March 2021 …. exactly the same as March 2020 but now with toilet paper?

March 2021… exactly the same as March 2020 but now with toilet paper? Claire Bowley investigates…

Well, not exactly.  For sure, the office is still closed, in-person events for this year are once again looking increasingly unlikely, and I continue to go for the full-broadcast hair and make-up on a daily basis whilst channelling Waynetta Slob from desktop down. 

But …. the conference industry has surfed the wave of an incredible renaissance in only 12 months.  Technology has literally been the savior of our company and many others, and has enabled the world to communicate, do business and stay connected.

In March 2020, we pivoted our entire business to virtual conferences and set out into a very different world.  We have a truly remarkable team at Dynamic Events who never cease to amaze me with their can-do attitude, their positivity and their willingness to be led into an entirely unfamiliar landscape. Together we discovered what was hot and what was not, and how to deliver highly effective and engaging conferences. 

We also learned how to modify our entire business model:  we entirely changed how we were marketing and pricing; our operations developed rapidly, and we learned how to communicate remotely as a team and with our clients.  Our core values of positivity, innovation, flexibility and care supported us to deliver the same exceptional event standards and client service levels as we ever had done.

To begin with our clients were very uncertain about running virtual conferences and many were keen to keep to Zoom or Teams as it was familiar.  But gradually, as confidence has grown, we have seen our clients willing to try out new things and there is an exciting mindset emerging.  We see our clients being prepared to trial new ideas and technology, take risks and innovate.  And they are reaping huge rewards.  They are now able to communicate effectively and at short notice, to their usual audience, but also to those that they have not been able to reach before – and all in a sustainable and cost-effective way.

We are also seeing rapid and innovative developments in the technologies available.  The conference platforms are developing quickly, and there are new digital solutions coming on-stream all the time.  Our team is now structured so that we have a guru for each platform that we partner with, and other staff specifically tasked to know what platforms and other technologies are emerging.

And so we come to hybrid, which for our industry is one of the best things to emerge from this past year.  We will be able to have in-person events soon ….. and when we do, it will truly be a brave new world.  We will be blending the in-person audience with the virtual one, and through these rapidly developing technologies we will be able to communicate like never before.  A pre-Covid audience size of 500 can now easily be 5000, who will not only be receiving the conference messages, but will be communicating between themselves by using the technology at our fingertips, on an unprecedented level, and in a sustainable way.

So, March 2021 is not the same as March 2020.  We still have a strong, passionate team, thriving on virtual conferencing whilst we cannot yet meet in person, but we are now strongly focussed on planning hybrid conferences that are effective, productive and energising.  We still have our incredibly loyal and valued clients who have stayed with us throughout the past year, but we have also welcomed many new clients who are driving us to experiment and innovate.

I am incredibly excited about what the next couple of years will bring.  When I look back at the enormous changes and achievements in just 12 months, I can only imagine how energising the next 24 will be.  O yes – and I have had my first vaccine, so I am looking forward to the partaaay!

Claire is Dynamic Events’ Managing Director, in her past life Claire was a stage manager and loves bringing her theatrical experience to the events that Dynamic create. Claire says “managing our fantastic team and harnessing their creativity and dedication to produce outstanding events is massively rewarding.”

Promotion in a Pandemic

A promotion in a pandemic #promotion #pandemic #covid19 #events

This time last year I was on my first site visit for a large conference I was organising with my colleague and I was finally getting the chance to move on up and get more responsibility.

Before we travelled the news was featuring stories about a new virus spreading across the world but, as many did at the time, we never thought it would make its way to Europe so we continued with our site inspection, but how wrong we were. Not even a week after we got back, we were in lockdown with the outlook being ‘don’t worry we will be back up and running soon’. No one could imagine how the next year planned out.

We worked from home until April when most of the team were put on furlough, and in June I got the news, like so many others did, that I was being made redundant.

“OK, what now?”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Virtual-events-blog-3-1024x573.png

The global events industry was in shambles and no one was hiring. It seemed that even with a few years’ experience under my belt that I was back in the same position I was in when fresh out of University. Applying for jobs that were entry level, but this time competing with a huge number of overqualified candidates who had also lost out because of the pandemic.

