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It’s only LIVE once, or die another day?

by Cameron Roberts

Mash Media MD Julian Agostini says seize the day and be in the vanguard, orare you ‘too busy’ for real business?

It’s only LIVE once, is a current campaign running on Sky Sports TV; they’re very good at marketing, in my opinion, and it is probably a factor in their continued success, despite ferocious competition from all angles.

The message is simple but effective. It’s a kind of a weird feeling to think that we only get to live today, once. The hours that have already passed us by this morning are never to be repeated. We don’t overthink this too much as there’s another day coming along tomorrow. However, it won’t be the same and we’ll be a day older.

There are countless blogposts, essays, articles, songs, films, books, plays etc. that tell us to seize the day. Most people like to believe that they are exactly that type of person, but how many of us can truly say that this is in our DNA?

What does it look like to live in the moment?  What do these people exude?  How can we recognise them?

One place to find them is at events. All of us can easily find 10 legitimate reasons not to go to something, in a heartbeat. It takes effort, focus, determination, adventure and commitment to go to any event; aren’t those the qualities we all seek not just in ourselves but our friends, family and work colleagues? It’s so easy not to go. How ironic that being part of the crowd, in reality, can mean not wanting to be in any crowd!

Despite all the euphoria on social media at the moment, many event organisers are reporting that conversion from pre-registration is between 15-25% down on pre-pandemic levels.  We experienced the same at our own events, including International Confex, last month. Re-starting the industry, clearly we’re going to have to work extra hard to get people back in the habit.

It’s irritating but we have to collectively re-sell the benefits of going to an in-person event. People who serially attend events just ‘Get It’.  That’s not just getting why events are powerful, they get life. They are the doers, the boundary pushers, the entertainers; there’s an expression that if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it, you could insert ‘an event goer’ just as well.

Here’s a real schedule of a Confex attendee from September’s show at ExCeL London:

  • 9.30 – Doors open and in we go!
  • 9.45 – Meeting with stand build supplier
  • 10.15 – Meeting with virtual event platform
  • 10.45 – Meeting with virtual event platform
  • 11.45-12.15 – Speaking at co-located Publishing Show
  • 13.00-13.45 – Myself and a colleague leading a EN/CN 30 under 30 career advice clinic
  • 14.00-14.45 – Speaking at Confex theatre
  • 15.00 – Arranged meeting with venue
  • 15.30 – Arranged meeting with stand build supplier
  • 16.15 – Arranged meeting with venue
  • 17.00 – Drinks reception
  • 19.30 – Dinner with industry peers
  • Bed and then start again.

Spread in among all of this must have been another 50 conversations, brief meetings and catch ups, as well as calls and emails relating to running the day to day business remotely.

Other people were ‘too busy’ to leave their computer!

Office work can, generally, still be done in breakout areas around an exhibition, while travelling or after hours by the truly committed, as per the example above.  Exhibitions are only live once.

The people who go to one are the real drivers of industry; they are the people that will succeed and take your sector forward so perhaps it’s a worthwhile question at registration: How many events do you attend each year?  If it’s fewer than 10, then they’ll probably just register and watch the re-run!

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