We all know of somebody who has started a complex new role but is yet to meet their colleagues in person, or hosted a creative virtual team brainstorm that started off fizzing with ideas until audio and visual connectivity gave out.
Centuries-old codes of in-person sociability and connectivity have been turned on their heads due to the pandemic; replaced by protocols, policy, and tiny screens. At best, the move to virtual can lead to super focused and efficient conversations and behaviors, at worst tiny screen interactions can hamper motivation and complicate decision-making processes.
Undeniably, some professional situations simply call for face-to-face vs virtual, because networking hurdles are removed, distractions are removed and there is less chance of something being taken out of context. And whilst large scale global corporate meetings are still off the table, the demand for small business meetings is building in geographies where it is safe to do so and nominal travel is involved. In Australia, for instance, both indoor and outdoor events have been allowed to restart since July and the same for Singapore from October, albeit with various restrictions around capacity and safe distancing.
Following the launch of CWT M&E’s easy meetings, an online booking tool to find and directly book meeting rooms around the world, our resident meeting planning experts have identified the seven steps to follow to ensure small meetings are hosted safely - leaving you with the mental headspace to bring the essential ingredients of charisma and connection. That way, the palms of your hands may be sanitized but the social atmosphere needn’t be.
1. Go contactless – Avoid shaking hands, hugs and kisses. There are plenty of other touchless greetings. You can ‘smize’ (smile with your eyes), wave, “namaste,” or if you’re really cool, there’s always the foot-tap, hip bump and Vulcan salute from Star Trek.
2. Space it out - Get creative with seat configuration. Leave at least one chair between each person and meet in well-ventilated rooms.
3. Palm it off – Have plenty of hand sanitiser by the door and on the table and antibacterial soap in the bathrooms for hand-washing.
4. Let it flow – Open windows and doors where possible, to encourage air flow;avoid air-conditioning and take advantage of outdoor space if it’s available.
5. Taking the biscuit – In a word: Don’t. Avoid food sharing and communal plates of snacks and sandwiches. Encourage attendees to bring their own food to the meeting or have pre-packed meal bags and boxes.
6. Disinfect the space – As with all venues available via CWT M&E’s easy meetings, reputable meeting venues will have sanitation policies in place and follow local, state and federal guidelines. Ensure that doorknobs, tables, chairs, handrails, and equipment like keyboards and phones have been cleaned.
7. Paper view – Ask everyone to bring their laptop or tablet to the meeting and avoid sharing written notes. Use team software apps to share documents rather than print-outs.