As we start to draft event calendars for the 2022 year, it is interesting to see the differences between industries and even between groups within similar industries when it comes to the the question of in-person versus virtual events.  For the most part, we are seeing a push for in-person but there are a few exceptions. At the end of the day, I am a strong believer in the idea that events can be successful whether virtual or in-person, as long as the event organizers keep an eye on the following:

1.) Keep it real.  The worst events we see are those that are not genuine and do not have a purpose.  Think about WHY you are holding each event.  If the answer is only, “we’ve always had X event every year” without more of a planned objective, you may need to rethink your calendar.  If you do have an objective, keep it in mind with every decision you make so that the event is built around that cause.  When you focus on the WHY you are much more likely to produce a genuine event.

2.) Make it fun.  You can accomplish your objectives – networking, education, sales, or fundraising – while giving your guests a great time.  Don’t waste anyone’s time or drag out presentations.  Look for ways to facilitate learning, build connections and bring on new partners in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere.  Leave your ego at the door and think about the ways that you can make your event more interesting than your competitors’ events.

3.) Don’t skimp on marketing.  Do not assume that all your attendee prospects are sick of hearing about your event.  Spend the time up front on good-looking graphics and keep pushing your event via social media, email marketing, your website, one-on-one emails/calls, advertising, PR, and by asking partners, speakers and sponsors to help as well.  Make it easy for people to sign up to support or attend your event and don’t let up on promotion.

4.) Watch the details. We spend a ton of time on details at ADS.  We think through the individual attendees who will be at each event and take care to consider what we can do specifically for them or to engage them. We discuss how the event will look and feel to the attendees – whether they are in-person or virtual and make changes and additions as needed to create a better experience for the guests.

We love events and believe that gatherings are what make associations, communities, industries and professions grow, progress and flourish.  As we head into a new year, we hope that every event you have is successful and fun – no matter if you hold them on Zoom or in-person!

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