I pride myself on my generally positive outlook, so I spent my time freshening up my CV, thinking of the possibilities and was lucky enough to get a job back in a pub I used to work at during my student years. As they say, “when one door closes another one opens”, you just have to find the door… I’m not going to lie, there were times when it was overwhelming. I would think about what my friends were doing, what stage in their life they were at and where I currently was, not seeing any opening doors. But I would catch myself, take a breath and say “stop it, you’re young and this isn’t the end of the world despite what the BBC Coronavirus briefing says”. I think this is the first advice I would give to anyone, “don’t compare yourself, your life or your career to anyone else”. Everything is totally relative; no one is in the same position as you, the things you have learnt from situations will be completely different to everyone else. Take a breath and look for that open door! One of my favourite sayings is that “you never know what you know until you meet someone whoknows less”. It took me having new colleagues coming into the office to realise actually yes, I know how to do that, and it really grew my confidence.

Luckily Dynamic Events are incredibly versatile and forward thinking, always acting and never putting us in a position to react. During the months I was on furlough and then redundant, they worked on innovating their business plan, making relationships with technical developers to find virtual conference solutions for our client needs. They also put a heavy emphasis on new business development and gained new clients to make up for any lost business from in-person events.

Virtual events production at Dynamic Events

So not even 3 months after I was made redundant, I was asked to come back in the office to support all of this new business and the virtual events that were coming in. In a lot of ways, it felt like a brand-new job due to all the new tech, clients and procedures. There were times when I had no idea what I was doing. But then I realised, everyone felt like that at some stage in this crazy virtual world, even the people who had been at Dynamic for decades, and we still made a huge success of it because it’s in our nature.

This brings me to advice number 2, “be flexible, proactive and give anything a go”. Got a new software coming in? Learn it, be proactive, become the Master of It. You have one thing that you are the absolute authority on, your colleagues will come to you for advice. Everyone has at least one strength that is needed from their peers, what’s yours? This also shows your willingness to learn and improve your knowledge which will only help in the long run! You never stop learning.

So, there we go, in just 8 months I went from being an event assistant in a world where everyone travelled, then into lockdown, redundancy, rehired and recently promoted to an event co-ordinator!

The promotion was a great achievement. An exciting and nerve-wracking step but one I am thoroughly enjoying. Which leads me onto advice number 3, and is something I need to work on, “don’t be afraid of failure!”. Trust that your experiences can lead you to the right answer, and if it doesn’t work, look on the positives; what did you get out of it, what did you learn and could use in the future. Look for that door!

No one knows what’s going to happen so don’t stress about things that are outside of your control. Trust that you will find a way to that open door because when you work hard enough, the good stuff follows. And if all else fails eat some chocolate, take a breath, put on a feel-good song and dance it out.

Congratulations to Kelsey!

Celebrating International Women’s Day – perspective

Being a TEAM

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Georgie, our business development manager, asked me what it has been like working with a team of predominantly women for the past 25 years and this got me thinking about the subject in general.

I was brought up in a family consisting mostly of women. My dad was in the army and spent extended periods of time away leaving me with my mum and two younger sisters. I was included in just about everything – the challenges of growing up, intimate conversations, relationship experiences and domestic chores. There was never any differentiation in the household between male and female roles.

My life was in no way adversely affected by this female dominated environment – perhaps the opposite. The truth is, I didn’t know any different and as a result it didn’t occur to me that mum was anything other than the boss and my younger sisters were anything other than vaguely irritating siblings. Was my Action Man the only soldier ever to have worn jumpers knitted by my mum and to have sailed down a small stream in pursuit of the enemy in my sister’s Tiny Tears Doll’s bath? I doubt it – and does it matter?

Now I run an event management company with my co-director, Claire, and as of last year we had a team of 14 women. Actually, I am not comfortable with that statement, because what we actually have is a team of awesome, hardworking, intelligent and fun people. Gender is irrelevant, we could easily have some guys in the mix. At Dynamic we choose the best people for the job and the people that we like, they just happen to be mainly female – and that is particularly common in this industry.

