Meeting Mentor Magazine

August 2021

Cover Story

Mobile Devices and Social Media
Alter Emergency Planning

Managing a meeting through an emergency or disaster has to be easier with mobile devices and social media in the hands of attendees and exhibitors. Plus mobile’s two big benefits — instantaneous communication and geolocation — enable every person close to an event to document it without a filter.

This huge change is nearly as new to emergency managers as meeting managers. Emergency experts share some best practices for how to prepare:

Designate your meeting’s mobile app, hashtag or even a QR code as the primary communication tool during an emergency, and let attendees know it.

Establish a closed channel for meeting leadership, so they can formulate decisions if they are apart.

Utilize multiple avenues for communication. Not everyone is comfortable with mobile phones and social media channels, and you have to find ways to reach people with disabilities.

Determine who has access to enter, delete, modify or view information.

Identify one or two “trusted sources” to provide official and accurate information.

Make sure knowledgeable staff persons on site and on operative phone lines are up-to-speed on the situation and trained how to respond.

Don’t become overly reliant on one technology, device or app. It’s the mobile device’s function that provides the information needed to support decisions.

Incorporate redundancy. Utilize tried-and-true back-up methods — hard copies, maps, radio. Access the “cloud” if the power grid goes out or servers fail. Employ multiple tools as does Cheryl Bledsoe, emergency management division manager, Clark (Wash.) Regional Emergency Services Agency: phone, e-mail, SMS text messaging, app-based group messaging, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, Zello, HeyTell and GroupMe.

Find out what technology is available from national, state and local governments, and the many humanitarian groups that give mobile support and disaster assistance. Example: The Sahana Foundation ( develops free and open source software and provides services that help in disaster response coordination.

Talk to other groups. Share what you are doing and find out what works for them.

Always make sure your mobile devices are fully charged! You never know when a crisis will strike. — Maxine Golding

Read the complete article in the Fall 2012 issue of ConferenceDirect Meeting Mentor (online the last week in August at

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

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