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Multigenerational Meetings: How to Engage Everyone

May 16th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Multigenerational Meetings: How to Engage Everyone”

Imagine a sizable meeting is underway. A leader is presenting to a group, including a woman in her 20s. She’s typing on her phone, taking notes on the presentation. A man in his 50s is distracted from the speaker because he is annoyed by this, assuming she’s just playing around. Another attendee in his 30s is having trouble paying attention; he has thoughts on the topic being presented, but he hasn’t had and won’t have the opportunity to share them. And an older colleague’s input won’t be shared either, because she’s not even there — the invite was only sent digitally, and she keeps her schedule on a paper calendar.

It’s official: Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and now older members of Gen Z are in the workplace. That means some meetings will seat four generations at one table. With different abilities, motivations, and expectations, keeping everyone engaged is a challenge — but it’s not impossible. Here’s how.

Know Who’s Coming

To prepare for a multigenerational meeting, it’s important to know which generations will be represented there.

“We are diligent about working with the planners to gain insight on the attendee demographics. We share this insight with our team members,” said Michelle Bradley, senior sales manager, Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan.

Directly asking attendees their age can be off-putting, but there are other ways to glean the information. Evaluating the positions of those invited is one; a meeting of C-suite professionals will likely be older, but one that includes invitees spanning from entry-level on up will be more diverse.

There are other questions you can ask attendees to understand their expectations and preferences, too. Asking them if they’d like to be contacted by phone, email, or text is a good way to understand the different attendees’ needs on a deeper level.

Knowing this preference can give meeting planners the opportunity to make all generations feel welcome before the meeting even begins.

“I respond through their preferred method of communication, making them feel at ease,” says Jenny O’Conner, Crowne Plaza meetings director with Crowne Plaza Denver Downtown.

Understand Differing Motivations

Professionals of different generations work for different reasons — and those motives follow them into meetings. Baby Boomers, for example, tend to be head-down, goal-oriented professionals. They didn’t expect a lot of feedback or to be listened to as young workers, but now that they’ve paid their dues, they tend to enjoy the privileges and authority they’ve earned.

Millennials and Gen Z, on the other hand, love feedback and being heard, even as more junior employees. Millennials want to find meaning in their work and tend to seek opportunities for growth. Gen Z workers are highly responsive to reward systems.

In the middle of Baby Boomers and the younger generations, Gen Xers are professionals with entrepreneurial ideas who tend to prefer little supervision.

When structuring a meeting, find ways to engage each of them. Options include:

  • Make sure Boomers have the opportunity to be acknowledged for their experience and authority. They should feel like leaders in the meeting, even while other generations are given opportunities to participate.
  • Provide opportunities for feedback and discussion that are opened up to all attendees.
  • Visually record ideas presented by attendees. Even writing them on a whiteboard will make people feel heard and rewarded for their ideas.
  • Make the objective of the meeting clear, and tie it to practical outcomes that matter to attendees’ careers. Create an agenda that closely pursues the stated objective. Millennials in particular need to find meaning in their day-to-day work, including meetings.

Make Technology Easy

It goes without saying that people of different ages have different levels of comfort and skill with technology. But allowing some meeting attendees to just opt out of technology isn’t ideal: Most workers expect to be engaged by digital media, and it’s important for the room to have a shared experience.

The solution is making access to technology seamless for everyone. That means choosing a meeting space that can accommodate that need, like Crowne Plaza’s adaptive Plaza Workspace. “There are no hoops to jump through, no codes to endlessly enter to get access to Wi-Fi, no limits on how many devices, and power ports everywhere on the property,” says Michael Alexis, director of Marketing at Museum Hack and frequent Crowne Plaza guest. “It allows for meeting leaders to focus on delivering their key message to attendees and not worry about the logistics behind the scenes.

“That’s an advantage that every age group can appreciate,” he says.

Bonus tip: To avoid the issue of some attendees being distracted by others’ use of technology during a meeting, simply clear the air. Announce that attendees are welcome to take notes digitally, or, if appropriate, even post social media updates during the meeting. Giving them a hashtag to use is a fun way to promote your work and give younger professionals another way to engage, and the permission will prevent older generations from assuming they’re being rude.

Get Attendees Engaged—With Each Other

Age difference is like any other: It tends to send people to their separate corners. All meeting attendees are more engaged with the meeting itself if they are engaged with one another.

One idea that Alexis finds helpful is to get meeting attendees to relate to one another by sharing non-work information that may resonate across generations. His icebreaker exercise includes asking people how they describe their professional role to friends and their dream vacation. These easy-to-answer questions gives people the opportunity to laugh and say, “Me too!” or “I’ve been there” and spark genuine connections.

