Tips for a healthy and productive meeting, conference, or convention
Recently, I had the honor of presenting a session at the National Speakers Association Convention about healthy meeting strategies. Here is the companion article for the session:
A multiple day conference can undo the good work of healthy habits. Four hours of sitting increases triglyceride levels, raises blood pressure, deters blood flow, and slows thinking. Taking steps to protect your health as a participant is important. As a presenter, using movement within the program can support audience engagement, learning, and health. Event organizers can design programs to support healthy habits and encourage participation and learning.
Healthy Meeting Tips for Participants
- Stalk The Halls: Three 10-minute walks during the day can be as beneficial as a 30-minute walk. Walk from your room to the meeting area – and take a victory lap. Better yet, take the stairs for even more benefit.
- Go A Little Nutty: A handful of heart healthy nuts such as almonds or walnuts is a great way to add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, get a little protein, and stave off hunger. They are also high in fiber which aids in clearing cholesterol from your body (a good thing if there is some naughty eating).
- Drink (Water That Is): At each session, grab a glass of water. Staying hydrated will help prevent the afternoon headache and aid digestion. Start your day with a big glass of water before your morning coffee. In the evening, alternate water with more adult beverages to keep your wits about you and prevent a hangover.
- Sleep: Yes, this is a tough one! Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. On average adults need 7 to 8 hours per night. Getting at least 6 hours of sleep will limit the sleep deficit you create and allow you to stay alert. A quick nap works wonders too!
- Seek Out The Positive: Spend time with people who support you and your goals. Find someone to act as your accountability partner to help sort through all of the information and settle on action steps so you aren’t overwhelmed. Stop. Breathe. Relax. You can’t implement every idea, neither can anyone else.
Healthy Meeting Tips for Presenters
- Audience Participates Every 15 minutes: Spur learning and engagement by breaking up passive listening with interaction.
- Get Them Up: Making your audience stand at least once per hour increases blood flow, and supports learning.
- Change Their Focus: Participants tend to slump in their chairs and stay in one position. Simply asking them to turn to look at the back wall, or in some other way change focus and position will increase engagement and ease body tension.
Healthy Convention Tips for Meetings Professionals
- Plan 10 minutes of activity for every 4 hours of seated time.
- Play the Pedometer Game: Give prizes for daily steps.
- Walk To Eat: Put some distance between meeting rooms and dining areas to encourage movement.
- Standing Committee Meetings: don’t sit down!
- Active Breakout Sessions: Schedule Zoomba, yoga, or other activity during day to provide processing time
- Create Healthy Community Opportunities: Running groups, yoga, walking groups etc.
- Utilize a Line Dance or Flash Mob: Cue movement time with a theme song.
Plan ahead for a healthy meeting!
The session at the NSA Convention was well received – especially the part where we all danced!
Now it’s your turn.
What challenges you most as a meeting participant, presenter, or planner? Please share in a comment below. Thanks!