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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

From Faxes to the Cloud, From Voicemail to Virtual

in: Technology


Hello Sheltering-In-Place and WFH Meeting Professionals. Now that you have canceled all your meetings, you surely have plenty of time on your hands. LOL! Okay, I know you remain busy, a meeting planner’s work is never done. Right now, I am sure you learning as much as you can about 100% virtual meetings or developing comfy Hazmat suits to be sent to your attendees before the next get together.

Even as busy as you are, I hope you have taken some time to pause. This is a good time to look at where you’ve been and where you are going, which is going to look quite different than you imagined. When we rolled around to 2020 and dreamed of our 2020 world – it didn’t look like this.

Here is what came to me when I paused.

I’ve been in the meetings industry since the 80s! Ya know, that time when songs like Safety Dance came out. Men Without Hats were safely dancing in the 80s and today, in the time of COVID-19, Jimmy Kimmel, The Roots and the First Responders of the world are doing the Safety Dance, as best as they can with what they have.

When I started in meeting planning, we used overhead projectors to share visuals during presentations. I remember our excitement over a new amazing thing called PowerPoint; we went crazy with bullet points and thought reading what was on the slide was a fine idea. When PowerPoint first emerged, the projector and computer had to be the same brand in order to work together. Of course, this caused issues, so of course, the meeting planner always had an overhead projector back up. As time moved forward, we were then faced with a dizzying array of cables and connectors.

We didn’t have smartphones, so landlines were the main way to communicate. Back then we paid plenty for long-distance calls. Via those landlines, countless RFPS were faxed and faxed back, and faxed again; back and forth so many times that they eventually became unreadable. All those faxes were eventually collected and warehoused. Boxes upon boxes of paper documentation of past communications; the pre-cloud days.

I remember when email started. I remember when voice mail started. I remember when people would leave me a voice mail to tell me they received my email and to call them back about it – lol! It was certainly a welcome relief when everyone became comfortable with email and would actually email back with the information requested.

I remember a time before Google street views. Back then we relied on the venues to provide information about their area restaurants, stores, and other interesting spots.

I remember when an app was an appetizer.

I remember when I carried a wallet the size of a purse.

I remember needing to keep various sized flashlights in and around the house, in the car and on the keychain.

I remember that not too very long ago we needed way more WiFi than was available at hotels and what we did get was pretty terrible and painfully slow WiFi! Thank you to all the hotels and venues for catching up with our unending high-speed need. Also, I thank the hotels and venues for the virtual walk throughs and pictures they now include on their websites – so helpful!

Lately, I have been accomplishing many virtual meetings – that take place in real-time and often involve barking dogs, doorbells ringing as the latest box from Amazon is delivered and unknowing family members walking around in underwear in the background.

Meeting planner, take a pause to remember where you’ve been, what you’ve seen and what you’ve experienced. COVID-19 has set us upon a whole new path. We have gained a new appreciation for things as small as a roll of toilet paper. We have gained a new way of being close as we stand 6 feet apart. And we are, at this very moment, gaining a new wisdom – use it well. We will see each other again soon, at some point see each other physically, until then, shelter safe and well.

Oh, and if you need help with those virtual meetings, I have a solution that will get you there quick! Give me a call or send me a Zoom invite and we can take all your canceled meetings virtual!  636-678-7661

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