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Embracing Change for the New Year

Vanessa Shkuda

It is no secret that the past 18 months have upturned every aspect of our lives. December often brings on a time of self-reflection for our personal lives, but it is also important to make sure we apply the same reflections and considerations for work as well.  

At first, working from home was something many of us could barely even imagine. “I don’t have a desk.” “My dog is a distraction.” “I need to collaborate with my teammate face-to-face.” These were all things we said and heard regularly. Now we have Zoom accounts, converted unused corners of our dining rooms for home offices, and realized being able to do laundry between meetings was actually pretty convenient.  

How can we take this shift in mindset and apply it to our events? Many associations have been in existence for well over 50 years. This longevity comes with important history and knowledge, but also often unfortunately comes with stale, outdated events. It is easy to mistake a desire to uphold tradition as an excuse to keep with the status quo. “We don’t want to upset our tenured members.” “People expect Bob to start every keynote.” While these sentiments may be true to some extent, what is also true, is that people have proved to be more than flexible, and even extremely successful, in the face of unexpected change.  

Just as your home-life will never look the same, neither will your events. While walking into the same ballroom again after two years off may feel comforting to some, returning to the tried-and-true event structures of the past is no longer going to cut it. People’s attention spans have shifted to be even shorter, and many may no longer feel comfortable being in a room with several thousand others for hours on end.  

Consider how your day-to-day has changed and apply that to events as well. No one wants to be in a three-hour Zoom, just like no one wants to sit in a three-hour general session. We’ve learned that having more than a few people on screen chatting can be difficult to get a word in and effectively communicate. The same goes for breakout sessions and panels. And, while nothing can ever replace the energy from being together in person, some people will never be able to travel to an event they may want to attend. Providing remote viewing options is now something people have come to value and expect.  

As we look towards what is sure to be another year filled with uncertainty, it is important to remember that while change is sometimes scary and uncomfortable, it is also an integral part of life, and if nothing else, we have proven to be stronger and better people for it.

Do you need help changing your event strategy? Reach out to find out how 360 Live Media can help!