If you spend time in the Content Studios during PCMA Convening Leaders 2019 and, after detecting the smell of citrus or mint, feel invigorated and especially open to a session’s message, then you will have experienced the power of scent.
Keri Kelly, an events industry veteran who heads the company SoulMining Inc., is working with PCMA at Convening Leaders Jan. 6-9 in Pittsburgh to demonstrate to participants how essential oils, used in aromatherapy, can help create positive and enriching experiences at events.
“The sense of smell can trigger powerful physiological, mental, and emotional responses in people,” Kelly told Convene. “What I want to share with attendees is how you can use oils at events or in the office to help create an environment conducive to your goals.”
Studies have shown that smell is the only sense that connects to two brain areas that are strongly tied to emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus. Essential oils are quickly absorbed by human smell receptors and because of this, have an especially powerful effect through aromatic application, or diffusing.
Kelly is designing specific scents for each of the Content Studios at Convening Leaders. She uses dōTERRA essential oils, her exclusive supplier — but there are other brands of oils used in aromatherapy.
In the Collaboration Studio, for example, Kelly will use wild orange and peppermint scents. Wild orange uplifts and calms the mind and body while also encouraging joy, creativity, and abundance, Kelly told Convene. Peppermint is the oil of a buoyant heart invigorating the mind, body, and spirit. Blended together, “these fresh and energizing oils create an ideal environment promoting generosity of spirit and collaboration,” Kelly said.
Kelly is focusing on scents that should be familiar to most attendees: citrus, trees, florals, and mints. When choosing the scents, she also considered individual reactions, such as allergies or migraine triggers. The scents are pumped into the rooms using ultra-sonic diffusers that break up the essential oils and also cleanse the air. DōTERRA says its essential oils are certified pure through a seven-step testing process, which should limit reactions. But everyone has their own sensitivities, Kelly said, so she will be monitoring the rooms and if anyone has a reaction the scents will be turned off.
Participants will be able to find Kelly in the Lifestyle Studio at her Scent Station, where she and colleague Alexandra DeWald will answer questions and show those who are interested how to use scents to help support individual wellness as well as how to design a scent environment for events and office spaces.
“I’m so excited to share on such a large scale in the Lifestyle Studio how these oils can help people,” she told Convene. “Essential oils aren’t just about making your rooms smell nice or helping you sleep.”
They also can be used in a business setting, Kelly said. If you have a big negotiation coming up, for example, she said diffusing a blend of lavender, wild orange, and spearmint oils about a half hour to an hour before your meeting should promote feelings of calm, confidence and honest expression. She blends scent solutions to help manage feelings of anxiousness with public speaking, procrastination (see below), stress, low energy in the afternoon, and more.
(As a reminder, any statements about oils’ properties have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. And dōTERRA states that its products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.)
Kelly said she learned about the power of essential oils firsthand when, about three years ago after more than 20 years in the events industry, she sought out oils to help manage her own stress and anxiousness.
“I love the events industry, however, it is one of the top five most-stressful industries,” she said. “I felt I needed to take a step back.”
She always had been a seeker of holistic solutions when she discovered essential oils. “(Using oils) helped me to understand how I was feeling and being honest with myself about what it was that I wanted in my life and where I needed to go,” Kelly told Convene.
The experience renewed her desire to explore other areas of the events industry beyond event housing, which had been her focus previously. She got into the planning side of the industry doing consulting work at PCMA, and continued to explore how she could marry her two worlds — holistic practices and the events industry.
Since then, she has developed scent strategies for small meetings and in office environments, but Convening Leaders provides her biggest opportunity yet to expose the events industry to the power of scent.
“I am beyond thrilled for the opportunity to share my passion for essential oils and to educate my fellow event professionals on the value of the power of scent,” Kelly said. “I applaud PCMA for delivering bold, innovative and enriching experiences — and am honored to be part of Convening Leaders 2019.”
Procrastination Aromatherapy Blend
Kelly suggested this scent blend for when you’re avoiding a project, a task, or a discussion.
- Cardamom: Relieves stress and feelings of being overwhelmed
- Lavender: Calms and helps self-expression
- Lemon: Provides mental clarity
- Lime: Provides courage and boldness
2019: Fresh Year. Next Level. Fresh You Blend
Kelly says this fresh and energizing scent will help you let go what isn’t serving you and move you into the new year with support, confidence and new uplifting energy.
- Siberian Fir: Eliminates habits or thoughts that bring down energy to give you a fresh and present perspective
- Eucalyptus: Helps encourage and support those new habits
- Bergamot: Fosters self-love and acceptance to pave the way for confidence, optimism and hope
More Convening Leaders
Find the full schedule for the Content Studios and the rest of Convening Leaders.