As many countries begin to head out of lockdown, those attending affiliate events and other get-togethers still need to be prepared to adhere to social distancing and other recommendations and restrictions from the government. This could also lead to new forms of etiquette arising that could influence how people behave at these events.
A continuation of virtual events
Firstly, it is unlikely that we will see a decline in virtual events any time soon. Though there are disadvantages to holding affiliate events through virtual platforms, they are relatively easy to arrange and allow people to attend from all over the world. Even as we are able to attend events in person again, there is a strong chance that virtual events will run in tandem with them.
Social distancing = fewer attendees
One thing that is likely to arise from social distancing at affiliate events is that there might be a much lower capacity at such events. While a panel might have once had the capacity of an audience of 200, social distancing guidelines might mean that those who can attend in person will find themselves in a much smaller crowd (though some might still be attending virtually).
This might give an affiliate the opportunity to more active in an audience and partake in discussions a little more easily. Fewer attendees might also mean that it is easier to network. There will be fewer people to meet, and more of a chance that you will be able to grab a moment with and make a key connection with someone important.
It is important to remember that handshakes are going to be out for a little while. Though we might return to a stage where we are comfortable shaking hands in a business setting, for now, we should try to find some other alternatives.
The most popular seems to be an elbow tap or a fist bump. Though they can seem like poor substitutions compared to a handshake, they are going to be a necessary part of making connections in the next few months. Social distancing at affiliate events must be adhered to, and sometimes this means that we are going to need to ignore etiquette practices that we would have followed pre-COVID.
Ditch the business cards
When meeting someone at an affiliate event previously, you would have swapped business cards as part of your discussion. This should be avoided for now. However, there are a few other options that you could look into instead.
Make sure your LinkedIn is fully optimised and packed with information about your brand. This is going to be one of the best ways to build connections with those you meet at affiliate events. Swap details with those you meet at these events, and then don’t forget to follow up on these meetings.
Etiquette at affiliate events is likely to look very different in the near future. When preparing to attend your first event, make sure that you are prepared to socially distance and work around some of the restrictions we must still follow.