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  • Tips to Beat The Ol' Winter Blues

    When the sun refuses to shine, check out these ways to stay motivated. 

    FROM THE Winter 2014 ISSUE

MAYBE IT’S THE LACK OF DAYLIGHT or the chill-you-to-the bone weather day afte rday after day, but sometimes winter can make it hard to function at a high level. We asked some experts how you can keep yourself, and your group, productive and engaged during the gray winter days.

Get Moving
Abundant studies show the benefits of physical activity include better health, energy, learning ability, cognitive function and happiness. Sit on an exercise ball or stand up at your desk. Keep hand weights at your desk and use them during phone meetings. -Scott Crabtree, chief happiness officer with Happy Brain Science

Get Busy
Gray skies and cool weather don’t have to be a postmeeting obstacle. During fall and winter months, groups can enjoy a variety of engaging indoor activities. For the sports enthusiasts, Rose City Futsal in northeast Portland has spaces available to rent for special events (, as does the Portland Rock Gym ( For culinary enthusiasts, try cooking classes at Portland’s Culinary Workshop (, chocolate tasting with A Yen for Chocolate (, or a macaron class with Two Tarts Bakery ( All of these activities are sure to leave everyone smiling, even in the gloom! -Monica Scott, Gather Event Planning and Consultation

Get Together 
The science of happiness indicates a primary factor in happiness, for most of us, is the quality of our relationships with other people. Staying connected keeps us happy. And data suggests that happiness leads to better productivity, engagement, creativity, health and success. Prioritize people. Pick up the phone instead of sending a long email. Meet in person instead of sending an instant message. Take time to get to know people as complete human beings, not just colleagues. Structure activities, such as bringing a personal photo to the meeting, can accelerate the process of relating to others. -Scott Crabtree, chief happiness officer with Happy Brain Science

Get Motivated
A study of 12,000 daily journal entries found that progress toward clear and meaningful goals was the strongest factor on quality inner work life. Yet, too many managers ignore progress, focusing only on the completion of goals. Start by ensuring that goals (yours or other people’s goals) are specific, clear, challenging and meaningful. Then focus on the progress toward those goals. Talking about, facilitating, and savoring progress brings energy and engagement. Focus not only on completing goals, but also on measuring and enjoying each step of progress. -Scott Crabtree, chief happiness officer with Happy Brain Science

Get Relaxed
Winter is a natural time for hibernation, so to keep energy high, work with nature instead of against it. Schedule regular time for curling up with a mug of cocoa and a good book, or add a long, hot bubble bath to your weekly routine. The downtime will enable you to gear up when you need to without losing steam. -Tina Gilbertson, LPC, author of Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them (Viva Editions, 2014)

A well-executed familiarization (FAM) trip—just like a well-planned event—belies the months of strategizing, behind-the-scenes coordination and, quite frankly, sheer fortitude that goes into its planning. But behind every flawlessly timed afternoon of venue tours or masterfully planned zip-lining adventure is a convention and visitors bureau (CVB) staff whose 24/7 smiles mask the around-the-clock effort it takes to pull it all off.

We asked representatives from two regional CVBs to share their secrets to planning a successful and productive fam trip.


Social media has drastically changed since I was in college. Thanks to Instagram, Twitter and FB, the hashtag symbol is becoming a larger topic when it comes to following, reporting and engaging with companies, friends or events. I personally love following the buzz during events that I cannot attend via hashtags. Savvy event planners can use hashtags to help our industry and business grow.


SWAG: We all get it (hence the acronym: stuff we all get). But do we really want all of the “it” that we get? We asked event planners and hospitality insiders to share with us their best and worst SWAG items—what they keep on hand and what gets tossed in the bin.

Best: Items that are useful, such as power banks, TSA liquids bags and thumb drives.
Worst: Toys/trinkets that end up in the waste; candy and snacks. (Don’t we get enough at the show?)