The arrival of the Covid-19 virus has had a profound effect on my business and has definitely been an extremely stressful time. I wasn’t able to initially see the potential positive outcomes of this unexpected set of circumstances. However, over time it has become clear that this is a golden opportunity to examine my business operations, update procedures, streamline processes and add to my knowledge and services offered to fit into the new way of working.

My mantra during this time has become; revisit, review and revise.

The rise of virtual conferences

One of the major changes I’ve made is learning how to manage virtual conferences via EventsAir, an event management platform (The new virtual conferencing module, OnAir is set to launch on 30 April). I can see that even after the isolation period has ended, more events will be run via online channels.

I believe hybrid events will be the new normal in conference management in the years to come. Businesses will find that the cost savings and portability of this new approach to events will be beneficial for some of their events. Not-for-profit organisations will also benefit from the availability of this online service as it doesn’t require the budget, time and manpower needed to run a ‘physical’ conference or event.

To achieve a successful roll out of a conference or event requires meticulous planning and organisation and delivering an event using an online platform is no different. The same attention to detail needs to be taken so that speakers, delegates, sponsors and exhibitors have the best possible experience in this new environment.

It’s been exciting learning about technology which helps me assist organisations wishing to open up to larger groups of people wanting to take part in their events across Australia and overseas.

Changing the way we do things

During this isolation time I have continued working on preparations for the annual Australian Bushfire Building Conference. This event is critically important for industries and businesses preparing for the bushfire season especially in the light of the recent devastating fires experienced across the country. Planning for this event has continued with online meetings through this time to ensure the conference is ready to go ahead later in the year.

The major difference this year is that for the first time it will be held on an online platform. We will still be able to provide conference delegates with panel discussions, presentations and workshops but this time they can attend via their computer, laptop or device from their home office. The conversation on important issues must go on!

Resilience and positivity

Staying positive and energised in this very different work environment has been confronting at times. I found it challenging working without social interaction and that I really missed catching up in person with networking contacts. Thankfully, I have found that participating in Zoom lunch meetings organised my networking group, Women with Altitude, has helped keep me in touch with how other business owners are managing the new working conditions. It’s also been an opportunity to share lighthearted stories about the challenges of working with children and partners at home. I’m also receiving terrific daily e-mails from WWA with inspirational thoughts and meditation sessions which is helping to keep me positive.

While I wouldn’t say it’s been an easy time, it has definitely provided me with an opportunity to reassess how I work and what I can offer to my clients. I’m delighted that I have been able to improve my processes, learn new skills to equip my business and look forward to brighter times ahead.

Agnes Zalan

Blue Mountains Events and Conferences