Are meeting planners frantically adjusting to this new virtual reality, or simply shifting more of their focus and experience to online?
In the last few blogs, in line with the times, we discussed how Sea to Sky has been incorporating virtual meetings into our toolbox for years. I remember one brief transitional moment when we were having programs printed while moving the same information to a website and an app. Up until March 2020, we could creatively guide our clients in the integration of virtual technologies into their meetings – I would say in a ‘relaxed’ and strategic way – as we continually aimed to meet client and participant needs and expectations.
Post March 2020, even though meeting planners seem to be talking and working faster to respond to the pandemic’s impact on in-person meetings, I agree with the calmer sentiments in a recent article by Darryl Diamond and Shayna Moskowitz titled 5 Essential Tips for Taking Your Events Online. These authors reinforce how I am seeing this ‘simple shift’, or using their term ‘a pivot’, to virtual events.
In addition to reflecting on their 5 tips (solid basic reminders), Diamond and Moskowitz remind us that “just because an event goes virtual doesn’t mean all your experience and processes for in-person events go out the window.” They reinforce that there are just as many benefits to a virtual meeting as there are to an in-person meeting – we just need to shift our point of view and acknowledge the experience we have.
I recognized in their tips some best practices for virtual meetings that Sea to Sky has already put in practice by simply shifting our focus from in person to virtual, for example, setting speakers and facilitators up for success, knowing that there is no ‘one size fits all’ for selecting a platform, and providing similar services as we would for in-person meetings, such as signage and support.
I am really proud of how Sea to Sky’s team has been pivoting since March, acknowledging that the ease of the pivot to virtual is a result of all the hard work completed in the years leading up to March. I also realize that it is essential we continue to look for ways and opportunities to continuously improve and deliver meetings that exceed our clients’ expectations and keep them financially healthy – future pivots are inevitable, and we will be prepared to simply shift.
Sarah Lowis, CMP, CMM, CAE, BA (French)
President and Founder