Following the rules can be hard sometimes, especially if they require us to change our habits. However, considering the current health crisis, it’s crucial to not only set new rules in place for your future physical events, but also make sure that people follow them. Otherwise, we risk comprising our attendees’ safety, along with the chance of reigniting the events industry.
Moreover, if some of our guests will be reluctant to do what’s required to keep everyone safe, chances are that the rest of your attendees will experience discomfort and even danger. That, subsequently, will greatly compromise their experience, and maybe make them decide to avoid attending your next event.
And that’s the last thing you need as someone whose business has already been greatly affected by COVID-19. So, while we’re on our way to end this entire nightmare, we also need to rethink the way we’ll be ensuring that everyone will follow the new safety rules. In other words, your role is changing from planning an event to making sure your event is a safe environment for your attendees. And although event security was always important, going forward, it will be a matter of personal involvement. While it might seem overwhelming, you can get your attendees to respect and follow the new safety protocol by following these simple steps:
Step 1: Communicate the new rules clearly before the event
Now we start running physical events again, things will be drastically different. People won’t know what to expect at your event, so they’ll need guidance. After all, how can your attendees follow the new rules if they aren’t aware of the regulations you have in place? That’s why your number one responsibility is to communicate these new rules correctly. It’s crucial to do so before the event so that your guests will have time to prepare and get used to the idea. And feel free to inform them more than once via email campaigns.
We recommend email your guests with an outline of the new rules, as well as the penalties people will face for not following them. This email campaign should be sent separately from the typical event-related emails. After all, simply listing the rules at the end of your registration email will diminish their importance. Create an email campaign focused exclusively on informing people about what’s expected from them. You can send this email campaign after the registration acceptance email. Subsequently, you may want to resend it one or two days before the event so that people don’t forget.
Step 2: Place signs in visible places and encourage people to follow the rules
Preparing the venue is as important as preparing your attendees. Signs will always play the role of reminders, getting people to comply easier. For example, you can place one large sign at the venue entrance that lists the main rules, and then place smaller signs at the entrance of every single room. You could also place a few signs in the coffee break room and dining area. If your event has a large dining room, then put a sign at each end of the room. This way, you’ll make sure that everyone can see the rules no matter where they are in the venue and remember what’s expected from them.
Step 3: Provide gentle reminders if needed
People will probably not be used to following certain rules when attending events. After all, these regulations are new to all of us, and we may need time to adapt. That’s why you may discover that some people are forgetting to sanitize their hands when entering a new room or wearing their mask correctly. So, it’s a good idea to give people gentle reminders if you see that happening. Talk to your team about when they should intervene. Make sure to let your team know that any reminders should be gentle, not aggressive or paternalistic, so attendees don’t get upset or stressed.
Step 4: Provide hand sanitizers and masks upon entry
Apart from signs and gentle reminders, make sure to supply hand sanitizers and even disposable masks (depending on local regulation) at the entrance of each room. Even if people may not need a mask because they have their own, the masks could serve as a reminder to follow the new safety guidelines.
Step 5: Have an action protocol in case some attendees don’t follow the rules
Nobody wants to deal with a defiant attendee who’s not following the rules. At the end of the day, your goal is to get everyone to enjoy the event and not punish anyone for doing things differently. However, when required, both you and your team might need to take harsher measurements to keep everyone safe. And we’re not talking about those gentle reminders some attendees may need from time to time—we’re referring to those guests who may bluntly ignore the rules. So, what should you do if that happens, considering that some people may get violent?
First, you or someone from your team can approach the person and ask them politely to wear their mask or respect a specific rule. Then, according to the reply you get, assess the situation and repeat the suggestion if not followed the first time. If the person refuses, you may want to get someone from security involved. Never confront the attendee by yourself. It may be dangerous. Make sure you’re backed up by a security team who can talk to that person and take the necessary measurements. But let’s hope that things won’t escalate to that point and everyone follows the rules.
Having to set up new rules for your physical event and getting people to follow them may sound overwhelming and stressful. After all, don’t we have enough things to worry about? However, this is a new reality, and if we want to start having in-person events again, we’ll need to be proactive and ensure that everyone is safe. Note that it will take time before both you and your attendees get used to the new regulations, but with patience and clear actions, you can overcome these challenges and build a safe and comfortable environment for your guests.