After months of video conferencing, many of us are looking forward to meeting our team members and clients face to face again. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic will change the way we meet in, at least, the near future. There has also been a realisation that we may have been meeting too often and without clear objectives, with unnecessary travel costs and reduced productivity as a result. However, face to face meetings and live events are essential to re-starting businesses and the economy. Here are a few of our considerations for live meetings and events:

Meet less… but meet better!

Delegates may feel apprehensive as they are considering attending their first external meetings and will consider whether a meeting or event is essential to their business or skill set. The quality of a venue, catering, accommodation and their safety protocols will be paramount in the decision making of a delegate:

  • Ensure that your chosen meeting space has natural daylight and can open the windows for circulation of fresh air
  • Consider booking a venue with outside space so delegates can go outside for fresh air at regular intervals
  • Have details available on how catering will be served and ensure that the quality of the catering is of the highest standard. Buffets will be a thing of the past for the foreseeable future but many venues are offering high quality and safe alternatives
  • Ensure the venue has a strict hygiene protocol in place for bedroom cleaning
  • And most important of all, communicate these aspects of the meeting to your intended delegates as it will encourage them attend your event

Content is King!

This phrase has been around for a long time however, never has it meant more for meetings and events in the post COVID-19 world. A delegate will simply choose not to attend a meeting unless the content is rich, engaging and brings something new to their own skill set and experience.

  • Publish the agenda for the meeting or event very early in the planning stages with details about speakers and subjects
  • Clearly define the objectives and takeaways from the meeting or event
  • Qualify the delegates, ensure that they are people who would benefit from meeting each other
  • Consider engaging a high profile keynote speaker to attract delegates
  • Know your audience, consider using pre-event surveys to understand their desired outcome

Networking Safely

The one problem that virtual meeting solutions have yet to crack is the quality of networking. There is no real alternative for those important conversations during coffee breaks and post-event reception drinks. It is during networking that real business opportunities are uncovered and valuable relationships are cemented. Networking brings its challenges in a post COVID-19 world so here are a few of our tips:

  • Handshakes and cheek kisses may not be appropriate, suggest alternative greetings in the pre-event communication so all delegates feel confident in using them
  • Use social distancing markers in the networking space so delegates have a visual reminder of where to stand
  • Ensure the networking space is large enough, taking social distancing guidelines in to account
  • Exchanging business cards is not recommended, consider using alternative methods of exchanging details such as an event app or no touch electronic lanyard
  • Discuss safe catering options with the venue to include silver service and covered or wrapped food