on December 11, 2013 10:17 am
By Melinda Kendall
SVP, Strategic Sales Support
Neuroscience is the discipline of brain mapping, and behavioral science measures how we think, feel, perceive and interact. Utilized wisely, both neuro- and behavioral science can create better and more powerful experiences for your attendees.
In crafting a better experience, consider three concepts for an inspiring learning environment: key behavior science concepts, stimulating the senses and emotion.
Key behavior science concepts
Social Proof: Humans are more likely to make a decision if others already have. Consider the power company which, on your bill, compares your natural gas with that of your neighbors. It’s the equivalent of the cool kids’ table – create the place where attendees want to go.
Reference Dependence: The event will always be compared to the prior year. Or to another event. So keep it new and fresh every year.
Priming: Initial stimulus influences what comes after, or “first impressions make a difference.” Consider the first reaction of an attendee walking into the building, the hall, the breakout room.
Stimulating the senses
Sight: Did you know – artwork and nature increase productivity? That red helps with memory retention, or that patterns can be perceived as obstacles?
Sound: Take great care in selecting background and ‘walk-in’ music and sounds for sessions. Consider how you want people to feel: full of energy? Relaxed and creative?
Smell: This sense provokes strong subconscious associations. Consider the smell of crayons, coffee and baby powder. All highly recognizable and likely to cause attendees to recall a certain memory or incite a specific emotion.
Touch: Someone holding an iced drink could be considered cold and distant, but a hot beverage wielding person could be considered warm and friendly. Consider the fabric and comfort level of the furniture – will your attendees be squirmy and achy, or relaxed and therefore more open and willing to learn?
Taste: Salty snacks reduce social anxiety, and a caffeine boost improves attention and task-switching.
Focus on building a community for your attendees. The key is to connect, engage and inspire. All stakeholders today want the opportunity to share their ideas – and social media offers the chance to touch an audience in advance and again on show site. Attendees love to share and hear from others about their ideas and best practices.
In producing a great event, remember that the brain won’t pay attention to, or remember later, things that are boring.
Melinda Kendall is SVP, Strategic Sales Support at Freeman. She can be reached at: Melinda.Kendall@freemanco.com. For a face-to-face opportunity to learn more, attend her session, “Re-Energizing Your Event With Neuroscience” at IAEE’s Expo! Expo!
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