Matt and Sandy BEA23 4

In late November, we were at the Best Event Awards as we are every year. We're in charge of all the moderating and the design of all content-sessions. Traditionally, we like to share some observations and trends with you.

The annual Best Event Awards are like The Oscars for the Event Industry. The best in class worldwide events get to pitch before a jury on the thursday. On friday evening, everyone dresses up for Award Night. And in between, there's room for networking and content session on the friday.
On the first day, we keep the energy up and stayed on schedule while projects pitch to the jury. We had four moderators in four rooms, and it went smoothly. On the second day, our moderators facilitated deepdiving into the content. During the award show, our colleagues Maciej Kautz and Sandy Nijhuis combined a speedy and celebrative run of show with some real engagement with the audience.

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Our moderator Roxana Lupu keeping up energy and having fun during jury-sessions.

Humans versus tech-stuff

Specifically looking at the categories Conventions and Congres/Conference, we noticed a lot of emphasis on technical achievements and organisations investing in the atmosphere of events. And yes, obviously that can play a major part in making these kind of meetings effective.
But ... in many cases we feel that one vital element is overlooked: the human factor. When content-/organisational-driven events only focus on the outside appearance, the big wow and on offering content in snacksized bites, the question is if content & learnings will actually land where they're supposed to.
In our view, interaction and true connections between participants are key to the succes of these categories of events. We did see some interactive elements, but in most cases they were just there for fun. Interaction could (and should) be so much more than just making content easy to digest.

Adrian Segar gave a masterclass on how to make events interactive. His ideas aren't used enough yet, we feel.

Content BEA23 21

Big Budgets versus small players

We admire projects that achieve a lot on a small budget, built on one simple, yet great idea that is consistently applied. It's not just about how things look but about communication – what changes as a result.
Of course, there were some impressive big budget events represented. Projects that we would love to be involved in. At the same time, we are very aware of the fact that the big time productions stand on the shoulders of the many, many small(er) events that are produced every year.
The low budget events have - in relation to their funds - just as much impact as the big brothers. And it's in the smaller scale events that professionals get to practise and build their creativity and other skills.

In the end, the Grand Prix was won by a small project that made a real difference to society.

Matt and Sandy BEA23 2

Magic is in the moments

No matter how well produced any event is, the real magic is almost always in very small, human and sometimes unexpected moments (suggestion: read The power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath).

The award show was full of perfectly produced music, excitement, energy, celebration and visual/technological effects. Yet the off-script dancing by moderators Maciej and Sandy (followed by the participants) and their improv connection with the DJ took it to a next level.
And in the end, the real magic came from a very unexpected, spontaneous performance by two individuals, who had the guts (persuaded by Sandy and Maciej) to sing: a capella, live, in front of a few hundred of their fellow event-professionals. That was thé moment, when everybody felt as one, felt connected and whitnessd the ultimate power of meetings and events. This made an already impressive show truly magical, thanks to those personal moments.

Jan-Jaap In der Maur

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Foto m e r dag 10 11 2011 124

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