“Planners must make sure to have a strong concept before thinking about the tools”

GCB FutureTalks #14 with Miguel Neves, Chief Social Strategist at miguelseven.com


Matthias Schultze spoke with Miguel Neves about GMID Goes Virtual as well as the challenges and his expectations for the business events industry. Miguel Neves (CMP and DES) writes, consults, speaks and trains people and companies all over the world on social media for the events industry.

Matthias Schultze: On April 14th we celebrated the Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) online with the new #GMIDgoesvirtual – an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record with the largest virtual event audience. You were a member of the planning team. How did it go? What are your biggest learnings from that event?

Miguel Neves: GMID Goes Virtual was an amazing experience! The planning started just one month prior to the event and it was completely led by a group of 50 event professionals, all volunteers, who were fixed on this shared idea of bringing the industry together. There was so much passion in the group and the work was agile – it was a great pleasure to work on this project. We may not have broken the world record, but we are proud of the event and that we were able to unite our industry.

Matthias Schultze: Can you share a piece of advice for anyone who is currently facing the challenge of delivering virtual events on short notice?

Miguel Neves: My best advice for people working on the short-notice delivery of virtual events is to make sure to have a strong concept before thinking about the tools or even the content.

As almost all events are currently taking place online, we must look at them as global events and we must also realize that it has never been easier to attend them – there are no excuses for why somebody wouldn’t be at their computer. At the same time, it only takes one click to “travel” back to e-mails or really anywhere else in the world, though. This illustrates the vastly different level of commitment compared to face-to-face events. On top of that, virtual event planners’ creativity is almost unlimited, and they have a great collection of tools at their disposal. Therefore, transferring a “normal” conference-style event directly into an online version may not be the best option.

Instead, we must put deep thoughts into the virtual events’ styles and concepts in order to satisfy the participants’, organizers’ and sponsors’ goals and expectations. Once a strong concept has been developed, we can start looking into speakers and the tools needed to produce and deliver the event.

Matthias Schultze: With which ideas and approaches do you react to the current crisis?

Miguel Neves: The current crisis is not business as usual and everybody has had to adapt their work. Companies looking into hosting online events have an excellent array of opportunities presented to them, but there are also other areas that could be very interesting and worthwhile. That is why I have spent my time on thinking ahead and I have been coming up with many creative ideas for different versions of events that can be implemented once we will be able to meet again in smaller numbers. Additionally, ideas around new types of events, especially those that can start online and continue in real life, have impressed me in the last couple of months.

Matthias Schultze: How do you imagine the meetings and events industry to be different post-Corona?

Miguel Neves: The next few months and potentially years will certainly be impacted by this crisis. That is why I think it is important that the industry focuses on delivering value rather than trying to get back to where we were.

Events may never be the same again, but that does not have to be taken in a negative way. I say that to make sure that we are sensitive to government regulations, personal perceptions and very differing comfort levels of potential event attendees. I am hopeful that we can return to a point where human gatherings can be done without fear. However, I do not know what these events are going to look like exactly. Therefore, let’s make sure we collaborate with a clear goal and openness to new ideas.

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