Returning to Georgie’s question, there are obviously differences between genders, and I don’t think it is wrong of me to admit that I would like a few guys in the team. There are some traits that people share within their own gender, but actually I have a ball working with the amazing people we have and the reality is that until I was asked the question I didn’t think about it; it was just the way it was – as it was with my upbringing.

The sad thing, to my mind anyway, is that there has to be an International Women’s Day at all. I look forward to the day when it simply becomes International People’s Day. But until that day arrives we thank and respect those who work tirelessly for equality, remember the sacrifices that have been made along the journey and we celebrate all women.

#ChooseToChallenge  #IWD2021

Malcolm Wallace, Managing Director, Dynamic Events

Promoting a Virtual Event in 2021

virtual event promotion

While at Dynamic we believe there is no replacement for face-to-face networking and the spontaneity of exchanging ideas, the pivot to virtual events can keep your brand top-of-mind, keep your audience engaged, and generate new leads. The real difficulty, is how do your turn potential leads into on-the-day virtual bums-on-seats, and, possibly more importantly, keep them there?

After organizing and hosting over 20 virtual events in the past 12 months, here at Dynamic we have worked out some key factors to success in promoting your virtual event both internally and externally.

1. Consider your platform

If you’re planning a smaller, internal meeting, your hosting decision may be straightforward, and chances are that your company already have an existing license with a platform such as Zoom Meetings or Microsoft Teams. This however, gets more complicated with a larger, multi-faceted, virtual event. Different platforms offer a variety of differing services, so being sure of what you need from your platform is key.

Considerations can include whether you would like people to turn on microphone or cameras, if you will need breakout rooms, how customizable you would like the branding opportunities to be, the inclusion of gamification, web integration, multi-lingual support, sponsorship opportunities, and hybrid functionalities. No matter what you need from your event platform, there will be something that suits your business.

2. The attendee journey begins long before your event

You need to provide a unique experience, not just on event-day, but throughout the whole process. If you are successful, your audience will experience something different to every other online event they have attended since last March. From the first contact a target has with your event, be that through a mailing-list email, social media image, blog post, or mentioned by a friend, your event must remain top-of-mind. A creative concept and innovative brief, paired with a tactical marketing plan, can really boost audience engagement and the memorability of your event, as well as basic attendance rates.

Importance of good marketing

3. Don’t stop marketing at registration!

Great, your target has registered for your event! But you can’t stop there. Attendee attrition rates can be over 50% for virtual events, so you can’t rely on registration numbers to turn into on-the-day attendees. Those who have registered could be sent exclusive access to articles written by featured speakers, or you could post guest blogs and social media posts to give the audience a taste of what is to come. If your event lends to it, make it part of the speaker contract that they must cross-promote. This pushes your name into fields you may not have had access to before, and some people will attend your event just to see the speaker.

4. Target your established relationships

Let businesses, clients, and customers you have worked with before know about your event. After all, you’ve already done the work building these relationships, and this way you are nurturing that relationship with existing customers. Even better if they can share it on!

Social media followers are key to this. They like your content enough to follow you, so use that! Draw in potential leads and generate registrations through social media by utilizing hashtags related to event material, and if possible, partnering with large-following pages who specialize in the field.

5. Audience engagement = success!

Virtual events come with far more distractions than a live, in-person event setting, so it is vital to ensure audience engagement is a key focus of your marketing plan, from day one. Basic suggestions for smaller events include in-event polls, or the inclusion of pitching questions to speakers in the registration process for the in-event Q+A sessions. For larger events, the only limitation is your imagination, you can include live sketch artists, virtual swag-bags, and even gamify your virtual event with contests and quizzes.

Providing your audience with the tools needed to interact with one another is necessary to ensure overall engagement. This can be through coffee-break breakout rooms, chatbox functions, or a platform that encourages quickfire live conversations. If you’re hosting a larger, B2B conference, this is definitely a factor to consider when choosing your event platform.

