Venues Guide to Overcome Reopening Anxiety
Meeting planners are still struggling
A recent survey found that 81 percent of meeting planners will hold their next in-person event this year. Optimism within the industry is high, however many are still having anxiety, there are several things you can do to help reassure attendees that your events are safe. confidence in.
Understanding reopening anxiety for meeting planners attendees
Many are anxious primarily for two reasons:
- Concerned about their safety and their loved ones
- Worried about their social skills and the mental fatigue
It’s important to note that event planners may be feeling reopening anxiety, too. They may be feeling the pressure of hosting safe and successful events while concerned about their own safety. The prospect of socialising with large numbers of people throughout the day can be daunting.
How do you ensure safety at an event following COVID?
Clearly communicate with your guests
Though the risks are diminishing they haven’t gone way, acknowledge the risks:
- In the lead up the day, emphasise the safety procedures in place. A good starter point is a dedicated page on your event website that clearly details everything attendees need to know. This can be linked to on social media and in email newsletters. We at Cavendish Venues have a dedicated page on our website for this.
- Encourage guests to ask about anything they’re not sure about, or even suggest some ideas for the event. Create a hashtag for your event on your social channels for attendees to use. It may also be worth hosting Q&A sessions, where your followers can find out more about your event. You can also create a designated email address if attendees would like to send questions privately.
- Do not let your communication levels dip during the event itself. Ensure that there is plenty of signage around your events venue that attendees can easily see. Include the information in any extra handouts, and make sure that employees fully understand the restrictions. This is so they can help answer questions and maintain safety standards.
Ensure team safety to prevent anxiety
Your staff are just as important as your guests, and it’s essential that they also have their say. They are not immune to reopening anxiety.
Think about how you communicate with your team as well as attendees. Listen to any concerns they may have and check in with them regularly. Ensure that they have a good understanding of safety measures to help inform attendees, what to do if someone doesn’t comply, and they know where to go if they feel anxious themselves. If your events team feels confident in what to do in these situations, then they’ll feel more at ease.
Despite the trends and predictions, no one really knows exactly what events will look like in a post-COVID era. So when planning an event, it’s important to be flexible and listen to what attendees want. Their expectations may have changed since lockdown, and easing their anxieties surrounding events is a priority.
Be wary of socialisation fatigue
Zoom fatigue was a common consequence of lockdown, a result of the increased levels of screentime. However, the return of live events could now be introducing a new type of fatigue: socialisation fatigue.
Many attendees and organisers may feel the pressure of having to stay engaged 100% of the time throughout your event. They can no longer multi-task and work on a task while meetings take place, or step
away from the screen whenever they need to. They need to be switched on all the time, ready to network and learn.
- Cooperate with speakers and plan activities between sessions to help keep audiences engaged. These could include quizzes, Q&As and, of course, regular coffee breaks.
- Make sure there are plenty of refreshments as well, like sandwiches or a slice of cake.
- See if your event venue has water stations attendees can use before the day, and supply water bottles if not.
- If possible, create some quiet zones for attendees, team members and even yourself to visit throughout the day. These could be little havens for when someone is feeling overwhelmed and needs a break.
Collect Event Data and Feedback
As an event planner, you’ll know the importance of collecting event feedback. The best way to understand how attendees felt about the event is to ask them. So what is the best way to capture feedback from attendees?
- Send out polls/surveys after the event via email or social media. Take your time to design this and make sure it’s compatible with different devices – the easier it is to fill in, the more likely attendees will complete it.
- Monitor social media channels during and after the event. Encourage guests to share any photos and thoughts they had so you build a steady collection of post-event feedback.
- Create comment cards and hand them out with any packs and freebies during the event. Ask attendees to fill them out either during or after the event, and leave a clearly-marked comment box near the venue’s exit. Attendees can pop the cards in there so you have feedback immediately afterwards.
Looking after your own mental health
Event planning can be stressful –take the time to look after your own mental health.
Organise your time to ensure that you’re staying productive and setting boundaries, so you maintain a work/life balance.
If you’re currently feeling down and need someone to talk to, here’s a few resources that can help:
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