During COVID-19, Hold Your Next Meeting Outside

September 28, 2020

De-de Mulligan

De-de Mulligan is a digital marketer, blogger and President of Mulligan Management Group, a full-service, boutique marketing agency. A former meeting planner who received the MPI Ohio Chapter’s Planner of the Year award in 2006 and 2012, she brings a unique perspective to her blog posts, including for Rentacomputer.com. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Sunny days are upon us, followed by star-studded nights. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could bring your typical indoor event outside? The answer is you can…but you need a plan! Focus on how to make the most of the great outdoors, so every one of your attendees can feel safe and engaged.

COVID-19 Planning Guidelines:

Sweat the Small Stuff.

If you are planning an outdoor event, you still need to consider:

  • Lighting: Do you need it? What kind of light is best – LED, pinpoint, or overhead? Work with your venue’s A/V specialist to discuss options.
  • Sound: Do you need microphones and a sound system? Remember that sound travels over longer ranges outside, so a sound system may not be necessary. Also, each person that speaks will need to sanitize their mic with an alcohol wipe before handing it off. 
  • Heaters: Does the venue offer them? How much heat does it put out, and over what area? Have a few on standby just in case.
  • Seating: Are people spaced six feet apart at the tables?
  • Linens: Do you need them? If the tables are in great shape, there is no need for them. However, if the tables and legs need a makeover, spandex linens are a good option.
  • Centerpieces: Do you want them? LED candles for an evening event can provide a creative component to the table setting.
  • Hygiene: Have plenty of hand sanitizers and disposable wipes on hand. 

Place Goody Boxes at each Place Setting.  

Include in the box a disposable mask, sunglasses, sunscreen, aloe, and bug repellent. Many attendees will be thankful for the gift and it's a good reminder of your event.

Provide Shade for a Daytime Function.

Strategically placed umbrellas, chairs under trees, and providing a tent are all good options. Remember, it is usually 10-15 degrees cooler in the shade.

Keep Bugs Under Control.

An outdoor event can draw all kinds of insects, from bees to mosquitos. Ensure the venue is swept two-three days before for nests and then spray for mosquitos 12, 8, and 4 hours before the event.

Select Technology Carefully.

Outside events may or may not require the same technology as indoor functions. Check into the lumens on the projector, whether mobile technology can easily be viewed in direct sunlight, and make sure all A/V cords are secured to the ground and hidden out of sight. Lastly, make sure the Wi-Fi works effectively outside.

Make Sure Your Food and Beverage are Contactless.  

No buffet or butler style service should be available.  If you have an open bar, have plenty of hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and napkins on hand. 

Have a Different Date Locked in if Inclement Weather Strikes.

Benefits of Outdoor Meetings

  • It’s considered the safest way to meet in a COVID-19 world.
    While it isn’t impossible to get coronavirus outside, the risk is greatly minimized, especially if individuals are at least six feet apart.
  • Fresh Air and Sunshine. 
    Nothing invigorates a team like getting outside from the four walls of a conference center. Also, according to the World Health Organization, 15-20 minutes of sunshine fights depression and can ward off illness.

This article was originally published on the Mulligan Management Group website.


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