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Honorable Mention Chapter Award

 

 

The Future of Meetings in New York City

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By: Mike Veny | Dec 3, 2020

by Mike Veny

As a member of a supplier to the meetings industry, a resident of New York City, and a proud member of MPIGNY, I feel it is my duty to do my part in helping the industry get back on track. Period. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to sit down with four members of MPIGNY and learn their perspectives on trends, predictions, and tips for meeting planners.

Below are some key takeaways from my conversations.

Virtual meetings are getting stale

One of the predictions that rose to the top is that people want face-to-face, in-person meetings. Virtual meetings and presentations were a blessing for many organizations and professionals when the pandemic began. However, The Channel Company's SVP and General Manager of Events, Bill Jones, warns that meeting planners need to be aware of virtual fatigue.

Now that people are spending more time online in virtual meetings, the fun and excitement of them have worn off. It is difficult to maintain the same level of focus virtually as when in-person. Meeting planners are challenged with finding ways to keep participants engaged.

Hallia Baker, Director of Meetings & Events for the Center to Advance Palliative Care, suggests you should "view your virtual meetings as television productions." Take time to learn about the best technology options that will help you provide a seamless experience for all involved.

You can also take time to study what others are doing who are creating effective and memorable experiences during virtual meetings. Attend other virtual meetings to see what works and what falls flat. Keep a list of your thoughts throughout the experience. It is likely that others were thinking the same thing. Use your notes to adapt your own meeting plans.

Hybrid meetings are the foreseeable future

While people may long for the return of "normal" along with in-person meetings, we are not there yet. David Landgraf, founder and CEO of Make it Happen Management, shared, "I predict that there will be a combination of virtual meetings and hybrid meetings for the foreseeable future. This is the new normal until there is a vaccine."

This was a trend that came up throughout my conversations. While this might seem like a step in the right direction by getting people back together in small groups while keeping others at a distance, it adds a new layer for meeting planners. Landgraf suggests that a dual approach would need to be created in handling these events. It is a new frontier to conquer in the industry.

The path back to large in-person gatherings is going to be a slow adjustment. Look for ways to provide people with a touch of the experience they desire. Consider doing things like having small groups of people get together in multiple locations and then connect all the groups virtually.

Communication is critical

Now more than ever, it is important to over-communicate. With so much confusion over the facts surrounding COVID along with restrictions differing from one place to another, it is critical that you clearly communicate information. Put yourself in the shoes of your meeting attendees, presenters, and anyone else involved. Think about what questions you would have if you were in their position. Then answer these questions before they reach the point of needing to ask.

And do not forget that communication is a two-way street. Make sure you are asking questions and listening. Look for meeting planners who are experiencing high success right now and ask them for advice. Ask questions to find out what meeting attendees need and want.

Jennifer Rondinelli, Director of Education Operations for M·A·C Cosmetics, shared with me the importance of considering the end-user in every decision that is made right now, suggesting this will lead to a positive experience for all involved.

This is your time to shine

A pandemic that shuts down travel and in-person meetings is enough to make some meeting planners want to throw their hands in the air and call it quits. But since you are reading this, I know that is not you.

Bill Jones also shared with me a piece of advice that I found to be true this year as well. A crisis presents the perfect opportunity to take a risk. He shared for meeting planners, "This is an opportunity to make a name for yourself."

This is the time to get in touch with your creativity again. You do not have to worry about trying to stick with doing things the way "they've always been done". This is your time to rise above and showcase your talent and innovation.

I want to encourage you to make sure that you prioritize focusing on your mental wellness right now. Keep good self-care habits to avoid burnout. This will help you have the energy you need to focus on pulling together successful virtual and hybrid meetings until we can be in-person again.

In closing, I wanted to share something that has helped me as a keynote speaker during this time. That is to constantly keep in mind how I want to be remembered one year from now. I believe if you ask yourself that question, it will help you make the right decisions and take appropriate action steps to navigate this new normal.

 

Author

Mike Veny (1)
Mike Veny
Keynote Speaker & Author

Mental health speaker and best-selling author Mike Veny delivers engaging presentations with raw energy and a fresh perspective on Diversity and Inclusion. He shares how he went from struggling with mental health challenges to being a thought leader that travels the globe telling his story to help transform stigma. As a 2017 PM360 ELITE Award Winner, he is recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the healthcare industry for his work as a patient advocate.

 

 
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