One of the best ways to bring wellness into a meetings agenda is to hire a speaker well versed and experienced in topics ranging from meditation to exercise to nutrition and beyond. The content is not only personally enriching for attendees, it helps them bond as a group and be more productive.
Following are two top speakers currently engaging audiences from small corporate groups to giant conferences.
Lee Papa’s signature keynote, “How to Live and Lead Mindfully,” was one of the most impactful sessions for attendees of IMEX America in Las Vegas in 2015. She continues to rouse audiences and individuals about the personal and workplace benefits of leading a more inspired and successful life through the balance of mind, body and spirit.
Papa, who formerly owned a wellness institute in Las Vegas, sets herself apart by offering mindfulness as her core competency, a trait she said is highly important when seeking a qualified facilitator to bring mindfulness to meetings.
Papa customizes keynote speeches, presentations, meditation rooms (her Be Well Lounge at IMEX America has been a big hit among attendees), corporate sales retreats and leadership workshops for groups. She is optimistic that meeting planners and attendees are embracing the importance of wellness in their personal lives and in collaborating within groups.
“It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me to see how open the industry was to this—it was screaming for relief because the stress level is so high among meeting planners,” she said. “And with planners and attendees, there’s more buy-in when they realize the value of an entire wellness initiative in any meeting. It used to be more of a party mentality. Now it’s, ‘What can we do to support the wellness aspect and have more empowering offerings?”
Tailoring her mindfulness message to the needs of attendees and the group as a whole is key, Papa said.
“If they want to focus on mind, body, spirit, we do that,” she said. “Or they may want something specific like a travel theme. Another example is a sales and marketing group that could benefit from themes that are related to managing mindfully and embracing those obstacles from a completely different perspective.”
In today’s hectic world, it goes beyond work-life balance, it’s about managing the entirety of it all, Papa added.
“Our life is a whole, and we manage it through a mindfulness approach,” she said. “Things that are stressors will automatically flow away. Studies are proving that mindfulness literally changes the brain, and based on breakout sessions I do on mindful meetings, it’s apparent: People not only retain information better, but they sleep better, they can better deal with jet lag, their masks fall away, and they become more receptive, productive and creative in general.”
Kim Bercovitz, fondly known as Dr. Kim, had a serendipitous speaking engagement that led her to an innovative idea. A few years ago when she was speaking to a group about a workplace bone health initiative, she asked the audience to stand up and do a five-minute stretching exercise with her. The energy and motivation that pervaded the room led her to get serious about a specific program for large conventions and conferences.
She launched X bytes fitness® break videos in 2013, and they have since been utilized by conferences, meetings, associations and businesses to fight fatigue and promote wellness. The videos are now part of a turnkey wellness program for conferences and workplaces that includes wellness talks, wellness lounges, fitness/wellness tip sheets, wellness coaching and wellness challenges.
X bytes is about “byte-size” wellness, according to Dr. Kim, who describes herself as “byte-size, too—five feet small and full of energy.”
“We create video fitness micro-breaks and wellness lounges to keep participants alert, engaged and energized,” she said. “The videos are five minutes in duration. The talks, live-on-the go fitness breaks, one-to-one wellness coaching—delivered in the wellness lounge—are also short (15 minutes), which is the ideal amount of time for capturing participants’ attention.”
She can also be hired for two-plus-hour wellness workshops and shorter 30- to 60-minute talks.
Her goal is to demystify exercise and wellness to make it easy and accessible— “anywhere, anytime, anyplace, for anybody, in any clothes, no excuses,” she added. “Everyone can become a wellness warrior.”
The talks are also practical, interactive and action-oriented, according to Dr. Kim.
“We don’t just talk about exercise and ‘taking a stand’ against sitting—we do it during the session,” she said, citing sweat-free desk exercises, chair abs, yoga and mindfulness.
Participants leave with tip sheets, wellness visions, resistance bands and road warrior kits so they can immediately apply their learnings to their busy everyday lives.