Modern life in the West seems to be lived at a frenetic pace. New technology and digital media provide instant access to whatever we seek – information, ideas, products and services. It is easy to take all this for granted and to lose sight of the simple, natural aspects of living that make up our personal catalogues of experiences.
When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses, listen to bird song or send a Thank You message to a colleague or friend for something they had done for you? The pressure to keep up, to stay ahead and to be successful tends to suck up all available time. There is a danger that the current need to constantly be connected is undermining true happiness and wellbeing.
Business leaders face a challenge, which is to help their co-workers and associates to savour the moments they experience both personally and with others, as well as both individual and team achievements. In other words, there must be time in the schedule for reflection, appreciation and celebration of their experiences. Why? Because there is plenty of evidence that the happiest people are those who learn to “savour the moment”.
Savour the moment
An article in Time Magazine, by Eric Barker, reveals a number of strategies for making life happier, based on scientific research and expert advice . It opens by saying that whilst there are about 9 zillion things we can be doing to increase happiness, a lot of people don’t do much to deliberately make their lives happier.
“Researchers found that the majority of the subjects they studied were not able to identify anything they had done recently to try to increase their happiness or life satisfaction.”
Our specialism is helping corporate clients to plan and manage live events, including conferences, hospitality and incentive travel programmes. Communication with employees and other business partners is the first aspect of successful enterprises. Listening to the concerns and expectations of the people involved is the best way to identify opportunities for performance improvement. The process works best when you include time to just think, to reflect and review the past, so that you can apply the lessons learned to future planning.
Make it personal
So, if “savouring the moment” works on a personal level it must be relevant in a corporate context. We need to understand how it works and how to apply the principles to the workplace, if they are to benefit the company and its results. Emotional intelligence has become generally accepted as being a vital leadership quality required for business success in the 21st century. According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularise emotional intelligence, it contains five key elements which are Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills . The first of these, ‘Self-awareness’, will be further enhanced by developing the habit of “savouring the moment”.
In planning corporate events we can utilise two dimensions of time – the present and the past – to help everyone involved to savour the moment. In the agenda of a conference, the content of a hospitality event or the itinerary of an incentive travel programme we will incorporate time to pause, rest and absorb the highlights of the occasion. After the event, we ensure that there are souvenirs and records of past pleasures and achievements which provide permanent reminders to increase the sense of happiness and wellbeing that comes from having that experience.
Make it reality
Here are some practical examples of how this is accomplished:
- Themed conference breaks to lighten the mood and encourage interaction
- A conference app to send delegates personal agenda reminders
- Personal invitations to meet speakers over coffee or in break-out sessions
- Copies of conference presentations
- Follow-up reports and links to relevant information
- Feedback questionnaires with rewards for completion
- Guest lists with brief profiles to help with introductions
- A high ratio of hosts to guests to enhance personal recognition
- Individual welcome gifts for every guest
- A framed photograph of the entire guest group or of the guest’s table
- A framed photograph of the guest with the principal host
- A souvenir of the venue or location
- A personalised room gift every night, typical of the destination
- A “survival kit” such as sunblock, hat, water and T shirt for a beach resort or thermal gloves and balaclavas for inside the Arctic Circle
- A personalised “leisure time” list of extra sightseeing options
- An invitation to join a WhatsApp group, launched on the trip, for the qualifiers and their partners to share recollections and forge new friendships
- A souvenir of the trip such as a tea-making set from China or a bottle of vintage Champagne after visiting a famous French Champagne house
- A framed group photograph or a memory stick “album”, to commemorate the experience.