We read Sharon Summers’ An Event Planner’s Reflection of 2020 article on LinkedIn with interest and a little sadness. In fact we’ve been stalking the LinkedIn posts of event planners and professionals to discover what problems they’re having and what they’re raving about when it comes to virtual events so we can build the ultimate events platform – one that doesn’t make your lives even more complicated!
Through our cheeky research we’ve been moved and inspired by how the events community has responded to what has been a very rough time so we’ve taken the liberty of sharing our reflections on Sharon’s reflections and we’d love to hear what you think too.
We know just how hard 2020 was for event planners and that hasn’t let up yet. Even as we start to see the relaxing of safety measures the complexities of running events right now are still making it difficult.
Sharon spoke about her increased stress levels and recovery time from switching to virtual events, an even more serious issue with the background stress that we’ve all been dealing with. The wellbeing of event planners is something close to our hearts, it’s a tough job with a lot of moving parts to keep track of and ensuring events platforms are easy to use and don’t crash mid-event is just one small piece that eases the pressure on event pros.
Sharon’s suggestion to adjust your conference goals is something we’re totally behind; SMART goal setting for any event is key and what you achieve through a virtual event will be different to in-person events. We like to liaise with the event planner or client directly to discuss their aims for previous events and discuss how they can translate to the digital space. If you’re planning hybrid events (which we think you should be), you can combine these goals and add even more unique ones to take advantage of the multifaceted nature of these events.
If you’re not a type A are you even an event planner?! Having to keep all those plates spinning does mean that many events professionals are control freaks and, as Sharon said, “control freaks are no longer in control.” Even with the best events platform, an awesome team and a well rehearsed plan, a virtual event is still at the mercy of technology. We work closely with our clients to ensure that every precaution is taken, information is sent out to attendees and speakers to help on their end and back ups are in place but a touch of luck and a chill pill are still important.
We actually don’t want them to; we love virtual events and in person events and hybrid events. We just love bringing people together and we want to make that as easy as possible for everyone.
“Virtual will never replace in person and since there are so many aspects to think about, it can feel very overwhelming.” – Liz Liebeskind
Each style of event has it’s advantages and disadvantages. While we don’t think a virtual Glastonbury would be the same as pitching a tent and getting your festival on, it could still be awesome. Considering your audience and aims for an event is the key to choosing the best format and making it the best experience for everyone involved.
The format of your event will also impact the speakers you choose, the way you organise networking and breakout sessions, how many attendees you plan for, what you offer sponsors and how you engage your audience, among other things. Seasoned event organisers know exactly how to tailor an event for the audience but getting a feel for how they respond virtually can take some time.
We’re excited to see hybrid events become the norm as hosts look to make events accessible and get the most out of their event investment. Taking events global without the environmental impact is a badass way to add a shine to your reputation while increasing your profits and who can say no to that?
Seeing the events community come together this past year has been incredibly heartwarming. We know many event professionals have struggled not just financially but also mentally and we want to celebrate you. As a community you’ve supported each other like a family and we’re proud to be part of that family – maybe that overzealous cousin you enlist to help with your scheming!
You survived 2020. In fact we think you rocked 2020 and we can’t wait to see what you achieve in 2021.