Applying the Principles of Positive Psychology to Event and Meeting Planning


Exclusive Interview with: Jennifer Moss

When we leverage positive interventions at live events we drive deeper connections in our audiences’ neural pathways of which helps them to retain the positive memory and the learning, weeks and months later. Another valuable bi-product? A happier subconscious connection to your client’s brand.

SPEAKING.COM: How can the “happiness at work” principles be applied to live meetings?

MOSS: The science of happiness is pretty fascinating. To sum it up, happiness is connected to our psychological fitness. The more we work out our brains by acting with empathy, gratitude, hopefulness, resiliency, mindfulness, the more “fit” we become. Like building any other habit, it requires effort and intention. Simple actions daily, increase those complex benefits over time.

So, how does happiness-building translate to live meetings? Well, whenever we practice any of these skills, it creates a healthy chemical response in our brains, heightening and deepening our memories. The most memorable events are often connected to a positive emotional experience.

When we leverage positive interventions at live events we drive deeper connections in our audiences’ neural pathways of which helps them to retain the positive memory and the learning, weeks and months later. Another valuable bi-product? A happier subconscious connection to your client’s brand.

SPEAKING.COM: What advice do you have for busy meeting planners who are dealing with high levels of stress?

MOSS: Here are a few quick ways to reduce stress in the moment:

1) Stop for one minute and notice three things you hear, three things you see, or three things you can touch. It draws your brain immediately back to the present and helps you to refocus and regain your problem-solving skills.

2) Practice mindful breathing. Four breaths in slowly, four breaths out, slowly. It takes one minute but it reconnects your back of the brain (irrational, impulsive brain) to the front of the brain (your rational, mindful brain) which is hugely valuable if you are trying to come up with solutions to issues on the fly.

3) Be grateful. Stop for one minute and send a “thank you” text to someone or put a sticky note on their desk. Again, it is a two-minute activity that helps you put space between you and your stress. It also increases the happiness of someone else – subsequently increasing your happiness 3.5 times more than if you just did something for yourself.

SPEAKING.COM: How can meeting planners use positive psychology to make their meetings more effective and long-lasting?

MOSS: Add in multiple modalities of learning. Use offline tools like gratitude walls or “thank you walls” to get everyone in a “gratitude high” brought on by increased endorphins. Have them get up every hour or two to post to their walls. This action gets people out of their chairs and combats possible boredom.

Build the interventions in the “homework”. Have attendees establish a means of communicating back to the group using a preferred internal or external social collaboration tool. From Slack or Yammer to Instagram/Twitter/Facebook – have guests reconnecting. I share many examples in the book, Unlocking Happiness at Work, but some ideas include a gratitude wall in the lunchroom back at the office, or a 30-days of mindfulness or empathy challenge – there are plenty of simple tactics that produce a long-lasting tie-back to the event.

I have spoken all over the world and my most memorable experiences are tied to the audience interaction. I find that if the host is engaging and funny, the audience is warmed up and enthusiastic.

SPEAKING.COM: As a speaker who has spoken at events around the world, what advice might you give meeting and conference planners to enhance the attendee experience and also get the most value from their speakers?

MOSS: I have spoken all over the world and my most memorable experiences are tied to the audience interaction. I find that if the host is engaging and funny, the audience is warmed up and enthusiastic. If you watch any of the daytime or late-night shows, they have someone making the audience laugh constantly between segments.

I use plenty of laugh-inducing moments in my talks (some at my own expense!) because it is the most authentic way to get people to open up. There is such a relief from the audience when I share how science is connected to happiness. Some believe that professional events need to be serious in order to be taken seriously. The truth is, the more the audience laughs, the more likely they will absorb the learning and remember the event positively.

Truthfully, I feel like I have the best gig in the world. I get to use scientific research and evidence to validate that happier workplaces are the single biggest impact on innovation, shareholder value, profitability, revenue, high-performing teams, and the list goes on. It is the best win-win scenario any compassionate leader would care to know – and I get to give them permission to make joy a part of daily life for their employees. This is honestly where I get the most value as a speaker – feeling like my message will offer some tiny positive impact on the people listening to it.

© SPEAKING.com, published on September 30, 2018

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