Be Unforgettable: 6 Ways to Turn Meetings into Experiences

Turn plain into purposeful with our tips on keeping your guests engaged

It’s no secret that poorly managed meetings are ineffective. The job of the meeting planner has become increasingly critical, particularly when it comes to finding novel and unique ways to up attendance and keep attendees focused on the agenda. These initiatives call for innovative thinking, and it starts with turning meetings into experiences. Here are six ways to do just that.

1. Provide the Right Kind of Distraction

It’s not just millennials and Gen Z glued to their smartphones––even 40-somethings are easily distracted by their digital devices. Providing sensory experiences at appropriate points in meetings gives attendees a different sort of distraction, one that unites them as a group instead of separating them into their individual cyberworlds. Instead of playing elevator music in the background, hire a musician (or two) to perform before the meeting starts and during breaks. This is particularly helpful for meetings that involve intense discussions, as it lightens the mood and clears the mind for the next round of deliberations. Make lunchtime interactive and engaging by getting the chef to do a live demo of a dish. Add some color to the meeting by placing elegant floral centerpieces on the tables.

2. Embrace the Great Outdoors

Why restrict yourself to a room when you have so much more at your disposal? If your group is small, consider hosting an intimate lunch in the kitchen. Ask the hotel to set up comfortable seats in the garden alongside small tables lined with drinks and snacks. This is a great way to let the fresh air and verdant greenery inspire some creative brainstorming. If your meeting spans a few days, plan an even more extensive itinerary that goes beyond the meeting room. Have a bicycle tour of the surroundings or host a social networking session over wine tasting at the local vineyard.

3. Go Over-the-Top

Being outlandish can be a good thing when it’s done with style. Remember, you want to keep your audience focused on your event, especially if it’s held in a large ballroom. Instead of using just one screen, blend several screens together to create a panoramic HD experience. This can be a boon for single-speaker presentations as the wraparound effect, giving the audience a better view of the images and key points that are being shown on the screen. Further impress your attendees by creating a series of interactive screen backdrops that change after each break. 

4. Be Playful and Get Your A-Game On

If the weather isn’t optimal for an outdoor brainstorming session, you can still make things fun indoors with team games like Jenga or trivia. The JW Marriott Seoul is home to one of Korea’s largest gyms, with state-of-the-art facilities spanning three floors. Attendees can try something new like scuba diving within the comfort of the hotel, work on their swing at the golf practice center, or scale an artificial climbing wall. 

5. Go Local

If your event draws attendees from a wide range of countries, you can leverage the event’s geographic location as an icebreaker. Hosts dressed in the local style can greet your guests with refreshments, and traditional dancers can add sizzle to a welcome dinner (literally, if you’re in a place with a history of fire dance). During coffee and tea breaks in the foyer, cultural décor elements, as well as food and beverages from around the region, will add another layer of uniqueness. At a demo station set up in the center of the foyer, a local expert can provide insight on a special cultural tradition.

6. Be Thoughtful and Give a Gift

Keep your guests continuously engaged and switch up the setting by getting them to explore the vicinity. Instead of handing out goodie bags at the door, send your guests on a treasure hunt. Leave a clue about the gifts and let curiosity take care of the rest. If the day was especially intensive with back-to-back decision-making meetings or a lengthy awards ceremony, encourage your guests to rest and recuperate at a spa. The JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul offers Provence Spa by L’OCCITANE, where your guests can unwind in tranquillity. There are treatments for both men and women. The French brand’s products are formulated from essential oils and natural ingredients to make your guests feel rejuvenated and reinvigorated.

After all the hard work you’ve put into planning your event, you’ll want to know if your guests had a lasting impression. Make sure to use a polling app to gather feedback about your meeting in real time.