This article was contributed by Dr. Heidi Hanna
As meeting planners, you have the opportunity to influence the learning environment in a way that will provide optimal return on investment for your clients. It’s important to be aware of fundamental concepts related to how the brain learns, retains, and applies new information.
The most essential strategy for energy-efficient meetings is to create a healthy oscillation or rhythm throughout the day that mirrors the way the human system is designed to function at its best – as a series of sprints rather than one long marathon.
- Provide guidance on meal and snack selections
- Assist with agenda/schedule to incorporate healthy oscillation, movement, and strategic breaks
- Facilitate (additional fee may apply) guided meditation, morning or afternoon group workout, or other recharge breaks
The 10 most important energy management tips for creating an optimal learning environment:
- Encourage physical activity every hour
- Aim for meeting space that has access to fresh air and natural light when possible
- Schedule shorter learning sessions with time to debrief and discuss key takeaways with other participants for consolidation of learning
- Provide meals and snacks that have adequate protein to stabilize blood sugar
- Build in time for personal reflection and comfortable transition in between sessions
- Make sure speakers stick with time schedule and honor break time as important as any other session – once boundaries become loose, stress hormones spike, and learning is compromised
- Always end with an action planning session where attendees can revisit key learning, write down important takeaways and establish accountability regarding how they will apply their new knowledge
- Create a culture of full engagement that discourages multitasking by requesting all technology to be in airplane mode or off during sessions
- Incorporate healthy humor, play, and creativity to decrease stress and boost brainpower
- Never compromise sleep and downtime by running sessions too late in the evening or cramming the agenda too full.
Dr. Heidi Hanna is a New York Times best-selling author, CEO, and founder of Synergy, a consulting company providing brain-based health and performance programs to organizations, and the Executive Director for the American Institute of Stress. More about Heidi Hanna>