Meeting the Disruption!

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Meeting the Disruption!

By Svend Dalgaard | Apr 12, 2021

The past year has been a roller coaster and we’ve all had front-row seats! Thankfully, in MPI we are a hardy bunch, as our jobs, our industry and our experience have taught us to be agile and ready to adapt at the drop of a hat.

While most news stories over the past year have been about bleak outlooks and dire times, I have found a lot of positive changes. Our local chapter events have been disrupted as we haven’t had the usual opportunities to meet to catch up and network as we were used to. Yet, as one door closes another will open, and now our chapter events are not limited to those living within driving distance of the venue. While most of our chapter members do live concentrated in a few larger cities, we are also fortunate to have members further afield, and it has always been a challenge to cater to all members when planning events. Not so anymore.

Networking Across Borders

On the chapter board, we’ve used online meetings for a number of years but have only started to arrange member events online as the pandemic forced our hand. Admittedly, we had to learn ways to organize and conduct meetings online, but we also quickly found that a little effort goes a long way. And best of all, suddenly we have seen a rise in attendance from our geographically remote members as distance is now not an issue when attending chapter events. 

Even better yet, as all MPI chapters throughout Europe have embraced the opportunities presented in moving chapter events online, all members are now able to attend an exponentially higher number of chapter events. Obviously, not all events are created equal, but as many European events are offered in English, everyone has equal opportunities to attend and benefit. From the North of Norway to Gibraltar and from Lisbon to Istanbul, MPI's educational and networking events are growing.

Some will argue that online events are not equal to in-person events, and these voices are right. But online events have their own advantages and open new opportunities with networking now being available between industry peers across Europe. Additionally, with the many different cultures throughout our continent, sparring with fellow MPI members from a country far away gives new angles on your ideas.

Preparing Online to Meet in Person

Over the past year, I have been able to network with MPI members from most European chapters at online chapter events. While I, too, miss meeting everyone in person at MPI’s European signature events like the European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC) and at trade shows like IMEX and IBTM, being able to share thoughts and ideas as well as make new friends is well worth my membership.

I'm thrilled to be part of MPI’s European Advisory Council (EAC) this year and able to influence MPI’s work in Europe. Learning about the EAC was so much easier as I have made MPI connections across the European chapters through the years both in person and online—connections that I enjoy in my MPI work. Attending online events offered by the many chapters gives me great value and insight into how MPI works in different cultures, and these insights again help me work in the EAC. 

So, what happens when “the world opens again” and we’re able to have local in-person meetings? Personally, I hope we will remember how we benefited from meeting online and will continue to spice up our MPI event calendars with all-European online events so we may continue to build and strengthen our network. And once we’re able to meet in person at the EMEC and the trade shows, it will be a lot of fun to meet up with the new friends we’ve made online.

Photo by Danielle Rice on Unsplash

 

Author

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Svend Dalgaard

Building on more than 25 years of experience designing and executing business events, Svend is dedicated to helping his clients reap the benefits of their events through providing their delegates with a tailored event design. Most recently he has worked with international clients producing incentive travel, and he has a long-established passion for organizing conferences on cruise ships. He has been a member of the MPI Scandinavia Chapter since 2018, has volunteered on the chapter board as VP of membership since January 2019 and is part of the European Advisory Council for the 2021 term.