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corporate events, coffee, productivity

Smell and Memory: Why You Need Coffee at Your Next Meeting

Ryan Spaccavento August 28, 2017

Chances are, you already have coffee available at your meetings. Your attendees probably expect it, it gives them a little something to look forward to (in case the meeting isn't quite as exciting as you wish it could be), and it helps them stay alert. Those are all good reasons to brew a pot or two, but there's another often-overlooked reason to keep a mug within reach at your next meeting:

The strong smell of coffee is pleasing to most people (sometimes even those who don't like to drink it), and smells are linked to memory.

If people are going to spend an hour or more in a meeting, you want them to remember what happened, right? Unfortunately, it's common for people to zone out; even if they manage to pay attention, it can still be difficult to retain all the new information.

Give your attendees some help. Give them some coffee. 

Smell and Memory

Maybe you've had the experience of catching a whiff of perfume as you walk down the street, and your mind is flooded with memories of a primary school teacher who wore the same perfume. It's not a coincidence, it's science: this is a fairly common occurrence because the olfactory nerve is physically close to the parts of the brain that are responsible for generating and storing memories.

Other sense information doesn't pass those parts of the brain, so seemingly that's why olfaction is great at eliciting emotions and memories.

Since olfaction also occurs more slowly than the other senses (people process sights and sounds, for example, more quickly than smells), the experience of the scent lingers, giving time for it to form a connection in your brain with whatever else is happening at the time.

Not only that, but caffeine has been shown to improve short-term memory and long-term memory and thinking skills. A good cup of coffee at your meeting might help your attendees recall more information the next day when they pour another cup and sit down with their meeting notes. In the long run, you could be looking at increased productivity and possibly increased morale and job satisfaction, all because of a simple cup of coffee.

Ritual and Sense Memory

Outside of the science-y stuff (and much more pertinent to you), since many people drink coffee on a daily basis, especially as they start working, there is already a connection between work and coffee. The process of smelling it, pouring it, preparing it to taste, and taking that first sip is linked with getting down to business. Allowing your attendees to go through that process at the meeting gives their brains a cue that it's time to focus. That focus will help them take thorough notes and remember the key points of the discussion.

Not Just Any Coffee Will Do

Don't let your coffee be an afterthought. The typical office coffee is usually not especially inspiring. By serving high-quality coffee at your meeting, you're creating an even more memorable experience:

"Remember that great coffee we had at the budget meeting?"

"Yes, and those numbers are promising! Looks like we'll be able to expand the department this year."

Well, that's how our meetings go anyway...

With that simple gesture, you create a positive experience at the meeting, help your attendees stay alert and focused, and give them a little edge on remembering the material as the week goes on. If it feels like too much hassle to find a superior coffee, brew it to perfection, and have the variety of milks and sweeteners on hand so people can customize it the way they like it, simply bring in a coffee caterer. That way, you know everyone's getting a great cup and you can focus on what you do best: running the meeting.

It doesn't have to be an expensive exercise to have high-quality coffee served at an important meeting, company-wide townhall or conference. We can take care of it all and make sure all your guests are alert and have a positive experience. Get in touch to find out how we can elevate your next event and leave lasting memories for your attendees.

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Tagged: corporate events, coffee, productivity