Meetings

Three New Skills Event Pros Must Develop in the Wake of COVID-19

By / Aug 20, 2020 (designer491/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Coronavirus has forever changed the meetings industry. As a result, event professionals need new skills to best navigate this new environment. Three to consider developing.

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly changed the meetings industry. As event professionals were tasked with transitioning in-person conference to virtual ones—sometimes in a matter of days or weeks—they often had to develop new skills they may have never considered to be a job requirement previously. Here are three skills that will benefit meeting professionals as they move forward in this new environment:

VX manager. I’m sure you’re familiar with terms like UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience). As more associations host virtual and hybrid meetings, I believe event professionals will have to give much more thought to what I’m calling “VX,” or virtual experience. Virtual meeting platforms and other tech tools must be selected with the attendee experience in mind. For example, are they easy to use? Do they integrate well with other tools your attendees are already using? Since many of your attendees are relatively new to online events, you don’t want them to feel overwhelmed and intimidated. And, as virtual events become the norm, your attendees will expect you to deliver an exceptional experience that’s on par with your in-person events.

Risk assessor. As an article posted on MeetingsNet discussed, COVID-19 has laid the groundwork for event professionals to get buy-in for developing a comprehensive risk management plan for their meetings. “Your organization and events team must understand its duty of care for participants, how to assess and minimize risk, what to do in emergencies (and how to train for them), and the right way to transfer or mitigate risk through contract language and, for some events, meeting insurance,” wrote Sue Hatch. Event professionals must be knowledgeable about how things like force majeure clauses, attrition, and event cancellation insurance works. After all, having that know-how could help your association remain financially stable should future in-person events need to be postponed or canceled.

Online education expert. Keynotes, panel discussions, and interactive education sessions are staples of in-person association meetings. But how can you best translate these experiences into a virtual space? Event professionals must be willing to be creative and take risks in order to deliver education to their virtual attendees that meets their needs. This may involve training speakers on how to deliver their content effectively in an online environment. In addition, planners will have to give some thought to how they will help create interaction in the virtual space that goes beyond a chat box. After all, your attendees don’t just want to learn; they also want to connect with their colleagues and ask questions or get clarification from speakers.

What new skills do you think will be important for event professionals to develop in the wake of COVID-19? Please share in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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