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8 Smart Strategies to Add Wellness to your Meeting Design

By: Kristina Tarantino, CMP MeetingHealthy.com and The Health & Wellness Forum | Mar 19, 2019

health1Not offering wellness at your meetings? You should be. Actively and strategically managing wellness is becoming a top priority for many professionals. Designing, activating and managing wellness for your meeting can really boost your attendee engagement and bring a fresh approach to your meeting. Here are a few strategies to ensure successful integration of wellness from start to finish.

1. “Sweatworking” Reception

Sweatworking is “business networking while doing physical exercise and so working up a sweat.” A sweatworking reception can replace your traditional reception or can be added as a group optional activity. Some examples that work well are walking challenges, fun runs and group yoga or spin class. Offering food and beverage during the activity is always great to do and creates sponsorship opportunities. These activities tend to engage the attendees and create bonding experiences. Some attendees may be slow adaptors, but soon they become true evangelists.

2. On-site fitness or physical activity

Most travelers prefer to keep their routines going when they attend a meeting. This can be done by carving out room in the agenda to offer on-site fitness or physical activity. One of the easiest ways to do this is to offer a morning fitness class such as boot camp, yoga, barre or an organized run at the hotel. This can also be a sponsored optional activity and can energize your attendees for a day of learning. Make sure to utilize your meeting space or inquire with the hotel to book a suitable spot for fitness.

3. Healthier food selections

Food is the fuel that allows us to have energy and be productive. We all know how to eat healthier but if the options are not available and easy to choose, we may not be able to maximize nutrition and energy. Planning a healthier menu will present better choices onsite. With the help of the chef or CSM, many healthier choices can be created. I believe you can still offer dessert and less healthy selections as long as you balance the options. Staying hydrated is key. Try infused water in meeting spaces if available. Studies show you are 25% more productive when hydrated.

4. Meditation and yoga breaks

Meditation is the fastest-growing wellness trend in America and now it is finding its way into the meeting landscape and for good reason. Research shows that meditation’s impact on stress and overall mood is remarkable. Meditation is a low-cost, easy-to-introduce on-site solution for stress reduction and relaxation. Offer your attendees a 30-minute meditation break throughout the day, or create a meditation room at your hotel that attendees can visit staffed with meditation professionals to guide attendees and create a quiet welcoming space.

5. Wellness suite

A wellness suite can be a dedicated place to visit for a respite or to relax between sessions. It’s important to know your attendees and what might interest them to visit the suite. Some ideas I have created and activated include soft trance music, dim lights, fake candles, aromatherapy with diffusers or sprays of lavender or eucalyptus, salt lamps, comfy seating, infused water and healthy food samples. You may offer wellness activities as well such as chair massage or personal coaching.

6. Corporate Social Responsibility or a feel-good activity

Many meeting goers are searching for ways to give back. Make it easy for them to do this and to feel good at your meeting. Providing a CSR activity is an exciting way to plan an event with a goal of giving back to an organization that welcomes the assistance. This is so important for many people and I have experienced so many positive outcomes from CSR activities. This activity should always be included if at all possible.

7. Wellness speakers

Schedule permitting, a wellness speaker or coach is a great way to invest in your attendees. Even a 20-minute optional session with a good life coach or wellness speaker is enough to motivate and energize the group not only for work reasons, but for their own personal life when they return from the meeting. The benefits of providing self-care to your attendees will show in productivity, health benefits and employee loyalty.

8. Experience nature

Nature is something that is available to access for very little effort and planning. Take advantage of the what the hotel or resort has to offer as far as outdoor amenities and space. Try to schedule any meals, breaks or even meetings in outdoor spaces. If possible, have a walking challenge and encourage outdoor trails. Always have a back-up plan but strive to utilize the outdoors as much as possible. The great outdoors offers much-needed light exposure, providing a mood boost. Plenty of evidence also suggests that walking meetings are more productive than traditional sit-down meetings, better for your health and increase engagement.

As meeting professionals managing many moving parts, a wellness strategy may seem like another task albeit a fun one. With some planning and tools, your meeting can offer attendees options that will be energizing, engaging and fun. The ROI on your meeting will be evident by less attendee attrition, more productive learning and positive overall feedback. A great wellness strategy can be the key to a perfectly healthy meeting.

About the Author: You can follow Kristina Tarantino, CMP, MeetingHealthy.com and The Health & Wellness Forum featuring the HealthyNetwork Live! on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristinatarantino/ or https://www.linkedin.com/company/meetinghealthy/ or Twitter @katarantino for more tips on health and wellness meeting strategies. Visit meetinghealthy.com for great ideas, inspiration and tools to incorporate wellness into your next meeting. Join her at the HealthyNetwork Live! May 31-June 1 at Lake Lawn Resort in Delevan, Wis.

 

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Kristina Tarantino, CMP MeetingHealthy.com and The Health & Wellness Forum
MeetingHealthy.com and The Health & Wellness Forum

 
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