We live in a time when most of our content and connections come to us virtually, and in the coming years, 5G and new technology that’s not yet even on our radar will make this virtual environment even more immersive. There will be very little visible space between “live” and “virtual” in our day-to-day lives and the expectations for experience and delivery will be higher than ever before. If you think we’ve undergone enormous changes in the events industry over the past five years, that’s just a small preview for what’s next.
It’s important that we double down on what makes live events the most powerful form of media, differentiating us from its other channels — print, digital, broadcast, outdoor, and social. Here are just seven:
- Solutions are best generated in person. Anyone who’s suffered through a committee conference call knows that. We work best when face to face because we can share energy and encouragement through nonverbal communication — the nodding of our heads and in leaning forward to hear the next idea.
- A place to see and be seen. Advancing our career, connecting with the right people, and having your organization be seen as a leader are best accomplished at a live event. There is power in looking someone in the eye and shaking their hand, and it is a connection that cannot be formed in the same way over email.
- The power of radical serendipity. A chance meeting in the coffee line leads to a new idea. A shuttle bus conversation reminds you why you
are passionate about your work. A quick elevator conversation leads to a future job offer. These are not things that happen when we are isolated in our separate environments.
- The power of place. Experiencing a new place in new ways is an amazing antidote for how we regularly perceive our opportunities and challenges. Isn’t that why we vacation, to step away from all that is familiar and see our lives through a new lens? Our creativity thrives in novel situations. Traveling someplace new puts our brains in a better place to think and ideate.
- Feeling is believing. Live events allow us to touch, feel, taste, use, and test products and services all under one roof. Sensory comparison shopping is one of the reasons that live conferences and trade shows haven’t been disintermediated and kicked to the curb.
- Convening is empowering. We all need to renew, restore, and remember why we do what we do. This happens best when we are in the company of those who share our passion. It allows us to soak in the vitality of an entire industry or ecosystem.
- Live media is the original social media. To read and respond to body language, make eye contact, walk side-by-side with someone — these can only be experienced in person. Live events build empathy, they remind us to see people as people, and in turn remind us of our own humanity. This is the most powerful form of connection. This is our best chance to make an impact that will help us improve the world.
The next time someone asks you to justify a live meeting instead of a conference call, show them these seven reasons. You c.an even post them on your registration site to remind your audience why they come to your event.
Don Neal is founder and CEO of marketing, strategy, and experience agency 360 Live Media.