can stimulate your attendees’ attention. You can tell these tips are the real deal: they came straight from Jonathan Bradshaw of the Meetology Research Institute, an organization founded specifically to “study… the sciences affecting human behavior and performance at meetings.” Take a look!
- Play – Reduce stress, raise energy levels, and get people talking at the same time.
- Diet – Eat (and provide) brain food: spinach, salad, fish, walnuts, eggs, tea, and chocolate. Don’t skip breakfast, and drink plenty of water. The food you eat is your energy for the day.
- Meditate – A little meditation time during meetings will let your attendees calm down and focus.
- Music – Organizations like Song Division will create icebreakers and team building exercises centered around composing and performing music. Or if that’s beyond your scope, a little Mozart in the background never hurts.
- Exercise – Running, yoga, or pilates will give your attendees a break while increasing the flow of oxygen to their brains.
- Distract them – People can only focus for so long at a time – give them some breaks every once in a while.
- Arouse the senses – Create a sensory experience that people will always associate with the event. Marriott hotels use the same scents at every location so guests will feel at home wherever they are. Do the same thing: think about the smells, sounds, and sights attendees encounter at your conference
- Colors – Believe it or not, the color blue tends to promote creativity while red promotes attention to detail. Choose your colors according to how you want attendees to think.
- Stimulate – Caffeine and other stimulatory drugs might help if all else fails.
If this list intrigues you, we recommend you stay updated with the Meetology Research Institute. It may be a young company, but it’s looking to become a fantastic resource in meeting-related research. They’ve got a Twitter feed with links to recent studies and seem to have some consulting services down the line; this looks like a company to watch.