ARE YOUR INCENTIVE CONFERENCES IN BALANCE?

Top producers are like top athletes. Both are superstars in their respective games. The ones that stay on top the longest are the ones who take the best care of themselves — on and off the field.

Smart meeting planners create incentive conferences that let producers do just that, says Dr. Bruce C. Underwood, a preventive care specialist based at La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, Calif. Underwood, who directs the Health & Racquet Club at PGA West golf club at La Quinta, advocates a comprehensive approach to health that he calls “high-level wellness.”

“High-level wellness is more than just the absence of disease,” says Underwood. “It means being at the peak of your capabilities in all aspects of life — intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual.”

Producers qualify for your incentives because they are very, very good at what they do. It's no surprise, then, that many of them may neglect parts of their lives outside of the office. “I want people to understand that it's good to be balanced,” Underwood says. “If you're wise in sales, you want to be wise in other areas.”

The doctor has helped several meeting planners weave his high-level wellness ideal into incentive conferences. He's led “fitness sampler” tours of the resort's gymnasium equipment to demonstrate the uses and benefits of each machine. He's given public lectures and provided confidential, one-on-one wellness counseling sessions for attendees.

Underwood's ideal is founded on solid health basics such as regular exercise, eating well, healthful sleep, and relaxation. Meeting planners can endorse these in conference schedules — overtly and covertly. Selecting sites that have extensive fitness facilities is key, as is giving attendees choices.

“High-level wellness is about alternatives. You don't want to have a meeting without them,” Underwood says. This can be as simple as adding nutritious snacks, nonalcoholic beverages, and vegetarian entrees to your menus, or inviting a qualified teacher to lead stretching exercises during breaks.

Most top producers are male, and men are notorious dodgers of doctors. Underwood has techniques for coaxing the reluctant. “Health is part of being wealthy,” he says, pointing out that gyms are great places to network for sales leads. Possibly even more persuasive? Underwood also has a proven track record for teaching people how to better their golf performance.