Navigating Conferences as the World Reopens

Chelsea Finn
Navigating Conferences as the World Reopens

As COVID-19 restrictions change and even drop around the globe, you may feel overwhelmed or unsure about returning the world of live events after more than a year of virtual conferences and meetings. Keeping your personal comfort level in mind, it's important to understand how to navigate conferences and other large events as the world reopens, especially since we're not quite living in a post-COVID world yet. Below are six things to keep in mind when you determine whether or not you're going to be attending a large event. 

First, Acknowledge Your Own Comfort Level 

Most importantly, you need to consider how you feel about attending events. Will you feel comfortable and be able to effectively network or pay attention during an in-person event? Or are you not quite there yet? Everyone's comfort level is going to be different, especially right now. If you decide that you do feel comfortable to attend a large event, there are a few more things to understand and acknowledge as stated below. 

Know the Restrictions Within Your Own Region and The One You're Traveling To 

The last thing you want to do is buy a ticket to an event that you realize you can't travel to because of regional travel restrictions or have to quarantine in a hotel room for days beforehand. Understand all of the refund policies for not only the event you're attending, but also for airfare and other travel expenses. Check local guidelines for both your region and the one you're visiting often and especially on the day you're supposed to leave. 

Stay On Top of the Event Logistics

Understand what's going to be happening at the event you're attending. Do you have to wear a mask the entire time? Are you required to show proof of vaccination? These are important things to know before you show up. Also, it doesn't hurt to check into how the event organizers are making sure the event is safe for everyone to attend. Will there be sanitizing stations? What's the food situation going to be like? Again, these are the things you should be aware of going into a large event, especially if you feel any level of discomfort. 

Know the Schedule + Determine What Parts of the Event Your Attending

It's probably been awhile since you've gone to a large event. Don't forget to review the schedule and determine what parts of the conference you'll be attending. Will you just be attending sessions or the main event? Or are you looking to attend happy hours, lunches, etc. as well? Recognize that there may be different rules for different parts of the event. 

Understand That Everyone There is Going to Have a Different Level of Comfort

If you feel 100% comfortable going into an event understand that others may not feel the same way. This could be somebody's first time attending an event outside of friend or family gatherings so it may be overwhelming to them. Not everyone might be comfortable shaking hands with others or standing too close to someone else. Some events are giving out pins that let other's know what your comfortable level is, be on the lookout for those if you're attending an event. 

Be Aware That Things Could Change at Any Moment

Lastly, it's important to be aware of any last minute changes to the event itself or with travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 variants that are spreading. Understand that an event may have to go virtual last minute or that you might have to look into refund options for your flight or hotel accommodations. 

There are so many benefits of attending an in-person event, but there are also a lot of things to consider and be aware of as these events return. After determining your comfort level just be aware of travel restrictions, event logistics and any last minute changes and you should be good to go!

Speaking of events, CWS is returning with a live and in-person event this September. Read more about it here



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