Dynamic Events can guide you through audience engagement tools

6. Keep the conversation going

Just because the event has ended, doesn’t mean the conversations around it should. Have follow-up emails ready to go with any promotions mentioned throughout the event, and access to recordings or on-demand files if you have them. You could even consider including a post-event feedback survey to get some first hand feedback while the experience is fresh in attendees minds.

Use quotes, screenshots, audience insights, or snips of recordings across social media for at least a couple of weeks. Social media forums such as Facebook and Linkedin have the capabilities to create private groups, within which further information regarding the event and other networking opportunities could be posted, ensuring attendees feel included and involved even after the event date.

To end..

Events always have had a way of bringing people together. It would be a shame to miss out on the potential sales and engagement you otherwise wouldn’t have received from people who are too far away, or wouldn’t have heard of your offering.

Each social media network have their own demographic, and you know your customers best. Utilize the channels you receive most engagement through, but equally, use your event to build engagement ton those platforms that seem to be slacking. Ensuring your clinets have content to engage with keeps your brand, image, and ideology at the top of their minds, to ensure when they need your service, they think of you.

Does every cloud always have a silver lining?

Does this covid cloud have a silver lining?
Does this Covid cloud have a silver lining for the events industry?

Does every cloud always have a silver lining? Only in fairy tales I hear you say. Well, we are definitely not in a fairy tale, probably closer to a nightmare! But we have found a silver lining to the Covid cloud and it has all happened because of Covid.

Over the past 25 years, since Claire and I leapt into the void and started DCE, we have grown most years but as other event companies can testify new clients are hard won and difficult to find and so a large proportion of our growth was inevitably organic.

I started my first business while I was in my mid-twenties and apart from making some huge mistakes along that particular journey, I also learnt a lot about running a business. One of the biggest lessons wasn’t rocket science but underpins our current business 35 years later and that is how we, as a company, best provide the service our clients look for.

Again, you wouldn’t think that this was difficult, client needs an event, virtual or in-person, we provide the platform and logistics, BOOM, job done. But there is more to it than that, that is a very 2-dimensional statement. The reality is that how you provide that great service is equally, if not more, important.

Fundamentally people like to work and buy from people they like and so it follows that we need to ensure that our clients like our company to continue wanting to work with us. This starts with our team. When we are looking for new event staff it is not just about their capabilities, having an event management degree, or experience in managing an event. It is to do with whether we think they will be liked and be capable of creating a rapport with the clients they will be working with.

It is also to do with having a positive attitude, a lot of our team training centres around being able to offer solutions so that you never need to say “no, it can’t be done”, more “it can be done this way”.

So, last year Covid opened a new market in virtual events and the silver lining generated lots of lovely new clients. Our amazing team worked their magic and in addition to managing their events solved the problems thrown at them and built relationships.

And now? Well now we are seeing 90% of our new clients rebooking events and referring us on to other new clients, a very silver lining indeed!

The Journey of Mastering a Virtual Event Platform

How to become an expert on virtual event platforms
How to master a virtual event platform

The journey of mastering a platform

My journey navigating the virtual world started several months ago. Like everyone else in the events industry, I was suddenly forced to adapt my line of work to resist the shock of – what we now call – in-person events being cancelled.

I had finally reached a stage in my job where I felt comfortable in my abilities to organise an event to a high standard. I am in no way claiming to be the best event planner to grace the event agency world, but I was pretty happy with how far I had come since the newly graduated assistant who started three years ago.

This new-found confidence took a serious knock when my team and I had to leave behind our safe haven of planning international corporate events, to completely embrace the virtual event scene. There were moments where we all felt like we had started a brand-new job. We went from planning overseas site visits to building our own virtual auditoriums practically overnight.  

‘A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.’

Dynamic Events are virtual experts with 25 years of event management experience

To be honest, the second half of this blog’s title is rather misleading. To proclaim you have mastered a virtual event platform is a bold statement and something I can’t imagine anyone has yet been able to accomplish in such a fast-paced, dynamic environment.

