INTERVIEW - HAPPITUDE AT WORK & VMP
Vischer, Merkt & Partner AG (VMP), event and communication agency located in Zurich and active around the globe since 1999 interviewed me to know how to maximise happiness at meetings & events.
Here is the interview published on their website:
Aurelie Litynski worked as an event manager at Vischer, Merkt + Partner AG in the past and founded afterwards (in 2018) her own business Happitude at work. As a Chief Happiness Officer she now helps companies to define unique ways to enhance happiness at work. Not only does she support managers but also listens to the employees in a very respectful way – to find out what will make teams happier and more productive. Before starting as an entrepreneur, she worked as a senior event manager and knows a lot about the professional organization of meetings and events.
VMP: Happiness is quite a strong emotion; do you think it is easy to make people happy in general?
Aurelie Litynski (A.L): Happiness means something else for everyone. We cannot force someone to be happy, however, we can create the right environment for people to open their mind and start their journey to become happier. I truly believe that happiness is a matter of mindset, vision and attitude as well.
VMP: How can we make people happy at an event or meeting?
A.L: A business event should not only tackle pure business topics and discussions. In order to create a real impact, human aspects in general should also be addressed such that participants feel valued, heard and that their inputs truly count. With this empowerment, people will feel that they make a difference, which is one of the major drivers of their happiness.
The organisational aspects, venue and social events also play an essential and important role to make the event truly unforgettable. It always has to be a balance between engaging content and perfect organisation.
VMP: What is the main reason people get upset at a meeting & event?
A.L: There are two different levels of being annoyed or frustrated at an event:
(i) On one hand side, aspects of the event organisation itself can lead to potential negative experiences of the event participants Location, food, flow, timing or format can lead to disappointments and frustrations. Assuring that those aspects are executed flawlessly will set the stage for a great experience.
(ii) But it is equally important to make the participants feel and understand that their presence at the conference is highly valuable and that they can also benefit from the content. If this is not the case, people will not understand the goal of their participation, which can lead to low involvement and frustration.
VMP: Do you have a secret on how to turn the atmosphere from tense and stressful to easy and relaxed?
A.L: Through my experiences, I realised that if you want to break the cycle of negativity, you need to speak about it. Communication can be really powerful to solve problems, as you might understand better why it all started. If this happens during a meeting, you might want to take a break. When we are in a stressful or tense attitude, we are less productive. It is worth going for a walk and calm down. Then you can start to reflect on the situation and find a better way to handle it.
VMP: How can we improve meetings, so that people are motivated and want to participate?
A.L: I would suggest creating emotions and engaging with the participants before, during & after the event. It can be done through event apps, games, survey, voting system etc. If the participants feel part of the organisation, part of the event and part of the success, they will feel valued and that’s a crucial point to create more motivation and happiness. Interactivity and the possibility to bring own ideas will boost participants’ motivation as they will know that their professionalism is asked and valued.
Here are some examples which could be easily implemented:
- A voting system can be used to choose the team activity or the workshops topics to engage the participants even before the start of the event. By knowing their expectations, we can manage them better.
- Gamification can be really effective for learning sessions / trainings / communication during meetings.
- A follow-up with the participants after a meeting is crucial. By asking feedbacks and sharing highlights, they will feel part of the success and will have good memories by reflecting on the positive moments.
VMP: One last personal question: What makes you happy at work?
A.L: It took me a while to realise it – but what makes me truly happy at work is to be part of a community, which I can count on. Having good relationships with my colleagues and managers were always hugely important to me. I am now a solo entrepreneur and do not have a team anymore, that’s why I had to find this team-feeling somewhere else: like being involved in a businesswomen associations or helping others to create this community at their workplace.
Aurelie Litynski is a Chief Happiness Officer and Founder of Happitude at work. Her mission is increase the awareness on happiness at work in companies and help leaders and employees being successful by creating more work-related happiness in their teams.
Are you interested to implement a strategy where your teams happiness is part of your company’s culture? Let’s get in touch!