02 Jun 2014

Why Breaks Can Make Your Meetings a Success or Failure

Posted By Lea Cerdido

While meeting planners often concentrate on helping put together a top-notch agenda, many times a meeting's success can hinge on the downtime -- the breaks.

It is not unusual to encounter clients who want to pack an agenda as much as possible, and that is understandable. After all, whether it is an internal meeting, training, conference or trade show, bringing people together can be a significant investment that you want to maximize.

However, the best value will only come if participants are able to bring their maximum energy and focus into the time they have together. As the phrase implies, "drinking from the firehose" will result in a lot of lost resource. Studies show that after 90 minutes focused on one task, the average human needs to take a breather. Some argue that number should be lower as we are constantly multitasking.

Meeting participants should have the opportunity to have both mental and physical shifts throughout the course of the day. Mental shifts could be alternating between passive keynote type presentations and interactive workshops. Physical shifts include moving people around and having their environment change. We recommend sessions to last no more than 50 minutes, with 5 to 10 minutes of a recharging activity and another 5-10 minutes to re-engage in work activity (call the office, etc). Knowing that they have this available will allow them to focus more on the sessions themselves.

Of course we cannot forget nutrition. People need fuel to keep going both mentally and physically. Though some may desperately need sugar to keep them going, make sure that healthy options are available, those tend to flatten out the metabolic highs and lows. 

Breaks can literally make or break your meeting. If you or your organization need help in successfully managing your next meeting, contact us at Cor-Events for a free initial consultation. 

   Lea Cerdido is a Certified Meeting Professional with more than 20 years of experience in corporate meeting services and negotiating hotel and vendor contracts nationwide. You can contact her at