Category: Speaker Ideas

Tips for Engaging Virtual Event Participants During the Omicron Variant

Just when we thought we were good to go, the omicron variant decided to show up at our programs and events. Without an invitation no less!

So how are we handling this latest twist of the pandemic?  With agility, that’s how.

At Melibee Global Speakers, we continue to monitor the ebbs and flows of the pandemic and continue booking speakers through it all.  Agility allows us to flex as needed to keep our speakers and your conference/training participants safe.  For now (Jan. 5, 2022), most event planners and speakers are opting for virtual engagements. For anyone who would like to postpone events, we are doing so as asked. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and communicate any preferences/changes to our clients.

Meanwhile, how can we spice up the virtual space to keep people engaged? Here are 3 tips:

  1. Keep it interactive: Throw out questions regularly to encourage focus and interest in the screen and topic.
  2. Bring Back Break out Rooms:  Have participants talk in break out rooms directly after keynote talks to reflect and process the learning.  Have them conclude with a short list of how the information can be used in smaller teams, too.
  3. Move:  Have a yoga/stretching person at your virtual gathering to lead movement between presentations.  Participants can opt to turn off their cameras while they stretch and breathe during these periods if it makes them feel more comfortable.

Remember, this variant will pass and eventually, life in person will resume as we once knew it. Meanwhile, we’ll keep making a whole lot of lemonade out of some variant lemons!

In person or virtual events? THAT is the question!

Omicron? Delta? Delta Plus+ ?  It is the stuff that event planners’ nightmares are made of!

Now that we’ve gotten over the initial shock of an actual GLOBAL PANDEMIC (it is still surreal – right?!), flexed our agility muscles to a new level as event planners, and coached our speaker talent through the new norms, we are again being tested by the Omicron variant.  Should we or shouldn’t we proceed with our gathering? Should it be in person? Virtual? Postponed? Something else? It is a BIG question.

Here are THREE considerations for event planners:

  1.  Contracts – how flexible are your partners/vendors?  Ideally, they are thoughtful about covid and eager to retain (or establish) a relationship with you by being as flexible as they can with their contractual obligations.  Asking questions about how they’re responding to the ongoing pandemic is key here.  Aim to work with partners who are not going to charge you unnecessary fees in light of the pandemic – e.g. travel/airlines that will move flights without penalty, hotels/conference centers that will shift dates easily, etc.  You’ll want to minimize cancellation fees wherever possible by aiming to shift dates forward – even if it is a constantly moving target because of the unknowns. Bonus tip – hold off on food orders – those are nearly impossible to avoid cancellation fees for. You likely can ADD an order once you know that the event is a go in person! (In our case, Melibee Global Speakers aims to provide first in class speakers and flexible service for you to ensure safety. This means that if covid is toying with your plans, tell us and we’ll shift along with you whenever possible.
  2. Ask your audience – poll your prospective audience to find out THEIR comfort level with an in person event. You may find that they’re eager and ready to be in person under certain circumstances or you may discover that they’re simply not ready to face the unknowns of this new variant yet. You won’t know, however, until you ASK.
  3. Consider people with health considerations – while there is a huge push for vaccinations, there ARE people who simply cannot have them for various reasons that don’t need to be disclosed to others. When deciding to move forward with an event, consider how you will include these participants if you’re requiring double vaccinations to attend in person. One alternative may be to require negative PRC tests for in person participation.

Covid is so complex. Covid+event planning requires us to use our logistical, operational, creative and detailed planning skills at a unprecedented level. I hope the tips above are helpful as you continue to navigate these waters.

If you would like to know who on the Melibee Global Speaker roster is open to in person vs virtual only at this stage of the pandemic, please be in touch and I’ll be happy to provide the scoop!