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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.

Vacation Time: Don’t Let it Go to Waste

662 million days.

That’s how much vacation time Americans let go to waste in 2017. More than half of Americans (54%) failed to use all of their vacation time, and the results have broader implications than just fewer visits to the beach and a reduction in backyard BBQs.

Why Vacation Matters

Vacation is more than just a chance to explore hobbies and spend time with family (though both are important). A true vacation is a mental break from work that allows for more innovation when one returns. Without this kind of rest, employees are more prone to burnout and less likely to work at their optimal abilities when they are on the job.

What’s more, employees know that vacations matter. Even though so many people let their vacation time expire without using it, 96% of them reported that paid time off was an important factor in their jobs. If people know that vacations are important and they want them, why aren’t they using them?

Why Vacations are Challenging to Take

Forbes explored the phenomenon to try to answer this question. While they found that some of the blame lies in fewer positions offering vacation in the first place, the more pernicious reason has to do with subtle shifts in how we view work. More and more people are being paid based on the tasks they complete, so they see time off as work delayed. In other words, taking time off just shifts their responsibilities into the future, compounding the amount of work they’ll need to do when they return.

What’s more, even those who do take vacation time (often in short bursts to avoid the work pile up) are likely to continue to do work remotely while they’re “off.” The ease of connecting via email and remote computing makes true time off a luxury that is hard to access. The chime of the inbox is just too much pressure for many workers to avoid.

What Can Be Done

In order to give workers the kind of break they truly need to return refreshed, energized, and ready to give it their all at work, companies need to shift the culture around vacations by promoting time off and encouraging workers to truly disconnect while they’re away. Finding ways to cover workplace responsibilities to prevent employees from returning to a mountain of work would also make them more likely to use their vacation time in the first place.

Vacations are also somewhat contagious. If influential employees talk about their own use of vacation time and its benefits, it will have an effect on those around them, creating a sense that a vacation is truly a well-deserved break rather than a shiny illusion too burdensome to reach.

As you consider the importance of well-rested employees, keep AMA Executive Conference Centers in mind for your next meeting in Atlanta, New York City, Washington DC and San Francisco.

Semicon West 2019 Returns to San Francisco’s Moscone Center

SemiCon West 2019 will be held in San Francisco beginning July 9th at the Moscone Center on Howard Street. With over 550 exhibitors and 80+ hours of business and technical programming, the 3-day convention promises a glimpse of what’s next in a field that is rapidly moving BEYOND SMART.

SMART Pavilions

On the expo floor attendees will find pavilions where the latest in transportation, design, workforce, medical technology, and manufacturing are showcased. Attendees will also have the opportunity to “meet the experts” and watch informational presentations.


Hear about everything from “Reducing Risks for Customers” in materials manufacturing to “New Architectures” to “Enable the Intelligent Future.” Several keynote speakers, including Jeffrey Welser, PhD. with IBM Research, are also on the agenda to speak and share.

Wearable Technologies Conference Series

On July 9th and 10th, attendees can learn about the current status of the wearable market through an extensive conference exhibition. This is a great opportunity to network with the “Who’s Who” of the entire WT ecosystem.

AMA San Francisco Executive Conference Center

Located only minutes away from the Moscone Center and a mere 15 minutes from the airport is AMA’s San Francisco Executive Conference Center. Based on location and value, AMA San Francisco is the perfect venue to host your SemiCon West 2019-related event.  Hold your breakfast meetings, product demonstrations, or networking receptions during the convention for up to 100 guests in one of 13 well-appointed meeting rooms or reception spaces.  Each room includes audio-visual equipment, adjustable lighting, complimentary WIFI, executive seating, complimentary beverage service, and professional service staff.  A variety of floor plan options ensure the most comfortable arrangement for any need. On-site catering is easily available for breakfasts, luncheons, meeting breaks or any service need during rental.

Click here to contact the AMA team  today to discuss your tailored convention meeting package.  Our experienced event managers will make planning your company activity simple and successful – while keeping it productive and enjoyable!

Three Fun Ways to Recognize & Reward Your Team

If you’re a manager or team leader, then you need to know how important it is to recognize your team’s efforts. If you make it clear that sweat equity gets noticed and appreciated, then everyone is more likely to go that extra mile. However, while it’s important to get into the habit of seeing and pointing out when people are doing something right, it’s equally important to offer some kind of tangible reward.

For those looking for ideas, you might want to try these:

Reward #1: Points

While it might seem like something out of Harry Potter, rewarding points to teams and individuals who do good work provides a tangible number to represent how well they did. However, as Snack Nation points out, these points should also be used as a kind of reward currency that can be redeemed for actual items (gift cards, prizes, gadgets, etc.). This makes them functional rewards, instead of just a numerical mood booster.

