Meeting formats

Disrupt Your Meetings

Meeting formats have changed. Tap into the newest ideas to transform your next meeting.

What’s most disappointing about meetings these days? They look and feel very much like they have for 15 years, says Michael Dominguez, MGM Resorts International senior vice president and chief sales officer.

When some planners want to shake things up, Dominguez says, they’ll add a hip sofa or comfy chairs, but a successful meeting demands more than simply changing the physical look. “Adding couches isn’t earth-shattering,” he says. “The physical space is overrated if you have great content and engagements.” Rather than changing furnishings, planners are better off focusing on the content curation, Dominguez says. Here are some other ways to break out of a rut:

  • Think about disrupting normal. The World Education Conference in Las Vegas, for example, set its stage in the middle—not the easiest for presenters, but it kept the entire audience engaged, and nobody could hide in the back.
  • Don’t hire big name keynotes if they’re not relevant to a big audience.
  • Mix up presen­tation styles. It’s OK to still have a keynote, but don’t schedule three talking-head sessions in a row. “Research shows we can’t focus on anything for more than 20 minutes,” Dominguez says, “so you need to break the mental rhythm with a stretch or a video.”
  • Remember, you no longer have meeting attendees; you have participants. People want to be involved in the content rather than simply being fed information. Keys to success: customization and on-demand.
  • Finally, keep in mind that people are more focused on wellness and are seeking healthier environments, and this trend is rapidly penetrating the meeting space.
    According to Delos Hospitality, which unveiled its Stay Well program at MGM Grand in 2012, wellness is a $2 trillion industry growing at more than 20 percent per year. Its reports show that 87 percent of travelers prefer healthier food, 73 percent desire eco-conscious properties, and 47 percent want mindfulness meditation programming.

Think about it

Consider making small changes to increase productivity and health:

  • Use LED natural lighting.
  • Think about timing and circadian rhythm. Planners schedule keynotes at 8 a.m., but that’s the worst time in terms of focusing.
  • Provide healthier meals and incorporate stretch breaks
    so attendees mentally rejuvenate.

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