Nick Gold: “As Covid-19 ebbs and flows content will be king”

Nick Gold, president of the International Association of Speakers Bureaus and MD of Speakers Corner, on the power of content and the future of events…

We are often told that change is the great leveller as it forces us to do things differently than before, but change with prolonged uncertainty like we are seeing now is on a whole different level, as we cannot go back to how things were being previously done.

Change and adversity is where the opportunity lies for the meetings and incentives industry. The world understands that Covid-19 remains all around us and the societal restrictions and changes in behaviour that accompany it will ebb, flow, rise and fall dependent on the circumstances. Society has embraced the virtual world and for many white-collar professionals, working from home is now part of our lives.

There is no doubt, as time passes and the events industry gain a greater understanding of the possibilities of the virtual event, technology will wrap its tentacles around the industry and provide platforms, services and features which will ensure the delegates experience will become ever more immersive and memorable. But in the meantime, the key calling card for an event is the content it provides.

With change running through every facet of our lives, every delegate attending an event is now looking for new ideas and improvements. Delegates want to understand how new ways of working and thinking can benefit them and their teams, what their team culture should be, how they need to lead and of course, how to deliver their service in this new world. This doesn’t mean we are looking for the exact answer, but rather we are looking to be educated and broaden our horizons.

For the event organiser this means, with the right content, they can provide value and an experience that goes far beyond current practice. An event (whether virtual or physical) that delivers content which helps shape opinions and mould thoughts and ideas is an experience that can live with the delegates forever.

On a more practical perspective and as an example, the virtual event means that from both a delegate and a speaker perspective, location is no longer a sticking point to accessibility. This means for the organiser, speakers from across the world are accessible to audiences like never before and the organiser has the opportunity to create agendas featuring speakers who would previously be completely inaccessible to the audience.

As an industry that is creative, imaginative and bold, embracing the opportunities that society is adapting to will open it up to a future where content and the value of the event will have lasting sustained impact on the delegates that attend. Delegates who attend the event will gain insights and knowledge which help change, shape, and inform themselves and the businesses they work in for years to come. For an industry that has always struggled to quantify return on investment of the product it delivers, this is something that becomes more easily measurable.