Research and White Papers

PCMA Asks: How Can Science Improve Meetings?

By Matt Alderton
January 10, 2013

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Science can explain more than asteroids and amoebas. As it turns out, it also can explain successful meetings, argues the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), which this week announced the release of a new report commissioned by the PCMA Education Foundation to explore the science of meetings.

Titled "The Appliance of Science: 39 Ways to Improve Your Meetings," the report uses a collection of behavioral science studies curated by psychologists to determine what — scientifically — can add value to meetings for attendees and planners.

Specifically, "The Appliance of Science" offers science-based tips in six categories:

• Mental: Discover how to harness the value of grumpy attendees, train participants' memories and understand brain performance. Plus, learn how thoughts and emotions affect meeting outcomes.
• Social: Learn why meetings need more female attendees, why mistakes are positive and how to capitalize on interaction, influence and persuasion.
• Space: Find out what temperature at which to set the room and what colors inspire creativity. Plus, gain insights into what makes the perfect meeting environment.
• Wired: Learn the art of computer-based negotiation, gain mind-reading capabilities and discover how emerging technologies will shape the future of face-to-face meetings.
• Physical: Find out how to reduce attendee stress, overcome jet lag and help meeting organizers and participants sleep, eat and breathe better meetings.
• Bizarre: Learn the importance of doodling, dancing and other unconventional meeting activities.

"Rather than make assumptions about what matters to attendees and how they can perform better at meetings, this guide give us some groundwork needed to help understand what truly matters to them," said PCMA Education Foundation Chair Liz Erikson. "This investigation uses leading thinkers from around the academic world to analyze those assumptions and deliver real ideas based on proven concepts of what can lead to more effective meetings and more engaged participants."


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