Preparing for the New Normal
As we contemplate what the “new normal” might look like, many long for the comfort of old routines. Naturally, conference attendees are concerned about health and safety, expecting assurances that the right measures are in place. It’s likely that everyone will have higher expectations for face-to-face events post-COVID—from hygiene to hybrid.
Attendee registration and check-in may require the most modification, especially if the event requires proof of vaccination. Remember to pay attention to conference communications leading up to the event. Conference leaders are investing in safe experiences by creating breakout groups or workshop sessions that foster discussion and welcome remote contributors, some encouraging a more retreat-like environment that’s less intimidating than a big hall.
I expect that hybrid meetings, with both virtual and in-person attendance, will be the standard as opposed to the exception going forward. Balancing the external needs of participants with the internal needs of a team can be a juggling act. But hybrid conferences offer a healthy mix of enthusiasm, giving those who long for camaraderie the opportunity to gather again. And for those who cannot afford to travel or are more comfortable continuing to use the creative platforms that were born from our need to shelter in place, virtual options level the playing field and open attendance—and speaker options—to a wider audience.
• Plan ahead! Research meals, mask requirements, safety updates, and hours of operation for everything.
• Be open to change. As CDC guidelines and those of the conference venue may still be in a state of flux, be ready and, more importantly, be understanding.
• Whether you are attending in-person or remotely, always make the most of the experience, gleaning nuggets of information and style that you can incorporate into your own writing.