There are endless virtual solutions on the market making it almost impossible to remain loyal to one platform only. You search “virtual event platform” on Google and around 674,000,000 results are presented to you. But the question is, when we talk about virtual platforms, what do we actually mean?

‘Virtual event platform’ is an umbrella term covering a comprehensive selection of online products and services all packaged as the perfect solution to successfully pivot your cancelled in-person event to virtual.

Cancelled trade show? We can build your exhibitors’ virtual booths!

Postponed drinks reception? We can send you the wine and set up a Zoom call!

Missed your child’s 8th birthday party? We have the best virtual magician for you!  

As an agency we are fortunate to have the resources which make us “platform omniscient.” Every client we work with has varying event formats and prioritise different features for their audience. The consequence of this means not every client will want the same platform, meaning we have to master them all.

‘Not all those who wander are lost’

After meticulously running through your client’s requirements, you have finally agreed on the perfect platform to host their virtual event. This is when the journey to mastering that platform begins – when you have found “the one.”

But just like humans, these platforms are also constantly growing and evolving. With new features being released each week and updated road maps being constantly published, it can be rather daunting trying to keep up.

So, my advice to you is this. Don’t be fooled in thinking there is an end to this journey because there isn’t. ‘Mastering’ a virtual platform is a never-ending journey and one I expect to be on for as long as I am in this industry.  

Five tips on mastering a platform

  1. Learn to accept their “flaws”

With any relationship comes compromise. By accepting the other person’s flaws, you surrender your personal values to maintain a harmonious relationship. Your relationship with platforms is no different.

Not every platform can provide you with exactly what you want. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have which can seem annoying at first, but ultimately highly rewarding when you have dug deep into your creative side to find the perfect solution.

2. “What is done cannot be undone, but at least one can keep it from happening again”

It goes without saying but you only truly overcome obstacles through trial and error. Ask your account manager for your very own demo platform to use as the perfect base for making those mistakes.

3. “There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory”

Do as many “dummy runs” of your virtual event on the platform until you feel 100% confident with its features. Not only does this massively benefit you for the actual event, but it will also eliminate the initial time wasted figuring out the platform’s settings for your next project.

Another (more enjoyable) way of practicing is by signing up to events open to the public hosted on that platform. By seeing it from an attendees’ perspective you soon learn what works well, and what doesn’t. It also helps with inspiration for those days where you are seriously lacking.

4. “You can’t hire someone to practice for you”

But in this case, you already have! In our team we have allocated one person to a platform we regularly work with to monitor any new features which have been released, as well as keeping track of general tips and tricks for managing an event on there.

If you are a smaller team, or a one-woman show, then perhaps allocate one platform per week to check in with. Try not to overwhelm yourself with staying updated all the time, most significant changes are usually rolled out per quarter.

5. “Eat that frog”

Take on the job and do the event. You are already a fully-fledged event professional. If you can handle the pressures of on-site events, you can do anything.

What do you want to be?

Be kind
The significance of kindness in todays world is huge, notes from a creative events agency whos work was diminished due to the pandemic, and despite all odds bounced back stronger than ever in the virtual events world

Be Kind. Two small words that have diffused throughout the world as we unite in common, bizarre circumstances. Whether stated and shared as genuine sentiment or tagged and promoted as a marketing strategy – there is a certain profoundness in those six letters.

At some point, we all reflect on what we would like to be or should try to be – although more often we spend our time commenting too much on what we expect others to be, perhaps a deflection tactic to avoid thinking too hard about how we can change, challenge or improve ourselves.

For almost a year we have all had to adopt and adapt to some form of change – and not just one change but multiple and often bewildering. Many have faced extraordinarily tough times, obstacles and challenges – others have been less affected or have even flourished with a prosperous venture. Every story is unique, every journey is personal.

What is clear – and what we should have learnt – is that we are visitors in this world, life is precious, human beings need each other – and we need to Be kind to each other to continue to flourish as society.

