Blog FPO

Ditch the Donut Wall

When attending meetings and conferences, we often expect carb-heavy meals and few, if any choices for those on a specific diet or with food allergies. But that is changing…and fast. Over the past few years we’ve seen a huge increase in conferences and events offering more healthy choices, and more WAYS to be healthy.

This shift isn’t surprising, as The Global Wellness Institute estimated that “mindful movement” will be the #1 growth sector moving forward, with 12% annual growth through 2023. Further, workplace wellness is a $48 billion sector, and “wellness tourism” accounts for another $639 billion annually. Yes, that billion…with a B. All of these growing industries have an impact on how meetings are designed.

People expect at least some healthy options. Bananas always go fast, as do apples, trail mix, and the like. But offering more than just some healthy food can show your attendees that you’re really committed to their health & wellness.  

Consider adding a one-pager to your welcome packet that outlines nearby running trails, yoga studios, or other boutique fitness studios where one or two class passes are easy to come by. If budget allows, provide reusable water bottles so attendees can stay hydrated on the go.

If the venue offers fitness classes or access to a gym, make sure attendees know about it. One of the most successful initiatives I’ve seen at an event was a step competition. All attendees got a branded pedometer and sported it proudly all week. Attendees were comparing steps and moving more. Of course, the prize was a fully paid vacation, so this is out of budget for many – but could be an awesome sponsorship option!

As you plan out your schedule, think about how jam-packed it is for attendees. Incorporating wellness programs gives attendees a healthy and memorable experience, as well as a much needed “brain break.” Consider adding “walking sessions,” where small groups walk and discuss a given topic instead of sitting again.  Schedule sessions on work-life balance or meditation as well. One conference I attended even offered a healthy cooking class in the venue’s kitchen.

If you have more time to plan, consider focusing on your sponsors. Communicate the desire to be more mindful of health & wellness to current sponsors. Maybe they’ll shift from offering root beer floats to fresh sorbet. Still fun and unexpected, but healthier. Consider crafting your sponsorship packages to highlight wellness as well. Lots of sponsors like to offer alcoholic beverages – they still can! Add in a blender bike and attendees can bike to make their drink.  Other sponsorship options could include morning yoga or HIIT sessions, a mocktail reception, or a 5K run/walk to get people outside and having fun.

In short, incorporating wellness doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Just like with your own diet, small changes can make a big impact.

Listening to Lead

​Most of us are familiar with a traditional leadership model, a bureaucratic one that leads from the top down. Decisions are made from the leaders and passed down the line to be implemented. While this leadership style has its place and purpose, in facilitation work we often challenge people to embrace a different leadership style. One that’s purpose is to seek input from all and decisions owned by the group.

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By: Savannah Phillips | Feb, 26 2020

Top 5 Ideas to Make Conferences More Fun for Attendees

​Your association’s annual conference is likely one of the most anticipated events of the year for your members. The opportunities for networking and learning at these events seem endless… If you can keep your attendees engaged with fun, unique activities.

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By: Lindsay Gross | Feb, 21 2020

Am I there yet?

​One’s journey to become an “expert” in the field can be a long and winding one. It requires years of experience, training and confidence. Early in my career as I worked hard to become more skilled in my field. I looked forward to achieving that goal of being an experienced professional in the field. Somewhere along the way, I realized we never really arrive. The work and the growth always continue.

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By: Ashley Uhl | Feb, 14 2020

5 Tips for Better Focus Groups

While many think focus groups are an easy way to get feedback from members, it’s more than meets the eye (like most things in Associations!) Here are five quick tips to make your next focus groups the best they can be.

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Gardian of the Month: Brian Vigna

​​Brian Vigna, Instructional Designer for Event Garde, is our Gardian of the Month.

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Accounting for 5 types of unconscious bias in facilitation

​Unconscious bias can sneak into the meetings and events we facilitate. Unfortunately, this can have a damaging effect on not only participation, but on the outcomes of the facilitated experience, as well. How can we draw greater awareness to unconscious bias and counteract its negative consequences?

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