These days, the event industry is becoming more aware of the need to make their events healthier than ever before. By making conferences healthier, we can help to send the right messages to our clients, partners, and employees. But what does wellness look like in a conference setting? Here, we will give you the advice of event industry experts on how to make your next conference healthier. We will then talk about the process of building up buy-in among your conference participants when it comes to wellness activities.
Food, Snacks, and Beverages
For years, the event industry has been leaning toward providing healthier foods, snacks, and beverages to conference goers. This step is pretty easy for boosting wellness at your conference. Provide healthy options for all meals. Avoid fried, fatty, or overly processed foods at provided meals. Offer things like black coffee, unsweetened teas, fresh fruit juices, skim milk, or water to drink. Snacks might consist of things like plain yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, and veggie dip. Ditch things like donuts, candy, cake, or junk foods. Be sure you also offer options for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free participants.
How have those in the event industry been able to incorporate wellness into conference proceedings in other ways? Simple: integrate physical activity into events. These are especially great to plan before or after meals. Popular options are things like yoga classes and/or walks and hikes. Try to get participants up and moving as part of afternoon sessions, as well. Or, just build in optional break times with lots of different things to do. For example, you might offer fitness classes, a walk, and chair massages at the same time period. Incorporate such breaks into the plans of the meeting and participants will expect and be more likely to participate.
Try, Try Again
What happens, though, when not everyone wants to participate? After integrating wellness activities into your conference or event once, gather feedback from participants. What did they love? What did they hate? Do they have suggestions for improvement? Then, take these ideas and incorporate them into the next event or conference of the same type you have. Keep trying, and be vocal about trying to keep participants healthy. More than likely, most will be super supportive. Keep at it, and do not give up. After a while, participants will just come to expect it as part of the meeting structure.