As event professionals eagerly await official guidelines from the government and event bodies on best practices for delivering events in the aftermath of Covid-19, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mark Bannister, Head of technical production at George P Johnson, to learn more about the online forum he has created to help his peers navigate this challenge. Below is a summary of our conversation.
The goal was to create a centralised Forum for all event / covid-19 resources
Like many others in the events industry, Mark is furloughed right now. Speaking on Google Meet it quickly became apparent he was determined to use his downtime effectively.
With his passion for the events industry and everyone working within it clearly shining through as he spoke, it came as no surprise that he had set himself a goal of helping the event industry, and everyone working within it recover from the effects of Covid-19, as quickly as humanly possible.
With a lot of spare time and a web platform account in hand, Mark wasted no time in creating an online forum which would centralise useful resources related to events and Covid-19.
Sharing is caring
Whilst I'd imagine it would have been tempting to use the downtime to gain a competitive edge by gathering the information exclusively for his own employer, it was refreshing to hear someone so genuinely wanting to help the industry as a whole.
As Mark eloquently describes the forum:
"This site provides a forum for the Next Normal Collective to pool our expertise, experience and thinking, and begin to move towards a best practice as our industry takes the first tentative steps towards recovery in the Covid-19 aftermath."
4 tips to getting involved
Inspired by his own efforts to help the industry I asked how he felt others could get involved. Whilst they may seem obvious the following four stood out:
- Contribute - Be it a template for doing risk assessments or key learnings from actually having delivered an event with Covid-19 precautions in place. This will all help in forming benchmarks.
- Post Questions - You're not alone in navigating the maze that is Covid-19 and delivering events. Together we really are stronger. The faster we can get the industry back on its feet the better for us all.
- Start Conversations - It's at times like this the whole industry needs to pull together. Suppliers, freelancers, competitors - help who you can!
- Share with others - the more united and aligned the industry is in relation to tackling Covid-19 at events, the faster the industry will recover.
Fingers crossed we are all back to organising events by the end of the year
To bring the conversation to a close I was intrigued to know when Mark felt everyone could start putting this new found theory into practice.
Whilst understandably hesitant to mention any specific date, Mark mentioned he would be very surprised if the industry hadn't returned in some shape or form by the end of the year.
The size, format and budgets may obviously be different to what the industry is used to, but events will resume and prevail.