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3 Benefits of Adding a Post-Conference Reception to Your Meeting

Your upcoming conference plan is coming together nicely. You have a healthy list of confirmed attendees, your guest speakers are prepared to discuss engaging topics, and your menu is carefully selected. You’ve considered parking arrangements and hotel accommodations for your traveling guests. You have preparations for a contingency plan should there be last minute changes or cancellations. But have you considered planning a post-conference reception?

The closing reception, designed to take place after the formal conference, can be an essential part of your meeting event. Typically scheduled immediately upon closing statements of the conference, the post-meeting reception takes place in another area of the venue, offers hors-d’oeuvres and beverages. Today, we’re discussing three reasons you should consider adding the post-conference reception to your next meeting.

Fosters a Networking Environment

Attendees and vendors will come to your meeting for a host of reasons. One of the most motivating factors is the ability for guests to network. It may be challenging to mingle during the structured meeting, with limited breaks between speakers for example. A post-conference reception is the ideal outlet for guests to network, exchange business cards and discuss business. A relaxed atmosphere reception will foster an environment of natural communication and be inviting for continued relationship-building after the meeting.

Get Feedback About the Meeting

The post-conference reception is a great place to get with attendees one-on-one and ask for feedback about the meeting. In the less formal, reception environment, attendees may be more comfortable offering suggestions and discussing what they enjoyed most about your speakers or content. Get opinions and insights on how best to plan your next meeting.

Relax and Entertain

A long day (or multiple days) of structured meetings can be exhausting. Provide your attendees and guests an opportunity to unwind, with business colleagues and relax. Consider a less formal post-conference reception, with entertainment or unique food and beverage options. Guests will see this as the time to loosen their ties, meet people and network. Use this reception as a way to create a unique experience, after the meeting. You’ll find attendees will have lasting conversations and create memorable experiences that will keep them talking about your conference in the weeks to come.

Don’t allow the learning to stop with the closing announcement at your meeting. Instead, consider adding a reception and provide your guests with the additional opportunity to enjoy your event. AMA Executive Conference Centers offers unique, post-event reception venues with each location. Ask us today about booking one of our lounge areas and finish out your next conference event with an ideal reception.

5 Common Meeting Room Setups: Pros & Cons

When it comes to choosing a meeting room setup, there are many factors to consider. What type of meeting is it? How much participation will be asked of the attendees? But have no fear: the options are many, and you will be sure to find the perfect fit for your next business meeting. Here are five meeting room styles to consider, and the pros and cons of each:

This style is exactly as you would imagine, with meeting participants at tables facing the front of the room as in a classroom setting.

✓PROS: it is familiar and conducive to paying full attention to the speaker. Tables are great for taking notes, organizing meeting materials, using laptops or eating a meal while listening to the speaker. This is an ideal setup for training sessions.
✓CONS: this style can sometimes feel crowded, and is not a very cutting edge presentation style as participants may feel like they’ve traveled back in time to their school days. Meeting planners must make sure the tables are not too crowded, so that the seating arrangement is as comfortable as possible.

This style features a large area with rows of chairs, and often a stage where the speaker stands or the presentation takes place.

✓PROS: this style is great for a short meeting, or a long conference with ample breaks throughout the day. It is ideal for a large amount of people, like a press conference or product launch.
✓CONS: this is not well-suited for note-taking or meetings with a good deal of audience participation.

This style groups participants in smaller clusters together in one large room.

✓PROS: this is great for working in small groups or encouraging interaction during meetings or breaks. It fosters community, and participants can bounce ideas and thoughts off of one another.
✓CONS: this is not ideal for a less interactive meeting, where the speaker is the sole focus of the conference and attention must be paid in great detail. It is susceptible to distractions and side talk.

This style arranges tables around the perimeter of the room so that the presentation can take place in the middle of the participants.

✓PROS: this seating arrangement is great for a very visual presentation with a good deal of interaction from the group.
✓CONS: it is not ideal for a mass meeting or one where group interaction is discouraged.

This is similar to a boardroom setup, where participants are seated around a conference table.

✓PROS: this is ideal for smaller, more intimate groups where discussion and participation is encouraged. The face-to-face interaction is an added bonus.
✓CONS: this is not an ideal setup for very visual presentations or meetings where interaction or input is discouraged.

Find your ideal meeting room setup at one of our AMA Executive Conference Center locations: Washington D.C., San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York City. Our state-of-the-art executive centers will provide all of your business meeting needs, no matter what style is best for you. Contact us today.

