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Back to the Basics: Event Etiquette

I don't know about you, but I'm excited to get back to all the things this fall. Whether that means back to school or back to work or back to the world of in-person events. But there is no question those events will look different and that brings us to the topic of the moment - event etiquette. Because that is definitely a thing now!

Event Etiquette 101

While the rules of event etiquette are largely unwritten, the general rule of thumb is it's best to err on the side of caution. And so many of these best practices apply to the workplace too. As you consider registering for or better yet, hosting, your first ini person event in this new normal, consider the following to make attendees feel comfortable AND included.

1. Know someone's comfort level with contact.

COVID-19 has created a lot of fear and part of addressing that fear is knowing what someone is comfortable with. Our friend, economist Andrew Busch shared his experience keynoting a recent event. The event organizers offered colored lanyards for attendees. Based on the color each person selects, you know what they are open to: green - we can hug, yellow - keep your distance (at least 6 feet) and red - there is no such thing as too much space. This ensures that everyone can set their own boundaries and provides other attendees with the information needed to respect those boundaries.

2. Be prepared to verify.

Most likely, in-person events will come with attendance limits. I'm hearing 50 as a common number, but this will also depend on the venue and specific space. And for those who want to attend in-person, there will be some hoops. This includes showing your official CDC vaccination card or pre-event swab. The goal here isn't to ruffle feathers or cause drama, but instead to make attendees feel as comfortable as possible and everyone's comfort level is different. We have to acknowledge that.

3. Plan to wear a mask.

There is no question that we are all sick of masks, but anytime large groups of people are brought together, masks are likely a part of the fun. This is to-be-expected event etiquette for now. While networking with a mask on can feel hard, there is still an opportunity to make the most of a hard situation. So come prepared and perhaps grab a mask that says a bit about you to keep things interesting and get the conversation going.

Event etiquette is as much about the host as it is about the guests. The goal is to make everyone feel comfortable and often that means erring on the side of caution. I don't know about you but I'm just excited to be together again and see some live entertainment. Speakers have adapted, with many mastering the virtual event. Image what an in-person event will be like! Events may look different, but I'm just happy they are BACK.
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