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May 21, 2015

From the IMEX Inspiration Hub: The Benefits of Slow Meetings & How to Battle Giants

During IMEX Frankfurt's third and final day, a session at the Inspiration Hub led by industry experts Amy Spatrisano and Janet Sperstad from Madison College examined the brain benefits of slow meetings. This was one of 170 education sessions that formed part of the comprehensive education program, now based around the Inspiration Hub on the show floor.

Sperstad and Spatrisano provided an informal introduction to a new and rapidly growing area – slow meetings. With the attention spans of business professionals increasingly diverted, they offered examples of some ways in which event planners can help delegates to focus. The use of lighting, sound and visuals can all focus the senses, creating a more powerful and more memorable meeting.
Some of the top tips explored were the use of music, sounds effects or even smell to create the relevant atmosphere, serving brain food, regular doses of fresh air and the art of scheduling. Sperstad explained that it takes just one fifth of a second for someone to decide whether they want to tune into a discussion. This is followed by 18 – 20 minutes of concentration. Scheduling, therefore, needs to take this into account to deliver small bite-size sessions alongside regular breaks to enable delegates to discuss what they have learnt or absorb the knowledge in quiet surroundings.

Sperstad and Spatrisano concluded by recommending that considering how people assimilate information and incorporating aspects of the slow meeting movement can contribute greatly to a meeting's success. 

Kevin Olsen from One Smooth Stone delivered his session to a packed audience at the Inspiration Hub. His interactive session, Event Learnings from Malcolm Gladwell's Book: David and Goliath, explained how to ‘battle the Giants’ – the day-to-day challenges faced by meeting planners including budgets, timescale, deadlines and availability. In short, Olsen shared advice on how to ‘handle the impossible’ while at the same time concentrating on creating a ‘brilliant event experience.’ 

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