In Person Meetings | What to Consider to Making Them Safe Post COVID

In person meeting

It’s Been a Long Virtual Only Season

It has been 16 months since we have had an in person meeting with a client let alone delivered an in person team building program. 

During this time, we have pivoted and created many great virtual programs to help keep our clients focused, learning and growing. These virtual programs have been great, but we do miss the personal connections made during an in person meeting, workshops and events.

We are encouraged to say that there seems to be a shift in the team building, event, and meeting world and in society in general.  In fact, in a smart and safe way, having an in person meeting for small teams is starting to happen again!  And, while the volume is still not what we were accustomed to in pre-Covid times, we have booked several in person training workshops, team building programs and motivational keynotes for this fall.

The groups are small, and we cannot do all the same things we did last year. People are so happy to get together face to face. And so are we! Yes, virtual programming has filled a huge gap and will forever be a large part of what we do in the future, yet there is still no comparison to being together in person.

People have been expressing how happy these small events have made them and they feel safe as long as things are done right. We thought we’d give you a list of things to consider when organizing an in person meeting for you and your team.

Ways to Create a Safe and Successful In Person Meeting or Event To Reconnect and Engage Your Team

Content: For many of you this will be the first time you have gotten together in person in well over a year. Don’t waste this time doing things that can be done virtually. Yes, there will be business content to cover, but this is a critical time to reconnect with your team. Focus on culture, communication, leadership and relationships. Socialize and get outside and have fun together.

Safety: When meeting in person inside you will need to create an environment in which people feel safe and comfortable. Conference facilities are excited to have you there and have been working hard to provide a safe environment for you and your team. Seating and tables must be located appropriately to allow for adequate distancing. Lots of hand sanitizer and masks should be available.

Be cautious about shared items such as markers, white boards, and break stations. This applies to your corporate offices as well of course. When getting outside you have a little more freedom. Make sure you use this time well and enjoy your time together. There are tons of great team building options that are Covid-safe and will provide a facilitated and value-added team experience.

Respect: Every person will have a different level of comfort with how you meet, and each individual approach must be respected. People need to stay within their comfort zones for now with regards to social interactions and you want to make this first experience a positive one for all involved.

Keep it small: Government allowances aside, it is best to keep your in person meetings small currently. Ten to twenty people seems to be the numbers we are seeing these days, but we have seen some larger groups starting to plan. Think about who should attend the meeting and why. You don’t want people to feel left out so consider doing something virtually for those that do not attend the in person meeting.

Keep it local: This is not the time to be flying in the team from across the country. Consider having several smaller local events to accommodate your teams. One night away at a meeting facility with some dedicated social and team building time will go a long way in connecting your team in these challenging times.

Bring in the professionals: Wherever you choose to meet make sure it is a space that instills confidence in your team. Most facilities are doing a great job preparing for safe interactions, but make sure to ask the right questions. When considering team building, consider bringing in the professionals. It has been a long time since you did anything like this, and you want it to go well. A professional company will have all the safety details worked out and will facilitate a fun, engaging, safe and professional event.

The Meeting Room: Whatever space you use it will need to be much larger than what you will have used in the past to allow for social distancing. Consider the movement flow in the room so that people can move around without compromising social distancing. Ideally the room will have a good ventilation system and/or windows that can be opened. If having windows open in cooler climates people may need to wear warmer clothing to be comfortable.

Meeting Norms: At the start of the meeting discuss meeting norms and take input from the group so that everyone can feel comfortable.

Covid Assessment: Before you meet all participants should do a self-screen such as https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/ . If they have any symptoms they should not attend the meeting. 

Socialize: Make sure the event is about relationships as well as business. We always say that relationships are the foundation of all high-performance teams, and it is teams that keep the business running.

These are just a few of the things to consider before you host your first in person meeting. You want it to go well so that people are comfortable and encouraged to do it again. What we have included here are some, but not all the things to consider. Do your research and seek out further resources so you can run a safe, fun, and valuable in person meeting.

About the Author

Scott Kress is an accomplished climber and adventurer. He’s completed the Adventure Grand Slam which includes the 7 summits and the North and South Pole. His storytelling based on his adventures is captivating, but what sets Scott apart is his ability to weave his stories together with his 20+ years of leadership and team development education and experience. Scott is the president of Summit Team Building, and is passionate about helping teams grow and companies flourish.