As the world and events community gradually opens, we're striving to achieve normalcy and balancing safety in our industry. We didn't allow the pandemic to stop us completely, as we pivoted to a digital experience through video to connect with our clients and industry peers. But there's nothing like human connection (in real life/IRL) meetings, conferences, and celebrations. The ability to build relationships, share information, strategize with others who have similar issues, create solutions, and celebrate with joy––are some of the many benefits of real-life (IRL) connections.
As we return to building masterful events and building our brands through attending conferences, the question arises, how can one attend a conference to gain the same impact while minimizing risk and uncertainties. From the viewpoint of the conference organizer, they are strategizing how to safely open their doors to welcome the return of attendees while also minimizing risk and uncertainties. As we resume IRL conference experiences we all want to achieve a common goal:
- Positively engage in a safe and secure environment for all involved.
- Increases stability of business operation while decreasing legal liability.
- Stay committed to bringing value.
- Minimize, monitor, and control the probability and impact of uncontrollable events.
Look for the Obvious - Protocols
Does the conference you're attending have safety protocols in place? Does the conference have safety protocols on their website or in their advertisements?
Wise conference producers assess all possible risks/hazards and will provide tangible solutions not only for their staff but their guests by creating safety protocols that are readily available for internal and external usage (accessible for attendees/guests/speakers). If you don't see this information proceed with caution before purchasing a ticket. Reach out to the conference organizer and ask for any safety procedures they have established; this is something they should openly share with you. As a conference producer myself of The Signature CEO Conference, I have established protocols that are available to anyone that visits our website or who may need a copy emailed directly to them.
As you enter the room of your education/conference room, how do you know if those around you are COVID safe? Who is vaccinated or has a negative COVID test? Are individuals who are not vaccinated mandated to wear a mask? These are parameters that conference producers should implement and bring to everyone’s attention prior to and during the conference. Other safety parameters that can be implemented to promote a healthy environment:
- Onsite COVID testing
- Onsite Temperature checks
- Pre-checked vaccination/testing credentials checked via an online portal such as CrowdPass (a safe and secure software platform)
- Non-vaccinated individuals to wear a mask.
- Quarantine space for anyone who may become ill at the conference.
- Identification bracelets that indicate who has been vaccinated or COVID safe.
- Point of Messaging; safety visual aids throughout the event space to remind attendees about various safety protocols.
- Social distancing practices. Attendees spaced adequately (6ft).
Be Socially Conscious
We're going to be so excited to see one another and be in the presence of human beings. We'll probably have the natural reaction/urgency to hug or shake someone’s hand. However, we should take a pause and consider that now we must think of not invading one’s personal space of comfortability. Let us be conscious of our actions and ask for permission; Is it okay that I hug you? Is it okay that I shake your hand? Is it okay…? You are probably asking why I should ask these questions. The reason is there are still some individuals who are still reluctant or do not feel as comfortable being in public, so we ask out of respect. Asking for permission goes both ways, the one asking needs to be aware and okay with the receiver’s decision, and the receiver must be okay with being asked the question and open to respond positively.
Bring Your Own First Aid Kit
There is nothing like having your own! Protect your own space and carry a mini first aid kit. Your conference or workshop may be prepared with supplying these items, however, having your own supply goes a long way and you can guarantee you have the safety essentials at your immediate reach.
- Hand sanitizer 2oz personal size (brand it to be creative)
- Antibacterial wipes
- Disposable masks or branded masks
Planners have become creative with conference details to create the ultimate experience to include the presentation of food displays. With the assistance of local catering companies who provide individual disposable bento boxes/containers. This also serves as an excellent opportunity for the catering company to have brand recognition with their logos on the containers, or for the conference organizers to brand the containers with the conference/meeting logo and brand colors. This aids with a no-contact opportunity for your guests to be served, feel safe, and get nourished at the same time. Another alternative is BYOF or BYOB – Bring Your Own Food or Bring Your Own Beverage. If the opportunity presents itself for you to bring your meal to a conference do so with style by branding your lunch containers with your company logo. This is a perfect way to generate conversations for networking with everyone noticing your brand exposure.
Everyone Plays a Part
At the end of the day, everyone wants to resume normal life or as we say our “new” norm. To resume an active life, and to participate in IRL events, we all have a duty to play a part to make sure that everyone around us is safe.
Go get vaccinated.