Reward #2: Company Apparel

There’s a reason promotional items tend to be clothing; it’s useful, it’s comfortable, and when you get something for free you make a connection between the brand on your shirt or ball cap with that nice feeling. Insperity suggests that when someone is doing a notable job, you should give them a reward. A free tee shirt, a hat, a sling bag; something that’s useful, that shows your appreciation, and that reminds the employee that their company and team appreciates all their hard work.

Reward #3: Something Small, But Unique

If you want your employee recognition to be really unusual, then make sure it’s something unique. Whether it’s a commemorative coin, a custom action figure, a small print or painting…the sky is the limit. But if you want your recognition to feel really unique, make the reward an “experience!” Maybe “hard to get tickets to” a concert or special event. Experiences over items really helps to set your reward and recognition of your team apart!

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. Click here to contact us today to see how we can help in planning your next meeting in Atlanta, New York, Washington DC or San Francisco.

Choose New York City For Your Next Corporate Meeting

With all the arrangements you have to make, details can make up the majority of your worries. However, at AMA Executive Conference Centers you’ll find that having a meeting, seminar, or conference can be functional, catered to, and productive. In a word, exceptional (without all the worry).

With the largest conference center in New York City’s Times Square, clients receive the best value and unparalleled service. Our staff is trained and prepared to accommodate the needs of meeting planners and visiting attendees. In addition to offering exceptional meeting space, our team offers light administrative including copying, email and general concierge.

While at the center our clients and their guests are assisted to completely. Located in the hub of the city, it’s easy for attendees to take outdoor breaks and have easy access to casual and fine dining restaurants, as well as Broadway theaters that are located just moments of exiting the building.

Our AMA New York Center has over 90,000 square feet of meeting space that is divided into 43 meeting rooms. This gives meeting planners the flexibility to host activities in spaces that are 168 sq. ft. up to 3000 sq. ft. – accommodating over 200 participants. The New York Center has available spaces with both indirect and natural lighting. High-speed internet and WIFI access is available, and as with all AMA Executive Conference Center locations the rental includes complimentary use of projectors and PCs for meeting use. All this and more without service charges or hidden fees.

Most meetings and events have a food and beverage component. The New York Center provides complimentary beverages, continuously, including coffees, gourmet teas, sodas, juices, and water. Additionally, there are a wide variety of catering options offered, and customization can almost always be accommodated. Find our menus and catering packages available for review online here.

Whether you’re driving, hailing a taxi or taking an Uber, finding AMA’s New York Executive Conference Center at 1601 Broadway is a breeze. For more information or questions you might have about rental or your visit simply contact us today!

The Benefits Of A Digital Detox For Meeting Professionals

Considering the benefits of a digital detox?
Phones, tablets, computers, television…there’s no denying these screens play a big part of our daily lives. We check our smart devices when we’re killing time, texting with friends, even ordering food. While these tools can be useful for socializing and networking, is there such a thing as “too much” screen time? It can be a struggle to cut ourselves off completely, especially those like meeting professionals with jobs in the business world. The good news is that you don’t have to quit cold turkey: taking even a small digital detox can have great benefits for your health!

A Fresh Perspective

A digital detox allows us to stop worrying about keeping up our online persona and to focus on how we come across offline. It’s a good time to examine your priorities without being distracted by a screen. You may set a new fitness goal for yourself, or finally get around to cleaning your house. You may find that your mood will improve as well: some research shows that prolonged time on social media can increase the odds of depression.

Improved Focus

You’re a very busy person, and you’ve learned that multitasking is the best way to get things done. With the constant stream of information coming in from emails, social media, and other digital distractions, we can find ourselves a bit bogged down and our productivity suffers as a result. Cutting yourself off from the screen will help you be able to do your job more efficiently.

Improved Sleep

If you’re responding to business emails late into the night, your sleep is probably suffering as a result. Continuous exposure to blue light can lead to insomnia or waking up groggy and irritable. For a better night’s sleep, it is recommended to avoid all screens at least two hours before you go to sleep. You can’t work well without proper rest!

A digital detox is a great way to relieve stress and give your brain a rest in a hectic, digital world. Click here to contact our AMA Conference Center team today for more tips about improving success through meetings, conferences, retreats, focus groups and more.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone to Achieve Success

The fear of stepping out into the unknown is limiting the majority from realizing success in various aspects of their lives. You need to understand that it is impossible to achieve your dreams without overcoming the fears within, and taking risks. Most people are okay with their comfort zone, which hinders them from achieving success.

Here are some tips for meeting and event professionals who wish to step out of their comfort zone, in pursuit of success:

Begin with Baby Steps

Jumping out of your comfort zone in pursuit of your dream as an event professional is not a good idea. If you want to minimize the chances of failure, you need to exercise some caution when taking risks. Event and meeting professionals who start off with baby steps as they try to get out of their comfort zone have shown a higher rate of achieving success.

