By definition, a break is a gap. A hiatus. An interruption. It's not the main attraction, but a pause in the middle of it. It therefore makes perfect sense that meeting professionals spend most of their time and energy planning their meetings' content, not the breaks in between.
And yet, it's a mistake to treat breaks as an afterthought. Because even though attendees come for content, what keeps them coming back are memorable and engaging experiences -- which thoughtful meeting planners can easily engineer in the space between keynotes and breakout sessions. All it takes is a few creative ideas. Here are five, each of which demonstrates how meeting planners can turn routine gaps in a meeting into strategic opportunities to enhance it.
Meeting attendees no longer want to be passive audience members. Instead, they want to be active participants. That desire extends to meeting breaks, too. Instead of having refreshments served to them, attendees often want to have a hand in making them. For that reason, mixology is ideally suited to groups.
When they spend days at a time in ballrooms and breakout rooms, attendees itch for a chance to break free and get outside. So instead of a traditional buffet, banquet, or boxed lunch, why not offer a picnic?
The best chefs use every part of an ingredient when they cook it. When they cook beef, for instance, they don't just use the meat; they also utilize the bones and organs. The best meeting planners do the same thing. When they host a meeting, they make the most of every part. Teambuilding breaks are ideally suited to that philosophy because they do double duty: Not only do attendees get to take a break from the main meeting, but they also get to partake in a productive activity that yields positive benefits for the group.
Meeting planners who want to literally give attendees a break should consider spa-themed breaks, which are designed to help attendees relax and recharge during marathon meetings.
Some people like to recharge in the middle of a meeting by relaxing. Others prefer the opposite: physical exercise, which gets the blood pumping in a way that primes them for the rest of the meeting ahead.