How to navigate the (near) future of events

Image courtesy of

In a world where the simple gesture of a handshake can strike fear into some and simultaneously bring intense relief and joy to others…

Houston, we have a problem.

Eighteen months into this global pandemic, it’s safe to say that most of us have experienced some, if not all, of these uncomfortable moments;

One leans in for a hug, the other leans out.

Someone comes forward to speak, another takes a step back.

One can’t wait to meet in person while the other can’t or won’t.

The vaccine conversation comes up and suddenly the flowing conversation turns into polarization and frustration on all sides.

What’s an event professional to do?

The truth is, the future of our events is a prickly pear, and it’s not because of your care/health and safety equipment, technology, show flow/speakers, etc. (although these are all extremely important components. Experts in these fields are everywhere, just browse my LinkedIn colleagues to see for yourself 🙂

Navigating the interpersonal human element of our conferences is going to be our biggest mountain to climb (whether we realize it or not), because the underlying discomfort of constant micro-moments of perceived rejection is in the wings.

“It’s show time folks, let’s see how many people we can inconvenience today!” That said, there is never a planner.

In my view, the most important work needs to be done around asking and confronting the following questions:

How do we deal with discomfort, call it out, and openly and transparently name challenges?

What does a progressive, inclusive, safe gathering look like for all present?

What are the structures in place so that we can ALL have an efficient and enjoyable experience?

How do we create an environment where everyone feels valued, considered and heard?

And what do we need to communicate thoughtfully ahead of time and throughout the event to create an incredible experience for everyone?

Hint. Google can’t help.

I believe that these key considerations, born out of collaborative conversations, will be what separates the amateurs from the true professionals.

Here are some more points that you and your teams should consider:

Define the WHY and central purpose of the event, then work backwards around how you want attendees to feel.

What does success look like?

What do attendees and stakeholders want from this experience? Don’t you know? Ask them. (Tip: DON’T ask people for their opinions, there are plenty of them. Rather, ask for people’s lived experiences.)

What should we consider that we do not see and why?

The starting point for successful future events will be based on curiosity, empathy and, above all, proactive inquiry.

Trust me when I say that putting in the hard work to dig deep on the front end is more than worth it in the end.

About the writer.

Julie Danaylov, CSEP, RVP is a passionate event professional with over 14 years in the industry. Julie is the Lead Events Coordinator with Singularity Media Inc, Co-Founder of A2D2 Inc, 2020-2022 Professional Development Volunteer Chair at MPI Toronto Chapter, MPI Toronto DE&I Taskforce Volunteer, and UMANO Cana Board Member. Julie has won numerous awards for her envelope-pushing work in the performing arts, events and entertainment industries.

Source link