Impact Point Group's President and Chief Event Strategist, Erica Spoor, brings her energy and vitality to a wide-ranging conversation on inventive experiences, what’s next on the horizon in the event space, and how we’ll get people back in-person while reshaping the status quo and the role of event planners as curators.
Read on for the conversation that she had with “No More Bad Events” podcast host, Scott Bloom.
Erica mentioned that the new challenge event strategists are facing is we’ve trained the audience that they don’t have to go to events. After polling IPG client’s audience, 30% to 40% of attendees say they don’t want to attend events in person. That is problematic. Convincing them to get out of their PJs and go where they can have meaningful connections is hard and the biggest step.
On the other hand, digital events (new term for virtual) have opened the door and given those who have mobility issues or don’t want to be around large crowds the opportunity to connect and learn. Digital events should still create an experience in the moment. Erica’s team sees digital events as an opportunity to reach a broad spectrum of attendees and gives planners a new toolset of engaging an audience we wouldn’t have seen before. The reach is beyond what anyone thought was possible.
In terms of hybrid events, both Erica and Scott believe hybrid events aren’t very effective and have gone by the wayside.
If event strategists continue hosting digital events, here are a few important points for keynote speakers that should be taken under consideration:
- Have a moderator to track time
- Attendees have a shorter attention span so any content should be relevant and succinct
- Segments of content that attendees can come in and out of is important
- Be aware of cadence, pacing and rhythm
- Technical production must be on point
Experimentation is happening now with some companies going back to large events and those bringing small events to their customers. Erica suggests thinking about the differentiation that you cannot do remotely such as having an active conversation in person and having channels that can have a two-way conversation.
During the pandemic, a client of Impact Point Group, hosted an event with celebrity keynotes who presented informal conversations straight from their homes making the experience feel intimate. This format was a success because it broke away from the norms of online events. She suggested that having a thought leader from an organization do a less formal talk and making the large space seem smaller would feel more authentic to the audience. Having this type of format is dependent on the content and how comfortable the keynote speaker would be to having an unofficial discussion rather than all business.
In honor of the title of “No More Bad Events” Erica and Scott delved into what makes an event “bad.” The major challenges over the past two years that she has seen is the technical issues in events. However, seeing them recover and learning from those experiences only made the events better the next time.
Erica sees event planners as magicians. They seem to be able to pull off amazing events and problem solve seamlessly. The one main advice she has for all event planners is to learn to manage stakeholders. Not to shut them down but to build on their ideas as the planner knows all of the parameters to make an event successful and with a bit of magic.
So, what do we see for the future of events?
- We see in person coming back and hopeful there isn’t a status quo of standard formats. There’s room for reinvention as audiences don’t have preconceived notions any longer.
- There’s also an opportunity to get sustainability right within the event industry. This gives planners the chance to reinvent formats which might mean not having massive events and generating potential waste.
- We also see expenses increasing, with a budget impact specifically around keynotes willing to travel now.
Erica feels aspirational and wants to see people feel more comfortable and safer to socialize with each other. Event planners have a chance to play curator of gatherings to make events fun, safe and positive for attendees.
To hear more of Erica’s personal experiences and overcoming pitfalls in different events subscribe and continue listening here.
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