The question is: When?
When can we “re-open,” when can we resume our live events, when can we come back together?
Nature abhors a vacuum, and at this moment there is a complete vacuum when it comes to information about live events and what the future holds.
Sure, there may be modest 100-, 250- and maybe 500-person events by Q1, 2021, but that doesn’t help those of you who need to deliver a large event for well over 500 people.
So, the question is: What does the future look like for my association’s event portfolio, and how quickly can I start making plans for 2021?
The answer: right now! How …? Here you go …
- Take this brief survey (45 seconds to complete) based on your best knowledge at this moment. Once you’ve submitted your responses, click “See Previous Responses” to see where you stand compared to other associations. This information will allow you to better inform your decisions based on the wisdom of the crowd.
- Next, use the above “Live/Virtual Hybrid Continuum” model, and plot your best guess on where you will fall in the live/virtual mix – 30% Live, 70% virtual for your meeting in February 2021? Perfect. At least you can start planning and not be paralyzed by the uncertainty that this information vacuum presents. Don’t worry that it can and probably will change; you need to start somewhere.
- Now, begin to design an event based on a small live footprint – say 250 people – and plan on a majority virtual experience to reach your entire audience. Your small live audience will serve as the hub for broadcast to virtual, the control center for the virtual audience to unify around, the environment for socially distanced panels, debates, demonstrations, and live activations that are “made for TV.” Think “small studio audience meets live, well-produced content meets QVC.” Now is the time to think like a live, interactive TV producer.
The magic behind this model is that no matter what the live to virtual ratio is for your 2021 event, you can scale, flex, and adapt, because it will just be a matter of expanding or contracting based on market conditions.
Hotels, studios, meeting tech platforms, speakers, and all of your support network will work with you; what are their options?
This isn’t going to be easy, and there will be uncertainly and missteps, but it’s a much better option than doing nothing.
Fill the vacuum that nature abhors before it’s too late. You must provide confidence and assurance to your audience that the show must and will go on.
For more on this topic, view the recording of my most recent webinar: How to Make Decisions with Confidence During COVID-19. My friend Maury Giles, partner at Heart+Mind Strategies shares real-time data on attitudes and feelings towards reopening, travel, and the future, while I share a framework for using this data to make decisions.
Founder & CEO
360 Live Media