Early Friday morning, 200 event planners groggily grabbed a coffee and headed into the auditorium at 32 Old Slip. Minutes later, they were cheering and clapping. Why? It was the kickoff to Techsytalk–– a conference by event planners, for event planners.
This series, led by “Event Queen” Liz King, has been happening for nine years. Now, in 2018, it’s time for TechsyTalk to come to a close. And we can tell you–– it ended on a high note.
If you wish that you were there, forget the FOMO! We took copious notes, and collected the best tips for Convene readers:
Capturing Your Audience
As Sree Sreenivasan, a digital and social media strategist, told the audience, “Here’s the dirty secret of social media. Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media.”
The scarcest resource is human attention. That’s why you need to know your audience, and understand what content will be helpful and eye-catching for them. Some adjectives that align with winning content are helpful, useful, timely, informative, relevant, authentic, generous, actionable, brief, and entertaining. If your online presence aligns with those words, then you’re on the right track.
Sree also mentioned the importance of connecting with influencers–– and starting with the ones that already exist within your circle. “Take a moment and write down the five most influential people you know,” he said. “Now, think about it. Are those people following you on social media? And are you following them? That’s an easy way to stay top of mind, and increase the chances of being seen by their wide-reaching audience.”
To really nail this, use Twiangulate, the tool that maps out the most influential followers you already have.
Changing the Conference Center Game
Up next was Chris Kelly, the co-founder of Convene. His talk was called, “How Would the World be Different if the UN was Not Set Theater-Style?” Yeah. We were curious where that title was going, too.
Kelly opened by explaining why Convene was born. Put simply, he wanted to create the easiest space to host an event–– and make conference centers sexy. Yet now, that mission has grown to change the way the world, by changing the way the world works.
“At Convene, we’ve tried to transition from being a vendor to being a true partner to meeting planners,” Kelly said. “We take care of every logistical details, so that planners can focus on the things that make their event special.” This is because the success of a meeting is the sum of the individual human experiences that happen inside that space.
In order to maximize the potential of an event, Kelly feels that planners should know the why behind their project. Why are they gathering people together? For example: you’re not just gathering people to have lunch. There’s always a bigger goal, which should be kept in mind at all times.
“Yesterday’s high bar is tomorrow’s baseline expectation,” Kelly said. “Think bigger. Move faster.”
Red Carpet Ready
Have you ever wondered why red carpets exist? We have, and Ed Baker from Alive Entertainment schooled us.
In one sentence, red carpets are the perfect way for event planners to completely control the entrance experience of an attendee or star. “A red carpet is a set stage, not a billboard of logos,” Baker said. “It’s a bridge between your digital efforts and physical efforts. It’s a moment to harvest content.”
The beautiful part is that this experience is an equalizer for attendees. No matter who walks down that carpet, they’re going to feel the same way–– significant. They’re going to be in a great mood, and genuinely enjoy the experiences that are set up on their way to the entrance.
Even though he only had 20 minutes, Ed dropped a ton of actionable tips for event planners. For example, put the logo of your featured sponsors on the sweet spot of your backdrop–– AKA 5 feet and 7 inches up. In addition, make the best use of your time by filming your event on HD video, then backwards exporting everything. Want a podcast? Take the audio. Need a photo? Take screen captures from the footage. Boom. More content, same amount of work.
Thinking About the Future
The future of event planning is automated. But don’t panic! Dan Berger, the CEO of Social Tables, got onstage to let us know that this will actually be a good thing.
But first, a quick dose of reality: many parts of events can be automated. Check-in, setup, and breakdown are just a few examples of roles that could become obsolete. On top of that, machines can understand the human voice with 95% accuracy. As Berger said, “Event tech will leverage the closing gap between human abilities and those of machines.”
However, this isn’t a doomsday scenario where all human jobs will be unnecessary and robots take over the planet. Instead, people can focus on helping others. “Automation plus augmentation will create human-centered automation,” Berger said. “Some redesigned jobs in event planning could look like a salesperson becoming a meeting consultant, a caterer becoming an experience curator, and AV techs becoming learning partners.”