Take Your Conference Full Frontal

Full Frontal

It’s time to take your conference full frontal!

No, not a full frontal lobotomy. Nor a behind the scenes look at the private parts.

It’s time to challenge and encourage your conference stakeholders to focus on engaging their brains at a higher level. It’s time to develop conference experiences that help your stakeholders think smarter. It’s time to equip your participants with the ability to conquer the complexities of their 21st Century work by going full frontal!

(Hat tips Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas, and Make Your Brain Smarter.)

Your Brain Health

So how often do you think about your brain?

And how often do you think about your brain health?

If you’re like most people, you take your brain for granted. You’ve always had one. (Well, duh!) And you’ve always used it. (If you’re reading this, you’re using it.)

It’s not until your brain begins to decline…
Or you have problems remembering something…
Or your brain gets damaged…
Or you watch a loved one’s decision making deteriorate…
That you begin to focus on your brain.

Here’s what researchers at the Brain Health Institute have found: the stronger your brain, the more resilient it is to guard against cognitive decline.

The good news? You can take actions today to strengthen your brain. And you can leverage current brain research to design conferences that foster higher order thinking skills not just memorization of content or facts.

You as a conference organizer can be a driving force in your participants’ brain health!

The Four Major Brain Lobes

Every day, you use your brain to complete your most important work. Inside your brain, a maze of intricate neural networks act as the engine to solve challenges, to innovate, to learn, to plan, to reason, to manage your emotions, and to think strategically, to name a few. These networks connect past experiences and knowledge to today’s challenges.

Healthy resilient brains wire and fire their neural networks across four major lobes: frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital.

The frontal lobe of your brain acts as the central command center. It links information back and forth across other brain regions.

The frontal lobe is about one-third of your entire brain says Chapman. It’s where the executive functions of your brain reside.

Engage The Executive Functions Of Full Frontal

Higher order thinking skills—those you take for granted—like

  • aligning the conference purpose and value with your organization’s strategy,
  • employing future-focused programming,
  • designing learning experiences not content distribution
  • integrating topics and learning opportunities across a longer time span more than the three days of the conference,
  • analyzing data to find patterns and opportunities,
  • evaluating which security and safety measures to put into place,
  • judging and negotiating vendor proposals,
  • identifying which target markets lead to growth,
  • creating segmented marketing based on needs, pains and gains

—stem from your frontal lobe.

Higher order thinking skills involve complex decision making, deep understanding for authentic application, analysis, evaluation, judgement and creation.

They require more cognitive processing. And demand more of the body’s resources.

So Why Should We Care?

Higher order thinking skills have more beneficial value than lower order thinking skills. Lower order thinking skills include reading, listening, knowledge, memorizing facts, and routines.

New research reveals that the road to thinking smarter and decreasing cognitive decline leads to your brain’s frontal lobe neural networks. Engaging higher order thinking skills helps keep early dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay.

Ultimately, your success relies on you going full frontal! says Chapman.

Likewise, the success of your conference relies on you designing experiences that activate participant’s frontal lobe function. You want them to go full frontal!

So how do we put full frontal into practice in our conferences? Check out tomorrow’s post for some specific strategies.

What excites you about conferences that foster full frontal experiences? What barriers do you need to overcome to engage participant brain health?

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