When I first entered the live events industry, production agencies
were beginning to tremble at the advances in technology. They thought
face-to-face communication would be replaced by new media with companies
getting together via video-conferencing facilities or addressing mass
audiences over the Internet.
Some companies I'm sure tried to achieve the kind of communication
associated with a three-day conference in a pleasant location without
even leaving their offices let alone the country. I even attended a web
address from the chairman of the agency I was with at the time. There we
were, paying homage to the dragon that looked to slay us holding a glass
of wine and a plate of nibbles. How hypocritical.
But the need to see people in the flesh prevailed and the live event
industry breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Moreover, rapid developments in the very sector that looked set to ruin
our livelihood meant it needed its own communication requirements.
Impressive exhibition stands dominate IT and telecoms shows and mobile
phone manufacturers are begging for films that show how people can run
their life over WAP-enabled phones.
So, just as the radio threatened to replace the newspaper and didn't,
the Internet has not replaced the live event. Sadly, the same cannot be
said for other industry sectors where increased consumer choice and
autonomy of decision-making has taken away the need for sales people.
Less sales people means less sales conferences. Perhaps we have been a
tad selfish to assume that the art of delivering emotional messages is
under threat, when in fact what is in danger is the continued existence
of some of our most valued and vibrant audience participants.