Last week Banu & Marcus had a good old-fashioned existential crisis via WhatsApp 📱- as you do, because #c*vid 🦠, and seeing each other to do it in person isn’t an option.
Marcus Magee: Morning! Had your coffee yet ☕?
Banu Kannu: You know I haven’t - it’s early (Narrator: It was not, in fact, early. It was after 11am).
MM: Ahh. Well. We know you're not a morning person 😂, so would you like to get that sorted first?
(5 mins later)
BK: Good idea - got my almond cap. What's on your mind?
MM: Deep breath... Everything I read about the events world is just doom and gloom. It's never talking about how to still deliver the value of events in whatever way is possible, independently of the WAY people meet. Is it just me, or does it feel like the value of events has just... evaporated 💨?
BK: Oh wow, I'm glad I got that coffee first... It's a sad thought, but you might be onto something. The only people who seem to see “value” in them (or are even talking about them) are the ones who make a living off them.
MM: We're leaving virtual events en masse because they're not fulfilling us (or filling our days) the way they used to in the early days of C*vid. The novelty of listening to keynotes 🎤 in our PJs whilst cooking dinner has well and truly worn off.
BK: Not to mention the weekly screen time notifications - I had one the other day politely notifying me I was up 573% 😖😖 #truestory
MM: Exactly - the "new normal" of working solely online and doing zoom chats is now just "every day". So the last thing anyone wants to do is waste their screen time on yet another webinar that doesn’t end up delivering any real value. Even if we’re getting the laundry done at the same time 🧺
BK: Yep - events are getting a bad rep and that's why you’re feeling like the value has just evaporated. Esp. if “value” is a dreary presenter with a PowerPoint or a panel with people awkwardly speaking one at a time (when they remember to take themselves off mute, that is). These sucked when we were meeting in person, and they suck a lot more online.
MM: I know ‘events people’ are notoriously the most critical of events, but honestly, I can count on one hand the online events that I genuinely want to be a part of.
BK: We need to get better at looking at events as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.
MM: Agree. I’m missing the collaborative part and the joy of learning from peers. It’s lonely behind our screens 💻
BK: But we know from our own efforts in the virtual space it's not an easy fix 😩
MM: True, it's not. But it seems many have either given up trying or are downright ignoring the importance of thinking through all of this before racing to the ‘schedule’ button 📆 on Zoom. Which is a scary thought, as people might start to dismiss the power that comes from joining at all.
What do you think? Is the value of events evaporating? If so, do we have a shot at bringing them back from the brink of obsolescence? Join the conversation - we'd love to hear your thoughts!