Restarting Your Live Events Program? Don’t Forget Your Team.

by | Jul 10, 2020

These are distressing times for most people, and while we’re not life coaches, we’re quite confident that this is taking a toll on all of us in one way or another – based on our individual situations and personalities.

So, this post is dedicated to sharing some of the best advice and ideas for how to care for yourself, your colleagues and your visitors while resuming your live events program.

Our first piece of advice? As unlikely as it feels now, believe that things will return to something much more like they were before COVID-19. People are social by nature. Once the threat is largely gone – and it will be – they will happily and willingly crowd back into bars, restaurants, concerts and live events. How can we say this?

Well, for starters, too many of us are crowding back together already – suggesting just how powerful the urge is. Second history is on our side. As bad as it is, this isn’t the world’s first pandemic rodeo – or its worst – and people have never stopped, once they felt relatively safe, returning to life the way it was. But often with changes. Sometimes very positive changes. Did you know that New York City’s parks, and improved sewage systems in London and Paris, were in part a response to repeated cholera epidemics during the 19th century? It’s true. So, expect some positive benefits from this one too.

Next, let’s focus on live events and caring for yourself, colleagues and visitors recognizing that all of them may have anxieties about traveling to a show and working the show floor under a very different set of conditions. Here’s our recommendations broken down into before and during the show

Before the Show

Familiarity Breeds Comfort
Spend a little time to familiarize yourself and your team with what going to your show will be like. Look at restrictions and safety protocols required while traveling and while at the show site. These should include airline, Uber/Lyft and hotel protocols, as well as guidelines from your venue and destination city. Remember that safety protocols may make your trip longer and more complicated. So remind people to be prepared, be patient, bring along an extra book or game and to build extra time into their schedules. But, in the end, knowing what to expect builds confidence and makes for a smoother trip.

Pre-Show Health Check
Give yourself and your team a pre-show mental and physical health check. Is everybody comfortable going? You don’t want people there who are fearful – or concerned about putting other family members at risk. Is anyone not feeling well? A standardized pre-screening questionnaire for everyone can help. There are lots of them online like this one. Any “yes” answers suggest a big “no” for the trip. Consider pre-trip temperature checks and even Covid-19 tests when available to build confidence and reduce the risk of your team infecting others.

Pre-Show Prep
Having solutions for potential problems ready at hand can make a big difference in improving people’s outlooks – as well as making the problems easier to manage. Here are five practical suggestions to prep you and your team for possible issues:

  • Ask everyone to update their phone’s note section with useful medical information including emergency contacts, medications, allergies and any previous risks of Covid-19 contact
  • Set up a buddy system – pairing team members up to look after each other
  • Put in place a simple ‘in case of emergency’ policy with the basic steps team members should follow if, for instance, someone feels sick or has been exposed to someone else who is
  • Create a plan for dealing with potential problems at the show – like too many people in the booth, standing too close or not wearing masks
  • Talk with your staff and role play how to safely (and warmly) greet and engage attendees in the new world of social distancing
  • Depending on local rules, restaurants and bars may be closed or have limited access. Or your people may be invited to potentially unsafe social occasions like dinners or cocktail parties. Talk about these potential issues and agree on how to deal with them safely and tactfully.
At the Show

Keeping Cool On and Off the Show Floor – Tips for the Team
Remind everyone that they can’t control everything that happens in and around the show – and to focus on the simple things they can, like following basic safety steps at all times – social distancing, masks and routine hand washing and sanitization.

Check in on everyone regularly and ask staff members, “Hey, how are you doing?” Giving them a chance to share their anxieties or concerns is important. So is helping anyone who is really having trouble.

Keep your team healthy and their stress levels down by encouraging:

  • Frequent breaks from the show for food and rest
  • Rewarding themselves with treats – like their favorite beverage from Starbucks
  • Proper diet and exercise (other than Starbucks)
  • Time for fresh air and sunshine (when available)
  • Breaks from phones and social media
  • Quiet time or meditation
  • Anything else that works for them

And just as important, remember that all this applies to you too. Your team depends on you. Your attitude, confidence and leadership matters.

Lastly, let your team know that it’s okay for them to be nervous or frustrated by the way things are now. But also keep reminding them that the world they knew is not gone, even though it may feel like it.

For more on resuming your live events program safely and responsibly check out our other posts:
Getting Ready to Safely Resume Your Live Events Program
Marketing Strategies for Winning Responsibly in the New World of Live Events.