Saturday, January 1, 2011

Humanizing the Medical Meeting

Event planners are experimenting with people-friendly designs to improve the productivity of medical meetings, as my recent article in CONVENE illustrates.

Planners' efforts to reinvent the "soft side" of these gatherings makes sense in light of hard data we have from neuroscience.

According to Cornell University’s just-published white paper, The Future of Meetings, the value of medical meetings derives in large part from the “emotional contagion” they feed.

“In a nutshell, people tend to express and feel emotions that are similar to and influenced by the emotions of others,” according to coauthors Christine Duffy and Mary Beth McEuen.  “Research has confirmed that emotions, attitudes, and moods do, in fact, ripple out from individuals and, in the process, influence not only other individuals’ emotions, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors, but also the dynamics of the entire group.”

By humanizing the meeting space, planners can create a positive “emotional contagion,” instead of a negative one.  And if positive emotions rule, the whole medical meeting becomes significantly more productive.

Disclosure: FutureShow, the event design firm profiled in CONVENE, is a client of mine.
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