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03 Jan

Eating at your Meeting: 4 Easy Ways to Boost Brain Power & Alertness

We all know the importance of healthy eating. Yet too many business meetings offer less-than-healthy—or downright unhealthy—meal and snack options. With so much time spent in meetings, that’s gotta change. Start here with four easy ways to create menus that boost brainpower, ensure content you worked so hard to design is remembered, and meeting attendees can fully participate. 1.     Feed the brain protein. When you want people to doze off, serve carbohydratezzzzz (muffins, cookies, soda). If you want them to be engaged and alert, pile on the protein: fish and chicken maintain energy (and red meat lowers it). Boost the brain with nuts, peanut butter, and other low-glycemic snacks and energy bars. 2.     Strike the white. Whether you’re eating a meal or a snack, avoid white sugar, white [non-wheat] flour, regular rice, and too many starches like spuds. And while it IS white, yogurt is a superb snack and perfect protein source. To satisfy the sweet tooth? Fresh fruit, naturally—and so-not-white DARK chocolate. 3.     Move it or lose it. When we move, we learn; the brain literally downloads information more effectively. (Wow—way to go, brain!). When in your event can you get people out of their chairs and actively engaged…

05 Dec

The best gift you can give meeting attendees

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings Newsflash: You don’t need to give meeting participants iPads, Kindles or cash to reward and recognize them in style. In light of this annual season of gifting, we offer you 5 affordable, effective ways to recognize and motivate your people during events—and beyond. First, consider that the #1 motivator for almost every employee or meeting attendee isn’t, in fact, money (whew!). According to Mel Kleiman, internationally recognized expert on recruiting, selecting and retaining the best hourly employees, it’s actually recognition. Yet over 60% of American workers say they have received no recognition for their work in the last year. (huh?!) Take advantage of recognition as a most powerful motivator in and beyond your meetings–with any or all of the following recognition tools: 1.   ROCK your event: Random Acts of Conference Kindness: low-cost gifts given in memorable ways: A juicy example of integrating anticipation into an event, referenced in PCMA’s Convene Magazine: SHRM staged a powerful surprise at a 20,000-attendee convention. Their Random Acts of Conference Kindness (ROCK!) segments fostered interaction and happy surprise—without without a hefty price tag. Lisa Block, SHRM’s director of meetings explained: Out of nowhere, staff appeared…

29 Nov

Top 21 Strategies for Successful Hybrid Meetings

Attending the uber-fabulous EventCampVancouver in person earlier this month—itself a well-executed hybrid meeting—I learned a great deal about hybrid meeting best practices. Hybrid business meetings, once an occasional event, have indeed gone mainstream. Whether you’ve staged them, attended them, or simply wondered and worried (!) about them, the following tips—taken from the EventCampVancouver experience—will likely boost your success as a planner and attendee. After all, as a fellow camper in Vancouver rightly said, “Hybrid is a toy if it’s not a part of well-honed strategy.” [A working definition: hybrid meetings are simply events at which audiences meet live (in-person) WHILE other attendees tune in virtually.] STRUCTURE and FORMAT: 1.      Among EventCamp attendees who’ve executed hybrids, no one indicated that their hybrid meeting sabotaged attendance from their “regular” meeting registration numbers.  Contrary to what some believe, hybrid meetings are inherently ADDITIVE to your current audience base and ability to stage more viable events in the future. And, take note:  confident organizations take the risk of staging hybrids so more voices are heard. 2.      You can boost the potency of a previously real-time-only event by adding hybrid components. 3.      If, for whatever reason, you’re not ready to hold a hybrid meeting, start…

19 Oct

Managing—and better yet, PREVENTING—Speaker “No-Shows”: Top 8 tips for Less Stress

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings A no-show speaker is most meeting planners’ worst nightmare. You can lessen or even eliminate this stressor—and boost your peace of mind—with the following strategies. Remove the possibility of flight delays. When hiring an out-of-town external speaker, include a clause in your agreement that requires your speaker to book a flight with at least one back up or buffer flight after it, in case the initially booked flight is canceled or delayed. This simple step can save you untold worry. In some cases, you can offer to pick up the speaker from the airport yourself, or ask a colleague. You maintain control, save money on ground transportation, and enjoy rare, one-on-one time with your speaker. Ask, or even contract, to ensure external speakers call you upon arrival in the event city—an easy way to boost your confidence and composure. Ensure speakers have everything at their disposal to arrive at the right venue, at the right time, in the right room. This may sound obvious, yet details can fall through the cracks. This includes accurate driving directions (don’t just rely on web-based mapping programs—we all know it can be very wrong),…

12 Sep

When to Hire Speakers Solely Based on Fees

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings Recession or not, I’ve always been committed to helping you save money and effort when you plan important meetings and events. Outside speakers are often the element most instrumental in your event’s success. They help seal participants’ memories of your meeting, educate the audience and heighten perceptions of your organization. That’s why thinking and “spending small” can ultimately cost you more in lost results and reputation than the cost of your initial speaker investment. With a smarter, big-picture approach, we can stretch your budget while still reaching your most important goals. But if you view speakers’ fees as more a cost than an investment, you may limit your thinking and lessen your outcomes. So, when SHOULD you hire speakers based just on fees? 1. When you don’t need event buzz or higher registration Like many products and services, speakers’ fees are based on and vary with supply and demand. Most meeting planners seek to create event buzz and increase registration for their events. With few exceptions, more well-known, buzz-worthy speakers will command higher fees, AND be more likely to generate higher registration and stronger buzz. So while an initial investment is…