As meeting and event professionals we are always trying to find fun and interesting ways to help attendees mingle, network, and connect. Caffenation is, of course, an important way to keep our guests energized and coffee breaks are one of those in-between spaces that often get left off the radar.
Maybe it’s because this is a time people use to separate from the group to make calls or check emails. But there are plenty of attendees who use this time to reflect with each other about how the day is going or what they thought of the last session they attended.
National Coffee Day (September 29th) is a great time to reflect on our coffee breaks and optimize this place and space. Here are a few ideas.
- I often run quick energizing yoga sessions for anyone that wants to join. They help get blood flow going, counteract any bad posture, and help people gather. I always find, once the session is over, people are feeling great. They are not only more energized, but are more likely to feel relaxed, chat, and connect.
- Nobody feels like chatting when they have a kink in their neck and how many of us get a great night’s sleep on hotel beds with pillows that aren’t our own. You could add a few shoulder massage stations and let therapists do what they do. Or, consider having a rest, relax, and thrive station. Place roller-balls, trigger-point S-shaped massagers, hot & cold packs, and aromatherapy diffusers with invigorating scents, like eucalyptus or mint on a table for anyone to check out. The DIY aspect not only makes this station more interesting, but it encourages people to interact as they discover what works.
- Even the food can have a message worth talking about. Go for local fare in both snacks and drinks. If you can’t source local, at least ensure you offer fair trade – especially when it comes to coffee. Fair trade coffee is of growing concern so it’s not only responsible, it will help to spur conversation – you know, if it’s labeled.
- Meetings Net has a great suggestion regarding a “build your own” station. Let people create their own parfait, granola, trail mix, and superfood snack. It’s healthier than donuts and bagels. Plus, building your own snack gives people choices and opportunities.
- Facilitate conversation with a fun and energizing conversation starter. Maybe bring in a vendor or two that have interesting demonstration tools. For example, if sustainability or energy efficiency is an event topic, get a Clean Energy Action (CEA) bike so guests can pedal and find out just how much energy it really takes to light a light bulb. It’s fun. It’s educational and on-topic. It’s energizing.
What ideas do you have on how to optimize the coffee break. It can involve coffee or activities. The coffee break is such an important and iconic period in the day. How can we capitalize on this opportunity?