After the success of EventWell earlier this year, we’ve been pondering ways to incorporate self-care and mental wellbeing into events at CentrEd. One of the most popular methods of improving mental wellbeing is mindfulness.
At its core, mindfulness is a state of engaged awareness that makes you more aware of your body, your mind and your feelings. It has been shown to enhance focus, improve emotional intelligence, and even heighten your ability to absorb and retain information. Sounds like the secret weapon to more productive meetings, doesn’t it?
By taking the time to reflect and process new ideas in meetings, event planners could revolutionise the outcomes of their sessions. We’ve compiled six top tips to integrate mindfulness into your meetings and events for happier and more engaged delegates.
1. Set a clear agenda
It seems like the most basic requirement for a meeting, but you’d be surprised at the impact an agenda can have. Meetings are often derailed by agendas that are too vague, or worse, completely disregarded. According to a recent survey, professionals claim that 30% of their time spent in meetings was a waste. To truly engage delegates, agendas should be mindfully crafted, considering the key priorities for the day ahead and filtering out any distractions.
Your meeting agenda is the roadmap for the day ahead. Consider posing agenda items as questions that your delegates need to find solutions to, and estimate a realistic amount of time for each topic to be addressed. Be sure to build in flexibility should any new ideas or priorities arise.
Before the meeting begins, circulate the agenda to give your delegates time to think about what constructive input they may have and connect more fully with the content. Structuring the day in this manner will avoid your meeting feeling like one big blur for delegates; and eradicate the myth that meetings are a waste of time.
2. Make time for the thoughtful pause
In meetings, people tend to be reactive in their input - be it quickly jumping in to make a point before the speaker has time to complete their sentence, or reacting negatively to an idea. This behaviour, whilst often meant in a harmless manner, can be the death of open-mindedness and collaboration amongst your delegates.
In the same way you might establish a rule that only one person may speak at a time to prevent people talking over one another and encourage delegates to practice the thoughtful pause.
The thoughtful pause is the act of listening carefully to the speaker, and taking a moment to consider your response before speaking. This simple method cultivates trust and respect amongst delegates, allowing them to share ideas freely and let their creative juices flow. It also makes delegates more mindful about how they interact with their colleagues and what ideas they choose to share.
3. Focus on the food
Our favourite subject – we love to talk about the importance of food in keeping your delegates engaged! Food is fuel for the body and mind. In fact, we’ve written before about the must-have superfoods that can boost brain power. Just as you wouldn’t expect to have a productive morning in the office without a good breakfast – and possibly a steaming hot cup of coffee – food is vital.
The purpose of food in the context of mindfulness is to refresh and rejuvenate. Hydration is key, so plenty of chilled water is vital. Avoid carbohydrate heavy nap-inducing foods like bread and pasta and fill your menu with leafy greens and quality protein like eggs, chicken and fish. At CentrEd, we can advise you on the best brain-boosting options to ensure your meetings stay on-track.
4. Allow time for reflection
Whilst the agenda is your roadmap to meeting success, reflection is vehicle that will drive you to your destination. At the beginning of the day, ask your delegates to check-in with themselves. How do they feel today? What do they want to achieve in this meeting? How can they break down their goals to make them more achievable?
Providing time for delegates to reflect on ideas and accomplishments throughout the day will increase their mindfulness and enable them to understand how they’re engaging with the subject matter. Repeating this process at regular intervals, during breaks and after lunch, will allow them to process and express their emotions, which is key to making decisions.
At the end of your productive day of meetings, be sure to take time to reflect on what has been achieved or formalised. Jot down key takeaways and priorities for your delegates, commit them to paper and circulate as soon as you can whilst it’s fresh in everybody’s mind.
5. Make meetings less sedentary
Nothing gets creativity flowing quite like fresh air. Famous thinkers like Aristotle, William Wordsworth and Beethoven depended on daily exercise to get their brain synapses firing and develop their best work – why should your delegates be any different?
Regular exercise is crucial in maintaining good health, both mental and physical. The CentrEd team recently got involved with a boat race in our beautiful dock as part of the EventWell campaign , a fun and invigorating team-building experience that refreshed our minds for the day ahead.
Encourage delegates to move around your meeting space. You could even make part of your agenda a walking meeting and take your team outside. Here at CentrEd, not only can you enjoy the gorgeous dock views, but there are a range of water sport activities your delegates could get involved in.
6. Add some atmosphere
Last but not least, your environment plays a role in your ability to practice mindfulness. Off-site meetings have been proven to shake up the dynamic by taking your teams away from their regular setting of white walls and ringing phones.
Choose a venue with plenty of natural daylight, distraction-free space and green spaces to help your delegates engage with the day and be more mindful. Studies have shown nature has a restorative effect, a room with a scenic view of soothing features such as CentrEd’s dockside meeting rooms are ideal.
Additionally, research has shown that a moderate amount of noise – in the form of music – can improve performance and get creative juices flowing. Whilst you don’t want music to drown out the discussion, or spark an impromptu karaoke session, gentle instrumental music at a low volume could block out other distractions and enhance productivity.
Want to discuss further how we can help you create the best delegate experience? Please contact the team on +44 (0)20 7069 4723 or firstname.lastname@example.org.