by Ray Foxworth, D.C., FICC, MCS-P

President & Founder, ChiroHealthUSA

No matter where you stand on the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all felt the impact as more and more events transitioned to the virtual environment in 2020. With high hopes of seeing each other face-to-face in 2021, the question remains. Will in-person events ever be the same?

Though we all got off to a rocky start in the virtual realm earlier this year, doctors, staff, and associations have begun to master the virtual experience with surprising results. Many event attendees have expressed disappointment at not seeing their colleagues in person but were surprised at how convenient it was to attend a virtual event, even for the self-proclaimed “technologically challenged.” Additionally, the cost savings and convenience of not traveling have been embraced by attendees, vendors, and event staff. But, is this the end of in-person events? Not at all. However, a return to the full $235 billion conference industry is not likely. (Morgan, 2020)

With many of us still feeling the squeeze of economic instability as a result of the pandemic, we are more cautious about money spent traveling to and from seminars, time away from our patients and families, as well as the cost of the conferences themselves. The transition to virtual conferences not only reduced the costs of travel but also lowered registration fees helping all of us to get more bang for our bucks. Events that were previously too costly and took time away from patients are now convenient and affordable. This surprising outcome has many event planners considering hybrid events in the future. This creates a win-win for those of us who prefer in-person and those who prefer virtual events.

Though most of us are eagerly anticipating the return to in-person events in early 2021, national surveys anticipate a delay until Q3. (Powderly, 2020) I, for one, miss the thrill of in-person events. Though there is no clear plan for the future, we must remain flexible and remember that our level of uncertainty and frustration is minimal compared to those who work so hard to pull these events together. Our state associations are working day and night, transitioning from in-person to virtual, to hybrid and back, with ever-changing state rules and regulations on gatherings. They are the true unsung heroes of this pandemic ensuring that we get the required CEs to renew our licenses and see our patients in the midst of chaos.

At the end of the day, we miss the “experience” of being together and event platform providers are doing their best to improve attendee engagement to replicate that experience.

We are a “hands-on” profession and know that nothing replaces in-person, but we encourage you to take advantage of the robust features many platforms offer to help attendees engage with one another. Whether you have attended a virtual event this year or not, we want to invite you to attend our virtual Holiday Open House on December 10, 2020, from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM EST to see the virtual experience in action. Engage with colleagues around the country, check out products and services, engage in a few reindeer games, and win cash and prizes. The first 300 attendees who register for this fun-filled virtual event will receive a special Holiday Swag Bag. So, what are you waiting for? Click here to register!