June 16, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Production company AV1 and speaker bureau Inspire Speakers teamed up for a fourth time to celebrate the return of live events last week with an in-person event – after two virtual outings (or innings) in 2020 – at Ovolo Woolloomooloo, which presented a compelling line-up of speakers and a chance to reconnect with colleagues some of us haven’t seen in over a year.

“We wanted to see how we could bring excitement, inspiration and energy to the industry and our clients – particularly given the uncertainty around events in the last 12 months,” says Director of Inspire Speakers, Keith Harwood.

“Our friends at AV1 felt the same – so together we created REVIVE Live.”

“It looked and sounded fantastic,” says AV1 Managing Director Keith Wootton.

“The vibe in the room was perfect and it was so great to see our customers face to face.

“The feedback has been really positive, with guests enjoying everything from the fast touch-free check-in to the presentations and the hospitality from Ovolo Woolloomoloo.

“And everyone loved the ‘REVIVE Live’ neon too!”

The event showcased three speakers – Dominic Price, resident Work Futurist at Australian-founded global tech giant Atlassian, Erin Molan, Channel Nine presenter and the first full-time female panellist and current co-host of the NRL Footy Show and Simon Doble, founder of SolarBuddy and energy poverty activist and inventor.

The mix of topics and perspectives worked well and the combination of polish and rawness – at times the latter two presenters were necessarily confronting in a way that jolts and provokes – made the speakers stand out.

“We were very intentional about the speakers we chose for REVIVE Live. Our goal was to empower the audience to embrace change and think differently,” says Harwood.

Channel Nine presenter Erin Molan speaks at Revive Live

Looking back, forward and around, both AV1 and Inspire Speakers are seeing a busy second half to the year.

“We’re very busy and we see that continuing for the rest of the year,” says Harwood.

“The split between virtual events and live events at the moment is around 50/50, from what we can see.

“Earlier in the year the split was more towards virtual events, but there’s definitely a lot of enquiries coming in for speakers for live in-person events for September and October time,” he says.

At AV1, Wootton says they were kept busy throughout 2020 with the “virtual platform and studio events and everything in between”.

“The amount of pre-production for each event was massive, so that, along with lockdowns, kept us off the streets.

“There has been a fast switch back to live events since March for us, with about half having a hybrid element.”

And both are seeing changes in the events landscape as events restart.

“The biggest change has been in the content,” says Wootton.

“Virtual viewers are digesting shorter, more engaging content segments. Traditional one hour keynotes and 45-minute conference breakouts are gone. Group discussion, engagement and gamification have replaced participants being in a view-only environment.

“We’re hoping to see this trend applied to live events as they return.”

Harwood says the lead time for events has changed dramatically.

“We can sometimes book speakers seven days before an event date, which was unheard of before March 2020.

“We’ve also had clients request speakers who are based in the venue city to avoid any risks of border and travel restrictions,” he says.