Nick Smith, President and Founder of AV Concepts, recently took a few moments to reflect on what was perhaps the most difficult year in his decades of experience in the events industry. Read through his interview below about how he approached the challenges of 2020 and what will be key points to focus on going into 2021.
2020 was quite the year. What was your overall approach to maintaining not just AV Concepts as a company, but also its ability to continue serving clients through tough times?
Nick Smith: Since most of our clients are also in the industry, we all equally felt the difficulties that came with the elimination of live gatherings. Together we worked on solutions to bridge the gap of communication in a digital format. Our approach of problem solving and looking at new ways of keeping people together came from a solid team that was able to think differently. Turning a large warehouse into a broadcast center, building mobile production packages for capture, and designing home production studios for presentation quality were just the start. In the end it all came back to one common thread: people.
How has the shift to virtual and hybrid events been? Obviously quite the pivot overall, but any specific challenges that you weren’t expecting?
NS: There has been a learning curve to understand the human behavior aspect involved when not face to face. How people manage themselves when at home or behind a keyboard is quite different and knowing how to prepare and produce for that requires a lot of consulting.
Where do you see the industry going in 2021?
NS: This is the most asked question I get. My belief is that live events will slowly return as people become more comfortable that it is safe. I also believe that people will use the lessons learned from virtual events to enhance live meetings, but live meetings will come back even stronger. Every customer I talk to can’t wait to get back to in person events.
What has changed within AV Concepts recently to address where the event industry currently sits?
NS: Fortunately, our team was well prepared for the transition to virtual and eventually hybrid events. Over the past several years we have been doing more digital content delivery in conjunction with live events already and have the people, technology, and expertise to accommodate the changes. We also are well positioned with newly developed tools to enhance and capitalize on it.
How about three things event planners should keep top of mind moving forward?
People are people. They will return to meeting in person because social interaction is what drives us. Don’t fear the state of the meeting industry.
Take advantage of the lessons learned and apply them to your event in the future.
Stay true to delivering on your promise. The one thing that hasn’t changed with all of this is that relationships and trust are how our customers make their decisions.
Let’s end on a high note. Favorite moment or highlight from 2020?
NS: December 31st!
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