The future of corporate event management

The law of unintended consequences is certainly present in this pandemic scenario.  Decisions are being made as knee-jerk reactions to the threat of Covid-19.  Such decisions are rarely planned or carefully considered.  They leave plenty of time later to regret the outcomes when they become apparent.

The live events hiatus

The Covid-19 pandemic has imposed severe constraints on business communications, both internal and external.   The potentially permanent change in thinking about live events must be questioned.  Our strength as a small independent event management agency is our freedom to offer objective advice based on broad practical experience. 

Our team has planned and managed a wide variety of corporate events, spanning 4 decades.  Political, economic and social upheavals have disrupted large-scale business events on several occasions, but we have always managed the risk and provided a solution. 

Teamwork in a virtual world

Social media and online communication have been heralded as a panacea for every aspect of our lives, especially personal and business communication.  The reality is that the corporate giants that have prospered from Covid-19 are the technology providers and the dominant online retailers.  The gig economy has sprouted millions of unskilled low-paid jobs as delivery drivers and call centre operatives. 

However, the corporate structure of large organisations has been stretched to its limits, with the majority of key executives and managers relocated to home-based workstations.  Personal interaction over a computer link and a flickering screen is difficult and unnatural.  Virtual meetings can be produced to imitate live events, but they are not the same!  There is plenty of evidence that corporate events generate high levels of energy, engagement and motivation across teams and business communities.

Be careful what you wish for

The law of unintended consequences is certainly present in this pandemic scenario.  Decisions are being made as knee-jerk reactions to the threat of Covid-19.  Such decisions are rarely planned or carefully considered.  They leave plenty of time later to regret the outcomes when they become apparent.

So, what are the possible implications of current Covid-19 restrictions in the context of live events?

  • Experienced event management company specialists will migrate to new occupations, leaving a smaller and less competent pool of talent to support corporate events in the future.
  • As direct contacts and connections are weakened, companies will lose the advantages of motivated, engaged employees and channel partners.
  • The immediate impact and emotional involvement with brands and corporate culture will evaporate, as live events are replaced with remote messages via a computer screen.
  • Empathy with colleagues, managers and leaders will be based on virtual images and voice communications for most people most of the time.  Water-cooler moments and socialising after work will be lost.
  • The creative and imaginative presentations that inspire live audiences will rely solely on screens and sound systems, reinforcing the disconnection between the corporate organisation and its stakeholders.
  • The atmosphere of expectation and excitement generated by live events will be lost completely.  Nothing virtual can ever replace those feelings.
  • Teamwork and performance improvement will be even harder to achieve without the stimulus from live events.

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