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

     
    POSTED November 27, 2020
     

With executive orders and 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 meeting 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 nature-inspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help to 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 in New York.

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 an eight-hour conference, or go 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 levels 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. As an event planner-turned-holistic interior designer, Magriñá has practical ideas on how to incorporate nature into events. Of course, bringing in plants is the most direct way to incorporate an element of nature. However, not all budgets, venues, or planners can do this. Instead, Magriñá suggests displaying imagery of nature at conferences and venues with LED and plasma screens. Playing sounds of nature, such as a babbling brook, can work as well. 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 time is right; the stage is set. Groups are ready to meet face to face again, and the four-star luxury hotel MGM Grand Detroit is ready to welcome you back.

According to MPI’s report “Spring 2021 Meetings Outlook,” three-quarters of meeting professionals predict a face-to-face event this calendar year. And that definitely rings true for Lisa Williams, executive director of sales for the hotel.

 

After about 15 months of Zoom happy hours and countless virtual meetings, events, and conferences, it’s clear that virtual gatherings don’t hold a candle to the magic that in-person gatherings can spark. People are excited for in-person events again.

 

After 15+ months of tight restrictions on gathering, Michigan is finally beginning to open up again. Typically, masks are only required for unvaccinated people until July 1, and capacities for indoor gatherings have drastically increased. However, just because regulations are loosened doesn’t mean that every attendee will be comfortable around so many people and so few masks.