Brain-Hacking Delegates for Better Events
Can we brain-hack our delegates into truly experiencing 100% of every event?
What would happen if we make it imperative to offer all kinds of wellness features and introduce anti-stress wearables at meetings? How would participants learn and interact then? Can this work within the conference structure we know today?
Inspired by BrainTech 2019 and our experiences there, we saw the potential of brain technology on learning, networking, and the overall delegate participation.
WELLNESS AND BRAIN FOOD
Wellness is a hot buzz word in the events industry, but it mostly revolves around providing a few physical activities such as fun runs, or step-counter competitions, as an addition to the already packed conference schedule. Or an early yoga session that just a handful of delegates rule more important than sleep. The reality is, that while we all know the benefits of exercise, meetings are filled with unique opportunities for personal and professional growth that will always take centre stage. And must! We want our audiences to make the most of the programme and social events, they can surely skip a couple of days of their usual yoga or gym regime and those that cannot – well, we’re sure they’ll find the way to incorporate it into their schedule.
Some event professionals face the difficult issue of food and the variety of diets that are out there trending. This is something every meeting planner must address, as now there is clear evidence of how what we put in our bodies affects us and our brain function. Stuffing delegates with sugar and coffee is old news with the focus shifting on eliminating allergens and providing real local meals.
Mindfulness is also closely linked to our brain health. According to PCMA, the dictionary defines mindfulness as a “technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.” We see more and more often chill-out or meditation rooms located so far from the main halls that only a few get to enjoy them. This makes sense as delegates undergo a lot of pressure to do business while taking this time away from the office, instead of hiding away from the crowd in a darkened room.
Mindfulness, food and physical activity, are all tightly linked to feeling our best and helping us regulate our stress levels while travelling. Consequently – being relaxed and at ease helps with accumulating new knowledge and maintaining a positive disposition while meeting new people and building relationships.
Thus, BrainTech opened a whole new world to us, showing us a potential solution to this complex issue of wellness at events that we have not addressed so far in the industry: the use of technology.
BRAIN HACKING FOR BETTER EVENTS
This year was the fourth edition of BrainTech, a Kenes Group Original Event. The conference provides a platform for the latest innovations and research in brain health. It attracts entrepreneurs, start-ups, scientists, investors, venture capitalists and decision makers from around the globe, to discuss and showcase the latest technological developments, opportunities, and challenges in brain innovation.
Brain tech start-ups, or neuro start-ups, mark the interface between neuroscience and technology. They are building a future in which the diseased brain can be healed, and the healthy one can be optimised, or even augmented.
Let’s just stop here for a second and really understand this – optimising or augmenting a healthy brain! Just imagine the potential this has for events.
The exhibition at BrainTech was filled with such technology, including a virtual reality meditation practice. It was an eye-opening experience to see how all participants behaved differently from that of other scientific events. It turns out that when the audience is attuned to the right wavelength magic truly happens.
The ease of working with such a diverse crowd was mind-blowing. The atmosphere and technology just opened the doors to communication. Despite the usual two-day event format packed with lectures, panel discussions, poster presentations, and a few scientific competitions, the experience zone made a real difference at this conference. The participants were using every opportunity to personalise their schedule to fit their individual needs while taking in every moment whether to network or attend a product showcase. There was no secrecy, only a willingness to grow together and do something for the common good.
MINDING THE FUTURE
So, our question is – how can we translate this experience into other events, including in the rather enigmatic world of medical meetings? Is the future going to be filled with delegates bursting of wearables, accumulating knowledge at a different speed, learning so much more, all while making new connections with real people?
We cannot be certain of that, but we can conclude that relaxed, engaged and connected people make better audiences than stressed professionals who are hooked to their phones as if on life support. We urge you for your next event – think outside that digital box and expand your horizon into that of a flexible mind.
This article first appeared in HQ The Associations Magazine, May 2019.