Insight: Issue 41 (21st April)
Yep, it’s that time of the week again!
In today’s news: a lovely group of events industry associations have shared a free mental health toolkit for anyone and everyone who needs it; there’s a new event delivery platform designed specifically for COVID recovery; questions are being raised about the ‘zero-risk’ approach to travel during a pandemic; we’ve got 4 essential tips for speakers at hybrid events (it’s a whole new skillset); find out what 365 engagement will look like for events (and a refresher on what it actually means); and check out Slido’s 2021 trend report for some surprising insights on virtual meetings (*clickbait alert*).
Free mental health toolkit by event groups
A group of events industry associations – including the Association of Event Venues (AEV), the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) – have released their ‘heads up’ mental health toolkit to the public as a free resource.
First released in February 2020, the toolkit was initially only available to members of the three associations. But in light of the pandemic – and the extreme pressure on the whole country’s mental health – the associations have kindly agreed to make this popular resource freely accessible for anyone who needs help with their mental health. Sharing is *literally* caring. You can access the toolkit here.
New event delivery platform for COVID recovery
When it comes to risk management during a pandemic, effective communication is just as crucial as the actual health and safety procedures. That’s why Blerter is building an event delivery platform that gives event profs the tools they need to centralise their comms, ops, and safety measures all in one place – creating a safer and more flexible event environment.
You can find out how Blerter works here – and if it sounds like as much of a godsend to you as it does to us, you might as well take a tour, too.
Zero-risk approach to travel is ‘not practical’
Let’s face it, we’re all desperate to get back on a plane and travel the world again. But plenty of folk still have their reservations and concerns about how it will work – and that includes Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Speaking at the World Aviation Festival, Walsh criticised the zero-risk approach being taken by many governments. He argues that sensible risk assessment measures should be in place so that known and unknown risks can be predicted and mitigated against – but that eliminating risk altogether would be unfeasible at this time. On the plus side, he is hopeful about the future of travel – and that gives us hope, too:
“I’m confident that travel will come back: domestic before international, leisure before business, but we have to be confident of 2022.”
4 tips to make presenters more effective
According to Kerri Garbis – Founder and CEO of Ovation, a US-based communication-skills training firm – the past 12 months have caused a huge spike in demand for speaker coaching. This isn’t surprising when you consider how different it is to present from a stage vs. on a screen.
On top of that, when live events do return, presenters may have to cater for a hybrid audience of both in-person and virtual attendees – and that requires an entirely new (and more nuanced) set of skills. As a starting point, Garbis suggests that these are the 4 essential tips event speakers will need in a post-pandemic world:
- Eye contact is key. Unlike a live audience, the camera doesn’t give any positive feedback – and that disconnect can cause a speaker to be less confident and less effective. For virtual events, presenters should get as close as they can to the camera, and maintain eye contact for as long as possible. You’ll feel weird, but it works.
- Treat the camera as part of the room. For hybrid events, presenters should treat the camera as just another section of the room that they’re addressing. This will ensure the at-home audience stays engaged and still feels like they’re part of the action.
- Pace yourself. Presenters should speak at a deliberate pace and be aware of cadence. Again, you might feel a bit weird at first, but a deliberate pace will boost the understanding and retention of your material by virtual attendees.
- And listen to yourself. Nobody likes to hear themselves speak, but there’s no getting around it – practising out loud and recording yourself is the best way to improve. Pay attention to your breathing, your pauses, your timing, etc. Then go back to the start and do it all over again.
What will 365 engagement look like for events?
A couple of weeks back, we shared the events industry’s buzzword of the moment: 365 engagement. In case you’ve forgotten, the goal of 365 engagement is to interact with a community – whether that’s customers, staff, or stakeholders – on a continuous basis. That means looking beyond the traditional place-and-date limitations of one event, and instead focusing on long-term, ongoing engagement.
If you have no idea what that will look like for events, you’re not alone; according to EventMB, plenty of event tech providers don’t know either! To shed some light on the matter, they’ve shared a post explaining what the future shift towards 365 engagement will look like in practical terms – discussing whether it’ll be a move to more frequent events, or opting for a community management strategy that’s similar to social media management. Oh, the possibilities!
Slido publishes 2021 trend report
And while we’re being forward-thinking, Slido just published their 2021 trend report, alongside some tips for getting better ROI from virtual meetings.
They asked 1,500 remote workers which event format they prefer, and why. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that 4 out of 5 home workers said they attend more meetings now than they did in the office – but it *might* surprise you to learn that 61% of survey respondents actually find online meetings more engaging than F2F.
And FYI, they’ve also shared a 3-step action plan for better meetings, helping you to hone your virtual skills and embrace new tech – so it’s well worth a look.
Get reading, event profs!