Over the past couple of years, how we plan events and meetings has changed and pivoted more than ever before experienced. And these changes do not only apply to our work life, the pandemic has profoundly affected all that we do – how we home, shop, sleep, dress (leggings anyone?) and more.
The dust has not yet settled; it keeps getting kicked back up.
Planners prove their worth via the ROI of the meetings they plan. But as meetings continue to be cancelled and planned for a later time, it has become even more challenging to prove our worth. This does not mean that meeting planners need to throw in the towel anytime soon, their skill set is still very necessary during these pandemic ridden days.
Meetings may not necessarily be happening right now at this very time, so this makes it the perfect time to prepare for future events. Planners should be spending time learning all they can about new safety protocols. Rework how future events will be set up; planning for more space between participants, boxed lunches/dinners, stepped up cleaning plans, temperature checks throughout the event and strategies that ready your team in the case that a participant should begin to show symptoms during an event.
Also, do not ghost on anyone involved with future meetings. Even if meetings are scheduled far out, planners should stay in contact with the venue, local convention bureaus and vendors to remain updated on venue and city protocols.
Now more than ever in-person meeting need a Plan A and Plan B. Plan A should include a hybrid option, Plan B is a full out 100% virtual event. For those attending a live event, make sure they feel comfortable and safe; provide masks, hand sanitizers and easily accessible information concerning all safety protocols that have been put in place.
Plan A and Plan B will need their own planning and marketing strategies. For example, in the case of Plan B, will you be sending along swag to all participants or offering digital swag bags? How will you market a hybrid event in comparison with a virtual only event? Presenters may be on a stage for a live event, but for virtual you may wish to preview their backgrounds before going live, or even send along event promotional materials for them to include on their “sets” like coffee mugs and banners with your event logo. There is a lot to consider.
Planners should also remain very visible during this time. Their ability to encourage engagement is a skill set that should be fully realized at this time. These same skill sets can now be applied to internal meetings in order to keep remote workers feeling connected through creative in-house meetings and setting up non-work-related meets that inspire fun, learning and de-stressing.
In my next blog I will share some ways to create significant internal events that will keep your team connected, engaged and involved! Stay safe meetings planners!