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Making The Task of Decision-Making Easier

As soon as we’re old enough to understand what options are, we’re faced with the tasks of making decisions. Whether the decision is what flavor ice cream to pick or what major to choose in college, at any age decisions can seem like the most daunting exercise. Here are three education areas that can help you to make the task of decision-making easier:

#1: Make Hard Choices

Making decisions can be very difficult because we always want to make the “better” decision. Ruth Chang, a philosopher, shares in her TED Talk why there is no “better” option when making a decision. She goes on to explain why both choices are on a level playing fields and how this can help you choose what you truly want inside.

#2: Three Lessons on Decision-Making

Have you ever daydreamed about being the best poker player in the world? Turns out, decisions made by the best involve a lot more work than people-reading and bluffing. World Champion poker player Liv Boeree explains that there are 3 things she’s learned about decision-making. She states that the lessons include luck, quantification, and intuition – and these three factors can be used to make decisions in our daily life. Luck and intuition can play a major role in what outcome each decision brings, and quantification is crucial to estimating the odds of something good or bad happening.

#3: Think Like a Computer

Computers always know what to do and they have no understanding of how hard it can be to make a decision. That’s because computers were made to generate the best decision based on numbers and formulas. Humans don’t do that. Tom Griffiths, a psychologist and cognitive scientist, share in his TED Talk that the ways to make better decisions are by thinking like a computer.


Celebrating M&M’s in New York City’s Times Square

What better way to celebrate National M&M’s Day this week than at M&M World in Times Square! Candy lovers of all ages delight in this colorful, chocolate wonderland located in the heart of Times Square, and adjacent to our New York AMA Executive Conference Center. The three-story building offers unique and memorable experiences, making it a must-see part of your New York City visit.

Personalize Your M&Ms

One of the most fun things to do at M&M World is personalize your own M&Ms using the personalized printer. Visitors start by choosing from 15 colors and one mix blend. Next, they select two images and create two custom messages for their personalized candy. Among the clip art images available for use are: “I Love NY,” the Statue of Liberty, and professional New York sports team logos.

The M&M Wall of Chocolate 

What’s better than a wall filled with M&Ms? How about a two-story wall of chocolate? Pick your favorite flavor or color from the massive wall, filled with thousands of colorful milk, peanut, and specialty M&M Candies. Unsure of which color to choose? Use the Color Mood Analyzer to find the right color for your current mood.

Start Spreading the News

If you love New York, then you’ll love the M&M World experience in Times Square. Shop M&M merchandise and capture a picture with your favorite M&M character. M&M World is open 9 am until Midnight—plenty of time to get a true chocolate fix before, during or after your AMA Center visit.

Candy’s Sweet Economic Impact

According to the National Confectioner’s Association, the candy industry is valued at $35 billion and provides more than 50,000 jobs. The association adds that many of the major candy companies in America are family-owned.

Celebrate M&M’s…Every Day

If you’re not visiting New York City in time to catch the candy’s national holiday, don’t worry…you can stop by M&M World and the AMA Executive Conference Center to celebrate all year long! We offer a unique network of meeting and conference venues located in New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta and San Francisco. For more information about meeting at an AMA Executive Conference Center connect with us online.

From Buzzword to Priority Goal: We’re Tackling Productivity

While productivity is currently a popular buzzword, it’s also a goal many of us strive towards. Unfortunately, we don’t often know exactly how to achieve it. It’s a challenging concept to grasp because productivity is different for every role in every industry. It’s also hard to measure: some people work at a frantic pace but aren’t actually very productive, while others appear slow on the surface but make the most of their time.

If you’re as fascinated with this topic as we are then you’ll enjoy a few of our favorite TED Talks that will get you thinking about productivity and how to improve your own!

Too Many Rules Hamper Productivity

In this engaging talk, researcher Yves Morieux discusses how having too many rules and structures in the workplace can hold people back from being productive, and how important collaboration is to productivity.

