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Speakers Corner’s Nick Gold on… event content trends

We catch up with Nick Gold, managing director of inVOYAGE 2018 inSIGHTS partner Speakers Corner, on the key themes, topics and formats in event content in 2018…

What are the key trends on the event content side in 2018 in terms of format and delivery?
Content has been king for the last couple of years now, but during 2018 we’ve seen how content is driving the key facets of an event, and concurrently clients understanding what the meeting or event is looking to achieve from a business perspective.

This means, from our standpoint, our speakers are being challenged to deliver to a higher standard. Our speakers need to inspire and motivate while delivering education messages with actionable takeaways. We are working closely with our clients and in turn our speakers to ensure the client is extracting maximum value and ROI from the speaker. Initiatives we’ve helped create include ‘bolt-on’ activities such as deep dive sessions following the keynote for select groups, book signings or from the event perspective itself, the speaker engaging in pre-event content or post event conclusions.

What topics/themes are currently trending/popular?
Companies are much more focussed on their workforce and the environment as there is an ever-increasing acceptance that success and/or differentiation in marketplaces is foremost driven by the quality of your people within the organisation.

How to develop individuals when you have 5 different generations in the workplace and the challenges the different generations bring to the workplace environment is a fascinating and challenging problem for any business. On top of this, the future of the workplace itself is a core challenge for businesses of all size as individuals demand flexibility and cloud-based environments to work from. Leaders must understand not only how this is an achievable goal from a business perspective but how this affects their culture and business values too.

Of course, we should not forget the classic subjects that are consistently at the forefront – leadership, teamwork, change and technology.  The last couple of subjects being especially interesting as the futurist keynote speaker is becoming more based in what is going on in the world now rather than future gazing.

One final subject which has consistently trending high during the last 18 months is mental health and diversity as companies realise how critical this subject matter both for happy and successful individuals as well as thriving companies.

Do you feel the increasing focus on event tech is helping or hindering event content producers and speakers?
Event technology is like technology in the wider world – we are all still guilty (and I am at the forefront of this!) of being so impressed by the latest gadget or wowed by the latest tool which can deliver infinite possibilities, that we start at the end with the technology solution rather than at the beginning, which needs to define the business problem that we are hoping to solve.

Of course there are angles where event tech is starting to solve problems, which has demonstrable positive impact on an event, and from our perspective the content being delivered within it. One of the most obvious examples of this is interaction with the audience no longer relying on show of hands but using tools that allow questions to be asked by everyone, integrating the introverts and ensuring thoughts inspired from the speech are not forgotten. We see this as a positive initial technology step forward to optimise the networking element, which in turn drives enhanced ROI for delegates.

But at the same time, too often the expected format of technology to be used is hindering events and restricting delivery of a speaker’s content. This, I firmly believe, is something that will evolve over time as event content producers focus on defining the goals and fitting the tools (technological or otherwise) around the event rather than the other way round.

What are the key challenges facing the events industry?
Well there is Brexit of course, and I’m not sure many of us really know what the impact will be. What we have seen in the past is the events industry is pretty robust – there isn’t a better marketing channel for businesses to engage in which connects people with people, inspires innovation, conversations, success and so much more. Apart from the uncertainties ahead and having the courage to make decisions without clarity, I think the events industry has a lot to be optimistic about.

What are you most looking forward to about being involved in this year’s inVOYAGE?
Firstly I’m excited to be chairing inVOYAGE and having the opportunity to meet as many fellow delegates as possible. I find it incredibly valuable to listen and learn from the successes (and challenges) others have had within their role and hopefully I’ll be taking lots of notes with me back to the office.

We’re delighted to work with Andrew Grill to deliver the opening keynote as well as being involved with him in the deep dive sessions where we really get to explore some of the themes I have mentioned above both for individual businesses as well as the events industry as a whole. Being a fantastic speaker to address digital disruption, I have no doubts he will leave us with insight, questions and thoughts and I can’t wait to hear and see the reaction he generates at inVOYAGE!

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