• Timing is Everything!

    Recently I was preparing for a presentation to a group of meeting professionals, entitled “Designing with Flexibility.” The plan was to share ideas about how in a COVID/post COVID world we need to be even more flexible when planning, as the rules/protocols/guidelines are every changing.

    So, I did some research in industry magazines and blogs, talked to colleagues and drew from my own experiences. When I got to the meeting (in person, yeah!), I shared some best practices with the group, talked about things to consider and got some feedback about challenges those in the room were facing.

    During Q&A, someone raised their hand and shared the breaking CDC announcement about the change in mask-wearing guidance. Well, in addition to many masks being removed and comments about “it’s about time” and “thank goodness,” that sparked further discussion. At first, I thought, well that puts a wrench in Part 2 of my session, but it was a perfect fit. How timely! We still need to be flexible, as guidelines and rules are always shifting. Personal comfort levels differ. Company/state/country policies are not aligned. As meeting professional (and as human beings) we need to continue to be informed, be flexible and be ready to adapt (that’s why planners always have backups to the backup plans!).

    These new mask guidelines will continue to make things challenging – but there is a light at the end of the tunnel (hopefully it’s not an oncoming train!).

    • Being able to plan for full capacity will be a relief – but will everyone feel comfortable without the extra distance?
    • Being able to see noses and mouths again (smiles & lipstick!) will be great – but masks are still required in some places and not everyone will feel comfortable being maskless.
    • Some of the policies about food service and added sanitation put in place were upgrades – let’s not go backwards.

    We’ve come a long way since March 2020 – but we’re not out of the woods yet. Let’s not forget the lessons learned and continue to stay informed and be flexible so we can meet safely in person again.

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