For a lot of business leaders, particularly those involved in outward-facing roles, conferences have been a staple of working life for decades. Whether by the shores of a frozen lake in Colorado or in the ballroom of a soulless hotel in Topeka, Kan., we can all recognize the props and stage setting: the name tags, the printed list of delegates, the sponsorship banners, the awkward conversations at the bar among people trying to skip straight to level two or three of acquaintance.
It doesn’t matter if your usual milieu is the World Economic Forum at Davos or the Kansas Association of Mappers (Capitol Plaza, Topeka—genuinely), the effects of the pandemic have been a great leveler. We have all been grounded, confined and locked down, unable to travel anywhere or mix in large groups. Into the sudden void have stepped online platforms, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and what were going