How to Incorporate Wellness Into Your Next Conference
Jun 15, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

wellness

There is a lot of pressure to be healthy nowadays. Smoking is not tolerated, restaurants are sharing their caloric information on menus, and companies are receiving significant discounts if individuals enroll and attend a gym, go to weight loss meetings and walk during their lunch hour.

So what about meetings and conferences? Can event meeting services organizations transfer these type of incentives to a 2 or 3 day conference? Absolutely! Here are some tips and techniques to keep everyone healthy when they are away from the office — even you!

HOTEL

When investigating a meeting location, determine what exercise options they have onsite.

  • Do they have an exercise facility and pool?
  • Do they offer group exercise classes?
  • Can you rent bikes onsite or close by?
  • Are there running or walking trails? Will the hotel staff lead a walk?
  • Are there a lot of things to do or see within walking distance of the property? 

PLANNING THE MENU

It is important to understand what your attendee needs are well before the conference and then, work with the chef on options that will taste good and be healthy. Emailing the chef several weeks in advance your aggregate attendee food and drink requirements and then, testing the food at the site visit will make your conference go smoothly and keep attendees happy and full. Here are some thoughts:

  • Ask for smaller plates. Your attendees will eat less and think they are fuller. It will also cut down on your food costs.   
  • Ask attendees if they like or need the following food options:

    • Gluten-free 
    • Vegan or Vegetarian 
    • Low cholesterol, such as egg whites and oatmeal
    • Whole grains, such as whole wheat pasta
    • Soy products
  • Provide water instead of soft drinks.
  • Consider sourcing your food from a local farmers market.
  • During the breaks, provide the following instead of brownies or cookies:

    • Fruit or fruit salad 
    • Yogurt
    • Veggie trays
    • Hummus and pita chips

MEETING ROOMS

When checking out the various meeting rooms, look at:

  • How much natural lighting comes into the room.  When renting audio visual equipment, you will want to have your AV project manager or technician provide you with the best light equipment rentals — accenting the lighting that already exists. 
  • Adding mood music before and after each session. 
  • What about ergonomic chairs? If they don't have them, see if you can get the most comfortable chairs the facility offers. 

MEETING LOGISTICS AND SPEAKING IDEAS

Rent iPads so attendees don't have to carry their laptop and lug a large conference binder around the meeting facility. Having a wellness app on the iPad will help attendees stay focused on living healthy while at the meeting. Because the iPad weighs less than 1 pound, it is easy to use while sitting, standing or walking. 

Consider hiring speakers that can address the following topics:

  • Stress Management
  • Time Management
  • Emotional Eating — What it is and how to avoid it
  • How to sneak exercise in at work
  • Weight-Loss Success Story: Someone who has lost significant weight (i.e. Jared from Subway) and what they do to keep it off

During the breaks offer:

  • Chair massages
  • Tai Chi 
  • Chair Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Walking option — either in place walking or a 30-minute group walk

AV Event Solutions, a conference services provider, has iPads and Wi-Fi network arrays available to rent anywhere in California. Check out their express quote page for a quick response to your next meeting, event or trade show requirements.   

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