So many times at meetings, we think about how to pack everything in. We want to make sure there are as many education sessions and as many fun activities as we can possibly put together. But how does that affect attendees?

Most are already coming from hectic lives to an even more hectic conference, constantly going from activity to activity can be physically and mentally tiring for attendees. Lessons they should learn aren't resonating and constructive business isn't happening. 

So what is a meeting planner to do?

Provide a quiet room

To be honest, there is no way that you can really know when each individual attendee will feel overwhelmed. It’s smarter to let your attendees make the decision when they need to take their breaks when they need them. So what do they need from you? A dedicated place to take that break. 

A room on-site means that your attendees do not have to go far to take the time they need. Just make sure that you have some rules in place that are posted in the room, including no networking. Make sure that just by entering the room, your attendees have the permission to recharge. 

Also, make sure that the room is designed for relaxing. Instead of the regular conference tables and chairs, find comfortable couches and chairs. Instead of bright lights, bring it down. You may even want to consider relaxation techniques such as aromatherapy. Whatever you can do to make this the comfortable space at your conference. 

Get out of town

Getting out of town is easier said than done. With attendees coming from out of town, it becomes important that your venue is easy to get to. But the lack of distractions make getting out of town so attractive. 

So look for a venue that meets you in the middle. Despite just being a short drive from Downtown Cincinnati, Pinecroft at Crosley Estates sits on seventeen acres. With gardens and beauty at every turn, you feel like you have completely escaped the hustle and bustle that can weigh you down while at a conference. You can focus more on what needs to be done. But at the same time, you can easily access city amenities, such as easy transportation. 

Use a venue that is built for a retreat

Centennial BarnWho wants to reinvent the wheel? Save yourself time and money by having your event at a location that already has everything that makes for an amazing retreat. And an extra bonus is that the venue likely already has relationships with teachers and specialists that can help you with retreat-like activities. 

In Cincinnati, you can find that at Centennial Barn. In this space, you can find spaces for painting, yoga, as well as a great room for your meeting. With their regular classes, the Barn can easily help you arrange classes for your meeting that will help your attendees become more centered and ready to work. Plus, it’s located on the campus of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, which means that you will have access to more traditional and nontraditional means of relaxation, including a nearby labyrinth. 

How are you creating a retreat at your meeting? Does it help accomplish your meeting goals? 

Main image via Pinecroft at Crosley Estate. Other image via Centennial Barn.