These are exciting times. The rate of technology change is accelerating with thousands of ideas; apps and innovations bubbling up to help event planners create a-ha moments of transformation for their attendees. Technology has some wonderful benefits. I use it every day and I would never, ever argue against the responsible use of it – especially where meetings and events are concerned. However, that being said, there is a new trend emerging, one I feel is equally worth embracing — and that is building in moments of unplugging. And I do mean moments, for as much as I like the idea of producing a leadership summit on an actual mountain summit, it’s not exactly the most feasible idea.
So what do I mean by unplugged moments?
Start your meeting elsewhere.
Henry Ward Beecher once said, “The first hour is the rudder of the day.” So instead of kicking off first general session in the main ballroom, consider setting the meeting tone outside the venue.
Block out meeting times.
Block out meeting times aside from the event so attendees are asked to power down their smartphone and iPads. This will allow attendees to get back to a more present, mindful state.
Build a nap space.
A place during break time attendees can go to meditate, close their eyes or practice yoga. Your attendees might be skeptical at first, but eventually they’ll appreciate, if not love, the gesture.
Host a socializing party that asks attendees to leave their technology at the door.
Without technology to lean on, conversations will be more unfiltered and authentic. After all, life is still about flesh, blood and eye contact. And no matter how much you interact with others through the miracle of technology, there is something entirely different about meeting face-to-face. The experience of looking another person in the eye without the filter of a screen changes everything.
Host tech-free breakout sessions!
Being a facilitator of many brainstorm sessions, I’ve found that some of the best ideas emerge when the gadgets are shut off.
The result: attendees will rediscover and savor learning moments for their own sake. They’ll take information in without tweeting it. Eat meals without colleagues Instagraming them, hear presenters say something transformational without posting it, and most importantly – they’ll retain it instead of merely documenting it. Or heck, maybe you should try and host a meeting on a mountaintop. We’re game to help!