The study of brain activity at conferences to track the changing thoughts, feelings and behaviours of organisers and attendees during a conference has been published by QHotels.
The research involved monitoring and analysing the brainwaves of event organisers, speakers and delegates revealed that on average, a delegate’s concentration started to drop after three and a half minutes of a presentation and is at its lowest before a lunch break.
Joanne Barratt, Group Operations Manager at QHotels, said: “Getting feedback from clients after an event is one thing, but being able to understand what they’re thinking and feeling during the event is something no-one has attempted before.
“Not only is this ground-breaking research in the UK, but the results of our research will help to inform our C&E offering, and enable us to provide a number of data-driven recommendations to conference organisers.”
It also those who took notes during the event or tweeted about the seminar were likely to process information more fluently, and remain engaged for longer, than those who did not, while 75 per cent of delegates switched off if they were already familiar with the content, regardless of the quality of the performance of the speaker.
To get real-time feedback during a conference, organisers, speakers and delegates were fitted with the latest hi-tech EEG (electroencephalogram) headsets that used sensitive pads to monitor brainwave activity.
This captured the stresses and strains, the high points and low points, involved in organising, attending or speaking at a conference. Software enabled the brainwave activity to be viewed and analysed on laptops and tablets by QHotels’ researchers.
By analysing the variations in gamma, beta, alpha, theta and delta brainwaves – the different ‘pulses’ of electrical activity in the brain – the research team could identify the different emotions, thoughts and behaviours associated with those brainwave changes.
The findings – contained in QHotels’ The Brainwaves Report, have led to a number of recommendations from the award-winning venue operator including ensuring early access to conference facilities, a ‘Green Room’ for speakers, ‘surprise’ lunchtimes and encouragement of use of social media during events, as well as considerations for further exploration.
The study was conducted at conferences and training events at QHotels venues around the UK including Hellidon Lakes Golf and Spa Hotel, Oulton Hall, The Westerwood Hotel and Golf Resort and The Cheltenham Chase Hotel. The report was commissioned by the group to add a new dimension to its award-winning service for conference and events organisers to ensure that every event at any of its 27 venues will be as successful as possible.