EVENT PRODUCTION IN TODAY’S EVOLVING CLIMATE
Having worked with several University of Melbourne faculties and departments since 2016, we were recently invited to deliver a presentation about producing successful and engaging events in today’s evolving climate. So, we thought we’d share the presentation here on our blog!
As you know, in March 2020 a global pandemic hit; bringing life as we knew it and the events industry to a standstill. But at JTPM we didn’t let that stop us – we got busy and creative; we thought outside the box, learned new skills, expanded our team and even won a couple of awards! We created fun new ways to engage, entertain and educate and quickly became digital event and video production experts. Over the past 18 months, we have delivered more than 150 virtual and hybrid events with plenty more booked in the calendar in coming months.
We enjoy the flexibility and creativity of working online, but with restrictions slowly lifting we can’t wait for real life events to return. But it’s not ‘business as usual’ just yet. It’s still important to plan covid-safe events (read our recent blog on this) to protect the health and wellbeing of your attendees and staff, and it appears density limits, vaccination and hygiene requirements are likely to remain in place for some time; affecting the way future events need to be run. So, as we enter another phase of change and innovation, here are three of the main things to consider when planning an event for the remainder of 2021 and beyond:
1.Have a clear objective
Make every decision intentional - begin by outlining your goals and being clear on what you’d like to achieve. Your objectives will help to guide your planning and decision making, regardless of what happens or changes along the way. Remember to make your objectives SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (or relevant) and timely. While we’d love to have as many people attend our events as possible, restrictions on travel and venue capacity will be an important factor in the coming months. Some key questions to ask at this stage include: a)What’s the purpose of your event – what do you ultimately want to achieve? b)Who do you want to engage – where are they located, what do they want? c)How can you be inclusive, especially if you are planning a hybrid event? d)How can you be sustainable – climate change is issue we all need to address? Read our blog on going green at your next event here. e)What is your budget – will your event be ticketed and bring in revenue?
2.Choose the right format
Virtual, hybrid or in-person? Take the time to thoroughly explore and decide on the best format for your event and audience. For a state-wide, national or international organisation or gathering a hybrid event may be the most inclusive and viable option, while an in-person event would be ideal for smaller or local events. There are many other variables to consider, however, including the type of event and your budget – make sure you look at the full picture before making your choice.
3.Plan for and embrace change
A thorough risk assessment should always be part of a good event management plan, but with ongoing restrictions, border closures and uncertainty, it’s even more important to be open to the possibility of sudden changes or disruptions. Plan for all possible scenarios and consider whether you would postpone, cancel or convert your event to online. Understanding what’s involved and the costs of cancelling or converting your event from the start means you’ll be ready to tackle any unexpected last-minute surprises – pandemic or otherwise.
Reinvigorating online events
Trust us - Zoom fatigue is real! But don’t worry if you decide to or have to take your event fully or partially online - we have plenty of ways to make it just as fun, engaging and memorable as in-person events. Here’s some more quick ideas and tips that will help to shake up and refresh the standard online event experience:
Keep it simple - make the online platform easy to use for attendees and presenters to use; we don’t need any more barriers or excuses for people to log off.
Explore new tools – event technology is constantly developing, especially during COVID, so you don’t have to stick with the same platforms (like zoom) you were using in 2019. There’s probably something better out there now!
Provide choices - give attendees plenty of options with a variety of breakout, group or chat rooms tailored to their interests and needs.
Find balance - incorporate breaks and opportunities for networking and interactions into the program, how about a mini yoga or meditation session?
Fun and entertainment – include music or comedy performances, branded virtual photobooth or even a trivia game.
Gamification and prizes - run a competition or giveaway to help incentivise and encourage participation; make it fun and of value to your audience.
Home delivery kits - offer a home delivered pack; it could include food and beverages, event program and materials and/ or a special thank you gift.
Read more our top tips for successful online events here and our thoughts about the future of online events here – yes, they’re here to stay! Need help with planning and producing your next event? JTPM offers end to end solutions that will be sure to make an impact - get in touch today.