How the current crisis has created the perfect opportunity for the event industry to get back to basics
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” Albert Einstein
The COVID-19 crisis has had an undisputed impact on the events industry, as events have been cancelled, postponed or moved online.
However this has also provided the perfect opportunity to stop, challenge, question and rethink how organisations plan and deliver events.
An opportunity that will only strengthen events and the industry, if organisations make the most of it.
Purpose. Events have always been a format to deliver on a purpose, whether that is to decide who is the fastest runner, to connect members together, to educate, to share music, to network, to provide entertainment or to celebrate an occasion.
Annual events often roll over from year to year without the right questions being asked. While budgets, logistics and attendance are often assessed and reviewed in a post event debrief, too often it is overlooked if the event continues to meet the original purpose. Is the current format the right format to deliver on the purpose?
This is the time for organisations to get back to basics, right back to questioning why the event is being held in the first place. The purpose.
The first question all organisations should be asking themselves at the moment is - “What is the event's purpose and what is the best format to deliver it?”.
If you can nail the purpose and people feel connected to that purpose - they will be more engaged. In a time when research shows people are looking for purpose and meaning more than ever, this authentic connection has never been so important. Ask yourself what your audience's needs are. Ask yourself how you can best deliver your purpose to fulfill their needs. Ask yourself the best way to engage with your audience.
The more people are engaged, the better connection you make, the stronger the impact and the longer the legacy.
What does this mean for events, particularly at a time when so many are transitioning online?
Ensure your event is true to your purpose and not dictated by the format.
If we look at a conference, we can quickly understand that the purpose was to deliver professional training, motivation and networking opportunities.
The format you delivered them in happened to be a plenary session and a range of breakout groups. The purpose wasn't to run plenary sessions and breakout groups.
If you now look at taking the same conference online, it is important to decide how you can deliver the purpose online rather than delivering the format online. Don’t just replicate a conference format, look at other ways you can deliver on your purpose in more engaging ways. (Particularly when research shows that people have a shorter attention span on screen to what they do in person.)
I am really excited for the future of events, because for the first time we are really going to question how we run events and not just do the ‘same old same old’ which we have done year after year.
We'll all be forced to see how we can really improve our connection, our purpose and the meaning of our event, which will engage with our audience more and naturally achieve a better result.
Contact Fetching Events & Communications today to find out how we can help you refine your purpose and ensure your event is delivered in the most authentic, engaging and impactful way.
Georgie Stayches is Founder and Chief Engagement Officer of Fetching Events & Communications, a boutique agency specialising in event management, communications and volunteer management.