Feed Everyone’s Preferences

In years past, it was safe to assume you could delight everyone in every meeting with a platter of donuts. But healthy meeting snacks and specific dietary preferences are becoming more common, and often expected.

“We think vegetarians have been subjected to the cheese pizza dining option a few times too many,” says Alexis.

Fortunately, more meeting spaces are allowing planners to customize food options to meet the needs of all professionals. At Crowne Plaza, small groups meeting in Plaza Workspace can browse menus and order their own food at the push of a button.

And attendees of larger, formal meetings have options too. “Catering menus have evolved to accommodate dietary restrictions that are more common with the younger generation,” says O’Conner. “Eighty-five percent of our menu items are gluten free, and every buffet has a vegetarian option.”

Planning meetings for a multigenerational audience can be made easy with some careful consideration of everyone’s needs and by finding the right the venue to meet them. From technology solutions to customized catering, Crowne Plaza has amenities and offerings to meet the needs of all attendees—no matter their age.

 

Entrepreneur Emily Doig blends work and life on six continents

May 14th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Entrepreneur Emily Doig blends work and life on six continents”

A little over a year ago, Emily Doig flew 15 hours across the Pacific, from her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, to Los Angeles. Then she rented a car and drove more than two hours to San Diego, navigating Southern California traffic — and then she had to get to work.

“I realized I had to be a fully functioning human being for the next three days with my peers,” she says. “It was a real awakening for me.”

Doig has been traversing the world for more than 20 years, which has taught her that there’s no point in pursuing balance, but instead, work-life blend.

Her travel experiences inspired her to start a company called GlowJetter, which sells nutritional supplements that help travelers overcome jet lag, sleep soundly and re-energize. “It’s taking a holistic approach to travel rather than arriving somewhere and feeling like rubbish,” she says.

Here’s how she organizes her time — whether traveling or otherwise — to blend her work life and personal life into one happy, healthy life overall.

Sticking to a sleep schedule

For Doig, finding the right work-life blend begins with rest. She avoids the all-night parties following her all-day meetings.

“In the early days of my career, I would be the first person at the bar, networking, and the last person to leave,” Doig says.

Now, she prioritizes both her business and her sleep. Although it doesn’t always occur to travelers during the excitement of trip planning, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important factors in choosing a place to stay. Doig appreciates the Sleep Advantage initiative at Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts.

It emphasizes premium bedding, quiet zones, and even aromatherapy kits. Unless there’s a pressing guest request, housekeeping and engineering activities don’t take place between the hours of 9:00 pm and 10:00 am, and wake up calls are guaranteed.

Mindfully managing meetings

Doig also manages her meeting schedule so there is always “me time.” This often means having brief, but focused, encounters with colleagues and stakeholders. She’s learned that the amount of actual work that often gets done in hours can get done in minutes with a mindful approach.

Managing a meeting is also about managing the environment. Doig says she likes the effort Crowne Plaza has put into its meeting space offerings, with modules and rooms designed for both work and play, customizable to groups of any size or need. For instance, Crowne Plaza guests can reserve “The Studio” by the hour, which features a fully connected conference table, a lounge area and food and beverage service at the touch of a tablet.

Maintaining energy levels

Achieving a healthy work-life blend involves getting the right amount of physical activity and eating the right foods in addition to getting plenty of sleep.

“People are more aware of how they feel and how they want to feel,” Doig says of today’s travelers. In fact, she built her business around that fact. “I really want people to experience their full selves when they’re on the road and not feel compromised or unable to enjoy themselves fully.”

That’s why it’s important to Doig that a hotel have modern fitness facilities and can offer guests a complete menu of healthy foods. Crowne Plaza meets these demands with state-of-the-art exercise equipment and fast, fresh meal options that are available any time of day.

Staying connected to family

Posting photos on social networks, chatting online using apps such as Skype or Zoom, or even just sending texts or emails makes family communications so efficient, travelers can readily keep up in the moments between meetings.

“It’s easier than it’s ever been because you can literally carry your family around with you in your pocket when you’re traveling,” says Doig. Even a momentary ping on an app can remind loved ones you’re always thinking of them, no matter where you are. Quality family time is always just a phone call away — first thing in the morning, between meetings or any time.

Here, connectivity is key. Having a good international calling plan and staying places with reliable WiFi can make every place seem like home. This is why Crowne Plaza places a focus on connectivity.

