Leave Unique Meetings to the Experts: HMNS Has Special Events Down to a Science

 

by Ashley Zalta

unconventional6Recent studies have found the current attention span of a human is between eight and nine seconds. That’s the same attention span of a goldfish! To say the least, your typical boardroom meetings aren’t capturing people’s attention anymore, so how do we make more interactive and engaging meetings? Well, the Houston Museum of Natural Science Special Events Department has a few answers for you.

1. Hold a meeting in an unconventional location.

Unconventional locations capture attention from the get-go, as clients’ senses are heightened in unfamiliar spaces. At HMNS, we offer meeting spaces that allow guests to view all of our permanent exhibit halls during their breaks. This gets people up and moving and not in a “meeting-coma” as the day proceeds.

Desmond Dino Tour 22. Seating matters

Nowadays, you have so many more options than typical conference chairs and board tables for meetings. The trends are leaning towards a more fun style of seating. Try using bean bag chairs. This allows guests not only a comfortable place to sit, but also elicits more group conversation.

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Also try charging furniture — that is, furniture with outlets. With all guests “plugged in” these days, it’s hard to find enough outlets for everyone without wiring up the room. Well not anymore! Charging furniture now puts live plugs both wall style and usb right into the couches, chairs, and tables where guests are sitting.

unconventional3. DIY food stations

The food served at a meeting can be a great way to get people up and moving and create new conversations during an event. With DIY food stations, people not only create the exact food perfect for their dietary needs, but this type of meal can also be a point of conversation, and for some, even a competition.

Taco station — it’s a festive spin on Tex-Mex that leaves everyone satisfied.

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Salad bar — something healthy, something for everyone.

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Decorate-your-own gingerbread cookie — perfect for informal competitions!

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At HMNS, we’ve got engaging audiences down to a science, so contact us at specialevents@hmns.org to help make your next event truly unique.

Editor’s Note: Ashley is the Assistant Director of Special Events at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Testing for the Best

Summer is here and one of the new Xplorations classes this year is Test for the Best, a class about consumer product testing (think Consumer Reports for kids: more about chocolate and toys and less about vacuum cleaners). I had fun checking out their experiments the past two weeks. 

How long does your chewing gum keep its flavor?  Does that battery really keep going and going and going?  Campers smeared fabric (in this case, socks) with chocolate sauce, ketchup and more before testing out stain removers:

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They also tested battery life, plastered themselves in bandages to see which ones would stick the longest, sampled chocolate chip cookies and created an advertising campaign for imaginary products, complete with slogans and fine print warnings!  Here are a few pictures:

The bandage line-up:

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 Some results from testing waterproof bandages:

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Ready for a blind(folded) taste test:

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Working on an ad (and simultaneously testing markers):

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The slogan:

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And another group’s ad:

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Complete with a warning label:

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After rating many other things (microwave popcorn, cereal, etc.), on Friday the campers tested several things of their own choosing; bouncy balls, frozen treats, and chocolate bars.

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We’re always looking for more ideas, so what do you think we should test in July?