The desire to rise in your career fast is sometimes overwhelming, and it may force some individuals to return to their comfort zone when they fail to realize what they are pursuing. If you wish to reach your career goals with a solid foundation, consider stepping out of your comfort zone by taking baby steps at the initial stages.

View Failure As A Teacher

“Experience is the best teacher” goes the adage, but you can also learn a lot through failure. Organizing meetings and events is not a simple task, and the successful completion of activities is not a guarantee. If things fail to turn out as you expect after a specific meeting, take time to consider what you need to adjust, and any missing details you need to examine. Viewing failure as a teacher is a great approach to success for meeting and event professionals.

Embrace Discomfort

Professionals in the meeting industry interact with various professionals from time to time, and engaging particular individuals for the first time is a challenge at times. It is okay to feel uncomfortable when networking or working with new people on projects, but if you want to grow as an event professional, you need to get comfortable with discomfort.

Withstanding the discomfort of being around new faces for the first time for a longer time than usual, and embracing the challenge by practicing some more, will make you feel less uncomfortable. The short-term activity of embracing discomfort will eventually have you realizing success as a meeting and event professional.

Streamline Your Workflow and Planning Projects With Trello

The devil is in the details when it comes to meeting and event planning. No matter the size of your event, everyone involved needs to be on the same page at all times. Trello is the web-based tool we think is a hidden gem in our industry – one that you need to keep projects organized and on schedule.

How Trello Works

Trello functions like a digital whiteboard to share lists and tasks with your team members. Create a board for each project, then populate it with lists to complete each step of your workflow. The tasks on each list are called cards.  Your collaborators can add comments, checklists, due dates, files, weblinks, or more to these cards. Through labels and color coding, your lists will create clear and straight forward steps to achieve project goals.

By using Trello, all your notes, versions, and attachments are centralized in one place for easy access. Trello works with multiple operating systems and seamlessly transitions across devices through the app. Trello even integrates tools you might already be using, like Dropbox and Google Docs.

Latest Features

Trello Team Playbooks
Team Playbooks are ‘ready to go’ board templates. Whether you are marketing an event, planning a wedding, or tracking your personal productivity, Trello has a helpful board set up for you. Use Team Playbooks to take the guess work out of creating your first project with the program.

Get the most out of Trello by integrating with Slack, Google Drive, and much more. Unleash the power of custom fields, calendars, or even BlueJeans Meetings by customizing the Trello with Power-Ups.

Trello Users

While many large companies – including Google and National Geographic – use Trello, the application is scalable to any size event or team. Whether you’re planning a major corporate convention or the regular weekly team meeting, jump into using Trello to organize your workflow. Contact us to learn more about how you can use Trello to plan your next event.

At AMA Executive Conference Centers, we are passionate about helping event and meeting planners maximize their time and improve their work-life harmony. Click here for more information about our executive meeting services and conference centers in Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco and Washington DC.

Making Workplace Stress Work For You

We all know about stress in the workplace, but not everybody knows how to make that stress work for them, rather than against them. Stress is basically frustrated energy with no place to go. Managing that same stress means putting it somewhere. Below are some stress reduction tips that can be implemented in the workplace; at the individual, group, and organization levels.

  • Incorporate A Wellness Program
    There are several free technology applications that build employee engagement by tracking healthy habits, both physically and mentally. Virgin Pulse is a highly recommended platform, as it promotes a healthy work-life balance. Pulse also allows the employees’ friends and family to join. This is a great application for tracking activities, create personal goals, challenge other members, and promote self-awareness to improve overall healthy wellbeing.
  • Smile, Laugh Or Take A Few Breathes
    Taking a moment to reflect on something that makes you smile, a moment that made you laugh, or even taking pause to breathe deeply might not eradicate the stress; however, studies show that it does release stress to manually substitute a positive emotion. Redirecting a negative reaction is a simple, unobtrusive means to reset that frustrated energy.
  • Journal It Out
    Journaling is a great tool to track triggers of individual stress. Tracking and monitoring individual behaviors may prove insightful. Some might correlate a lack of sleep, missed lunch, or a day filled with back-to-back meetings as more stressful days.  One might realize that it was sleep deprivation that put a strain on the day, and not the fault of a coworker. The journal might just highlight a need for greater preparedness, and that having snacks on hand in a pinch might make the day less aggravating.
  • Form A Diversity And Inclusion Committee
    Committees are a fantastic way to empower employees to positively contribute to the organizational culture and workplace environment. Having different viewpoints, perspectives, and opinions about conflicts or areas for improvement are beneficial to accurately identify problems and resolve them more effectively. According to Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, feeling included among peers reduces workplace stress and anxiety.

Leave behind the stress of finding a center for your next conference or meeting – connect with AMA Executive Conference Centers. Let us take care of the meeting space, while you take care of business!

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.