Doig also plans many of her trips with the intention of getting together with family and friends in different parts of the world. “There’s never any one reason for me to go somewhere,” Doig says. “I’ll always try to reach out to reach out to people to make the most of my time.”

Finding time for tourism

Achieving a healthy work-life blend means making every business trip a leisure trip, too.

Work is no longer a 9-to-5 endeavor. Increasingly, people are tethered to their work with smartphones and have to be on call in several time zones each day. But they can untether as well.

“If I’m in New York, I’ll go the Whitney (Museum of American Art),” she says. “I’ll spend two hours there and not feel guilty about it because it’s inspiring the work that needs to be done.”

In fact, Doig has found a way to make leisure travel an integral part of her business plan. Doig is always creating content for the GlowJetter website, which includes writing travel guides and reviews of restaurants, museums, and galleries.

“I couldn’t just sit here and sell a product that I’ve never tried,” she explained. “For me it’s about experiencing the things that my customers are also seeing and feeling.”

Travel as a way of life

Many business travelers count their time as money and miss out on the life-enriching opportunities around them. Doig encourages them to check out of the time-is-money mentality for at least a while on each trip.

“It’s being very mindful that you’ve got the work to do, but that you also have the opportunity to enjoy it along the way.”

Doig says she feels grateful that she’s found time to see the world on her many business travels. It’s made her life an adventure. “I’ve been fortunate enough to visit every continent but Antarctica,” she says, “and maybe one day I’ll warm up to the idea of getting down there.”

Work-Life Balance is a Myth. The Reality Is Actually Better

May 14th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Work-Life Balance is a Myth. The Reality Is Actually Better”

Mention “work-life balance” to a business traveler, and they’ll likely respond with something between a groan and an eye roll. There’s a reason those who frequently travel for work either feel they’re constantly coming up short or have totally abandoned trying to achieve work-life balance: It doesn’t really exist.

It’s time to toss the idea of work-life balance, which assumes work and life are separate entities that compete for a person’s limited time. Instead, business travelers should embrace the concept of work-life blend. Work-life blend assumes people are entitled to live their life while working and work while living their life — a much more honest view of the modern business world.

Here are a few ways research supports this more integrated approach to work life and personal life, and how business travelers can incorporate it into their routines.

Stay connected to work, friends, and family

Conventional wisdom has many professionals chasing work-life balance by setting firm boundaries between who they are in the office and their role at home. But for business travelers, that advice requires them to put their family and social lives on pause far too often.

Research published in the journal Human Relations offers a different take on managing work and family roles: they should be integrated. That is, you shouldn’t think of yourself as CFO from nine to five and a parent on evenings and weekends, but as a CFO and a parent all the time. That’s because the transition between roles creates stress that degrades job performance.

During business travel, this might mean setting up video calls with your kids every morning to have breakfast together, virtually. Or bringing your spouse or friends along on business trips when possible. With Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts’ patented WorkLife Room concept, 24/7 connectivity and easy-access charging stations, staying connected is easy. You can stay in touch and on target around the clock while your work and life keep blending effortlessly.

Make healthy food and drink choices

It’s no secret that staying healthy, nourished, and hydrated fuels your mind and body for optimal productivity and performance. But when you put up boundaries between work travel and “real life,” that common knowledge tends to go out the window. Travel presents numerous opportunities to treat yourself, and when your business trips happen frequently, that amounts to a lifetime of poor choices.

Columbia University studies published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found correlations between extensive business travel and chronic disease. Dr. Andrew Rundle, head of the Columbia team, suggests that stress, poor sleep, and other factors play roles in travel-related health risks, but staying accountable to healthy habits and skipping travel treats can mitigate these risks and enhance work effectiveness during travel.

How? Eat and drink while traveling like you eat and drink at home. Bring healthy snacks with you, and stick to your normal eating schedule as closely as possible. During restaurant meals, pick menu items that align with the same healthy choices you’d make in your own kitchen.

Crowne Plaza makes that easy with fresh, convenient prepared food options, available when and where you need them. With the touch of a tablet, travelers can have healthy food items delivered to any adaptive Plaza Workspace or room.

Keep active and exercising

Few parts of travelers’ daily schedules get tossed out the window as frequently as exercise. But jet lag and travel fatigue make physical activity even more important to prioritize while on the road.

Part of the solution to the exercise challenge is adopting a work-life blend attitude during your traveling workdays. It’s easy to feel locked into meeting formats and seating options during business travel, but you can take ownership over these choices, just as you would in your own office. “Stand during conference sessions rather than sit, do walking meetings with colleagues,” says Rundle. He also suggests using workout apps to bring your exercise schedule and accountability with you wherever you go.

