The 3 biggest things I learned this y...

The 3 biggest things I learned this year.

(And what they can teach of all of us).

I think we’ve used up just about all the adjectives to describe 2020 – unprecedented, historical, shocking, impossible…

Here’s one more for my list – eye-opening.

There is no arguing that this year has held difficult realities for many of us in the events business. But once we got past the cancellations and shifting to virtual, something really interesting happened.

We learned more about what we do for a living.

In fact, that’s the biggest thing I take away from 2020. If you’d asked me a year ago what my team did every day, I’d list off a number of production-related tasks. This year has challenged me to rethink that statement. To that end, I’ve been thinking about three things.

Events don’t matter.
Great execution is essential, but it’s only one part of what we do.

As agencies, our role is to help organizations and leaders to communicate more effectively. That means expanding our toolset beyond the “event” to create complete experiences, stronger campaigns and truly understand the effectiveness for audiences. We’ve taken the time to learn more about recognition, content and production models for digital, hybrid and live spaces. Taken together, we see our world very differently to deliver for audiences.

I considered this earlier in July with my post “What is an event?”

Content makes a huge difference.
Audiences disengage faster and more frequently than ever before.

Whenever I hear the term “Zoom-fatigue,” I think “I’ll bet they were more concerned with what they wanted to say, than what the audience needed to hear.”

Our approach to content has changed, starting with the fact that we’re taking a much deeper look at how content is delivered. We’re encouraging shorter presentations, supporting messaging before and after programming, and ensuring messaging spans entire programs. “Content Coaching” and “Content Strategies” are now part of every program we deliver.

My thoughts on audience engagement and content development are always a part of the conversation. I shared some of my thoughts in July with a post “The two way street.”

Imagination comes from everywhere.
Speed has shifted the way we do business.

Because organizations have spent the year trying to figure out how to communicate when they can’t meet in person, we’re being asked to develop innovative programs faster than ever before (and that’s saying something!).

To accomplish that, we aren’t relying on our Creative and Content Directors to go away and come up with ideas for us to execute. Instead, we have all become Creative and Content Specialists, and we’ve created processes that put more players on briefing calls and allow for fast huddles on ideas.
Including the entire team in idea generation has meant that we’ve all been able to reimagine platforms, strategies and approaches. I think our programs are better for it.

“Work. Together.” A post from August says it all; the more people you bring to the table the more opportunities you have to find the best ways to collaborate and grow.

For me, this has been a year of learning, and I’m going to be taking the next few weeks to consider everything. Which gets me to thinking – what did you learn this year?

– EL