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  • Armand

Virtual events that didn't stink

I’ll spare you the recap of 2020 (and 2021 thus far), but for nearly a year now we’ve struggled with ways to engage and network with others. Sure, there are ways to do it via video, but let’s be honest, it’s just not the same.

It got me thinking: what event types from our new world order will last beyond the pandemic? I’ve experienced my fair share of duds, but some have been a blast to participate in and I truly hope they’re here to stay. I’ve listed a few below – they may become less frequent, but fit into modern lift pandemic or not.

  1. Virtual wine tasting or cocktail making: Why wasn’t this more popular before? I get it, it’s fun to do this in person – but it gives smaller distillers and wineries the opportunity to connect with consumers beyond their neighborhood or two. I participated in an awesome cocktail making and tasting event with our local distillery, @FallsChurchDistillers. They packaged up the ingredients and delivered them ahead of time, free of charge. It was amazing. I learned to make two great drinks and they added a loyal customer. With a little more advertising they could cast a wider net and expand their customer base even further.

  2. Open conversations: Three people that come to mind are @RyanBerman, @ElizabethKeating and @RhettPower, who have continuously hosted engaging conversations through the pandemic on a variety of platforms. As we have started to get back in our cars and go back to the office, I hope these continue and expect that they will. These great leaders and friends of mine have provided new platforms for learning and sharing – and it’s a lot more convenient than the rigmarole we used to go through for short meetings, trainings or networking events. I would much rather engage via IG Live or Zoom to than hop in a car, go to a hotel or meeting room and then have to drive home. AND…we can engage across the globe in this format.\

  3. Logo quiz: As some of you know, I have been participating as a mentor in the AMADC’s Mentoring program – it’s been very rewarding and allowed me to meet many new people. It also provided a fantastic idea for a happy hour that forced interaction. It was great. Just set up a couple Zoom breakout rooms, a google doc and put on a logo quiz. By taking old logos, dropping them into a google sheet and managing some breakout rooms, we were able to have separate conversations and meet a few new people. It’s often hard to speak up on a Zoom HH where anyone can have the floor. The most dominant talker is always the loudest. In this way, it forced side conversations and is something I can see lasting.

  4. Video messages: The holidays always bring up this question on client and agency side – what do we do about holiday gifts? Personally, I was always on the side of doing nothing. I didn’t need the Harry & David basket nor did the team. I would much prefer a phone call or a note. @MarcCloosterman had a great holiday message this year via video. It included a donation which is very generous and much better than a gift box and easier for me to digest. I am hopeful that the future of holiday gifts goes the way of the dodo and we can get back to just a dinner or a donation with a succinct message.

I think it’s fun to look at how we have innovated and just like anything, admit some ideas suck and foster the ones that don’t. It makes me excited for what the future brings.

What do you want to see stick around? And for laughs, what do you never want to be subjected to again?


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