After a trying year for event professionals. members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2021 have proven resilience is a key skill in their toolkit. Dan Noyce, Senior Sales Executive at IMEX Group in Brighton & Hove, Ireland, shares how the pandemic led him to pursue new skills for the changing business events industry.
What has this year of disruption taught you about the industry?
This year has been a difficult and unexpected one for us all. Individually and collectively, we have felt the strain on our organizations, our jobs, and our industry. But we do not give up. We are resilient, we are strong, and that has been demonstrated in 2020 and will continue on as we get through to the other side.
The innovation and the ability to pivot to virtual events (that some of us had no experience in) yet still deliver value, connection, and business opportunities, have been groundbreaking. Our industry did that in the most difficult of times. We have shown that we can achieve anything when we do it together. We have seen venues become temporary hospitals. This is exactly what our industry stands for.
One thing I think is important to remember is how we have changed the way we communicate with our teams, our colleagues, and our customers. We listen more. The relationships have become stronger and this is something I feel we need to continue as we move forward.
How do you see the industry changing as a result of the pandemic?
I think we can all agree that you cannot replicate the impact of face-to-face business events. The networking with industry peers, the feeling on the first day of registration at a trade show or conference, and of course, completing business face-to-face with our customers is why we love what we do.
We can improve on this. Having a hybrid element to our events going forward gives those who cannot travel the chance to take part. It keeps our industry international and inclusive. When you are at a trade show or conference, you miss certain sessions that overlap with something else. Having the opportunity to watch these online after the event increases ROI and keeps the buzz of the event alive for longer.
The sustainability benefits of hybrid events also are important. The reduction in travel has certainly given our planet a chance to breathe. But this isn’t enough — having attendees come in virtually will help, but we have to continue to improve sustainability at our live events. It’s our responsibility and I see a more collaborative effort to share knowledge and best practices here as the key to this change. We are an industry open to change and with that mindset, anything is achievable.
What new skills has the pandemic led you to pursue?
I’ve always been someone who believes and is passionate about great leadership. I try to be a better leader little by little every day. The pandemic presented an opportunity to further learn and develop my leadership skills and really make a difference to those around me as we navigate our way through this pandemic.
Simon Sinek has said, “be the leader you wish you had.” This sat with me and I felt it on a deep level. I took this opportunity to look at myself in the mirror, discover who I wanted to be, and then got to work. The skills I believe are most important within leadership right now are empathy and communication. I have really focused on these two skills and am working every day to continually improve and adapt.
Listening skills are so important right now, too, with many of us working from home. You cannot read body language as well and with the ease of turning cameras off, you may fail to recognize someone is struggling or has something going on. Effective communication and listening skills are what we need in our leaders right now. It can make all the difference to someone’s mental health.