5 Things I learnt from 2020 – The year of the pandemic

Posted by on January 5th, 2021

Last week I spent some time reflecting on the positives and negatives of 2020.  I also asked members of Get Ahead in Events FB Group to do this yesterday morning during our weekly chat.  I believe it is really important to analyse what the positives and negatives are from each year so you can improve on things in the following year.

2020 was pretty hectic for me in more ways that one.  Combining a 3 month lockdown with running a business, launching various services and a new product as well as homeschooling and subsequent lockdowns really did keep me on my toes.

As much as it was a hard year, it was also a good year and I developed professionally and personally.

Professionally, I learnt so much.  The 5 main lessons I learnt were:

1) Virtual online events don’t have to be boring – you can do many things to liven them up.  Quizzes, use of entertainers and other suppliers can really make a dull zoom meeting so much more. Be creative with how you run your online events whether that is using a cocktail making demonstrator or having a singer.  Also the use of breakout rooms is easy to organise via zoom and can enable the all important networking opportunities that are often lacking with virtual events.

2) Gather a community of like minded professionals around you.  I have pretty much been a lone ranger up until last year.  My community has been my clients and their teams.  I haven’t really networked with many event professionals up until 2020 and tended to attend local networking events as well as one of large events like Confex.  Building a community of supportive event professionals is really key to helping you stay positive. They are the ones to bounce ideas off and talk to regular basis who are in a similar situation.

3) When doing virtual events, make sure you still plan them like a live event.  Prep the speakers beforehand, do speaker rehearsals, have questions ready for the Q&A.  Organise it all as if it was a real event. It is so important to make sure that everything is prepared ahead of the day so that it can run smoothly.  Things can still go wrong and the tech side can fail but at least everything else will be prepared and ready to go.

4) Find a virtual platform that you like to use and familiarise yourself with it.  For me I use Streamyard for virtual events into my FB Group and zoom for events that I want to be interactive.  Streamyard is great as you can use branding on it and it has not let me down yet!  There are plenty of others out there too so find one that is right for the type of event your are organising.

5) Look for other individuals or organisations that you can collaborate with.  Last year this led to me running two collaborative workshops and also contributing to an e-book. This year I hope to do more collaborations.  Not only will it enable you to organise events that you wouldn’t be able to organise single handily but you will also see how others in the industry do things and make some new connections too.

Posted in: Events

Samantha Salisbury has been working in events management for over 20 years. Her event management career started at the old Wembley stadium. She has since managed events all over the world covering sectors including sport, academia, pharmaceuticals, banking and public sector.

Email: [email protected]