At Dynamic Events, we had our own challenges, set-backs, sadness and uncertainty. We lost colleagues, navigated the devastated event industry and experienced individual personal difficulties. We moved swiftly to completely overhaul our internal strategies and felt exhausted with learning, reinvention and driving ourselves. But the absolute heart of what we do is to support our clients, showcase our collective personality and strength and Be innovative, agile, positive and valuable. And kind – to each other, our clients and our partners.

We have been fortunate and privileged that we have supported and guided our existing clients through this transition and have secured wonderful new clients who have given us their trust to deliver their virtual events – providing guidance, knowledge, reassurance, expertise, professionalism and personality to make the transition from in-person to digital.

As people, teams and society we can be perceived as many things.

So we decided to ask the team – what would you like to Be? Or us as Dynamic Events or even society? We didn’t say what it was for or to focus in a particular direction.

We asked the younger members of our team at Dynamic Events what they want to Be themselves, what they want the company they work for to Be, and what they believe society should Be.

The responses reinforce what Dynamic Events aspires to be and the culture it upholds – every one was overwhelmingly positive, and even when a negative was referenced, it was supported by a counteractive solution.  

Here are some of their words…

What do you want to Be?

Tara O’Shea – Dynamic office runner and Singapore Sling enthusiast

Jade Pearce – Dynamic office snack box queen and shopaholic

Holly Barrett – Dynamic office early riser and number one scarf-aholic

Kelsey Morton – Dynamic office tech wizard and part-time rap artist

Evolving, active, productive, present, positive – be here now, not dwell on what’s gone. Change to our times. Be mentally and physically aware and active. Focus on the positive and manage the negative.

Open to and not afraid of taking risks – and this from a self-confessed change-phobe, aiming to be braver and willing to take on the unknown.

To be able to read our clients’ minds – or, before we master mind-reading, to know our clients well enough to foresee and pre-empt their requirements and provide the help and guidance before they ask for it.

Confident and proud – we’ve overcome and accomplished big challenges. Take time to enjoy an amazing result, be secure and proud of what you have learnt and provided – and always, always show that confidence that you CAN do it.

What should Dynamic Events Be:

Interestingly, there were more contributions for us as a team, than individually. Among the bundle were:

Adaptable, committed, respectful, diverse.

Continuously creative and open to change – stepping up and always being ahead of the game.

Push the boundaries and keep marching outside our comfort zone.

Considerate of the work life balance – this year has taught us how precious and fragile life is. Take time to connect with the ones you love.

More social within the workplace, having more team days and activities, incorporate what makes us happy – strengthen the team bond. Happy people make kind people.

Proud of our team achievements – particularly over the last year. Recognise and celebrate our commitment, strengths, growth and how we are continuing to develop.

What should society Be:

Accepting, considerate and inclusive – staying open minded and open to change.

Connected.

Real – stop comparing ourselves, be more free flowing.

Kind, always.

And, our absolute favourite: Well, I wish humankind was as unpretentious and friendly as a bottle of Rizling vlašský by Matyšák. Simple packaging, smooth flavour, puts smile on your face and a great friend and support when you need it.

So, what is the purpose of all of this? Considering what we think things should be, but can’t always make realisable? It reproduces our values, it reminds us of our culture and it helps us reflect on our obstacles while manifesting what we wish to be. Having heard these words from the team reminds us of what a unit we are together, and how we will continue to succeed in the face of uncertainty.

How to overcome the pain points of virtual events

The Pain Points of Virtual Events

The pain points of virtual events and virtual event platforms

Planning a virtual event and running an event on a virtual platform is not as simple as one may hope, in fact it is highly likely that you will need some virtual event expertise…

It’s been a journey, a virtual one, but a journey none the less. On this journey we have identified the key pain points of the virtual realm, and emphatically urge the importance of overcoming these! If you’re organising an upcoming event – and being a member of the human race, I understand this is going to be virtual for various reasons – these are objectives you should consider…


Strangers

Everything you know about your attendees has changed. It is a new world, not to regurgitate the constant headlines and Government press conferences… We need to relearn everything that we have learnt, because what worked before, doesn’t fly anymore.

Understanding your audience is key and understanding them in a virtual world is a whole new paradigm that takes experience and knowledge of virtual events.

