The pandemic has driven home many things, among them that necessity really is the mother of invention—and, it turns out, reinvention. While the big news about events in the past 20 months has been the shift to virtual, a much bigger change was happening at a more granular level that will guide the future of gatherings.
“The individual has changed, the participant has changed, and that is still unfolding and could be significant,” said Sherrif Karamat, CAE, president and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association. “We have to be really nimble and agile to adapt to the ways our participants are changing and how they want to engage with others.”
Events used to be planned based on preconceptions about what large groups of people needed, often guided by committees, leadership, or mission and vision statements. That mindset has changed. It’s no longer about the broader approach of supporting an organization or the communities that exist within the organization, because that limits the scalability of education and interactions, said Derrick Johnson, DES, CMP, chief diversity officer and director of event strategy at Talley Management Group, Inc.
“You want people to feel like they can see themselves in situations and that they feel part of the environment we’re creating,” Johnson said. “We have to do that by truly showcasing and highlighting folks who have different thoughts and look different.”