Not only will providing awesome experiences at your conference make your attendees loyal participants, it also just could make them better people. According to a new study Melanie Rudd conducted at Stanford University, when people have new experiences of awe, their feelings of well-being are enhanced, their sense of time expands, and they behave more altruistically and less materialistically. And while remembering past experiences of awe or reading about awesome things can have some similar effects, they're more profound when experienced in person.
But it's not going to be easy to make your meeting more awesome. Rudd says, "There are two things needed for a true awe experience: 1) Perceptual vastness (i.e., you need to perceive that you've encountered something vast in number, size, scope, complexity, or social bearing) and 2) A need for accommodation (i.e., you must feel that you need to revise or update your mental structures/the way you think/your understanding of the world in order to understand the perceptually vast thing/stimuli)." Which ideally is happening as your faculty show participants how to stretch their minds, habits, and ways of working over the course of the meeting.
While social interactions like networking are great, they don't tend to be as awe-inducing as "being exposed to art or music, and observing the accomplishments of others. Things like social interactions and personal accomplishments seem to be less likely to elicit awe," says Rudd, who adds, "And I imagine that just putting yourself in new situations, in new places, and encountering new people would increase your chances of experiencing awe." Then it's up to you to educate them, knock their socks off, and make them better people. Sounds hard, but I know you can do it!
(Via Business Insider)