What is the future of events?
Events have been cancelled across the globe, from MWC in Barcelona to SxSW. TED has been delayed and TEDx events postponed across the world. How we respond now and have responded as event producers will set us apart from those who were slow to pivot, slow to seize this moment of change.
Autumn Live works in 2 key sectors; digital and creative industries, and health and wellbeing. We are trusted by our clients to add value to their gatherings of people. We bring dynamic speakers who challenge and inspire, and we have continued to do this, despite not being able to meet face-to-face. We connect businesses in communities, offering connection and opportunities for collaboration. We deliver live events beautifully and seamlessly to bring about positive change, and we are continuing to do so in online spaces.
The success of humanity has been built on the fact we work together to achieve a common goal. We believe there is power in our shared experience, we long for human connection, we are meant to be together.
But, it’s much harder to do this if you’re not in the same room, not smiling, talking, handshaking or hugging with the people you are meeting. We learn so much from body language and reading people’s faces and expressions (from when we are babies making eye contact gets us in sync with another person according to studies from The University of Cambridge, which support learning and communication).
So naturally, as a team who bring others together, face-to-face, to share the same experience in the same room, we are saddened that this is not part of our journey as humans, at the moment.
So how can we continue to connect, at events and add value to our clients and their goals?
Because of our familiarity with the digital and creative sector, we have been able to quickly adapt to new technologies and be well informed as to what options there are and which ones work best. We are also keenly aware of the impact the physical distancing and self-isolation is having on our mental health, and what key principles and practical approaches help protect and sustain good mental health for individuals and groups of people.
These insights have led us to take some of our clients’ events onto digital platforms, host our networking events online and offer people the opportunity to connect in breakout rooms, having more detailed conversations, connect and share their experiences with each other. The support that established communities can offer each other at the moment is invaluable.
For example: We have adapted training we’ve previously delivered face-to-face during a morning or afternoon, into two 90-minute Zoom sessions, with lots of interaction and breakout room discussions. This offers the opportunity for people from across a whole county to meet and connect virtually, to spend time applying new thinking and approaches together. This chance for cross-pollination and network building would not have happened in such a way if it was limited to regional face-to-face delivery.
A regular community-building event we host moved online this month, structured to enable attendees to meet in breakout rooms and share their experiences, concerns and new ideas. Building a sense of openness and unity is incredibly needed and valuable right now.
Another event we have moved to producing 100% online, enabling a small, focussed group of individuals to jointly experience new content and learning in real-time together, before having dedicated time to dissect and discuss what this learning means next for them.
It’s true, we have lost some event clients, some have been postponed, and some contracts extended. But, we have been agile and flexible and can now offer our clients a range of beneficial and proven services for this time, and a valued addition to their face-to-face events in the future.
In addition, the opportunities to connect with more people over a broader geographic area, with no carbon emission impact on the climate from travel is a fantastic positive about this journey we have all found ourselves on.
We are exploring what people are thinking about attending events when lockdown rules are relaxed, what their expectations are and how we think others might behave. We are compiling this data in a survey. If you can let us know what you think – please click here for the survey – it takes about 3 minutes and if you’d like a copy of the report you can leave your email, otherwise it’s completely anonymous.
Bringing people together is just as valuable today, as it has ever been. How can we help you do this successfully and effectively in 2020?