The Plague of 2020 taught all of us one very important thing………. The importance of being outdoors for one’s physical, emotional and mental health.
It’s also why I emerged on the other side of the plague with a renewed vigor to keep up something I had started a few years earlier……………….moving conference learning outside and away from the meeting and conference centers. I call it Best Conference Session Ever and here are 5 reasons why I think your next meeting, conference, board retreat or staff development day needs to include an outdoor component.
- Different Perspective and Creativity. Moving people out of that dreary conference room opens them to new thought patterns, different stimuli, and a break from typical routines that don’t allow for some of the most thought provoking or original ideas to surface. New spaces = new ideas.
- Variety leads to interest. Keynotes, breakout sessions, vendor halls, slide shows. Conferences are basically the Same-old Same-old. Outside learning adds variety and sparks (renewed) interest by your attendees. It removes the monotony that some have called the conference experience. It’s also where you hear comments like that was the “Best Conference Session Ever”
- Something Unique. Every meeting planner is looking to be a pioneer; to be the one who offers something new and different. That session that gets people talking and provides them a lasting memory of something different. Outdoor experiences, like Best Conference Session Ever, offer just that. That something new and unique you’ve been promising. That opportunity to really see HOW the world outside the four walls of a meeting room can lead to new ideas, problem solving and so much more.
- Organic Networking and Collaboration. Nothing worse than forced team building, networking, and collaboration. Outdoor learning offers more time for people to spontaneously connect with someone and perhaps create a partnership that otherwise would not have happened with a person sitting in a conference ballroom16 rows ahead of you. Or even worse, a group activity with people who really aren’t “your people.”
- No or Low Tech. Outdoor learning experiences like Best Conference Session Ever are often the opportunity for people to give technology a rest. For participants to learn, explore, question, observe and so much more. Will we ever get truly away from tech? Of course not. But if for a little while we let outside stimuli and unexpected aha moments control our thoughts? It’s not a terrible thing.
So those are just a few reasons why I think moving learning outside can benefit your next education event, retreat or development day. Oh and I guess I’ll add one more reason. And maybe the most important……………………………
Outdoor learning may just very well be the most fun your group will ever have solving problems, ideating or just bonding!