New Year, New approach

There’s a much-quoted saying which is wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Tony Robbins and several others; “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. It doesn’t matter who actually said it, but the meaning behind it is undisputable. If you want something different out of life or indeed business, then you have to put something different into it.

With a New Year, there’s a new opportunity for change. I know I’m not alone when I say how relieved I am that there appears to be a light at the end of an incredibly long tunnel, but we’re not there yet, and even though we’re fairly sure that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t that of the oncoming train (but based on last year, don’t hold me to that!), however things won’t immediately return to normal. So now is the time to bring about your own change. Don’t think about it, “just do it” – a quote from Nike’s 1988 campaign. The inspiration behind the quote is irrelevant, but you know it makes sense.

When in-person events ground to a halt literally overnight in March 2020, Most of us saw it as a minor inconvenience that we expected to resolve itself very quickly. But after a few weeks, it became more and more obvious that things wouldn’t be returning to normal as soon as we’d hoped. As a business, that’s when we looked at what services we had been providing and how we could deliver alternative services to a rapidly changing market. A lot of businesses didn’t  take the opportunity and many others did – whisky distilleries who suddenly had no outlet for their spirits – with all the pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels closed, changed to producing hand sanitizer which was in great need and short supply. You could say they were profiteering in a time of crisis, but in reality all they did was adapt to a changing market. The definition of a business is an organization or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial or professional activities to produce and to sell goods and services for profit, so what they actually did was find a way to carry out business, and they did so by filling a need in the marketplace at that time.

At GRT Media, we used to provide production services and audio visual equipment hire & operation for in-person corporate conferences, functions, exhibitions and events (and will again some time soon) but suddenly there were no events taking place. Whilst many businesses went into hibernation over the first lockdown, other businesses continued to operate and they were some of the businesses that contributed to the unprecedented growth of online streaming platforms such as Zoom. However believe it or not, zoom was one of a number of similar platforms that had existed in that marketspace for years before the word corona was thought of as anything other than a beer, but lockdown forced businesses to adopt something that they didn’t necessarily understand (or want to).

The problem with online conference platforms is a bit like the problem with bedroom DJ’s. Pretty much everyone with an iPad now thinks they can be a DJ. And yes, they can probably put together a playlist of their favourite songs and maybe even include a few songs that their friends think are good too, but that doesn’t make up for the years of experience that leads a DJ to be able to read the crowd and to keep them dancing by understanding what type of songs follow on from others, and why certain tracks just don’t work. In the same way, most people can hold a zoom call, but how many times have you said those immortal three words, “You’re on mute”? Then there’s the three little words made famous by our Prime Minister, “Next slide please”. These are just some of the things that production companies like GRT make sure don’t happen. If you were at an in-person conference or event, and the keynote speaker’s mic wasn’t switched on when they started talking, you wouldn’t be happy – but unfortunately that’s exactly what people have come to accept as the new normal – However it really doesn’t have to be like that. Working with a production company to produce your online event will help to take away the stress of producing the event and will reduce the potential for the embarrassment of the mic on mute situation.

You want your online events to be as enjoyable as if you were in the room – well perhaps not quite as enjoyable. After all, you really can’t beat being at an in-person event. Even those of us who’ve attended more than our fair share of conferences now admit to missing ‘conference chicken’ (and I never thought I’d say that!), but in the meantime, don’t settle for Internet buffering and embarrassing backgrounds. Work with an AV or production company who understands how to run a successful online event so that your next event is as good as it can be. Don’t settle for OK when together we can achieve great things.