Attendee engagement is the goal, and this takes; immersion – the more immersive the experience the better the message is delivered, structure – the more structured the event is, the more successful contrasting with in-person events (which may actually require less people management, allowing coffee breaks and networking to take place naturally).

You can’t shove people into a virtual room and expect them to behave as they would in an in-person event, they need a topic, they need a purpose, and they need to be made to feel comfortable in an unnatural environment.

Fatigue

We’ve seen it happen, the four-day agenda consisting of four million sessions condensed in to a one day-er with no breaks, a bit of (that made up word) gamification, attendees ushered to sponsor stands who can’t access their qualified leads, in a cloud of virtual names.

It takes consideration to work out what is best hosted online, and while keeping engagement is the highest priority, or should be if not, overwhelming attendees with content may not be the answer.

To create an engaging event, interactive elements must be there, the chats, the facilitated topical breakouts with relevant discussions, the main plenary with time between sessions to run away and make a tea, or dive into a workshop, the branded environment where you feel part of your organisation, and the ability for sponsors to reach a relevant audience.

Screen and content fatigue is real, and the longer remote working continues (which isn’t likely to change soon) the more creative you need to be in putting your virtual event together to benefit it’s attendees.

Data analysis

Did you know that you can have a 100% increase on attendance of virtual events compared with live in-person events? The obvious point is that it makes events more accessible and so your anticipated numbers could be massively increased. However, we see a 40% drop off from registrations to actual attendance. This is still a large increase, regardless of the high drop off. But, to put this into context, the drop off for a live event can be as little as 10%.

Whether the event is free or paid has a large influence on these statistics. Paying for an event, however minimal, is an incentive to show up.

Disjointedness

Making attendees feel valued is paramount for any event. This means prioritising a strategy that will make attendees feel part of the organisation, part of the topic, relevant to the event and giving them a real experience.

This means – surprisingly – the total opposite of being talked at by someone behind a screen. This is static, stale and uninspiring. For the sharing of information this is a necessary segment of any event, but emphasis on “segment”.

Think about the importance of connection and community, something we are all missing, being in *ding ding ding* Lock Down Round 3.

You may be surrounded by people at a virtual event, but you need to feel and see this. As an attendee it should be easy to communicate with others and lose the feeling of sitting in your room behind your screen, isolated.

Yifan Wu

Platform failure

With an overwhelming number of virtual event platforms on the market, it makes research on finding the best platform for your businesses needs and objectives incredibly time consuming and challenging.

The pandemic has brought a need for businesses to adapt or to stop.

Companies that once focused on in-person events, or relied on events for their product, have had to focus on a virtual environment, forcing a huge number of platforms on to the market. Most of these won’t last long, however with this saturation it’s made it incredibly difficult for clients to know what will work best and which are telling the truth when it comes to capabilities.

It’s a huge learning curve and takes trial and error to find the most appropriate platform. Gone are the days you shove your content on to zoom and hope for engagement, interaction, and inspiration…

As an event agency we put our client objectives at the forefront of the work that we do, and having (very luckily) been so busy with our virtual events this year, we understand what works and what doesn’t. In this case the time we have spent working on virtual, we know which platforms will work and which will not.

Conclusion? Well, there are some amazing platforms to host events online. They can really showcase content and brand, wow attendees and provide exceptional experiences. Finding these, utilising them to their capabilities and knowing confidently that they won’t fail you is the difficulty. This and understanding how to successfully deliver an event that people are excited to attend online, is a real challenge that companies like Dynamic Events have carefully mapped out strategy, partnerships and plans for.

Contact us to set up a call and see how we can help you with your event:

Georgie: [email protected]

Jo: [email protected]

Or fill out our contact form here and we will get in touch with you!

At what point do you know it all?

At what point do you know it all?

At what point do you know it all? This question came up because we were talking about coaching or to be more specific, business coaching. Some 10 years ago, we had the same conversation, having been running our company for some time by then, and I do remember replying with words to the effect of what can they possibly teach us that we haven’t already learnt?

