Like many event promoters, Ismail Sirdah of Duluth, Georgia, is making adjustments to his operations to support social distancing and other tactics meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Indiscriminately canceling events is detrimental to businesses. Thankfully, Ismail finds that using the following six social distancing methods can keep colleagues safe while launching special events.
Method #1 – Collaborate closely with the event venue team
Event locations and venues are taking extraordinary measures to remain compliant to new hospitality regulations and better serve their clientele. It’s a good idea to set aside some time to discuss one’s event with the staff to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
In many cases, the venue itself may provide the bulk of social distancing tools and techniques to keep the event safe for participants.
Method #2 – Incorporate virtual event and live video options
According to Ismail Sirdah, there are a number of free and paid live video tools to help event promoters decrease the number of in-person participants and increase overall participation. Facebook Live and Instagram’s IGTV are both free and allow event promoters to engage the event remotely.
Paid options like Hubb help organizations merge both in-person and virtual events for a seamless user experience. When adding virtual event tools to one’s event, it is critical that someone manages those tools during the event to respond to remote attendee questions and comments.
Method #3 – Prepare participants for logistical changes at the event
Event promoters should take additional steps to communicate proactively with all those planning to attend. Social distancing means fewer people in each room and refraining from handshakes. Rather than surprising participants with new rules, promoters should contact participants ahead of time and explain new policies and procedures.
The sooner that one can inform their audience, the less chance there will be for complications and conflict during the actual event, says Ismail Sirdah.
Method #4 – Encourage virtual and in-person participation
For those promoters that have established virtual attendance tools, it’s essential to make those virtual options known to participants. Many that would attend but are nervous about doing so will feel more comfortable knowing that the organizers created virtual options.
Promoters can demonstrate the value of attending virtually or in-person. This approach will not only reduce the number of cancellations, notes Ismail Sirdah, but it will also encourage greater participation than initially expected.
Method #5 – Make it easier for participants to engage in small groups after the event
For industry conferences and networking events, the single greatest value for participants is their ability to connect with prospects. Promoters that keep this goal at the forefront of event objectives will deliver enormous results for attendees and sponsors.
For example, Calendly is an automated scheduling platform that allows colleagues to easily peruse another individual’s calendar and select a meeting time that works best for them. Since there is both a free and paid version of Calendly, event promoters can broadcast this tool to both facilitate small group or one-on-one meetings in connection with the event, as well as remind attendees of the best way to gain value from the event.
Method #6 – Enforce state-issued or CDC health and safety mandates and recommendations
Despite the fact that COVID-19 restrictions have become political and polarizing, the reality is that state mandates and CDC recommendations can greatly put everyone at ease during an event.
Promoters that respect these standards will reduce conflict related to social distancing methods and liability should attendees try to blame the event for them testing positive for the novel coronavirus at a later date, says Ismail Sirdah.