How to plan events in 2022? It’s time to think outside the square!
Here’s the thing about choice.
Whenever we face adversity in life, we have two options:
We can either wallow in disbelieve, remain stuck in what could have been, and tell ourselves how unfortunate we are. (‘There, there…’)
We can say ’ Ah well, that’s a bummer. Let’s get on with it and work with what we’ve got. Onward!’
It’s a decision we all have to make.
Whether or not we like it. 2020 happened. So did 2021. What 2022 will bring? Who knows…
Events in 2022
But here’s the thing: In the end, our little pandemic bubble burst. (Didn’t we put up a mighty fight, though!?) It’ll be with us, and some things won’t be the same. There’s no two ways about it .
We all have a choice to make when it comes to the future of events.
Either we keep postponing our events until we or the virus kick the bucket. (I know, I’m being dramatic.) But the point is that ultimately, our events are at risk of dying a quiet death if this is what we’re settling on. No joke!
We could decide that change is an opportunity for rethinking events. Ultimately, maybe even make them better. I mean… it wouldn’t be a first.
Of course, that’s not to say that it’s going to be easy. Facing the change heads on doesn’t come without its challenges.
As to what that means for events? The purpose and objectives for our event are absolutely identical to what they were before.
But how we go about delivering our events in 2022 needs a thorough redesign.
The Future Is Hybrid
For that shift to happen… we need to start with adjusting our perception and our attitudes towards events in 2022. Both as event organisers as event delegates.
Really, it boils down to two things.
- We need to change the attendees’ behaviour towards and pre-conception about what events should look like: ‘Virtual and Hybrid events are a poor trade-off, and yawn… boring!’
- We also need to change the event host attitude towards change : ‘Why bother if we can’t do it the way we’ve always done it?’
I guess we have our work cut out for us.
So …how do we, at Auaha, envision the future of events?
The future is hybrid. YEP!
It’s not the first time we’re bringing up hybrid events. It won’t be the last. (You can read more about them here).
Rethinking Events: The 3 C’s
Organising a hybrid event in 2022 calls for some deep reflection on what is really at the essence of every event. It’s why people show up at your event. It’s what motivates them.
You want delegates to attend, you need to consider the 3 C’s.
Content, Connection And Community.
The Content of Events in 2022
Adjusting content for a hybrid (or virtual) events is the easy part (although obviously, it can’t be ignored!). We’ve spoken before about how it’s important that speakers are comfortable in front of a camera in this blog.
It’s a point we can’t stress enough.
But there’s so many more questions that need addressing.
- Is the content suitable for an online audience?
- How do we avoid a ‘talking head’ (with the delegates nodding off after 20 minutes)?
- Maybe we need to re-think the format? (Our tip: change it up to avoid boredom!)
- Do we want a live event or do we include pre-recorded sessions? (We say ‘live’ wins, but sometimes you have to be practical.)
- What channels are appropriate?
- What technology tools do we want to use? (Read more about this here to get it right.)
The good news is that it’s not all trial and torment. Remember that overseas speaker that was way too expensive to fly across the ditch just a year ago? He or she may now actually be an option!
Communication Done Differently
A big part of the event appeal for many people is networking.
The question is: how do you do that when at least part of your delegates are sitting behind their computer at home. And even more: how do you convince them it can still be done, even if they are online.
The answer lies by and large in how you let technology help the experience. Remember the bad rap hybrid and virtual events have with delegates? A lack of thought and underspending in this department is often at the root cause of this.
BUT, there’s also good news: The available tools for online networking these days are INCREDIBLE!
As event organisers, it’s up to us to make the switch. (Yep, that choice we were talking about earlier.) And by golly, are we ready for it!
Connection With A Capital C
Our final C stands for connection.
When you envision a successful in person event, you probably picture people cheering, feeling engaged. There’s a buzz in the air.
So how on earth do you create that same energy when you’re organising hybrid or virtual events in 2022?
Of course, this is why you talk to the experts! J
Doing both our two other C’s well is a good start. After all, good content and meaningful communication create the foundation for good vibes. But it’s not where it stops.
The big challenge is to create some serious excitement. Even with a hybrid or virtual events, there are several things you can do to get there.
- Start creating that buzz well before the event kicks off. Send out announcements that are riddled with mystery, clues and teasers.
- Keep the sessions shorter than you normally would for an in person event. The attention span of people behind a computer is shorter than when they sit in an auditorium.
- Map out the event journey with virtual attendees (AND physical in the case of a hybrid event) in mind. Nobody wants to twiddle their thumbs while watching a visual placeholder waiting for a keynote speaker to arrive or for physical delegates to find their seat. It’s a guaranteed buzz-killer.
- One way you can really work up the energy during virtual or hybrid events in 2022 is with well-thought out gift boxes that were sent out beforehand. Find the gaps in the itinerary and get delegates to unwrap a themed present during these moments. I’m telling you, the jolt of excitement is real!
Ultimately, the take-away from all this is, virtual and hybrid events in 2022 are no longer quick and dirty replacements for what was meant to be an in-person event. It’s the future of events, the new reality. And it’s important we treat it that way.
So, get in touch and let’s help you keep the fun in your events, even if they look a little different these days!
Because… we choose ‘onward!’ as our response! You?
If you have any questions about your hybrid or virtual event that you’re planning in 2022 and need some advice, simply book a FREE 45min Planning Call with me.