The Best Summer Break Activities in Atlanta

The summer is heating up – making it the perfect time of year to explore Atlanta! Nicknamed the “city in a forest,” beautiful trees and rolling hills balance the urban sprawl of Georgia’s state capital. The city has also recently earned the moniker “Hollywood of the South” due to its bustling film industry. No matter what you call it, Atlanta has many unique experiences perfect for taking a summer break:

CNN Studio Tour

CNN, the first all-news television channel in the United States, calls Atlanta home. A visit to the city is not complete without a tour of their world headquarters. The network offers several different tour options, including a Behind the Scenes Tour, a VIP Tour, and even an HLN Morning Express Tour with Robin Meade. Click here to learn more.

Georgia Aquarium

At the time of its opening in 2005, the Georgia Aquarium was the largest in the world. Located in downtown Atlanta, this enormous aquarium houses more than one hundred thousand animals and is the only aquarium outside of Asia with whale sharks. Don’t forget to cool off in the splash zone of the AT&T Dolphin Celebration and watch the acrobatic antics of the bottlenose dolphins! Click here to learn more.

World of Coca-Cola

Delve into the history of the iconic Coca-Cola company in this Atlanta based museum.  Learn the legend of the “secret formula” and get a behind the scenes view of the bottling line. Ever wonder about different Coke products offered around the world? Over one hundred different beverages are available to taste at the World of Coca-Cola. Click here to learn more. 

Six Flags Over Georgia

For those looking for a thrill, Six Flags Over George boasts eleven roller coasters, including crowd favorites Goliath and Mind Bender. For an immersive experience, try out JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis, a 4D, interactive ride which pits you and your stun gun against Lex Luthor and the Joker. From extreme roller coasters to kiddie rides to restaurants and shopping, Six Flags Over Georgia has something for everyone. Click here to learn more.

AMA has an Executive Conference Center located in the heart of Atlanta – and we can confirm, Summer is full of must try activities! With behind the scenes tours, rare animals, and exciting rides to choose from, you’ll certainly never be bored. A local tip: instead of buying each ticket individually, use CityPASS to save big on Atlanta’s attractions. Visit Atlanta and make this year’s summer break your best!

Want more information about the AMA Executive Conference Center in Atlanta? Click here and connect with us!


The Perks of Adding Fruits and Veggies to Your Meeting Menus

Did you know that watermelon is a berry? Avocados are too! June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month, and there’s no better way to celebrate than to add an array of healthy produce to your next meeting, networking reception, or cocktail hour. Not only is produce a nutritious choice to add to your menu, it is fun, colorful, soothing, and an interesting way to get people talking.

They’re Eye-Catching
Fruit and vegetables come in a rainbow of colors! From the ruby red shine of a bell pepper to the bright violet purple of a dragon fruit, your eye is drawn to these foods. They attract interest and whet the appetite.

Keep Moods Stable
Produce such as raspberries, apples, potatoes, and artichokes are high in fiber. Fiber is the great mood stabilizer! It helps keep blood sugar in check, which keeps mood swings at bay. Foods such as mushrooms, squash, and bell peppers also contain vitamin and minerals which reduce stress. Magnesium and potassium help keep blood vessels open and blood pressure down. Good moods and low stress are bound to make your next veggie filled meeting a success.

Fun To Munch
Fruits and vegetables can be fun to eat. Some snap and some crunch. Some are juicy and sweet, while others are velvety and rich. Baby carrots are small and convenient and great to pop into your mouth. Artichokes leaves can be fun to peel and eat. All great additions to add to the buffet for a late-afternoon meeting snack break.

Of course, the best reason to add more fruits and veggies to your meeting menus is that produce is nutritious. Filled with vitamins and nutrients, there is no better option to feed your group.

Some Of Our Favorite Additions
There is a nearly endless variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from, allowing for a number of different preferences and tastes to be met. Here are a few of our favorites we love for clients to add to their menus.

Tomatoes are a crowd favorite, and with statistics showing over 93% of Americans grow tomatoes in their own yards, it’s easy to assume people can’t live without them. Make sure your next meeting menu offers tomatoes, either in a lovely Caprese salad, delicately presented with cooked pasta or as finger food with a host of fun dips. No executive meeting meal should be without them.

Avocados are a fruit that’s currently trending in popularity and offer a savory, protein-rich option for salads, sandwiches, and toppings. Whether your menu includes avocados in slices or as guacamole, they’re definitely a crowd favorite.

Keep Apples on your meeting menu as a classic, fan-favorite fruit option. In addition to being a tremendous source of fiber and containing no fat or cholesterol, apples are easy to grab and eat for a quick snack during a full day meeting.