Get More Sleep

Media mogul Arianna Huffington shares an obvious-sounding but often-ignored secret to productivity: get more sleep. This simple step toward better health and mental alertness can increase your productivity, yet people often brag about how little sleep they get.


In this entertaining lecture, psychologist Shawn Anchor emphasizes the importance of happiness on productivity. Rather than working hard and waiting for that to make you happy, he suggests finding happiness first to make it easier to work hard.

Respect Your Coworkers

Productivity doesn’t just come from within yourself. In most roles, you depend on coworkers and partners to make things happen. Leadership researcher Christine Porath discusses the importance of treating coworkers with respect so that both you and your company can succeed.

As a meeting or events professional, productivity is extremely important, but you can sometimes feel bogged down by the complex challenges of your work. Keep these inspiration talks in mind as you search for ways to unlock your own productivity, and you may just find yourself feeling smarter, happier, and more successful in your role!

The Benefits of Hosting a Holiday Party for Your Company

From large to small, hosting a holiday party for your company has a number of incredible benefits. It doesn’t matter if you’re gearing up for an elaborate black tie event or planning to host an intimate gathering for your team, there are several important benefits to your holiday party.

You’ll Encourage a Sense of Community

Holiday parties are something that most of your employees look forward to. When you host a gathering around the holidays and end-of-year, you give them something to anticipate together as well as the opportunity to share memories at the event itself, which can in turn increase the sense of community throughout the office.

It’s a Great Time to Offer Recognition

Do you have employees who have gone above and beyond this year? Has a specific department accomplished more than you thought possible? Your holiday party is a great time to offer recognition to those individuals, which can in turn significantly increase the effort that they and others put out during the coming year. Your holiday party is also an excellent time to hand out awards or note any special promotions before the new year.

You’ll Increase Employee Morale

The end of the year is rough in many offices. You have deadlines that have to be met, coworkers who are taking off extra time for the holidays, and plenty of added stress on many of your employees’ shoulders. With your holiday party, you’ll get a great chance to boost morale, improve mood, and give everyone something to look forward to.

You Get to Show Off Your Office

Are you bringing in someone besides your employees for your holiday bash? From investors to spouses of employees, the holiday party is an amazing chance to show off the office and let everyone see exactly what your team is doing every day.

Ask us today about booking an AMA Executive Conference Center for your next meeting or conference in New York, Washington DC, Atlanta or San Francisco.

Four of the Top TED Talks About CrowdSourcing

When it comes to crowdsourcing, you probably want to know more. With how interactive the world is, what with the internet and other communication devices, crowdsourcing has become easier than ever. Crowdsourcing is one of the best ways to strengthen your mission, by pulling in new voices and ideas, by creating a space in which others can challenge your work and fortify it. But there’s a way to do it correctly, and there’s so much more that we can learn about it. In order to help meeting professionals better understand the concept and benefits, we’ve put together a few of the top TED Talks addressing the subject.

What Humans Can Learn From Semi-Intelligent Slime by Heather Barnett
Can we, as humans, learn from semi-intelligent slime mold? Heather Barnett speaks on the subject, inspired by the design and organization of the slime systems, to tell us how we can better communicate and create with others.

The Birth of Wikipedia by Jimmy Wales
With Wikipedia being considered a “godfather of crowdsourcing” it’s a perfect example of how to build a proper crowdsourced outcome from a common goal. While it sounds chaotic, Wikipedia works, and Wales explains just how that can be.

Open-Source Cancer Research by Jay Bradner
An example of crowdsourcing at its best, this Talk about a medical firm opening up its research among their peers shows just how much can be gained from accessing the crowd. Bradner speaks about the positives of having more sources to turn to, and more ideas that come from it, when using crowdsourcing in the medical field.

A Virtual Choir 2,000 Voices Strong by Eric Whitacre
A more musical example, Eric Whitacre performs a piece of music with a choir made up of 2,000 people that have never met each other, or even sung in the same room. Using media platforms as his crowdsourcing base, he creates a massive choral piece that sounds amazing, and makes a point on how connected the people of the world really are.

