Commercial Integrator July 2022 - 8

AV BRAINS & BRAWN
What We Have Learned About Events
As we peer into the future, in-person, virtual and hybrid events will live side by side.
By Alan C. Brawn
BACK IN EARLY 2020, as the pandemic
was rearing its ugly head, we were all
trying to understand (while simultaneously
fearing) the potential effect that COVID-19
would have on each of us, both personally
and professionally. Looking toward something
hopeful to report at the time, I wrote
an article pertaining to live events versus
the new era of virtual events. In it, I extolled
the obvious virtues of live events...but I also
looked forward to the potential that virtual
events might hold. Think the " glass-halffull "
philosophy. Using what we knew back
then, I tried to point out the pros and cons
of each type of event, intentionally opining
that it would not be an either/or choice. To
be fair, none of us knew precisely where
this would be heading.
Following on the heels of all that fear of
the unknown came the harsh reality of shutdowns.
Live events of any significant size
and scale were canceled or postponed.
And, in our industry, virtual events became
ubiquitous. After all, they had become the
only game in town. The changes in events
were stark. It is safe to say that we were
unprepared, but, undaunted, we soldiered
on with what was possible.
This month, I want to synthesize what
we've collectively learned and experienced
over the last three years as it pertains to
events. Here, I present some lessons and
my own observations.
Continuing to Share
Suffice it to say that there will continue to
be " sharing " within the events space. Live
events will not go away; in fact, they will
continue to come back (in modified form)
for reasons I will expound upon later. Virtual
events will continue to improve and grow,
and hybrid events will evolve into what has
the potential to be the best-of-all-worlds
scenario.
Research shows us that 77% of people
prefer in-person conferences, and 85% say
that in-person events build stronger relation8
Commercial
Integrator JULY 2022
Research shows that 77% of people prefer in-person conferences, and 85% say
in-person events build stronger relationships.
ships. In large-system sales, the buy-ordon't-buy
decision is made because of relationships,
not because of products. There is
nothing like being at an event where you're
surrounded by people who share your
passions and interests, while, simultaneously,
you have the opportunity to connect with
new people. In-person networking events
have proven to increase the likelihood of
closing deals as compared to virtual events.
Networking is a key element of the experience
at any event. In a live environment,
attendees who mingle and network will have
more opportunities to find new connections,
discover potential customers or business
partners, and build relationships.
The best and most fulfilling relationships
are those in which personal chemistry comes
into play. At live events, things simply feel
" more real. " The connectivity at an event
can turn into a personal relationship; and
that, in turn, can generate opportunities for
sales, business partnerships and collaborations.
Live events' capacity to build genuine
relationships with likeminded people is
unmatched; indeed, it's the main reason that
people attend live events in the first place.
When you're in-person, you're invigorated
by the energy of everyone around
you. You feel more of a personal need to
be sharp...to engage...to listen...to try to
get everything you can out of the event.
This partly explains why people build better
relationships in-person. Everyone is just
trying that much harder to engage and put
their best foot forward.
There's also what one expert calls the
" surprise element. " Not knowing what to
expect can be thrilling and inspiring. I call
this the tension of expectation. For events
in general, it's important to provide attendees
with a genuine experience...something
that will be remembered long after the
event. If you engage people's emotions in
some manner, you can build long-term, sustainable
relationships and create an environment
in which people will be quicker to
pick up and accept your message. The art
of creating this kind of experience resides
in the development of a total concept with
a high " wow factor. " This is much easier to
attain in a live-event environment.
To create long-lasting memories, you must
engage your attendees' senses. This includes
the exhibits and their layout, the lighting,
the sounds and even the smells of the event.
commercialintegrator.com
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Commercial Integrator July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator July 2022

Commercial Integrator July 2022 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator July 2022 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator July 2022 - 1
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