5 Pillars for Creating a Purposeful Meeting

5 Pillars for Creating a Purposeful Meeting | HTR

Purpose. What does that really mean? Ask fourteen planners and you can rest assured you’ll receive fourteen different responses. In this case however, it has a specific meaning along with an implementation plan to follow.

According to co-authors Janet Sperstad, CMP and Amanda Cecil, Ph.D., CMP purpose is all about creating meaningful, lasting, human-centric experiences. Their white paper, Purposeful Meetings: How to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind gives meeting planners concrete ideas to create these moments. Here are their pillars, along with my own thoughts and insights.

Pillar One: Behavioral Science

This column looks at empirical data to investigate the communication strategies within and between attendees, speakers, and your staff. This involves fields like psychology, social neuroscience ethology, and cognitive science. They have three recommendations:

  1. Hire storytellers.
    People connect to others most effectively this way. I recommend you make sure your speaker’s story is powerful enough to bring about an emotional response and deep enough to connect to the rest of their message.
  2. Load personal pics on the PowerPoint projector rental.
    For smaller meetings, nothing bonds attendees better than getting to know who they are on a personal level. Invite each attendee to send to you three pics that includes them with their family and/or pets.
  3. Offer guided meditation.
    This can be one to twenty minutes in length and can help reduce stress and increase mindfulness.

Pillar Two: Health and Wellbeing

Physical, mental, and social well-being are not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but rather they are ways to offer positive, preventative measures that increase this feeling among attendees. Here are three tips:

  1. Provide power nap areas.
    If attendees have spaces where they can rest for 20-30 minutes, their energy levels will increase for the rest of the session.
  2. Give them small nooks for rejuvenating.
    This can be seating for three to six individuals to talk and network. Attendees can also use this time to recharge their phone.
  3. Add live plants everywhere.
    According to Interface, those who work in environments with live plants report a 15% higher level of wellbeing and creativity. To that end, Amazon’s new meeting rooms house 400 different species of plants and Apple is planting over 8,000 trees at its California campus.

Pillar Three: Event Design

“Events that incorporate event design into their planning process can create deeper, long-lasting relationships with their attendees,” says Martijn Timmermans, co-founder of The Red Line Project and Event StoryBoard.

Here are three ways to do so:

  1. Offer peer-to-peer sessions.
    This is where attendees learn from each other about the latest trends, best practices and overcoming challenges within their industry.
  2. Place iPad kiosk rentals outside the room for attendees to easily answer emails between sessions.
  3. Move some of the meeting outdoors.  
    Natural light and a change of scenery can spur creativity among attendees. Be sure to include sunglasses, sunscreen and shade for them as well!

Pillar Four: CSR, Legacy and Positive Impact

They suggest answering these three questions when moving forward on one or more Corporate Society Responsibility (CSR) initiatives:

  1. What can we do to leave a legacy?
    Can you donate money for a brick to build a new school?  Obtain naming rights on a building? These are ways to extend your legacy for years past your meeting date.
  2. What does the community need?
    Work with the venue, CVB and/or Chamber of Commerce to identify three organizations in the community with the greatest need. Figure out how you can help one or more of them while you have your attendees on site.
  3. How can we minimize any negative environmental impacts from our event?
    Can you donate all your leftover food? Carpool to the event? Choose a location where everything is walkable once the attendees gets there?

For more ideas, please read our sustainable practices blog post.

Pillar Five: Technology

“Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, and Artificial Intelligence that inform all digital interactions will soon be the norm, woven into the daily lives of citizens in the developed world in settings that range from retail to medicine,” stated David Rich, Senior Vice President of George P. Johnson Experience Marketing.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Use immersive technology.
    One real example: The IBM team was able to gather real-time data at the IBM Cognitive Studio at South by Southwest from over 9,000 visitors, allowing them to make real-time adjustments to the experience as needed throughout the week.
  2. Get comfortable with Near Field Communications (NFC).
    Look for apps on smartphones to provide exhibitors, sponsors and attendees with lead retrievals, business card exchanges, payment systems, information retrieval and registrations. Each attendee with scan and go in this paperless, cashless environment.

Hartford Technology Group Wants to Hear from You

Are you using all the pillars listed above to create more purposeful meetings? Please share with us how you’re doing so by sending us a tweet @HartfordRents today!