If you’re in need of a venue for your meetings, or would like a venue for your crowdsourced conferences, then AMA Executive Conference Centers is there for you. Please, feel free to contact us to inquire about our centers in Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco and Washington DC, and we will help you have the perfect space from which to expand your business.

VMworld Is Back In San Francisco

AMA Executive Conference Centers is excited to announce that the VMworld conference, hosted by VMware, is returning to San Francisco, August 25th – August 29th, 2019.  The event will take place at the Moscone Center.  VMworld offers pivotal industry knowledge that will allow you to enable your company’s cloud journey and to guide your company based on trends in digital infrastructure technology and transformation.

Who will be there?

VMworld boasts some pretty impressive attendance.  Not surprising considering it is the industry’s premier digital infrastructure event.  The attendees represent a mix of IT professionals and business decision makers from a wide variety of organizations and industries.  Based on prior conferences, you can expect:

·         21,000+ attendees

·         5,000+ companies

·         230 sponsors and exhibitors

·         86 countries represented

You can also expect to learn from a variety of respected industry experts and will have ample opportunity to network with peers and colleagues.

If this is your first time attending VMworld, be sure to add the New V Session to your calendar on August 25th.  This session will connect you with other new attendees and provide tips and tricks for getting the most value out of the conference.

Why attend?

If you need help making the case to attend, the conference website provides helpful resources for justifying the value to your company.

What if I need space for additional meetings?

If you need space for additional meetings, AMA is here to help.  AMA offers conference space at its San Francisco location that would be perfect for any additional space needs you have during VMworld.  The space is just minutes from the Moscone Center and has 13 meeting rooms ranging in size from 208 to 1144 square feet.  The spaces can accommodate meetings of up to 100 participants.  Your guests will be able to meet in comfort by taking advantage of the center’s complimentary beverage service, WIFI, and accommodating reception and lounge area.

Click here to contact AMA now to reserve your conference space during VMworld.

Three Points Of View On Beating Boredom

Did you know that chronic boredom can negatively affect the quality of an individual’s work, interfere with their ability to manage anger, and make it difficult for them to function socially? In some cases, it can even lead to depression. Knowing the harm it can cause, it’s worth looking into ways to understand and cope with the feelings of boredom that most of us face during the typical workday. These three TED Talks, each with a respective point of view, will help you do just that:

Learn to Benefit from Boredom

In her lecture, How Boredom Can Lead To Your Most Brilliant Ideas, Manoush Zomorodi describes the importance of occasionally allowing your mind to drift from the task at hand. Zomorodi claims that by taking distraction-free pauses to let your conscious brain rest, you allow your mind to solve problems and produce creative thoughts. This TED Talk includes recent findings in neuroscience and cognitive psychology to support Zomorodi’s claim that letting yourself lose focus for a few minutes can be more effective than willing yourself through a mountain of tasks without a break.

How to Stay Focused

Amishi Jha’s TED Talk, How To Tame Your Wandering Mind, likens mental focus to physical exercise. Jha claims that by routinely practicing mindfulness, you can learn to keep your attention directed towards what you want to be doing. Essentially, by making an effort to be aware of your thought process, you can improve your ability to focus.

The Process of a Procrastinator

Providing an in-depth summary of his personal experiences with procrastination, Tim Urban’s Inside The Mind Of A Master Procrastinator humorously describes the typical cycle of putting off deadlines until the last minute and argues that we’re all procrastinators in some way or another. Although Urban’s lecture deals with a consequence of boredom more than the feeling itself, the insight he provides on the subject, in addition to the case he presents for why we should be aware of procrastination’s ability to prevent individuals from achieving many of their greater life goals, makes viewing it more than worthwhile.

AMA Executive Conference Centers are focused on creating environments that will keep your meeting and conference attendees engaged. To learn more about our Centers in Atlanta, New York, Washington DC and San Francisco, contact us.

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.

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!

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.