5 Changes happening now in Meetings & Events

30/06/2020

It’s hard to refer to the impact of Covid-19 on meetings & events without using terms like ‘unprecedented’, ‘seismic’, ‘radical’ or even quoting Yeats... “All’s changed, changed utterly”.
 
However, as we slowly transition from lockdown, it is important to consider whether these changes will be permanent or mere diversions on a journey that, sooner or later, will get back on track.
 
For over three months now, we’ve been meeting our colleagues and clients online. We’ve become accustomed to the process and have learned the protocols – we downloaded the apps, we know how to mute and unmute ourselves, and how to signal our intention to speak!
 
By now, we have attended webinars, shared presentations, connected with wider communities, broadened our knowledge, and learned new skills. We’ve experienced online events – digital team building, company quizzes… even concerts broadcast from celebrity kitchens!
 
And, you know what, we got by. We managed ok. Even as the novelty started to wear thin and virtual fatigue began to set in, we appreciated the benefits and conveniences of virtual meetings and events.  So, where are we now?

For some time now EventMB, the global event industry’s leading on-line repository of content, has been saying the future is hybrid. Once things re-start, companies and associations will mix virtual and in-person meetings & events. Meetings & events will remain core to organisations’ strategies around marketing & communications and learning & development with each channel used both individually and collectively as a hybrid.
 
Here are just 5 ways this is playing out:

Virtual is here to stay

The genie is well and truly out of the bottle as far as proving the effectiveness of virtual and digitally driven events. We’ve had virtual communication platforms for years but only in the past 3 months have they been tested both technically and effectively. We have now proven, beyond all doubt, that they work and even the Harvard Business Review is writing about them. While they may not be as satisfying, humanly, as a face to face meeting, they’re a good substitute.

Live events will bounce back

Despite the growth in virtual, once social distancing protocols have been formalised, live meetings & events will bounce back stronger than ever. If our 3-month holiday from face to face meeting has taught us anything, it’s what we’ve been missing! Prosecco is fine and dandy but when you’ve tasted champagne and are asked to choose between the two, there’s only one choice. Face to face meetings & events to virtual are business class to economy, fillet mignon to meatloaf. Their impact is more enduring, long lasting, and resonant.

Hybrid, the perfect combination

Hybrid events are not new. Live streaming has been a feature of events for many years but combining live in-person and virtual events as an event norm was still considered more in terms of the future of meetings & events. So, it seems the future is here!  It is only now that we truly see the need to consider hybrid for all events to extend their reach and engagement beyond the physical space both live and on demand. And, of course, the agency community has quickly re-equipped itself to deliver this new, exciting event experience.

New roles emerge

Successful live meetings & events have always been built on the principles of event design, overseen by an event producer whose job it is to deliver on the agreed event objectives. The role of the producer will now extend to the virtual too with meetings & events companies increasingly hiring from the world of Radio, TV and Film to ensure that their meetings & events are cutting-edge, captivating, engaging.

Venues will respond

In response to these new realities for events, venues are working with their AV partners to develop new virtual event studio spaces to accommodate clients’ needs in hosting virtual online events.  The teams behind these studios are harnessing their specialist technical experience to deliver virtual experiences with seamless streaming solutions and broadcasting high production value events for clients. 

You can view our most up to date information and FAQ here. Interested in going virtual or hybrid? Check out our studio here.

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