In November, I was involved in the planning and production of the third annual Queen City Leadership Summit, arranged and hosted by Christian Business Men’s Connection (CBMC), a national marketplace ministry that connects, mentors, and equips business and professional men.
This year, due to the restrictions on movement and gatherings made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic, the summit changed format and was held as a virtual event.
Not long after the event, I interviewed Mr. Bill Montross, Area Director at Christian Business Men’s Connection. Bill is specifically responsible for CBMC activities in Charlotte and also oversees the Carolinas as a whole. We spoke about how the event had been impacted by the pandemic, what changes were necessary, what lies ahead for next year, and how working with me added value to the process of arranging and hosting the summit.
Key takeaways from the conversation:
- Experience matters – especially when situations change unexpectedly. There are a lot of moving parts and diverse factors involved in arranging and hosting an event like the Queen City Leadership Summit — and this year, the process was made even more complicated by the need to pivot the event completely and convert it from an in-person to a virtual event. Having someone on board who has previous experience and the right skillset is vital to making this work.
- Flexibility is vital. 2020 has reminded us in no uncertain terms that nothing is certain or guaranteed – the ability to be agile and react quickly and efficiently to a changing environment and situation is essential. Being flexible doesn’t just make it possible for you to survive change, but you can actually leverage and benefit from the new situation if you are smart enough. For example, moving from a live, in-person event to a virtual one allowed the summit to provide top-class speakers without the cost of travel, accommodation, and many of the logistics costs associated with a traditional summit.
- Shakeups can be good. As unpleasant and inconvenient as the effects of the pandemic have been on business in general, and the production of events in particular, this situation has forced us all to think outside the box and do things differently. We will probably never go back to doing things exactly as we did before. Not to say that we will stick to only virtual events once the pandemic is over – but I think a new type of hybrid event, and other hybrid business practices, will emerge. And, as said before, experience counts here. Solid working knowledge of the various processes and options will be required to design, plan, and successfully produce the event of the future.