Conferences, Learning Forums, Presentations, General Sessions, Breakout Sessions, Roundtables, Meetings, Meals, and many other aspects of corporate events involve a whole lot of one thing: Sitting. Depending on the focus of your conference or event, the topics or schedule could also involve a fair amount of stress. Attendees at times combat the lack of movement by purposefully touring a large expo floor, or not so purposefully racing from one learning session to the next.
As the world becomes more intentional, the events industry is doing the same. Planned opportunities for movement and meditation are not only additions that will be appreciated by your attendees, they are actions that are proven to boost mood and the amount of information that is retained long term. With all of that in mind, let’s take an intentional dive into six of our favorite ways to incorporate wellness into your next conference or corporate event.
Onsite Yoga and Meditation
Even a minute of deep breathing has been shown to cause a measurable increase in focus and concentration. Imagine the impact on your entire conference if your attendees had the ability to breathe and calm their minds while learning, speaking and networking? You don’t need a studio or even a private room to bring yoga and meditation to your event. Both can be led with the help of a mic and speaker, and yoga can be practiced many ways, including while seated and wearing business clothing. Each year there are more companies popping up who specialize in facilitating onsite wellness experiences geared toward workplaces and corporate events. This is a trend that is only growing.
Daily Health Challenges and Rewards
If you follow Coterie Spark on social media, you might have seen some friendly competitions between producers counting their steps during shows. In our jobs, we are always on the move. If your event involves a lot of sitting and listening, you should consider bringing in some health challenges to encourage movement and physical activity before, during and after your programming. The first attendee at the hotel gym in the morning gets a gift certificate to Starbucks or the hotel spa. The person with the most steps each day could be entered into a drawing for a pair of high end athletic shoes. The right challenges and the right rewards depend on your event and your attendees, but there is something to get everyone moving.
Group Workout Led by a VIP Guest
Is one of your speakers known for their physical fitness or exercise regiment? Maybe your company has a board member or an executive officer who is passionate about running, yoga, cycling, or crossfit. Consider your audience and the opportunities you have to offer them a unique workout experience that they would be excited about. A health centered activity featuring a leader in your company or field as part of your official agenda shows an overall value for wellness and the health of your attendees.
Bring in Some Animal Therapy
Studies show that interaction with animals can reduce stress in humans. Petting or playing with animals can increase the production of the pleasure hormone oxytocin and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This is also a strategy that can benefit your attendees, the host city, and the animals involved. Certain local rescue societies are more than happy to bring some furry friends to your event in exchange for a donation toward their efforts. It also gives them the opportunity to advertise and further socialize the four legged pups, pigs, kitties and more that they rescue and re-home. So put a little expo hall space aside and invite in stress reduction and smile enhancement.
Take it Outside
Are you hosting your event in a city known for beautiful weather or during the best weather time of the year? Look into ways to take advantage of the outdoors. On your site visit, look for things like a great lawn where your could host part of your general session. Does your venue have outdoor options that might work for breakout sessions? Do any locations have doors or windows that open to bring in fresh air or a cool breeze? Even small things that help bring the outdoors inside can help liven up your crowd and brush off the tiredness brought on by fluorescent lighting and freezing cold ballrooms.
Chances are you know someone who, due to health reasons, religion, or personal choice, follows a specific dietary plan. They might be keto, gluten free, vegan, lactose intolerant, allergic to nuts, or tracking their macros. Regardless of the plan or the motivation, a key element of event wellness is menu selection. That being said, this is a fine line. You’ll have your fair share of attendees who look forward to attending your conference so they can take a break from their healthy at home choices. Your best move here: Food Options. Keep your morning pastry bar, but offer an omelet station as well. During a “Milk & Cookies” snack break, include nut milks and protein bites. Look into meal options where guests can build their own meal out of multiple ingredients, and plan your breaks with an equal amount of indulgent and more health conscious treats.
Wondering how you can make your current conference or corporate event more wellness focused without major increases to your budget? Contact Coterie Spark at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.