In June 2022, we helped plan and deliver three global events (London, Hong Kong and Toronto). There was a smart ‘build’ to these gatherings, which I touch on below and want to share.
Most obvious at all these events was the obvious keenness of all to finally connect face-to-face with new colleagues, and reconnect with others, after two years of separation, isolation, and uncertainty.
It was also clear that ‘re-grouping and fully aligning’ will also take time after such separation. One meeting cannot do this, and Covid continued to restrict the movements and attendance of many.
After such time apart, a ‘staged build’ to re-gathering is needed. Your first meeting/event should be 95% social, providing the time and spaces for introductions and relationship-building to happen. Unstructured receptions, dinners, afternoon-walks, or lingering-breakfasts are good formats for this. Second/subsequent gatherings can then start to introduce a bit more business-purpose. 15-20% of the time can be set-aside for leaders to bring attendees up-to-speed on post-pandemic goals, new org structures and/or go-forward-programs. Time should be planned to allow for feedback to these updates (formally or informally). Your third meeting/gathering can then get-down-to-business more solidly.
Given our trouble booking meeting and event spaces in 2022 – and chatting with other meeting planners – companies (large and small) are in full forward motion in getting their teams back together. How great!