Back to in-person events

Back to in-person events

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After two years of virtual events, I had consecutive in-person speaking engagements at the Bakery Showcase on April 11, 2022 in Toronto and SIAL Canada from April 20 to 22, 2022 in Montreal. For a Gen X owned business offering communication strategies as a service, I welcomed the opportunity to return to in-person events. Physical events in the food industry are conducive to effective product launches and networking success. Let’s explore my experience back to in-person events after a two-year hiatus.

Live events – my top three observations

1) Networking – relationship building

Live events offer an engaged, face-to-face opportunity. Body language is important when it comes to communication. This is best translated live and in-person. Professionally, I welcome the opportunity to engage with colleagues I haven’t seen in-person for over two years. I did find some people at both events were awkward with the etiquette of being back in-person after virtual events. However, I was thrilled not to have to deal with things like rude, casual chat box attitude and ghosting behaviour we all experienced during the virtual events.

Ask yourself this question:

From all virtual business conversations over the past two years, how does it compare to in-person conversations when it comes to advancing your qualified network and business bottom line?


2) Presenting in-person

As a speaker for over two decades, I started my career in the late 1990s presenting with an overhead projector and transparencies! Then graduated to Power Point presentations soon after. Now, presenting in-person is my preference with older Millennials to Boomers. I like having attendees disciplined and captive in-front of you. As a presenter, this interaction format is valuable for a few reasons. One, the information you’re giving out is being heard in real time without the distractions of a virtual environment. Two, the information is being processed immediately and the questions tend to be more accurate and engaged. And finally, there are qualified opportunities to meet and interact with others that have similar interests within an in-person audience, as these people have made it a priority to attend and engage.

Ask yourself this question:

From all the recorded virtual events, how many have you gone back to and listened to it on-demand in its entirety?

3) Product launches

Virtual events are not advantageous to the food space when it comes to product launches. Organizing tasting boxes of the new products for all the virtual attendees spread out around the world is not a reasonable task. Some virtual events started charging extra for the tasting boxes which wasn’t accessible to all. The convenience of an in-person event for a food company to launch a new product was never perfected virtually. The global pandemic has brought awareness to proper preparation and sanitation of in-person food sampling which is a benefit. The opportunity for the exhibitor to engage with the attendee directly in-person while they sample the new product gives immediate tactile feedback. As a result, this allows for the qualification of the attendee’s interest and business potential. Plus, then there is an opportunity to promote after the in-person show with qualified attendees, which has the capacity to streamline the sales cycle.

Ask yourself this question:

For a product launch of a food item when visual, aroma and taste are vital, how can virtual events be improved to compare to an in-person event?


Final thoughts -back to in-person events

It’s important to analyze and prioritize your business goals as speakers, exhibitors, and attendees for both virtual and in-person events. For older Millennials, Gen Xs and Boomers, in-person events in the food sector serve many positive aspects of the business cycle. Physical events require more expense including the cost of the show, travel, accommodations, and meals. Therefore, I’m observing a thoughtful process of how many in-person events myself and colleagues will attend moving forward. Keep in mind, that there is a place for improved virtual events in the food space. Most importantly, as a speaker, getting back to engaged, in-person events is my preference.

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to speak at your upcoming events!

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