I’ve been reading Leaders Eat Last, a book about leadership by the motivational speaker Simon Sinek. His book explores, as the subtitle puts it, "why some teams pull together and others don’t." Sinek quotes a lot of biology and anthropology to support his thesis: when companies prioritize the care of human beings, and put people before numbers, they thrive.

We are biologically wired, Sinek says, to function best as a member of a close and trusting group. Teamwork helped us find food and stave off attacks by saber-toothed tigers back in the days when we were hunters and gatherers. Today, when most of our hunting and gathering is done online, teamwork is just as important in maintaining an organization’s health.

I thought about Sinek when an email about a new program by one of my favorite San Francisco hotels, the iconic Sir Francis Drake, landed in my inbox. Called "Be a Kid Again," the program brings a sense of play and nostalgia to meeting breakout sessions. Covered in butcher paper, tables offer crayons, construction paper, pattern scissors and nostalgic playthings like yo-yo’s, play-doh, Slinkies and Silly Putty. Childhood games are also provided-from Twister and Candy Land to Monopoly. And the snack-break menu includes the kinds of treats you never quite outgrow-mini pb&j crustless sandwiches, fried mac ‘n cheese balls, house-made pudding, Twinkies and rice crispy treats, warm chocolate chip cookies.

People whose day job includes writing code, managing budgets or developing long-term marketing strategies can wind down with some throwback games like Simon Says, telephone and big-group Pictionary.

I think our Paleolithic ancestors would want to join us in this fun, don’t you?

The saying “Everything is bigger in Texas!” is especially true when it comes to ways for planners to tailor Lone Star meetings that are as unique and memorable as they are productive. In Texas, you should expect everything from world-class venues and cuisine to down-home barbecues and neighborly hospitality. Texas meetings are ideal to brand using local flavors and culture. 

 

In 2020, Houston First Corp. (HFC) reported that the city was slated to host 252 meetings and 611,000 room nights. By March 14, the Bayou City had already hosted 115 conventions and 137,400 room nights. Then the pandemic hit, and meetings and events across the country came to a screeching halt.

We asked Michael Heckman, acting president and CEO of Houston First Corp. (HFC) how the health crisis has influenced the organization’s business model moving forward.

 

Great lighting is key. Smart décor is a must. But the mood of any gala, auction or awards ceremony lies largely on the shoulders of its master of ceremonies. Who you choose to represent your cause or organization on stage can be the difference between an event that is “ho-hum” or “electrifying.”

Texas Meetings + Events reached out to three of Texas’s favorite emcees. They shared with us how they got where they are—and what they’re doing now—along with some sage advice.