How to Plan a Meeting That Appeals to All Five Senses

How to Plan a Meeting

If you ask events-industry blogger Jewel Hazelton if there's one thing that can instantly elevate your meeting, it's ambiance. And if you want your event to have ambiance, it must appeal to each of your attendees' five senses.

"The standard definition for ambiance refers to the mood, quality, character or tone that a location or setting has. This means bringing in elements that will tap into the five senses of attendees," Hazelton writes in a blog post for event management software company Eventtia.

Start with sound by choosing background music that evokes the emotions -- anticipation, for example, nostalgia, celebration or relaxation -- you want your event to have. "How we feel is impacted by what we experience through sound. Researchers have … cited that music releases a certain feel-good chemical that immolates happiness and creates memories," Hazelton says. "Making sure the sound quality and music sets the right tone for your event is crucial."

Next, consider sight, which includes not only décor, but also lighting. "If the event is taking place during the day, you'll want to strategically consider how the natural light will impact photography and the temperature of the room. If the event is during the evening hours, you'll need to consider how the room will look once the lights are turned down," Hazelton notes. "Will the venue allow strobe lighting, candles, a projector? These are all important questions to ask when trying to create a visually appealing atmosphere."

Taste is an obvious focus area. "The emotions that people feel when eating and drinking are the details about the event that they will remember. When choosing the right caterer, you'll want to set your standards super high and make sure they can deliver a menu that will leave a lasting impression," continues Hazelton, who recommends food and drink that looks as appetizing as it tastes. "Consider having ice sculptures, craft cocktails, bite-size appetizers and a mouth-watering dessert menu." Of course, food is a great way to appeal to attendees' sense of smell, as well, as the aroma of delicious dishes can't help but target the brain's pleasure centers.

Finally, and often overlooked, is touch. "An easy way to cater to touch at an event is to choose the right furniture, linens and place settings," Hazelton concludes. "You want to deliver an inviting and comfortable environment that will make guests feel warm and welcomed."

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