This past week I spent multiple days onsite for an event over a year in the planning that refused to go Virtual.
They knew they were taking a risk. But they planned and executed their mission right.
It was them Keeping The Promise To The Audience!
It was my first flight to an event in 14 months.
How welcome was it?
Imagine working your butt off (literally!) sitting on DELTA flights all of 2019 while covering the planet to finally earn Diamond status after years of just missing it, and then you run into 2020…
I had 3 flights to begin 2020, upgrades and First Class treatment, and haven’t seen a plane since.
So how cool is it that I got to finally return to the friendly skies?
Truthfully, the mask thing on the planes is a pain, but if that’s what has to happen, then I’m fine with it.
Upon landing, Uber also requires the mask, while Martin drove me through traffic, we pulled up to the beautiful hotel and resort to check-in.
Didn’t even make it through the hotel doors before I was stopped by 3 security guards telling me to look into the machine that took my temperature, confirmed I was alive, and went to registration.
Upon arrival, the registration desk met me with a look that said, “You don’t need to check in, sir, just turn around”.
As I did, I was met by Teresa who was with the travel company that arranged the event, and she had already checked me in, had my keys, and told me all was taken care of.
That was unexpected and wonderful!
Shocked to then go to my room and realize I was in an Executive Suite!
It was like I was a king returning to my former kingdom, just that everything had changed in look, style, and control, yet I was still at the top of my game.
Upon descending elevators and escalators to the conference and convention ballrooms, I was stunned to be stopped and told it was COVID testing time!
Nasal swabs and a 15-minute wait.
I was given a clean bill of health, a purple bracelet, and allowed in the grand ballroom for my sound check.
Before entering, however, I was to have my temperature taken once again…just in case I had gotten sick between entering the hotel and walking to the convention center in the same building.
These strict protocols, along with everyone sporting a mask, made me both confident and grateful the client, hotel, staff, and all involved were so serious about this whole keep everyone safe concept, which is important no matter your beliefs or politics – it made the whole thing work!
I was impressed.
I complied with orders.
I promoted them as well.
My mask was only off when I was on stage.
And yes, I saw masks slip off, or what have you, but for the most part, a majority took it serious as they knew the ramifications of having an event like this.
Ladies & Gentlemen – this was a group of nearly 1,000 people attending an event in a hotel ballroom!
Yes, there were almost 3,000 seats set up, with an open space for every 2 blocked off, meaning you would sit with plenty of room between you and the next person, and had a place to put your laptop, bag, and an entire banquet of food if you wanted to!
Hand sanitizer within sight from any angle, reminders everywhere, social distancing reminders, and everyone playing along – I’d say this was a safe event.
I was floored by the precautions this client took, and the hotel’s efforts, in making this work.
A HUGE event at this time in our lives and history requires this level of commitment.
Even if, and most likely when, every single person at this event thought it was ridiculous…it was still necessary and the best way to pull this off.
I heard the griping, whining, and complaining…but it was followed by understanding, compliance and gratitude that we could even have an event of this scale if those were the requirements.
Perhaps your promise to self is to say I will not wear a mask to save my life! Well, according to the commitment of anyone who wanted to attend this event, you saved lives by wearing your mask, so that was The Promise. Anyone who wouldn’t, well, those people weren’t allowed in, because the mask was to be worn, both as an outward expression of devotion to the task at hand, and by those who don’t want to wear one as keeping a promise to the greater community in which we all participate.
There was no debate. Want to attend? Do these things and you may enter.
I have seen other events of this size in the past 14 months, usually outside only, and the ones inside in no way did all of the work this client did.
Only if you don’t want the world to come back as we once knew it.
I feel this protocol will be standard, or some variation of it, for any and all major events of the like moving forward (perhaps sporting events and concerts the exception).
But in the Conference & Convention World in which I live and make a living, save proving you’ve been vaccinated, this is a solution to a really BIG problem, and I couldn’t be happier than to have just experienced it this early in the game, felt safe, and been ecstatic to be in the middle of it.
Next level for me will be to bring my family.
Of course, the one time I get a suite big enough to sleep all of us, I accidentally left them at home.
Yes, it was in the middle of the school year and we need them to finish strong, but man, if I could do something over it would have been to bring them along.
Especially being on the Master for food charges! (I’m kidding! I’d never take advantage.But my devious self would think about how fun it would be to…)
This past week I did a LIVESTREAM on the following social media channels, if we haven’t connected there yet make sure to join me!
Are you ready, and willing, to attend, put together, or be a part of a HUGE LIVE IN-PERSON EVENT such as this?
Why or Why Not?
All answers are acceptable.
I prefer not to get into the politics of the thing if you’d refrain from that in the comments, but I’m very curious if you’d attend.
Because I did, and I LOVED it.
I wrote a Facebook post (below) about how it felt the first night the whole group was there and it brought tears to my virtual burned out eyes.
Ballroom is filling up with almost 1,000 attendees.
The roar of the crowd in conversation alone is deafening.
The music thumping its convention excitement beat gets the heart racing.
Lights, camera, mic check, back stage, front of house, stage manager, stage blocking and cues to enter, full production…and I’m not running it!
I just have to go on stage and kill it. Like old times.
Way easier than being my own tech worrying at home about every little detail of a virtual presentation, and instead just having to get on stage and deliver.
A whole team with their specific Signature Moves and expertise has my back.
Living their calling.
Everyone is excited to be here and grateful for the work.
Oh man. Now I’m welling up.
I’ve done about 20 live in-person events in the past year vs. 100+ virtual from my house, so thankful for all it has taught me and helped us to survive, but this one is different.
I flew here on a plane.
Client gave me a suite.
I had to squeeze into an old suit that looks new again after sweat pant events for a year.
The client and I met face to face, even with a mask on we felt like family.
Temp checks, COVID tests on site just to get in the room, chairs marked every other to not allow close seating…it is different than it was in early March 2020….but it’s the same all over again.
Just a new level of gratitude.
Catering team show smiling eyes, hotel staff greet with pride, event attendees can’t believe it’s happening.
We are here!
People networking, commiserating, production running the show, I just have to take the stage and live my calling.
Keep The Promise.
Vaccinations may be required for Speakers, Entertainers, and Attendees to either be hired or be a part of events in the future (which may eliminate the need for all of the protocol I just outlined having experienced).
If you have chosen to be vaccinated, then you’re on the list and can get in!
However, if vaccinations are required to attend or be hired, would you get vaccinated if you were initially against it?
I’m curious about your take on this matter, because the answer will quite possibly change the way the world turns for the next few years for all of us…and I’m sincerely interested on taking your pulse right this moment on this topic, because it is one of the biggest choices we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes.
~ Jason Hewlett