As the world eases into new ways of interacting, working, shopping, dining, learning and doing business, we will all learn how to participate in events, conferences and trade shows based on a set of personal decisions that we will each make.
Decisions based on:
- Our confidence in the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine and our personal comfort in taking it.
- State and local norms, laws, and restrictions.
- Venues, hotels, convention centers and outdoor environments that safely allow for gatherings.
- Personal comfort levels in traveling either by air or car.
- And to a large degree our individual intensity of desire to be in the company of others in pursuit of learning, conducting business, and to be in community to advance our goals and individual objectives.
Of course, none of us are going to risk our lives, put those we love in danger or be persuaded to do anything by our companies or networks that makes us uncomfortable or unsafe.
But... many of the above conditions may well be at a level of acceptability for the 30% to 50% of the population willing to participate in a live, in-person gathering next year.
Restaurants now have many full tables both indoor and outdoor. Shopping is resuming, Ubers are on the road, many offices are opening and schools are easing their way back into opening.
So why not events?
Event audiences don’t want to travel to an event that is so socially distanced that it’s worse than a Zoom call. And, of course, masks put a major damper on one of the main reasons to be face-to-face. We can only project so much emotion from our eyes and foreheads.
Planning for in-person events may seem premature to many of you, but what is the alternative? No face-to-face interaction in 2021? Perhaps, but I’m counting on Q3 and Q4 of 2021 allowing for safe, secure and enjoyable live, face-to-face business interactions that begin the road back to a new, robust and much anticipated blended, in-person and digital event future that is more interactive, more effective, and more profitable than the events of 2019.
Don’t rule out in-person events in 2021. Even small attempts that are safe, appealing and serve as broadcast environments for larger virtual audiences are a good start.
Good strategic planning requires vision, risk assessment, scenario analysis, clear objectives and a good dose of optimism.
2021 is going to be a good year for those who are thinking ahead and planning for what’s possible while being prepared for what’s not.
As leaders, it’s up to us to do everything we can to revitalize the events industry, whatever form that takes.
Just as we all have to find the right balance in every other aspect of our life, so must we prepare for a new year ahead for the business of helping our industries do business.
Founder & CEO
360 Live Media