Updated: Jan 18
There is no shortage of articles about changes in the way we do business. From the advent of the Internet to email marketing to social media and so on, changes seem to come faster than we can adapt to them. Just when we think we have a grasp on one, a new one comes along.
Then a global pandemic shows up! Life as we knew it came to a screeching halt. No matter where on the globe you live or work, you have been impacted, your organization has been impacted, and your family has been impacted.
Once again we are bombarded with business articles about changes to business, how to adapt, and the comparisons to other historically disruptive events – WWII, the Depression, the 1918 Flu Pandemic, 9/11, etc. While these events changed the fabric of nations and influenced entire generations, business largely went back to normal and economies grew once again. Cities and high-rise office buildings were full and booming.
What is different in 2020 is the technology.
The technological advances we have made in the last few decades will substantially change what the new business-as-usual looks like. Individuals, communities, and organizations have quickly adapted to moving many in-person interactions into the “virtual” world. Access to high-speed Internet, videoconferencing, social, and mobile technologies have all made this possible. This transition has not been seamless or easy, but it has been possible.
As communities, organizations, and businesses look toward the future, long-term utilization of these technologies is going to influence decisions from where and how employees work, to where and how to engage with prospects, customers, members, and constituents.
The evolution of in-person business and events.
In the near-term, organizations will need to continue to adapt to mostly online and socially distant ways to conduct business and connect with their communities.
Eventually, as treatment options and vaccines become commonplace, the need for physical distancing precautions will go away and we will be able to interact as we once did. There will be a return to offices and in-person events, but they will look vastly different than before the pandemic, because we have learned a lot about ourselves and what we can do with the technology available.
This is the time to start formulating short- and long-term strategies for your events and conferences. People will want to get back to having in-person connections, but with smaller groups and more localized to limit the need for travel. They will also expect more options for virtual participation.
What can you do now to help set up future success?
Create a list of your events and identify which can be virtual only, a mix of in-person and virtual, and in-person only. For the in-person events, identify which ones can be smaller regional events.
Develop a new pricing structure to reflect the change in offerings.
Identify the technology infrastructure you need to support the mix of virtual events and process your new pricing structure. Ensure you have the technology partner(s), both in-house and 3rd party, and technological resources to support your events.
Like it or not, big changes are coming, so might as well make the most of them!