27 September, 2022, 07:23

Make in-person meetings matter

Engagement. Connection. Purpose. These are the things that will matter most to meeting-goers as they begin to convene again in person. In a recent State of the Industry Report by EventMB, event planners shared that their number-one frustration with virtual gatherings has been an inability to match the engagement of a live event. Couple that with the impacts of global uncertainty on workers’ sense of wellbeing and the challenges of helping newer employees feel connected with colleagues they may only have met on Zoom, and there’s a lot riding on the return to in-person meetings.

Build teams—and community.

Teambuilding will be a critical component of in-person meetings in 2022 after many long months of remote work and virtual collaboration—months that also saw people reset their priorities with a growing sense of social responsibility. So choose a teambuilding activity that not only strengthens their connections with each other but helps them make a positive impact on the community beyond.

At Texas A&M Hotel & Conference Center, for example, attendees can work together on a community service project through the local chapter of Rebuilding Together, a national volunteer home repair organization. Among the projects they might roll up their sleeves for: building a playground or repairing community facilities in low-income neighborhoods.

Community service comes with a side of friendly competition at La Cantera Resort & Spa. Teams can vie to be the first to gather all the parts they need to successfully assemble a bike, then donate the completed bikes to a local San Antonio children’s organization.

Culinary classes—a perennial teambuilding favorite—can also be recalibrated as a charitable activity at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa, with the group learning new kitchen skills as they prepare a meal for a local nonprofit.

Connect with nature.

Taking events outdoors not only boosts your attendees’ comfort level as they ease back into in-person meetings, but time spent in nature is proven to improve brain health and stimulate creative thinking as well. Imagine the next-level brainstorming your group can achieve in the presence of the one-million-year-old red rock formations adjoining Colorado’s Garden of the Gods Resort and Club.

Another option to consider is an outdoor group meditation session, like the walking meditation offered on the wooded grounds of New York’s Edith Macy Center, sharpening attendees’ focus as they also learn skills that will help them on their individual wellness journeys. Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, offers a local birds of prey demonstration—one more meaningful way for groups to connect with nature in a changing world.

Teams that play together stay together.

At Stonewall Resort in West Virginia, murder mystery lovers will delight in the “Who Dun it?” dinner experience, with teams competing to unravel clues and identify the murderer while enjoying the art of performance dinner theater. Meanwhile, at Nautical Beachfront Resort teams can swim, climb and splash their way through a waterpark obstacle race on Arizona’s Lake Havasu. A choice of scavenger hunts at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center pits teams against each other in a race to find specific artifacts, photographs and locations around the hotel grounds or historic downtown Roanoke.

By putting the focus on rebuilding connections and community, meeting planners can help make the return to live gatherings meaningful and memorable for their attendees. And Benchmark’s event specialists stand ready to support with fully customized resources and experiences—from meeting preparation to agenda creation, teambuilding facilitation and event nurturing— that foster collaboration and set the stage for meeting success.