Is it possible to write anything at the moment that doesn’t address or reference the current Covid situation? I think not. So I won’t even try.
And as my blogs and articles tend to be about observations made from conference and event attendance, I guess I will for the foreseeable future be mainly addressing my thoughts and experiences in the world of online conferences and virtual presenting.
But right now I simply want to give a virtual hug to our amazing yet struggling conference and events industry.
I’ve been part of the conference and events industry for almost 25 years. It’s filled almost every week of my working life, it’s provided me with endless travel opportunities and amazing experiences across this country and throughout the world. It’s led to countless friendships and valued relationships.
Oh, and it’s allowed me to house and feed my family!
And then in what seemed like a few crazy days in March, everything changed for our conference and events industry. I don’t need to explain. You all went through it. We’re still going through it. I’m not sugar-coating. It was bad. It IS bad. It will get better, but right now, it’s bad.
And my aim right now, in this post, is not to offer platitudes, because while we know this will pass (sorry, that was a platitude right?), and while many of us can pivot (sorry, that’s a platitude and Covid Cliche #1) its OK to acknowledge that it hurts and it’s hard and the very sad reality is that for some of our close colleagues and friends in events – it’s the end of their businesses. For almost everyone it hurts financially and emotionally and achingly difficult business and staffing decisions are having to be made each day.
So all I want to do in this column this month is send a virtual hug to the conference and events industry (and a special shout-out to our corresponding travel industry colleagues too).
We’re in this together (sorry, that is also a platitude…..but it is true).
And I wanted to offer a heartfelt THANK YOU – because one thing this has shown me is how close this industry is. I cannot even begin to count the number of calls, emails, texts, WhatsApp messages, Friday Drinks Zoom invites I have received over the past 3 weeks and still receive from industry clients and colleagues, from all over the country and across the globe – just checking in, checking up, checking on me and my family – supportive messages, messages of hope, of collective despair, some that made me super sad, many that made me laugh. Ironically I’ve probably laughed more in the last month than in the months before this all happened. You have to, right?
I know you all got those checking in messages and you all gave those too. We all did. And I am also acutely aware that so so so many other people and entire industries have been affected. But I’m only a part of THIS industry, so I am more acutely aware of the impact on our corner of the world.
Truth is – I’d never really reflected on how close-knit and supportive our big yet little industry is. It’s blown me away. And been of enormous comfort.
So Thank You to you all.
Gotta love this industry.
Let’s hang in there together and support each other through to the other side…….because there will be one (sorry, no more platitudes I promise).
See you online soon.