In the times of slowing down -literally, figuratively and curvedly-, event organizing companies are facing a total standstill. All seminars, workshops, events, gatherings, and pretty much all activities of coming together are off the table.
We at Sigi did not see this coming. Our team was geared up for travels, meetings outside the island, location checks, and production of all the things that make for an impactful event. The setback was massive, and we were not the only ones affected by a self-isolating world.
The first reaction was of course cutting down. This means cancelling vendors and retainers. This means turning permanent contracts into project based agreements. All the heartbreaking stuff, it had to be done.
Our second reaction was finding ways to generate income. When no one is allowed to gather, and our expertise is the assembling of people, it seems nearly impossible to do. This is where out-of-the-box thinking is not merely an overused terminology or a platitude, because the box was double-taped and must remain unopened. There is simply no other way. We had to extend ourselves beyond our expertise. We realized if we stuck with the things we know and leave the unknown to others, it would mean starving and depriving ourselves.
Fortunately we have a team that consists of agile and curious people. The kind of agility and curiosity that is free from the shame of failure. They are unafraid to go out there, even though they had no time to properly prepare and train. I think this is the kind of mentality that is needed right now. We have to start, and correct ourselves along the way. We cannot afford preparing and testing, only to fall behind when we finally start and become irrelevant in the process.
The third reaction cannot be called a reaction anymore. We have been fed stimuli, the worldwide tour of a tiny virus, and we responded to this stimuli. Now is not the time anymore to merely ‘respond’. It is time to anticipate, to predict, to obsess, and to be ahead.
So the third action is not only valid for event organizing. It can be applied to any kind of sector and any kind of activity that yields a dynamic and collaboration. Here are some of the actions we want and need to take, and we are sure there are many more actions being taken out there.
- Giving and sharing for free. Whatever your services or skills are, now is the time to just provide them for others. I am not talking about giving away the secrets of your trade. I am talking about giving that consultation sesh you would normally charge for. Sharing your approach and explain why this worked and still do. Tell your stories on the field, what you learned from your clients and your audience, and how you think things could be improved. Don’t do this with a pre-calculated thought of an eventual buy in. Do this because you can put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and imagine how you would have appreciated this type of content
- Unlearn and learn. There is a massive growth of webinars and virtual learning sessions out there. You may feel exhausted by all that zooming and teaming for work, why bother jumping into another room? And there are not that many webinars related to my line of work, why should I consider registering for something out of my scope? These questions are exactly why we need to stop thinking the way we used to. We now have all the access to knowledge that people so kindheartedly share (see my first point). Now is the time to put your assumptions aside and see how others approach, learn, evaluate and improve. Now more than ever, we are given the chance to stand still, reflect, recharge, and renew.