Insight: Issue 14 (30th September)
Today’s insight has not 1, but 2 dog stories.
Don’t say we aren’t good to you.
Today’s insight spills the beans on: a new event company/dog charity paw-tnership; why dogs will save the world (no spoilers on that one); an update from the #WeMakeEvents campaign, with info on tonight’s #LightItInRed event; a survey highlighting the barriers virtual events pose to women; 8 ways to boost virtual employee engagement; and a few virtual event ‘failure stories’—because event profs are human, after all.
Conference Care in new charity paw-tnership
Okay, we’re going to start with the dog stories, because we know that’s why you’re really here…Our friends at Conference Care are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year (congrats guys!) and, as part of the celebrations, they’re partnering with Angels Small Paws—a Midlands-based charity that rescues and re-homes abandoned dogs.
This initiative came about after Maria Hardy, Sales Analyst at Conference Care, adopted Missy (picture below, obvs). This encouraged Maria to suggest Angels Small Paws to Conference Care’s ‘Plan-It’ team, their in-house working group which focuses on sustainability and supporting local communities.
Despite much of the events industry being ‘on paws’ at the moment (how many dog puns are too many dog puns?) the Conference Care crew will be helping out with fundraising, whilst offering their time and expertise to support the charity in any way they can. How cool is that?
Meetings’ Best Friend?
As we type this, the world’s greatest minds are hard at work developing screening protocols, treatments, and potential vaccines for safeguarding against COVID-19. There have been several noteworthy milestones recently, giving hope to the events and meetings industry—from Johnson & Johnson’s trial of a vaccine that would require only 1 dose (other trial vaccines have required 2); to the first large-scale pilot program for a rapid coronavirus test for events; plus some new studies that are suggesting even mild cases of COVID may create long-lasting immunity.
But that’s not all! As part of a 4-month trial in Finland, coronavirus-sniffing dogs have been deployed at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, in the hope of discovering an alternative testing method that’s both quick and cost-effective (and cute). The idea is, test subjects are given cloths to wipe their necks, which the dogs then sniff to detect COVID in the sweat. If you’re skeptical, you should know that a similar study found that dogs could be trained to identify a COVID sample with 94% accuracy. We knew dogs would eventually save the world…
An update from #WeMakeEvents
As the UK government is *still* not engaging with MPs’ questions regarding a lack of support for the events sector, the #WeMakeEvents campaign team made the following statement:
“With the increased restrictions that have been announced, it looks unlikely that we will be able to return to work in a financially viable way within the next six months…This means that the majority of businesses in our sector will not be able to generate sufficient revenue to support their contribution towards employees’ salaries, nor will they be able to contract in the huge self-employed community within the industry.”
The government’s Jobs Support Scheme—which will replace the Furlough Scheme in November—is designed to help industries operating at 30-50% of normal capacity; but the events sector is currently operating at only 1-5% of normal capacity, making this new scheme completely irrelevant to our industry. Without support for the companies whose incomes have almost entirely vanished in the wake of COVID, come November there will be no jobs to support…
To raise awareness of the issue, #WeMakeEvents is holding another Global Action Day—and it’s happening tonight! Across the globe from 8pm UK time, thousands of venues and workplaces will #LightItInRed to (literally) shine a light on the need for government support. Keep an eye on their social channels, and share share share!
Survey: virtual meetings pose barriers to women
Next up—it wouldn’t be an insight without a mention of an industry survey!
MeetingsNet drew our attention to a survey of 1k+ female business leaders, which highlighted the challenges women face during virtual meetings. Particular issues include a lack of opportunity for women to present their facts, opinions, and recommendations during group discussions—and *not being interrupted as they do so*. 45% of respondents said it’s difficult for women to speak up in virtual meetings, while 20% said they’ve felt ignored or overlooked in an online meeting.
So, executives and event planners should be mindful of these results when crafting a virtual meeting strategy, ensuring all participants can contribute fully. Also—for anyone out there talking over their awesome female colleagues all the time…could you stop?
8 ways to boost virtual engagement
While we’re on the topic of active and inclusive participation during work meetings, we might as well chat about employee engagement, too. Corporate Event News has 8 handy hints for you:
- Schedule it—state explicitly in the meeting invite that it’s ‘all hands on deck’, so employees know they have to speak up.
- Set a clear agenda—aimless meetings are even more awkward in the virtual world, which makes crystal-clear agendas all the more important.
- Kick it off with music—it’s an instant mood-booster, after all.
- Lead by example—be honest, be vocal, and others will follow.
- Share your ‘peak of the week’—whether it’s a personal win or a positive news story, sharing these among colleagues can really boost morale.
- Celebrate—because no matter how small the win, it’s still a big deal.
- Recap and round-up—a meeting summary is always welcome, and an inspiring closing message even more so.
- Cheers!—now lift your virtual drinks, then call it a day.
Learning from virtual event fails
And last for today…everyone loves a success story, but we don’t exactly learn from them. So, after reading countless blogs over the last few months about event companies executing the perfect virtual pivot (by their own account), it was refreshing to see Event Marketer talking openly about their own virtual event failures.
In the article you’ll find out why a few disgruntled delegates compared EM’s failed virtual endeavour to the Fyre Festival (possibly the ultimate event burn)—but more importantly, you’ll discover what processes they put in place to make sure that never happened again. It’s humbling, hilarious, and well worth the read.
Nowhere to go but up. . .right guys?