his article is part of our new Future of Events 2021 Series which will interview a mix of event organizers, consultants, thought leaders, and other event professionals responsible for overseeing events put on by their organization. Our goal with this series is to help event organizers best prepare for the future of events.
What are the top trends that will shape the events space in 2021?
AN: As we make our way out of the Covid era of events, I think the landscape of the industry has been forever shifted. Clients, event owners, and stakeholders have gotten a taste of what it is like to have access to broader, more diverse audiences and I don’t think that is going away. Even as we return to in-person events, event planners will need to continue to design experiences that provide the access that we’ve become accustomed to with virtual events. I think what you will see is organizations hosting more events, different style of events, leveraging different technologies & tools to drip content to their audiences on a more continuous basis. Gone are the days where we put all our resources into a 2-3 day event each year. I think we will be looking at an environment where organizations will leverage various platforms to connect to their audience.
What are the top mistakes you see organizations make with events?
AN: We are just at the start of this industry evolution that is taking place; we’re at ground zero. I see many organizations and individuals potentially putting too many resources into one technology, or one solution. I think as we emerge from this, the future of what our industry will look like is still very unclear. It’s very tempting to make a bet on one platform, technology or delivery format, but I think it is still anyone’s game. A great example is how our industry was placing big bets on event technology & platforms early on during the pandemic, and all of a sudden at a platform like Clubhouse comes in and completely shifts the landscape. I think we need to be agile, adaptable, and that means not falling in love with our first ideas or perceptions of how this will all play out. It is still anyone’s guess.
What are the keys to a successful event?
AN: This all goes back to the fundamentals of human experience and design. As event planners, focusing on the strategic objectives of your event, what change or behaviours do you want to invoke in your attendees, and then designing for that will always remain the basis of what we do as event planners. The tools, technologies, and platforms can all enable and support this, but a successful event will always be an experience that takes your stakeholders through the desired experience; one that accomplishes your high level event objectives.
What makes events such an important channel?
AN: Events are an important channel because change doesn’t happen in a silo. You can now easily consume content on your own, on whatever platform you choose, in whatever format you choose, but consuming content on its own without the human connection doesn’t create the impactful moments you experience at events. We’ve all had those moments at events where you take a theoretical learning and cement it by discussing it with a colleague at the coffee break, debating it in a breakout room, or putting it into practice. I think events is the vehicle that drives the theoretical into the practical and tangible. It’s those serendipitous connections that happen at events that usually change the way people see a certain topic or issue. Without these human “collisions”, the education you obtain from consuming content doesn’t materialize into practice.
In your own words, what will the future of events look like?
AN : As I mentioned, I think we are just at square one of this industry evolution. The environment is ripe for creativity, experimentation, and new market players. Even as we start to speculate about re-opening and what hybrid events will look like, there is no playbook. There is no one that knows definitely what will happen, and I think anyone who says they’re an expert in any of this is putting all their eggs into the proverbial basket, a basket that has yet to be defined. Access to broader markets, removal of geographic boundaries, and the use of technology to enable events to reach essentially anyone and everyone, means that our industry is in for a tectonic shift and I’m excited to see where it goes.