Twelve tips for incorporating attendee wellness into your next corporate meeting

Meeting attendee health and wellnessAre you dreading your next onsite corporate meeting, surrounded by heavy banquet meals, dinners, appetizers, break stations loaded with everything from rich entrees to those decadent hotel brownies and blondies followed by long stretches of sitting? Our corporate meeting planners are happy to be experiencing an increase in requests for healthier options and activities at our clients’ corporate meetings and events.

“In addition to the benefits for our clients and their attendees, our staff also feels more productive and rejuvenated onsite,” says American Meetings COO, Todd Bludworth. “Plus, it saves budget dollars that can be used to enhance another aspect of the meeting or event.”

Creating healthier menus and breaks is a great start, and here are some additional activities we have implemented with much success:

  1. Short fitness breaks between sessions to help stimulate blood flow and reenergizing meeting attendees.
  2. Incorporate yoga and breathing exercises as part of the itinerary so attendees go home not only feeling relaxed but equipped to better manage daily stresses at work. (These exercises are especially popular with our sales and internal meetings.)
  3. Create electronic versions of key takeaways – the less paper attendees take home, the less clutter in their workspaces. By creating clean, clutter-free work spaces, workers are more productive and less overwhelmed.
  4. Take the meeting outdoors (if space allows) – fresh air and sensory stimuli can reawaken a group, resulting in fresh ideas, inspiration and relaxation.
  5. Incorporate curriculum that teaches lifestyle changes into meeting itinerary – attendees will go home with a new understanding on achieving work-life balance.
  6. Include nutrition information on menus and food labels to raise awareness of healthy eating.
  7. Use the money saved on lighter menus toward including hotel gym access for all meeting attendees or one free chair massage for meeting attendees.
  8. Make local maps available at your registration desk that outline the closest hiking/jogging trails, parks and other active ventures.
  9. Send daily tweets, texts or emails to meeting attendees with a healthy tip of the day.
  10. Take more intimate sessions “on the road” by holding walking meetings.
  11. Start each session with a stretching activity.
  12. Place health magazines and journals around the common break spaces.

Have a healthy meeting!

About the author:

Andy McNeill, CEO of AMI, is a veteran of the meetings and event industries, with more than 25 years of experience in the profession. He has assisted firms in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, consumer, sports marketing and investment banking. He firmly believes in the strategic meeting marketing model and provides consulting services to Fortune 100 clients on the practice. After graduation from Florida State with a degree in marketing, Andy began his career in the event marketing group at Florida State Athletics. Soon after, he launched his own event marketing company and after five years merged with a major sports marketing firm. Andy spent six years with NSG Corporation as the Senior Vice President leading the sales and marketing for the firm who produced events for over 200,000+ attendees annually across the globe. Andy and the NSG team worked with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta to produce portions of the Opening Ceremonies. Following NSG, Andy secured the role as COO at Fanizzi Associates, one of the nation’s largest event pharmaceutical firms. There he managed the overall operations of the company who executed over 400 events annually for physicians and internal pharmaceutical clients. Revenues exceeded $40 million a year. In 2002, Andy left Fanizzi Associates, and launched AMI with the vision of owning and operating a premiere event marketing and meeting management firm. Since 2002, AMI has grown into a multi-million dollar organization producing hundreds of events annually. The firm has managed programs in more than 20 industries for clients such as Novartis, Mars, Cleveland Clinic, J & J, Baxter, Pfizer and Office Depot. Andy’s vision of keeping AMI on the forefront of meetings technology, theory and practice has made it an industry leader. He is a member of MPI, Site, and the American Marketing Association. He volunteers as a chair of the Human Rights Campaign. Andy's day-to-day responsibilities include client acquisition, consulting and overall company strategy.

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