• Use Plants at In-Person Events to Make Attendees Feel At Ease

     
    POSTED May 20, 2021
     

With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.

“Studies show that access or a view of nature, an experience of nature, lowers blood pressure and stress and improves mood and concentration,” says holistic interior designer Gala Magriñá, owner of Gala Magriñá Design.

Magriñá cites two reasons why nature has these effects on people. One is called Attention Restoration Theory, which is “the idea that natural settings give the brain a break from cognitively exhausting tasks.”

For example, as professionals sit through a day’s worth of meetings, nature can help people’s brains from not getting too overwhelmed.

Magriñá continues: “Nature draws our attention, but it’s an effortless kind of engagement—which they call a soft fascination—and although you’re engaged by it [nature], it still allows the mind a kind of rest and reset.”

The second reason why nature can lower stress is related to the industrial development of the world. Magriñá explains, “We came from nature, we lived in nature, so our bodies relax in pleasant nature surroundings, because that’s where they evolved. Our senses are adapted to plants and trees and foliage, and not necessarily traffic and high rises. That’s from the 20th century, right?”

So, as worries about meeting in-person during the pandemic continue, nature (and nods to nature) may generally help ease stress and tension.

Of course, bringing in plants is the most direct way to incorporate nature into events. However, not all budgets, venues, or planners can do this. Instead, Magriñá suggests displaying imagery of nature at venues with LED and plasma screens, or even playing sounds of nature, such as a babbling brook. Finally, orienting floor plans to maximize exposure to windows can help connect people to natural surroundings.

With these tips, planners can reap the benefits of nature in order to ease attendees’ minds. Whether it’s during a global pandemic or not—having a little greenery around can’t hurt.

The 2022 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, held on March 1 at the Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel, featured both in-person and virtual learning for representatives of tourism organizations, attractions, lodging properties and other entities. The gathering kicked off with remarks by Gov. Tim Walz and Explore Minnesota Director Lauren Bennett McGinty. 

 

D’Amico Catering has returned to Walker Art Center as the exclusive culinary and planning service for all private events taking place at the museum. The Minneapolis-based catering company managed the Walker Art Center’s special events and food service from 2011-2016. 

 

The first time I tried axe throwing was at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming at a memorable outdoor dinner along the river. It was a fun way to get to know other guests at the ranch, with no one being much of an expert at hurling an axe but most being willing to give it a try. However, there is no need to go to a ranch or Wyoming to try this fun team-building activity when FlannelJax’s and Bad Axe Throwing both provide options in Minnesota and beyond.