EMEC: A Look at the Industry From the “Outside In”

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EMEC: A Look at the Industry From the “Outside In”

By Blair Potter | May 3, 2021

Dr. Jackie Mulligan, SFIPM, founder and CEO of ShopAppy, says digital event environments (which have proliferated during pandemic lockdowns) have provided learning and networking opportunities in a way that is more comfortable for many than in-person environments—less socially awkward and inconvenient. She says meeting professionals must take ideas that have been successful in the digital realm and combine them with in-person events.

“Providing multiple channels that have been adapted during COVID-19 for people to access events on their own terms could provide a very positive impact long term,” Mulligan says. “In addition, the most agile meeting professionals have adapted quickly using new tools, and these will continue to advance and will become a permanent part of the industry.”

Mulligan will be a panelist for the “Outside In” session during the MPI European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC), which this year will be an all-virtual event on June 15. The panel discussion, led by Miguel Neves, editor in chief of EventMB, will offer a look at the future of the events sector and the problems that it currently faces from those who are knowledgeable about and have experience in the sector but are now distant enough to offer an outside perspective. 

Make Your Future. MPI European Meetings & Events Conference, 15 June, 2021.

Mulligan says it will be critical to provide and monetize omnichannel event operations in order to flex with client, sponsor and attendee demands going forward.

“Towards the end of lockdown No. 3, we got Zoom fatigue and asked, ‘Could that Zoom have been an email?’ in similar ways that we ask, ‘Could that event have been a Zoom?’” she says. “We have to be very cognizant that asking people to travel to an in-person event will need to be very well justified and the value unquestionable.”

Mulligan says that while it is clear meeting professionals will now need to understand content curation while demonstrating a new level of broadcast and technical competence, the mindset for in-person events will also need to be open and continually adapting, with new innovations driving safe and engaging environments.

“The new normal we are in will mean widening the scope of where and how meetings happen and, most importantly, why,” she says. “The scope of the role of meeting professionals will expand as a result.”

“Providing multiple channels that have been adapted during COVID-19 for people to access events on their own terms could provide a very positive impact long term.”

Paul Cook, an event producer who specializes in virtual and hybrid events and will be producing EMEC 2021, says there is no doubt in his mind that crowdsourcing and collaboration have helped create a strong program for the event.

“Crowdsourcing enables us to look at key concerns and issues that the chapters and members are facing,” he says. “Spotting recurring themes helps identify content that will be useful to all. Collaboration then becomes the next step to produce innovation to that content.”

Cook says MPI European chapters are contributing to EMEC in a variety of ways, including providing content suggestions and thoughts on speakers.

“The chapter leaders have also been busy encouraging their members and non-members to come,” he says. “It is, after all, a high-value event with a very low ticket price.”

Mulligan hopes those who attend the “Outside In” session will gain different perspectives that will help them be more resilient and see opportunities within the current crisis and beyond.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels



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Blair Potter

Blair Potter is director of media operations for MPI. He likes toys and collects cats (or is it the other way around?).