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On the first day of December, here’s what 2020 gave to me...

Article written by Lucy Parkinson.

Lucy Parkinson

Since returning from furlough at the beginning of June, my role as an Event Coordinator has looked very different…

Instead of finalising floor plans, choosing menus and preparing name badges in the weeks before an event, I have been issuing passwords, attending ‘virtual’ run throughs and approving event websites.

It’s been a tough few months for the events industry and in my personal experience, it has felt like a long and often winding road to relearn how to produce events in this new virtual environment. As a small events company, we were very lucky to jump on the virtual events bandwagon as early as we did. We had very little prior knowledge of this field but we did have bags of determination, a stellar AV partner and a desire to produce something for our clients that would enable them to reach their audiences in one of the hardest times we have all had to face.

At the beginning, many of the team were not sure about virtual events. We had the usual reservations; would delegates enjoy attending an event virtually, how would we make it a worthwhile investment for the sponsors and mostly, would we pull it off?

Well, as I am sitting in my home office/spare bedroom right at this very second, I look back at my old doubting self and say “YES!” because we did pull it off, several times and with much positive feedback from our clients, attendees and sponsors.

Despite our original doubts, lots of our clients and delegates really seem to be enjoying the virtual option. The main reasons for this being:

  • Delegates can catch up with content after the event has taken place which fits in with medical professionals’ busy schedules

  • Individuals can engage with each other from the comfort of their own home without the need to travel to one central hub.

  • Clients can programme more international speakers without worrying about extortionate travel costs or the negative environmental impact

  • Delegates can continue learning alongside their massively increased workloads

While there are many reasons that virtual events have improved the accessibility of events, I am not sure that they will ever totally replace the need for face to face conferences because I think we are all missing that feeling of togetherness.

As an event professional, there is no better feeling than that first drink in a busy hotel bar after an amazing first day on site but as the current situation doesn’t permit that, I think our virtual event offerings are a fantastic alternative.

Upon reflection, this year has given me a lot to think about and be proud of. I have learnt how to produce a virtual event, I have added several new skills to my CV and when I was telling myself that I couldn’t, It turns out that I could.

I am also super proud of my wonderful colleagues who have shrouded each other with constant support and encouragement throughout this weird and often difficult time. I absolutely love working with EMD and cannot wait until we can celebrate our successes together.

So, if you are looking for a company with the ability to put your event online and to do it with determination and experience, let us know.

Lucy Parkinson

Event Coordinator

Event Management Direct

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