By Chris Parnham MBA CDir
We are at best only half-way through a period of lock-down and to the event industry and many others, this is a troubling time.
Events, meetings and public gatherings are now just memories. The events industry has been moth-balled, with most of its employees furloughed.
Should we just sit it out? Press pause and wait for the world to start up again? Hope that our industry and our company survives?
We don’t keep our lifesavings under the mattress anymore, we invest them, so that this spare cash increases in value. That way it’s at its best when we need it. That’s what we need to do with our resting companies. Don’t stick them under the mattress and hope they will survive the storm. If we do this, then our companies will be, at best, exactly as we left them. But the world won’t be as we left it, it will have changed…
The world is becoming used to working at home, we have learnt that we don’t need our offices anymore. This immediately creates more time for a workforce. It blurs the lines between work and life, delivering a balance that individuals’ control. Video calls and virtual meetings have become commonplace. They are quicker than face-to-face meetings, so more time is saved.
When the world begins to return to normal, will we want to travel to the office every day? Approximately 200 hours a year are lost to the average commute. Will we want to go back to our weekly meetings schedule? Around 2 days a week are devoted to meetings by the typical middle manager. If virtual, this time could be halved. Can 5 days of work be done in 4? Weekdays and weekend feel the same now, why does business have to go back to Monday-Friday? These are questions the new world will ask, and we can be ready with creative answers, to make the best of this potential hunger for change.
The new world could give us more time. Our clients, our consumers and our colleagues could all have more time. And what will we do with this available time?
With fewer day-to-day meetings, the world of events can rise up to fill the void, by making face-to-face experiences richer, more worth-while and more fulfilling. We no longer need to meet each other just to get the business of the day executed, but we can meet to engage with each other, to be inspired, motivated or creative.
We could re-define events to make people value face-to-face more than ever, because when they meet face-to-face, they leave feeling better, having gained something new. They are better equipped, better informed, newly skilled, more motivated, more engaged, or re-energised.
An event, by definition, is a moment in time when something changes. Anything else is just a meeting. So, let’s exile all meetings to the new virtual platforms and super-charge our events to make them more meaningful, more impactful, moments that deliver change.
I am spending lots of my available time re-thinking my business model. When we come back it will be different. More relevant, impulsive, dynamic, and focused. We will strip away tasks that don’t add value and waste time. We will spend our new time making our clients and our audiences love us. Our events will change business, and change lives.
We don’t do meetings anymore, we make events.