Business Events News

My Audience Love Affair

- Andrew Klein, profession­al MC and presentati­on skills speaker and director of SPIKE Presentati­ons, presents his front line observatio­ns on conference­s in a regular feature in BEN.

LAST week I was fortunate enough to MC and speak on a panel at an associatio­n event in Mackay QLD. It was an event in many respects not unlike countless conference­s and events that I have worked on in my 25+ years in this amazing events industry.

Similar pattern. Pack bag, leave office, Uber, airport, flight, airport, Uber, hotel, next morning turn up to Convention Centre, meet client, final briefing, jump on stage, welcome, thank sponsors, intro speakers, housekeepi­ng, highlight key messages, participat­e in panel session, wrap-up, thanks, Uber, airport, flight, airport, Uber, home.

I’ve worked on so many events of this nature over the years that it’s a very familiar pattern. Rinse and repeat.

But, and I suspect you see where I’m heading here – last week’s event was nothing like any event I had worked on for the last 12 months. This one had a Live Audience. And being in Far North QLD, it had a large, 530 person Live Audience. That’s 530, living, breathing, smiling, clapping, buzzing face-to-face, table sitting, talking, laughing…. interactin­g people. It was heavenly.

Now in my career I’ve done a huge number of events with 530 people - and a great many with many thousands of people, so this was not really all that different. But I can safely say, after a year’s hiatus, this was by far the most appreciati­ve I have ever been to be standing on a large convention centre stage surrounded by a large crowd. And after the year gone by, to be standing on a stage full stop. With a crowd of any size, full stop. I fell in love again with my live audience. I smiled the whole time.

I have to admit, I’d taken that part of events for granted. A large visible audience was part and parcel of all my conference­s and events. Until it wasn’t. And then I missed them.

It was very much like a rocky relationsh­ip. Live Audience and Me. Last March we split up and sadly we separated. Went our own ways. I managed fine on my own, saw a few other people.

Got by quite well. But now here we were a year later - and we reunited and got back together after a tough year apart!!! I feel we still have a long way to go and our problems are far from over, we may even split again for a while, but it’s so nice to have reunited with my lovely Live Audience.

I do though love my relationsh­ip with you, Virtual Audience, I learnt to live with you in 2020 and at times to love you. And I think our love affair will continue forever, in one form or another.

But I feel optimistic now that we will be in a weird threesome – me, Live Audience and Virtual Audience. We will learn to coexist and support each other. And as for my long-time love – Live Audience….. it’s so great to be back with you. I will never take you for granted again.

Andrew Klein is ‘Virtually an MC’ and runs webinars on ‘How to Pitch & Present in an Online Environmen­t’. www.andrewklei­

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