Paula Leishman on the big screen during a panel discussion at the PCOA conference last week.
Professional conference organisers need to ‘shout from the rooftops’ about how successful business events are being held right now. They also need to relook at how the engage (and for how long) with clients, sponsors and trade exhibitors, the Professional Conference Organisers’ Association (PCOA) hybrid conference heard last week.
‘Our role as PCOs is to work with our clients, translate the level of confidence we are seeing in holding events and show them the way,’ says Paula Leishman, managing director at Leishman Associates.
‘Hybrid is probably here forever, so we need to look at all the opportunities it brings.’
Leishman says conferences used to be like a ‘pop up’ experience. ‘We would bump in and set up, hold the event then break it down at the end of three days and it would be over. It is important that PCOs continue the engagement piece well after the physical event.’
Leishman, who is based in Tasmania, says that as well as making the event engaging for both the in-person and virtual audience, it is important to encourage connection by attendees with sponsors and exhibitors – before, during and after the event. The PCOA conference was held in multiple venues across Australasia (including the Park Hyatt Auckland) and streamed live to virtual attendees’ offices and homes.
(More coverage of the PCOA conference in the January / February 2021 edition of Meeting Newz Magazine.)