I was to eat my words big time. In fact, I quickly realised how very little we knew and the next few years with an excellent coach (Marco Soares – message me if you would like his contact details) were a very steep, but enjoyable, learning curve. In fact, we changed the way we ran our business, transitioning from typical owner managers to a much more business-like approach.

I have also now accepted that we are on one long learning curve and that doesn’t only apply to our amazing business.

Take virtual conferences; having spent the past 20-odd years running in-person events, I felt there wasn’t much left that could really surprise me and in January this year when we started to look at virtual conferences, my thinking was along the lines of, well, how difficult can it be? It’s just a webinar replacing a presentation.

Time to eat my words yet again! The learning curve since then has been massive. We have had to learn a whole new approach to managing an event from educating presenters to hand-holding delegates and soothing the nerves of stakeholders.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that a virtual conference needs even more event management skills than an in-person event. Fortunately, our team have left me in their wake and are well on top of this.

So, off for a game of tennis then, because I am sure I definitely know everything there is to know about playing that game! Or do I?

Top Tips for Problem Solving

Top Tips – Problem Solving for Event Managers in a Covid World

If there is anything that anyone has learned this year, it’s the need to problem solve and act rather than react. Advancing our Virtual plans was one of these actions.

As experienced Event Managers we constantly look at the worst case scenarios in every aspect of a plan and how we can avoid these; while preparing for what we do in these instances.

Event Managers work incredibly well under pressure, it’s a job proven to be one of the most stressful in the world. However, we do everything and make every endeavour to avoid these stresses, making the plans soundproof, bulletproof, shatterproof… Just all the proofs, while also implementing back-up plans and fail-safes throughout.

Before we could see the impact of Covid-19 in this country we acted to negotiate unassailable force majeures and contracts with suppliers that protected our clients as much as possible. Although no one could have foreseen the effects on the Events industry, it is our job to plan for the worst possible outcomes.

In our top tips this week we have noted the key topics to consider as Event Managers and how we go about problem solving.

  1. Asking the right questions. How you look for answers will determine how you overcome your challenges. This means defining your question before looking for the solution. It means involving your whole team in the conversation, having people from different backgrounds and experiences to bounce off. The more information you have the more likely you are to get to the answer.
  2. Embrace the bizarre. Now is not the time to be “stuck in your ways” – looking for solutions where you wouldn’t expect and changing your perspective opens you up to inspiration and experience. Being versatile in your approach is the key to growing and learning. Just look what happened to the Blockbuster stores – they stood still where their competitors embraced the online avenues.
  3. Use a pre-mortem. Imagine a hypothetical future where everything has gone wrong, then work backwards to determine the factors and issues which lead to this failure. This is also beneficial to look at what went right. From this, you can realise how you bring about the good and how you can plan for the possible demise of a plan.

These points may seem obvious from the outset, but implementing them is a different task, taking the time to go through these is a vital investment in a thorough strategy that needs to be prioritised. Time is valuable and other tasks get in the way but action is better than reaction and sets aside the Netflix’s from the Blockbuster’s, and the Toys R Us’s from the Amazon’s (interesting Forbes article: here).

How did we act on the COVID crisis..

Sometimes a positive exception already exists; the ability to continue with events seemed to disappear in March, but our theme for 2020 was sustainability and we looked back at all of the virtual solutions we had been partnering with when researching alternatives to live conferences. The airmiles associated and wastages caused vs Corporate Social Responsibility that our clients wanted to value more didn’t equate, and so looking at hybrid and virtual solutions was a great alternative. We realised you can have the same valuable, interactive, networking experience on a virtual platform as a live event. It just takes a bit of creativity and some good old proverbial elbow grease.

Covid has forced a change of perspective, it can be easy to throw around ideas to solve a problem but benefiting all stakeholders with this solution is another situation. This creativity is combining existing elements to create something else entirely, and not comparing oneself to others reactions because their way is not always the best way, and every situation is unique, along with the people involved.

For more on how we have adapted and helped our clients create their conferences online, check out our MD Malcolm Wallaces blog posts, “The Covid Series”.