Getting restful, rejuvenating sleep

Unsurprisingly, extensive travelers in the Columbia studies often reported trouble sleeping, which undermined physical and mental well-being. From stress to time zone changes, sleep disruption can feel like an intractable issue with frequent travel.

But there are ways to get better sleep during business travel. Manage the “always-on” culture of business travel with a healthy, work-life blend approach. If you wouldn’t stay out at a bar with colleagues until the wee hours on a Tuesday at home, don’t do it on the road. Enjoy a cocktail hour, but don’t feel guilty about bowing out to stick to your set bedtime. If a brainstorming session runs late, stick with it, but get everyone in sync regarding a late start time the next day.

Rundle suggests mindfulness apps may help reduce stress and maintain healthy sleep habits during business travel. Calming environments promote rejuvenating sleep, minimize sleep disruptions and maximize restorative sleep as well. Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage amenities, from aromatherapy kits to comfortable linens, help soothe the mind and body into rest. With quiet zones that eliminate all but guest-requested staff activity, you sleep undisturbed and awaken revitalized and refreshed.

The way modern business works, there are no boundaries between work and life. But by adopting the work-life blend mindset and staying at hotels like Crowne Plaza, you can be productive, socialize and rest — on your own terms.

This Entrepreneur’s Secret to Blending Work and Life While Traveling

May 14th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “This Entrepreneur’s Secret to Blending Work and Life While Traveling”

As a frequent business traveler, Tim Warrington has realized that the idea of work-life balance simply doesn’t exist. “When you have your own business, you’re always at work in some form or another, it’s a lifestyle choice,” he says. “People get more stressed by trying to achieve work-life balance rather than just going with the flow.”

Another way to say “going with the flow?” Work-life blend. Warrington lives his life while working and works while he lives his life. He attends more than 30 business engagements around the globe annually on behalf of his robotics company and has embraced a sage business-travel lifestyle that blends his personal side and professional side into one. These are the secrets to his work-life blend success.

Keep Sleep Sacred

No two days are alike for Warrington when he’s away on business, so it’s a challenge to maintain his usual sleep schedule. A good night’s sleep is rarely in the cards, so he’s agile about resting and sneaks in shut-eye whenever he can to be as productive as possible.

“I listen to my body,” he says. “If I’m tired after a meeting, I’ll go and sleep.” After his nap, Warrington is recharged and jumps right back into his work day. “I’ll be ready for the email onslaught. When you’re away you still have to keep up with emails, etc. between meetings,” he says.

Warrington avoids all-night meetings at all costs, but sometimes he has to muscle through the day on little sleep. “You do inevitably end up out late sometimes,” he says, especially if a client takes him out.

Warrington likes to stay with Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts wherever he travels because he knows he’ll get a good sleep experience. This is easy with Crowne Plaza’s Sleep Advantage program. Business travelers can take advantage of aromatherapy kits, guaranteed wake-up calls, and premium bedding, all designed for the best possible sleep experience to feel sharp the following day.

Make Time for Wellness

No matter where Warrington is in the world, he organizes his schedule around healthy meals, exercise, and unwinding. “I use the Crowne Plaza amenities to their full extent,” shares Warrington.

As an IHG® Rewards Club Spire Elite member, he knows that he can count on a good breakfast to fuel him for a day of meetings. Before reaching his first appointment, he always makes the time to hit the gym for a burst of energy — and he also indulges in a few minutes in the sauna whenever available. Sticking to this schedule helps Warrington make his business travel more productive, and his life healthier.

Make Your Own Schedule

With different expectations from clients and partners in every destination, it would be easy to let others’ priorities throw his schedule out of wack trip after trip. Warrington resists this, maintaining consistency in his schedule.

For example, Warrington doesn’t take meetings before 10:00 am. The only way he could keep up with a schedule of all-day meetings was to redefine how meetings work on the road. He learned that starting meetings earlier in the morning made it impossible for him to stick with his wellness routine. He tries to maintain a regular meal schedule while on the road and breaks for lunch before 1:00 pm.

When he’s traveling to attend exhibitions, he ends up working late in the night, but he tries to spread meetings out throughout the afternoon as he lets his body clock adjust to the local time zone naturally. If clients aren’t taking him out, he tries to be back at Crowne Plaza relaxing by 6:00 pm. His regulated schedule allows him to pace himself and get some free time to himself.

