Future of Meetings

By Holly Duckworth


** Please note this is not legal advice these are questions, tools and resources to guide a conversation for you as a C-Suite Network Thought Leader.  This is not designed to be a fully encompassing review.  It is a starting point, a resource for you to understand the mind of a meeting professional.  A list of tools to inform you to navigate the business decisions you have relating to the future of face to face and virtual events for your business.

If I were to sum this up in two quotes, here you go.

“Seek to understand, not be understood.”  Steven Covey

“We don’t know how, but we know events will come back.” Everyone in the industry

Inside the Mind of a Meeting Professional

As a thought leader you may not even know what is going on during a “normal day of a meeting professional let alone a “new reality” day.

The initial question to ask is – Is this planner dealing with an event that has been previously booked, planned and contracted or a brand-new event?  Recognize if dealing with a previously booked event they may still be working within the confines of that event contract.

A Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) will analyze an event before, during and after.  From each of those vantage points the questions begin.  Before deciding whether an event should be in person/face to face or virtual, review the following complex arrangement of questions and decisions.

  • What do I do before the event? (face to face, virtual or hybrid)
  • What do I do onsite at an event? (face to face, virtual or hybrid)
  • What do I do after an event? (face to face, virtual or hybrid)
  1. Who are my attendees? (demographics)

What industry does the attendee represent?

Are there travel bans in place for the attendee?

Are there travel bans in place for the host organization/company?

At what level are the attendees technology enabled?

At what level is the organization technology enabled?

  1. Where is the meeting located?

State, local, national, international


  1. Transportation to the meeting?

Car, plane, train, uber etc.

  1. Hotel/Venue

Are there geographical restrictions in place for the venue?

If relocating/changing dates, Does the venue have new dates available?

Is meeting space available based on social distancing guidelines?

Are sleeping rooms available?

Can the venue accommodate the new group if larger or smaller?

Can the venue accommodate additional technical requirements?

  1. Why are we having the meeting/conference/trade show?

What are the goals/expected outcomes of the events?

  1. Does the event already have risk management, insurance and mitigation?
  2. Does the event warrant the risk management, insurance and mitigation?
  3. Additional concerns:

Meeting Room Configurations

Food & Beverage Service

Financial Minimums / Attrition

Audio Visual Budgets

Onsite – Touching/Physical Contact (Surfaces, Materials, Giveaways, books, pens etc.)

Attendee contact tracing

Attendee health records/temperature checks

Meeting Insurance – Take this into consideration when deciding whether to move forward or cancel your event.  If there is insurance meeting planners may be forced to wait to meet contract terms.

How you can be supportive as a Thought Leader

Have compassion/empathy for meeting professional/planning team

Have compassion/empathy for attendees

Ask more questions

Listen more

Collaborate with all parties

Be Flexible

Evaluate the event within the context of the greater goals of your organization/industry.

Resources planners are referencing:


Event Industry Council (EIC)




Professional Conference Managers Association (PCMA)




Meeting Professionals International MPI








Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE)



National Speakers Association (NSA)











Media Partners:  https://www.g2planet.com/blog/the-24-top-industry-event-publications


Smart Meetings



Meetings Today



Meetings Net



Northstar Meetings




COVID: Specific Reports


Events Industry Council (global)



US Travel Association



Coronavirus Recovery Resources:



Novel Coronavirus Resources


Official Statement from IAEE



HSMAI Global Coronavirus Resources



Meetings Mean Business





About Holly Duckworth:


Founder of the C-Suite Network Mindful Leadership Council the premiere community for where mindfulness and leadership connect. The council she leads creates, contributes, and advances mindful leadership as a practice in the workplace. This is an elite group of professionals dedicated to the application of what mindfulness is, and the advancement of personal and emotional support for leaders to grow the income and impact of their businesses.


Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, LSP is CEO of Leadership Solutions International, is a trailblazer transforming businesses and industries as a contributor to the New York Times, Producer/Host of the Everyday Mindfulness Show with more than 150 episodes Holly has provides training programs on applied mindful leadership around the world.  Bring Holly to your company conference or event to educate, connect or inspire.