Having a Code Of Conduct for your meeting is a hot topic. There are two opinions on this—have a code of conduct or don’t have a code of conduct. You may hear those words and cringe. You may hear those words and feel as if you’re eight years old at being wrapped on the knuckles by a nun at your elementary Catholic school. It doesn’t have to invoke that connotation. In these Covid times, and the new actions you have to take to host a live or hybrid meeting, you may have to step out of your comfort boundaries that you’ve been in for some time. If you establish a Code of Conduct for your next conference it does many things that help you and your attendees:
It can limit your liability if someone gets sick at your meeting. Have a check box on your registration page that has everyone agree to your company or conference’s code of conduct. You have it in writing and if there is an intrusive violation that escalates, you have some written back up on compliance.
It can make people feel more safe. Knowing that when your attendees get to a meeting that they will be fever wanded when they get there, and before they leave makes people worried about Covid feel safe. Letting people know about this in advance when they register allows those that are concerned about privacy an opportunity to only attend the virtual meeting, and it doesn’t surprise them when they get there and see the wands.
It helps you and your team re-establish the goals and mission of your conference. For many of you, you’ve been doing conferences for dozens and multi dozens of years. Your goals and objectives may have changed over the years but as a group—a team executing the meeting—you might night have made that visual or even visible. Just the act of sitting down and establishing to code of conduct for your meeting may illuminate some important elements of the meeting or eliminate obsolete ones.
Examples of things to put in the Code of Conduct:
How will you keep your attendees safe? (take temps at meeting, have a Covid optional testing room, distribute masks and hand sanitizer or just encourage it?)
Establish a networking rule: no hand shaking, or develop signals that show how people are to network with each other so everyone is on the same page and awkward hugs and fist bumps can be eliminated.
Keep an open mind or ask attendees to be nimble and flexible as guidelines change: just by putting this in the code of conduct you’re letting your attendees know, that you, as organizers are doing the best you can and are changing with the moments as they present themselves. This psychologically puts attendees in a position to be more compassionate and empathetic with changing push notifications & communications pre conference and on site.
Reiterate your conference rules on the big topics of the not so recent past: what will you tolerate as it relates to over intoxication? Sexual harassment? Marijuana usage in states where it’s legal? This may sound silly but these are topics that if you have to enforce, but you have no code of conduct in place that an attendee has agreed too, you don’t have a leg to stand on to enforce it.
This is your meeting. Do it the way you want to do it but be sure that your team is on the same page on how you will enforce things if attendees feel unsafe or become uncomfortable. And be sure attendees are on the same page with your expectations. So many people are talking about privacy issues at meetings and this is a great time to illuminate those that are important to you.
There are so many more elements to a Code of Conduct. I have plenty of examples and hybrid examples of past meetings. If you want me to share them, reach out anytime, happy to help: