by Healthforce leadership staff: Marie Hubbard, Alleysha Mullen and Christina Travlos As leadership staff of Healthforce Center at UCSF, we are constantly thinking about ways to enhance the learning experience for our meeting attendees. Our leadership training seminars take place across the state of California and serve about 1,200 health care professionals. So how do we do it? We look for creativity across our programs and always strive to design the perfect meeting. Consider adopting these six tips to build an unforgettable event.
1. Find the right meeting location.
Would you stay at a hotel with no windows? How about a room that exacerbates your claustrophobia? We wouldn’t put our meeting attendees through that torture either! Providing a learning environment with plenty of natural lighting and enough space to move around helps create an atmosphere that is refreshing and energizing. Having a nearby place to grab a cocktail also doesn’t hurt.
2. Develop effective content.
The content is the Beyoncé of your meeting. Like Queen Bey, your content should be relevant, engaging and fun. Encourage your facilitators to include interactive activities and group discussions. Recruit subject matter experts to gauge the timeliness and relevance of your topic.
3. Be mindful of the meeting structure.
Imagine if you weren’t allowed to take any vacation from work – you would literally Lose.Your.Mind! As humans, we need time to get up, walk around, mingle a little and then get back to it! If your meeting is longer than two hours, build in breaks to give your attendees time to decompress and reflect on what they are learning.
4. Incorporate a variety of teaching styles.
We get it – lecture style teaching is easy and necessary for certain topics. It may also put your audience to sleep! Adding pizazz to your teaching technique is a must. To incorporate all learning styles, an effective presentation should include visuals, discussions, oral presentations and opportunities for movement.
5. Create a safe environment for attendees.
Trust falls during a professional meeting are never a good idea. However, creating a safe space for people to connect and share thoughts is a great idea! Icebreaker activities allow attendees to get to know one another and build rapport in a structured, yet fun environment.
6. Be flexible.
Three final words of wisdom: Expect the unexpected. Will technology malfunction? Yes. Will security forget to unlock the meeting space? It’s likely. Will there be a fire drill? Probably. Plan for every possible scenario and consider all contingencies. Be ready to smile in the midst of challenge and have your running shoes (or flats) on hand.
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About the Authors Marie Hubbard is a project manager for leadership development at Healthforce Center. She works on the California Health Care Foundation’s California Improvement Network and the Clinic Leadership Institute funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Alleysha Mullen is a project manager for leadership development at Healthforce Center. She works on the Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy Leadership Institute and the Cedars-Sinai Community Clinic Initiative: Managing to Leading Program. Christina Travlos is a leadership development associate at Healthforce Center. She works on the California Health Care Foundation Leadership Program, which prepares clinically trained professionals to lead California’s health care organizations.