As the world evolves every day and COVID-19’s impact stays firm on our industry for the near future, companies trend toward maximizing the value of a contingent workforce more than ever – the engagement of non-permanent contractors. Across business units, the benefits of leveraging freelance contractors are palpable on both sides of the equation: cost containment and ability to enhance productivity, flexibility, and freedom of choice in the hands of freelancers. But the most crucial element as the contingent workforce market grows in size and complexity is the opportunity of work provided to independent Meeting Professionals.
Among the adverse effects of the pandemic on meetings, events and travel have seen the loss of jobs and the difficulty for independent Meeting Professionals to find work. But even as shown prior to COVID-19, the possession of unique skill sets among Meeting Professionals allows for more opportunities to arise. Proficiency in event software platforms, specialized experience in Life Science, Technology and Finance & Insurance meeting nuances, the ability to find and capitalize upon niche expertise is more important than ever. With the shift from live meetings to the virtual landscape, no role has grown more in demand of Meeting Professionals than that of the Virtual Meeting Moderator.
Virtual Meeting Moderators bring vast knowledge of virtual platforms such as Zoom, WebEx, Intrado, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, ON24, et. al. Even as the shape and feel of meetings changes overnight and planners keep up with the most recent technological requirements, the soul of meeting planning is not lost. On top of meeting moderation working from home, overseeing Q&A, polling, liaising amid speakers, sales representatives and attendees, these programs continue to demand the trusted oversight of the working Meeting Professional. Having both skill sets: intimate knowledge of virtual platforms and years’ experience in working with attendees, opportunities for independent Meeting Professionals continue to broaden even during the pandemic as the global pool of Virtual Meeting Moderators is still in its infancy. The playing field may have changed, but the need for premier meeting planning talent has not. The more diverse array of skill sets in a Meeting Professional’s arsenal still means more work.
Regardless of the size of a corporation or meeting planning agency, each company will have complex needs, a demand for top talent and repeatable processes. The way we work is evolving – your organization’s usage of contingent labor will continue to grow alongside the virtual landscape. Access to qualified planners with specialized talents is not hindered by the virus, but empowered. The verb pivot has perhaps been as driven into the ground as the noun uncertainty the past eight months. Yet independent Meeting Professionals have looked down uncertainty and indeed pivoted their talents from the conference in Las Vegas to the Advisory Board in your home office. Our industry depends upon the working Meeting Professional, their skills merely showcased in different ways, promising a new way of managing meetings and a new strategy for the future.