September 21, 2022 | By Warwick Merry
The holy grail of events is engagement. The more engaging your event is, the happier your delegates are, the more likely they are to book next year, the happier the client is and on goes the cycle of the event.
Engagement happens on many levels. From social events, speaker topics, speaker styles, exhibition elements, even the delights of the catering. Our battle for engagement is up against our delegates’ dwindling attention span and dwindling brain space for information.
Event organisers know the frustration of sending out information only to be met with complaints of too many emails, which are then followed by comments at the event of “Why didn’t somebody tell me!” If it wasn’t so painful, you would laugh.
The rise of YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and the like means that many of our delegates are used to, and enjoy, short videos. Think 60-90 seconds. That is where the opportunity lies for our events.
The two ways to make your event more engaging and impactful are to quite simply, start shooting videos for before your event and after it.
These videos help build the excitement for your event and remind your delegates how great it was as well as helping them share outcomes of the event with their contacts (thereby building the buzz for the next event and furthering its reach.)
So many event professionals will say they don’t have the budget for professional videos. The good news is you don’t need it. Your delegates are used to smart phone videos and in fact, they are more authentic and hold more credibility.
Many of us get our speakers to give a short promo or short message about the event, which is awesome. Don’t stop there. A message from the CEO, the platinum sponsor, the behind-the-scenes team, the AV crew, the venue – basically anyone involved. Simply shoot it on your phone and a few tweaks will make it golden.
Here are a few tips:
Stick to one clear message
For example, if your event is at the MCG, imagine a bit of behind-the-scenes footage from the venue with a bit of footy, a bit of the cricket museum, maybe the broadcast box and a statement (audio or written) saying “We hold loads of amazing events here. We can’t wait for your event to be added to that list!”
Shorter is better
Sometimes when we put a camera in front of someone they start to waffle. Short and sweet is better. A punchy message gets the job done.
Sound is important
You may not use sound from the original video. It may be a bit of royalty free music (you can get some free audio tracks at Upbeat.io). When you do use sound for a voiceover or chat to camera, you should ensure the sound is good. Delegates will put up with wobbly video, they won’t tolerate bad sound.
Still will work
If you don’t have video, a set of still images with your message will still do the job.
Use what you have
In PowerPoint and Keynote it is very easy to have music, video and images and record a voiceover track. You don’t need expensive software and equipment to do this.
Experts are awesome
While you don’t need experts to do this, they do help. So if you are struggling, get some expert AV or social media crew to help you put these short videos together.
Too often we struggle to start because we are trying to get it “right”. Ignore that. Just start. So many of you do this and it is a joy to see your behind-the-scenes images and videos on Instagram. Start sharing them with clients and delegates and get others from your event to do it as well.
After two years of event disruption, the path back has some challenges. Using what you have to inspire your delegates, sharing inside secrets and bringing back the humanity of events is an awesome way to fast track your engagement.
Grab your phone and get started.
Warwick Merry is a Certified Speaking Professional, dual Certified Virtual Presenter, recipient of the 2021 Global Outstanding Intrapreneur award, the 2022 Breakthrough Speaker Award and 2022 Nevin Award for service to the speaking industry. For over 20 years he has been hosting and producing online, hybrid and in-person events. He is the host of the Making Events Awesome livestream and Facebook group.