The challenge for event planners is that no group is a homogenous collection of people. Each participant varies in terms of learning style, personality, and physical needs. When planning these day-long sessions, be sure to include a variety of activities that will re-energize the different personal needs.
This and the next two articles will provide information that will help any program or event planner be more successful in both engaging participants and assuring long-term impact. This article will address energy sources. We’ll then address learning styles and the connection between mental and physical states.
Introverts and Extroverts – our individual source of energy
Many people mistakenly believe introverts are shy and extroverts are outgoing. Bell Beth Cooper corrects this misconception in a Fast Company article, “Introversion and extroversion actually relate to where we get our energy from. Or in other words, how we recharge our brains.” We all have elements of both, although most people lean more in one direction.
Consider your brain a battery. For extroverts, the 60 minute cocktail hour before dinner can be a chance to unwind and engage in social conversation after a long day of work topics. This social time fuels their battery. Introverts, on the other hand, can still feel energy drain during social times, despite having a good time.
Introverts need time alone, to decompress and recharge internally so they can return to the group setting with fuel in their battery. Making a social event optional is not always enough to give introverts permission to opt out. Social norms and pressures to participate (no one wants to be seen as “that guy” who is not social) often win out. Instead, try the following:
Include a mix of small and large group conversation during the meeting. Introverts often find talking in small groups more comfortable.
Rather than treat all breaks the same, use a mix of “mental breaks” (20 minutes) and “bio breaks” (5 minutes).
Schedule a long (60 minute) break between the end of the formal meeting and the official evening activity. The extroverts who want to gather during that ‘off time’ will organize themselves organically.
What other approaches do you use to keep up energy in meetings? Interested in more meeting best practices? Subscribe to the Meeteor blog and follow us on twitter @meeteorHQ.
About the Author Mamie Kanfer Stewart is the founder and CEO of Meeteor, a meeting software that helps you leverage your meetings to drive productivity, build a healthy company culture, and achieve greater results. Mamie’s two young girls and her love of trapeze keep her active outside of work. Follow Mamie on Twitter @mamieks.