Watermelons, Cantaloupe, and Honeydew, oh my! No fruit menu is complete without at least one of these refreshing, nutrient-rich fruits. Whether prepared as a fruit salad or on a fruit tray, keeping your food stations stocked with melon options will keep your attendees happy.

Did you know that zucchini contains more potassium than the banana? When considering your menu options, consider implementing Squash and Zucchini as a side dish option as well as a main dish option for your vegan or vegetarian attendees.

Adding an array of fruit and vegetables to your next meeting menu can only benefit you and your business associates. Not only is it a healthy and delicious choice, it can even improve moods. For more ideas on how to incorporate delicious fruit and veggie options into your June meetings, contact us. AMA Executive Conference Centers in Atlanta, New York City, Washington DC and San Francisco are here to help you host your best conferences and meetings!

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International: Facts About The World’s Busiest Airport

The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta (ATL) is the busiest airport in the world, serving as a portal to hundreds of destinations, domestic and international, for over 100 million passengers annually. But the airport isn’t as chaotic and stressful as it could be: Hartsfield-Jackson holds the title as the World’s Most Efficient Airport as well, and has held the name for a whopping 14 years in a row. Enjoy a few more fun facts, that we bet you didn’t know about this busy airport!

Photo: Atlanta Airport, Facebook

• Atlanta is within a two-hour flight of 80 percent of the entire United States population.

• The airport was named the nation’s busiest as early as 1942, and has been considered the world’s busiest since 1998.

• The airport is built on land that was the former Atlanta Speedway, an abandoned racetrack purchased by Asa Candler, founder of Coca-Cola.

• Hartsfield-Jackson is Georgia’s biggest employer. More than 60,000 people, from concession operators to air traffic controllers, call the airport their workplace.

• After Atlanta hosted the 1996 Olympic Summer Games, the airport created a quirky mural called the “Spirit of Atlanta,” a painting of children greeting passengers from Centennial Olympic Park. The beloved mural was removed in 2016 and replaced with large digital screens providing tourist information.

• Atlanta boasts North America’s tallest air traffic control tower, and it’s the third tallest in the world.

• After September 11, 2001, members of the Georgia National Guard began assisting with airport security at Harsfield-Jackson.

• The airport’s first international flights were offered in 1971 with service to Mexico and Montego Bay.

• The airport features a 1,000-square foot dog park, accommodating passenger pets and service animals alike.

You’ll travel through Atlanta’s convenient Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when you attend your next meeting at AMA’s Atlanta Executive Conference Center. Contact us to book a conference at our premiere executive meeting center, conveniently located in downtown Atlanta, 15 miles from the airport and close to beautiful hotels and some of the best restaurants the Southeast has to offer!

The Best Ways to Give and Receive Feedback

Communication is a key component of teamwork. In order to get tasks completed, team members need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. An important aspect of communication is giving and receiving feedback. When someone on your team could improve or change the way they are doing something, how can you share that in a helpful and positive way? If someone on the team gives you feedback about your performance, how should you respond? Both of these are significant components of effective communication and teamwork.

Giving Feedback

1. Stay Focused
Provide feedback that is directly focused on the issue or the situation at hand. Do not discuss side issues or aspects of the receiver’s personality.

2. Be Clear and Specific
Be clear about the issue and what could be done differently. Do not talk around the issue, but get right to the point and be specific so that the receiver is not confused.

3. Timely Delivery
It is best to provide feedback as quickly as possible. If the feedback is delayed for too long, the receiver may have trouble recalling the details of the situation. Immediate feedback will generally be most effective.

4. Best Timing
Although immediate feedback is important, there are times when the moment is not the best. If emotions are high and the receiver is angry and upset, it may be best to defer the discussion but make sure to have the conversation soon.

5. Mind Your Tone
When providing negative feedback, avoid accusing the receiver. The basis for negative feedback should be how it impacted you and your point of view. This feedback is not attacking the receiver or blaming them, but shares your own feelings.

6. Positivity
As you provide feedback, come from the place of wanting what is best for the receiver. The goal is to help them succeed and even if the feedback is negative, encourage the receiver that you are looking for ways to help them improve.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice
As a leader or team contributor it is important to continue to give feedback, even if it is not always well received. It is a method to help others grow and to help the team succeed – so it is important to continue giving it.

Receiving Feedback

1. Be Open
Recognize that feedback is for your benefit and will only help you grow. Be a person who is open to the ideas of others, recognizing that you don’t have all the answers. Recognize that others on your team have a lot to offer and be a person who is open to feedback.

