Meeting Design Tips for Silencing the “Deniers”

meeting design, sustainabilityRising oceans, widespread droughts, wonky weather. No, we’re not talking about the latest Roland Emmerich flick…this is planet earth.

True Ground Zero. And while green meetings are on the rise, the verdict is still out on whether they, and other global sustainability initiatives, can help catch the rising tides. Recent research conducted by the Green Meetings Industry Council gave us a bit of hope in terms of the frequency to which the topic of sustainability is now entering conversations between suppliers, buyers and stakeholders, while also tossing a few red flags onto the green field.

If you’re a planner who is striving to integrate more green initiatives into MICE events, read on for a few creative meeting design tips to help get the message across.

Meetings Mascot

There are currently more than 16,000 endangered species and counting, which means more than a few opportunities to choose a meetings mascot that will pull the heartstrings of attendees and stakeholders alike. Consider choosing a threatened or endangered species that is native to the destination where you are holding your event. These are called flagship species in the conservation world as the animal is generally crucial to a larger ecosystem. Bengal tigers, giant pandas, Asian elephants…all flagship species. Weave the species, its native location, current challenges into all facets of the event in a way that cultivates the senses.

Integrate the Urgency in Creative Ways

F&B offers a prime opportunity for you to get creative about some of the issues we are currently facing. Placeholder cards with info on an endangered species, napkins folded into marine life, a menu that highlights the diversity of the region where that species lives. All of these things help attendees build deeper connections to the issues that species is currently facing. How about a “glacier” as the centerpiece of your main F&B table that melts throughout the evening and a digital board that shows the effects this could have around the world. To really make an impact, try facilitating indoor weather changes to highlight the unpredictability of the times. Add 10, then 20, then 30 people to the room each time to highlight the affects of the global population boom.

Extreme Team Building

Extreme situations call for extreme measures. Consider organizing your own natural disaster. Divide your group into teams and lock them in escape rooms where they have to solve some of the environmental issues we currently face; make your entire event the escape room, full of surprises and challenges that require attendees to loosen up their ties, roll up their sleeves and work together. Plan a giveback day with local conservation groups and allow groups to choose a specific conservation project.

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