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Behavioural science can influence thinking, say Capita Travel & Events

Experts in the behavioural science field from Capita Travel & Events and NYS explained how uses of the techniques can encourage collaboration and improve the delegate experience.

“The power of behavioural science is using insights into how people think, feel and behave to create better outcomes,” Jonti Dalal-Small, head of behavioural science said.

“It is a way to question how things have always been done. In applying psychology to meetings and events, the power of context should not be underestimated. Ultimately, we want to create an environment that encourages a discovery mindset, so people get the best out of their experience.”

First unveiled at The Meetings Show, Leanne Fowler, director of strategic meetings management, explained that the methodology can be used to influence various factors, such as choosing the most cost-effective meeting locations.

“Meetings average 15 per cent of the total costs so its important companies have visibility of the associated travel time and travel costs that form part of the total meeting cost or consider the alternatives,” Fowler said.

The average delegate rate can fluctuate widely by location when considering total costs. For instance, the average delegate day rate can be more than 60 per cent less in other parts of the UK such as Bristol, Stoke-on-Trent or Leicester compared to London.

“It’s about understanding the different types of meetings so companies don’t always fall back to a default of face to face, or if that is the best option, taking a smarter and more considered look at everything from the location, timing and agenda to ensure it is as successful and cost-effective as possible.”

The landscape of the meetings industry is moving fast, and event companies need to come up with innovative strategies. “The days of the beige buffet have definitely gone; delegates expect more. Small changes, such as scheduling frequent breaks, yoga sessions, providing watercoolers and nutritional food all support this agenda and keep delegates mentally stimulated, so events are more effective in all aspects,” Caroline Medcalf, director of events at NYS said.

According to a report published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, meetings are fertile places for problem-solving, discussion, and idea generation. However, employee research seems to suggest that many meetings function inefficiently.

“Meetings are generally bad, but meeting science shows us there are concrete ways we can improve them,” said Joseph Allen, a researcher from the University of Nebraska Omaha. “Leaders can be more organized, start on time, and encourage a safe sharing environment. Attendees can come prepared, be on time, and participate.”