2. Listen
Instead of jumping to conclusions or immediately forming your response in your mind, stop yourself and really listen to the feedback.

3. Ask
Ask questions if you do not understand the feedback or if you need clarification. This will also help the giver know that you are listening and are trying to understand.

4. Control
When someone has negative feedback, it is easy to get defensive and feel attacked. Control those feelings and consider their point of view. Let their feedback be something that inspires you to improve and change. If you control your defensiveness, they will probably be more willing to provide feedback in the future.

5. Verify
If you have received feedback and are not sure if it is accurate, take the time to ask questions and do the research to see if that approach is best. Be willing to consider the feedback but also double-check its validity if necessary.

AMA Executive Conference Centers offer some of the industry’s best executive meeting and conference venues. We work to help companies and corporate planners across the U.S. facilitate meetings with the best possible outcomes. Contact us today to see how we can help in planning your next meeting in Atlanta, New York, Washington DC or San Francisco.

Bike The Right Way In These AMA Center Cities

Commuting by bike is both healthier and more enjoyable than sitting in traffic 5 days a week. Whether you own a bike or don’t own a bike, there are so many great reasons for biking to work, for fun, or for seeing a new city when traveling. Atlanta, San Francisco, New York City, and Washington DC all have city bike share programs that give you the opportunity to rent one of hundreds of bikes around their cities.

New York City

With a fleet of 12,000 bikes across 60 neighborhoods, New York City’s Citi Bike is the nation’s largest bike share program. Pick up a bike from one of the network’s 750 docking stations. Return it to a docking station near the destination. Three dollars buys a 30-minute ride. If you want to continue using Citi Bike after Bike Week is over, we suggest purchasing an annual pass for $169.


An app is not required to use Relay, Atlanta’s bike share program. Relay’s online map helps you find and reserve a nearby bike. You can also find and reserve a bike with the Social Bicycles app. When you get to your reserved bike, you’ll need to unlock it with the PIN you received when you purchased your rideshare time. After your ride, return the bike to a station near your destination. While you can pay as you go for $3.50 per ride, a $15 monthly makes it less expensive to ride all year round.

San Francisco

Ford GoBike has a network of 7,000 bikes that operates throughout the Bay area. Reserving a bike to pick up at one of the 540 docking stations is easy with the Ford GoBike app. Currently, there’s a promotion to pay $2 for 30-minute trips. Buying a monthly pass for $15 may be more cost effective if you plan to bike more during the spring and summer months.

Washington, DC

The Capital Bikeshare program is the most affordable of all the above cities. This program operates a fleet of 4,300 bikes throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area.  Since there are over 500 docking stations, the online map or app should show a bike to reserve near your home or workplace. Single trips under 30 minutes are $2.

If you’re in New York, Atlanta, San Francisco or Washington DC for business, you’re in luck – AMA has an executive conference center within all 4 of these cities! Each conference center has complimentary beverages, free LCD and PC use, executive chairs, spaces for small and large groups, and no service charges. We know the ins and outs of training sessions, business meetings, corporate receptions, focus groups, and board meetings. We take care of the meeting space, you take care of business. Click here to contact us for booking information.


Simplify Your Life With These TED Talks

For the average person, life is becoming increasingly complex. Our days are busy, our task lists are full, and prioritization isn’t just a choice, it’s a necessity. Nonetheless, some people have rejected this lifestyle as an inevitability. What if you could simplify your life, accomplish more, and find greater fulfillment? Here are a few of our favorite TED Talks to help you do just that!

A Rich Life With Less Stuff by the Minimalists

These two friends have gained prominence in the past few years for their eschewing of materialism, consumerism, and the traditional life path. Their suggestion? Focus less on material goods, seek out your passion, simplify your life, and find happiness.

As Work Gets More Complex, 6 Rules To Simplify
by Yves Morieux

In Yves Morieux’s discussion of the workplace, he discusses how traditional approaches to solving workplace problems have become too complex. Rather, he favors six rules to increase efficiencies, simplify processes, and improve performance and fulfillment among employees.

Sweat The Small Stuff by Rory Sutherland

Applicable to both professional and personal challenges, this talk takes a humorous approach to problem-solving. Sutherland’s discussion focuses on how big problems can be solved by simple solutions, rather than applying maximum force. The end state is decreased stress, fewer resources required, and better solutions.

All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes by Andy Puddicombe

This talk discusses the power of mindfulness and encourages the execution of the simplest task: doing nothing. Specifically, it encourages the power of 10 minutes of daily meditation to simplify thoughts, improve focus, and slow down.

