Re-entering the world of live meetings, conventions and business gatherings
by Bruce TurkelMr. Turkel is an author, speaker, and brand consultant located in Miami, Florida. He blogs regularly on marketing, PR & advertising issues and trends. Visit http://bruceturkel.com. Reprinted with permission.
This weekend I attended my second live conference in more than a year and a half – the National Speakers Association annual meeting in Las Vegas.
Two conferences in 18 months might not seem odd to you but considering that before the COVID pandemic I was keynoting at a conference somewhere around the world almost once or twice each week, it was quite a change for me.
Sure, I’d done virtual conferences on Zoom and I’d participated in a number of meetings and workshops using other virtual technologies, but this was back to the old-fashioned, stay at a big conference hotel, see people from around the world, drink too much coffee, stay up way too late, get up way too early, exchange business cards, listen to speakers, kind of event.
Here are a few observations from the road you might find interesting:
1. Travel is back; the airport, the airplane, and Vegas were packed
Granted, there was a lot going on in Vegas including a Garth Brooks concert and a middle heavyweight boxing match. Even so, it was almost a little shocking to see how many people were in the plane, on the streets, in the hotels. If you’ve been sheltering-in-place and wondering when the world is going to start up again, guess what? It’s already happened.
2. Masks? What Masks?
I find it kind of shocking that masks have been politicized to the point where people don’t wear them even in elbow-to-elbow crowds. Personally, I’ve enjoyed not getting a cold, sore throat, or the flu in a year and a half. I think wearing masks in public makes a lot of sense. And for those of you who think they’re too uncomfortable, just think about being intubated instead.
3. Red, Yellow, Green is Not Enough
Both events I’ve been to offered red, yellow, and green buttons to let other attendees know how you felt about physical contact. The red buttons say, “No Physical Contact.” The yellow ones say, “It’s Tricky,” and the green ones say, “Hugs Welcomed and Encouraged.”
I’m no germaphobe but those dogmatic directives don’t work for me. Instead, I’d like a blank panel with a remote control that I could adjust for each person I greet. After all, there are some I’m happy to hug, some I’m perfectly content to fist bump with, and other that I didn’t want to touch even before COVID. If you’re looking for a new business idea, take this one and run with it.
4. I Don’t Miss Housekeeping at All
Both hotels I’ve stayed at did away with daily housekeeping. They said it was for my “personal protection,” but I’m thinking it was more for their HR departments and their bottom lines. But here’s the thing – I’m happy to not have someone in my room for a couple of days. I’m perfectly capable of making my bed, I don’t need all my towels refreshed every single day, and I don’t need the mini bar refilled anyway.
5. There’s Nothing Like Face-to-Face
Over the last 18 months I’ve attended Zoom board meetings, Zoom birthday parties, and Zoom family reunions. I’ve done Zoom keynote speeches and workshops and I’ve even hosted Zoom mastermind meetings. And each time I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well the technology works and how quickly it becomes second nature. But as good as Zoom is, there’s nothing like face-to-face.
Hybrid meetings do allow everyone to participate, but real relationships and real opportunities come from both the personal touch and the random collisions that in-person meetings provide.
The bottom line is that there is an enormous amount pent up demand just chomping at the bit for new experiences and new innovations. And if you’ve been waiting for the time to reinvest your time, money, and effort in building your business and pursuing your customers, now’s the time to do it. Because the world is back, and you should be too!
Feel free to leave a comment to Bruce, here.