Oli – an account manager and event producer at CWA – reveals his top tips for successful event management and producing a spectacular show for our clients.
What do you like about live events?
It’s a good question!
I think, above everything else it’s the live element. When you get to the site, and the day arrives, there is no room for error. You can plan and rehearse as much as you like, but when the event begins, everything needs to be perfect – if something goes wrong, that’s the part that everyone will remember!
On top of this, delivering an event requires a large team of people, and I enjoy working in a team environment. No one can deliver an event on their own, so you are all relying on each other to make it happen – this has always appealed to me.
You need to surround yourself with a good team, and I can safely say that, at CWA, we have one of the best!
What do you think is the best way to engage your audience at a live event?
Engaging people is always our primary objective when we look at an event, of any nature. Generally, I find that encouraging interaction is a great way to do this. We will build in lots of opportunity for participation, especially when we’re producing a conference event.
We try to avoid “death by PowerPoint”, and we try to encourage conversation over dictation. Without a doubt, the levels of information retention are far higher when the audience is involved and participating. One of the best ways we do this is by creating breakout zones, where we take the audience out of the conference room and get them working on and experiencing the content.
Are there any new technologies you’re integrating into your events?
There certainly are. Actually, relating to the previous question, we’ve started to use iPad technology in events that allow the audience to send questions or comments, during the event, to the speakers as they are speaking. This is the perfect way to introduce the 2-way communication that we’re looking for in our events. In an ideal world, the audience should have an influence over the overall content as well – in my world, there is no point in bringing loads of people together if you’re not going to use the power of their brains!
As well as this, we’re constantly looking for new ways to enhance our events visually. Using software such as Keynote, instead of PowerPoint helps with things like this. One big development for us has been the production of our first 3D video. It has been a huge success for us and has certainly opened lots of doors into more 3D production. The big step for me now, is working out the best way to translate this into an event scenario. We would love to bring our 3D production into the event scene, and I don’t think we’re too far away from it.
We’ve also recently had a meeting with the owner of the patent for Holographic Projection Technology in Scandinavia, which is extremely exciting! But I don’t think I can say any more about that now!
What’s your best memory from a live event?
I have lots of great memories travelling all over the world and achieving some great results. Without a doubt though, the best memory I have is last September when we launched the New FH, for Volvo Trucks, at the NEC in Birmingham. We were on site for 3 days rehearsing, and 1 of those days was used solely for rehearsing the reveal sequence – the sequence which when live lasted only 5 minutes!
The mechanics for the reveal were complicated: the truck was elevated, then lowered as the stage parted then it actually drove through the dining hall, full with over 700 guests. Before the reveal, we had some great guest contributors such as Jake Humphreys and David Coulthard talking about the truck’s technical advances, plus the dance group Diversity provided on stage tension before the final reveal. If you included all of them, there were about 50 people involved in a 5 minute reveal sequence… amazing!
There were some scary moments in choreographing so many elements, but when it got to the moment, everything went very smoothly, and the guests really enjoyed it.
Good thing too as it was streamed live on the internet to thousands of people!
When you’re not producing, what are you most likely to be doing?
Well, I think one of the strengths of CWA is that we specialize in a full-spectrum of marketing communications, from live events to design, to video production- so there’s always a project to be involved in.
Most of my work involves writing, whether it’s copy-writing, or script-writing, there is always something to be written. More and more, I’m getting involved in the video production side of things. We have an excellent in house production team, and I have been working closely with them – video and film production is something that really interests me.
Often, for events, we need to produce a few videos for the client, and that’s how I got into it, but lately, we’ve taken on some much bigger film jobs, and I enjoy getting involved with these almost as much as the events.
Thanks Oli. What’s the best way to get in touch with you about a live event?