Fit in Exploration Time

Often times, business travelers feel they don’t do enough leisure traveling. Not Warrington. He does both at the same time, making time to explore the cities he visits for work to make the most out of his overseas business travel. “I always make sure to have the last day to unwind in order to make the trip not all about work,” he says. Traveling for work is the norm for Warrington. Like many business travelers, he realizes that the way he lives on the road becomes the way he lives his life. By avoiding the trap of trying to achieve a balance between his work and “regular” life, and instead blending the two, he’s living an immensely satisfying life, no matter where he happens to

6 Creative Meeting Formats for the Modern Meeting

May 1st, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “6 Creative Meeting Formats for the Modern Meeting”

There’s a lot of competition for time and attention at meetings these days. Up against buzzing notifications and back-to-back appointments, if your event doesn’t deliver an engaging, productive experience, you can forget about holding participants’ interest — or their attendance.

Business-as-usual meeting spaces and formats don’t cut it. New meeting formats designed for today’s professionals and their travel behaviors are changing the way business happens.

What modern meeting participants expect

Modern meetings must meet certain expectations, even before attendees ‘accept’ the calendar invite. The German Convention Bureau’s (GCB) “Future Meeting Space” project lays out the following essentials for meeting success:

  • Interaction – The days of passive participation are over. Meeting attendees want to actively help shape the event and its agenda as it transpires.
  • Efficiency – Time is valuable. From travel time to event schedules, meeting participants expect planners to appreciate that value and use time efficiently.
  • Flexibility – Innovation and spontaneity go hand in hand. Responsive meeting formats and adaptive meeting settings that flex with changing needs are key.
  • Relevance – Forward-looking professionals expect ultra-timely topics and short, fresh, to-the-point presentations that are relevant for their work and life.
  • Security – Personal safety and data security are non-negotiable.
  • Experience – Meetings that fail to tap professional passions through memorable, life-enhancing experiences will be forgotten or avoided entirely.

Formats that move meetings to the forefront

Meeting planners at the top of their game — yes, we’re looking at you — know that innovative meeting formats are shaking up the modern professional world. Take some tips from GCB’s findings on meetings of the future and experiment with six formats they identified as on the rise:

Interactive forum

One to two days in length, interactive forums draw up to 200 participants to a single, central location. Keynotes set the stage, then attendees split into small groups that accentuate interaction and interplay. Small groups offer varied forms of engagement, from structured workshops to free-form gamification.

Multisite conference

The multisite conference rejects the idea of ancillary locations playing second-fiddle to a central site. All the sites of these half-day events participate equally and simultaneously via two-way technological exchanges, thanks to online platforms and tools like videoconferencing, robotics and holograms. These short, regional events save time on travel, but create memorable experiences.

Coworking conference

Relationship building and collaboration on up-to-the-minute topics drive this format, which typically stretches over several days. The exchange of information and knowledge happens on a personal level, one-on-one and in groups, in a relaxing atmosphere that accommodates normal business tasks.

Unplugged conference

Freed from connections to digital devices, unplugged formats help participants plug into people and their purpose. Typically held in a remote, non-urban location over one to two days, this format emphasizes relevant, secure interaction and respite from reliance on digital technologies.

Hybrid conference

With the help of self-projecting surfaces and virtual reality technologies, hybrid conferences bring attendees together in a virtual conference room. Whether attendance is physical or digital, location doesn’t matter. These events optimize efficiency and create immersive, memorable experiences.

Virtual goes live

Business relationships built on digital communication get a boost when virtual collaborators step into reality. This day-long meeting format brings participants out from their online worlds to meet up physically. Connecting face-to-face empowers digital relationships with trust and authenticity.

Adaptive Spaces for Innovative Meetings

To meet the future with your meeting formats, you need a meeting partner that can make visionary meetings a reality. Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts offers large meeting and breakout spaces for interactive forums, as well as more intimate and flexible spaces for today’s business travelers.

Our adaptive Plaza Workspace options accommodate solo endeavors and group collaborations for business and pleasure, with free Wi-Fi, on-screen support, and flat screen projection that connects participants, devices, and coworkers off-site. For more privacy, The Studio meeting space welcomes improvisation with real-time reservations, by-the-hour bookings, fully connected conference capabilities, and lounging areas for work or play.

Plaza Workspace is so flexible, it can be leveraged for just about any of the most innovative new meeting formats; It can be used for small groups in interactive forums, as a destination in a multisite conference, or a connection point for a virtual-goes-live and hybrid meetings. This unique, adaptive space is designed to meet the evolving needs of modern meeting attendees.