Are you prepared for new normal? Expanding your skills

Madeleine Johnson - Event Director/ Campaign Director, Charity Film Awards, UK

Angie Choi - Freelance Show Producer/ Show-caller, Hong Kong

Gareth Tomlinson, Director, FourImpact, UK

Our panel will talk about new challenges they have been presented with this year and how they have pivoted to running events virtually. They reveal some important lessons to be applied and giveaway some of the pitfalls you need to be aware of.


The presenters also talk about the need for producers to continue to learn new skills, develop a stronger understanding of IT, networks and connectivity, understand digital content and of course now be able to transition their skills to webinars and virtual meetings.


Every day is a school day in the life of a producer.

Madeleine Johnson

Angie Choi

Gareth Tomlinson

After starting his career with HP:ICM, Gareth, along with Susie Evans, co-founded the corporate conferencing specialists, fourimpact, back in 2003. With an in-house focus on project management and client service, fourimpact have always leveraged their trusted network of freelance talent to deliver. With a passion for performance and a keen analytical eye, Gareth always strives to deliver maximum impact while ensuring value for the client and their stakeholders.

Outside of events, Gareth is a keen adventure runner and loves a good movie. He hopes to return to both soon!

Recently Gareth led a multi-agency effort to produce a pan-European “Digital Experience” sales event for a major tech sector client, including 6 x live keynotes and over 30 hours of on-demand content. He will be joining us to share some insights into bridging the worlds of broadcast and conferencing.

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Notes from this session....

The New Normal

Are you prepared for the new normal?


Experienced producers from around the world discuss:

  • challenges faced in 2020

  • pivoting to digital, virtual and hybrid events

  • good and bad outcomes and experiences

  • hints, tips, insights and ideas to help you be fit for the future

  • every day is a school day


Introducing:

Angie Choi, Hong Kong, Showcaller & Producer
Madeleine Johnson, London, Event & Campaign Director, Charity Film Awards & Freelance Project Lead

Gareth Tomlinson, London, Founder & Director, fourimpact


Highlights from the introductions:

  • Cancellations and postponements have led to new event formats

  • Event tech experience is of great value as event types and deployment are evolving quickly at the moment

  • The huge importance of freelancer talent to scale up and support in-house and client expertise

  • Analytic thought, creativity, adaptability and practical delivery blend in the current producer’s toolkit


Examples of recent projects that have:

  • challenged skillset

  • required different types of decision-making

  • led to upskilling and learning something new


  • Virtual event delivery still requires the transferable skills, expertise and experience of a live event professional

  • Guidance on how to stand, how to look, how to speak:

The timeframes for communicating this guidance are typically very limited so the information needs to be concise, focussed and genuinely helpful

  • Acquisition and knowledge of new tech and digital tools supports the new approach

  • We are learning and understanding together

  • Recreating events emotion by emotion not moment by moment: capturing and conveying what is special - celebration, excitement, engagement, creativity

  • Bringing people together and giving them meaningful opportunities to connect and share and engage with powerful content – this is still a hugely vital part of an online event

  • A great virtual event or digital experience isn’t just taking what we’ve always done and putting it through a web browser

  • We need to be even more reactive and responsive than before, even more quickly than ever before

  • Identify the required and desired outcomes for the client and the event and devise the digital experience around these (exactly what you do with a live event)

  • Consider how and where you can de-risk: what can be pre-prepared, pre-recorded, accessed on-demand before-during-after?

  • Identify where the live element/s are essential or justified. When and where is the excitement or pay-off of a live moment worth the risk?

  • Libraries or on-demand content provide excellent core or supplementary content

  • Training, briefing and cascading is crucial where possible – on presenting and production! It is simply a practical reality that these frequently now become the responsibility of the end-users and they need guidance and support resources to help them produce their most polished and engaging content

  • We need a new language for digital experiences, virtual and hybrid events – this is developing all the time: be clear about terminology

  • Important to remember that frequently the presenters are not professional or experienced – we need to be conscious of what we ask of them, how we ask it and make sure that the experience for the presenter and the project stakeholders feels smooth and joined up, as well as for the audience


QUICK TOP TIPS:

As a producer:

  • Watch as many virtual events as you can – not just for the content; for the overall experience and feel: registration, reminders, the ‘event’ itself, polling, follow-up communications, survey

  • Step back to consider what you would do the same or differently: what would you change, how would you improve it? What are the takeaways?

  • Watch videos or learn from experts about some of the more technical aspects and techniques:

find out about the solutions and tools

find out about the different types of events: virtual event, webinar, video conferencing, online expos, digital programmes

  • As always: you need the right tool for the right task – if you’re armed with the knowledge and information, you can recommend and specify the best solution

From an audience perspective:

  • When you see it, what are you getting out of it? Is that what the client would like?

  • Making the client’s dream come true. How can you make it wow now it’s virtual!


As these challenging times continue:

  • The event industry is sharing and supporting each other and being generous with content and insight – leverage these opportunities and connect even more than before (even though you’re not doing it face-to-face)


Try it!:

  • See if you can have a go. Get hands-on.

  • If you don’t have a more formal opportunity, make a video about something you enjoy or are passionate about

  • You really get to empathise with your client and your presenter when you’ve done it yourself!


Back to basics:

  • Spend time with suppliers and creatives

  • Learn, learn, learn!

 

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