While these TED Talks are just the tip of the iceberg, it’s a great start towards slowing down and simplifying your life. At AMA Executive Conference Centers, we are passionate about helping employees maximize their time and improve their work-life harmony. For more information about our executive meeting services and conference centers in Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco and Washington DC, contact us here.

Don’t Waste Time: Plan Meetings That Are Effective and Engaging

It’s no secret that attending meetings can often become an unpopular activity with employees. Increasingly hectic work schedules combined with the decreased attention span of the millennial population has made it even more difficult to run productive internal meetings. Nonetheless, meetings are often an important part of running a successful business. It’s not too late to change your meeting tactics, engage your employees, and increase productivity. Here are some novel ideas to help you do just that.

Engage All Employees In The Conversation

One of the most frustrating habits that a manager leading a meeting can have is talking at the group, rather than with the group. This quickly leads to inattention and frustration. Rather, a suggested tactic is “call on people gently and strategically.” Evaluate who would be a relevant participant in the topic, and then invite them to speak. Not only will this involve employees, it will increase the flow of ideas.

Encourage And Show Empathy

In order to receive meaningful feedback, it is critical to ensure employees feel comfortable enough to speak without judgment. This allows people to offer their ideas as well as “act as individual agents of change.” Not only will your organization flourish, but employees will begin to flourish as well.

Set Ground Rules And Stick To Them

There is nothing like a manager who sets policies but never adheres to them. Employees not only regard their manager in a negative light, but they are unlikely to follow the policies themselves. It is important to structure a meeting to provide expectation management; that said, ground rules must be taken seriously. For example, try a no-device policy that is coupled with a time limit on the meeting. Tech-free meetings are often more focused and therefore, tasks are accomplished more quickly. These types of policies are effective in engaging your office population, if they are properly adhered to.

Keep Meetings Small

A major point of frustration in many offices is the experience of sitting through a meeting that is irrelevant. It is important for those leading and scheduling meetings to keep them thin, inviting only the necessary participants. Many successful companies adhere to this model, and the result is increased efficiency. Do your best to only bring in critical participants – you can always reconvene if you need different inputs.

These tactics are great for small gatherings, large meetings, and even conferences. Here at AMA Executive Conference Centers, our top priority is helping deliver effective meeting solutions to leaders and professionals. We look forward to the opportunity to host your next meeting at one of our Centers in Atlanta, New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco. For more information, contact us here.

Top Meetings and Event Newsletters Delivered Right To Your Inbox

We know the importance of keeping up with the rapid evolution of the meetings and event industry. That’s why we’ve created this list of top publications that can be delivered right to your email inbox. Keep up with the latest news, trends, and tips, and stories by subscribing to these industry-specific newsletters:

This daily newsletter, from the Northstar Meetings Group, will deliver the latest news, research, and technology trends straight to your email. 55,000 plus subscribers rely on MeetingNews to keep them up-to-date on the latest industry topics. Click here to subscribe.

Successful Meetings Tip of the Day
Successful Meetings’ How-To Tip of the Day is a daily publication that will provide you with one daily business tip to help you grow in your profession and inspire you to succeed. Click here to subscribe.

Smart Meetings Magazine
This weekly newsletter is the winner of two email publication awards– the 2015 Best Niche eNewsletter and the 2016 Maggie Award for Best Web eNewsletter. The publication provides you with current industry news every week.

M&C Wellness Tip
While out there planning and organizing meetings and events, don’t forget to take your health into consideration. M&C Wellness Tip of the Week newsletter delivers health tips and advice to keep ‘you and your attendees’ healthy! Click here to subscribe.

M&C Hot Ideas
With M&C’s Hot Idea of the Day newsletter, you’ll have access to hot and fresh new ideas for your next meeting. Click here to subscribe.

Crain’s Business Alerts Newsletter
Business newsletters aren’t often as tailored to your needs as Crain’s are. Their newsletter subscription page lets you customize your subscriptions, choosing from ten Crain’s business alerts newsletters, and up to 25 separate industries you’d like to hear about. Click here to subscribe.

PCMA News Junkie
The PCMA organization aims to educate and inform the meetings and events industry. Their knowledgeable newsletters are a great source for helping you excel in your position. Seven newsletters (daily to weekly to monthly) provide the most relevant news, advice, and stories in the industry. Click here to subscribe.

Remain informed, inspired, and ahead with these top-rated industry newsletters. For more insights and industry resources, connect with AMA Executive Conference Centers at one of four of our convenient locations: Atlanta, New York City, Washington DC and San Francisco.