25 Ways to Inspire and Elevate Your Events Program

David Saef, the Chief Instigator in Freeman’s strategic advisory practice, shares his expertise in event organization and corporate marketing in a post-pandemic world. In his interactive webinar, Saef explores 25 ways to implement strategies that will inspire and elevate your event programs, whether it be in-person, online, or a combination of both. While his 25 reasons cleverly served as an acronym for “Leading Through Uncertainty”, Saef successfully cultivated a safe, welcoming space to learn how to best navigate through the changes in the industry. Here are a few takeaways from the session, click here if you would like to watch the recorded session for all 25.


“Not Your Old Floor Plan” 

Being the most requested topic of the 25, Saef explained how traditional floor plans had to seriously change in order to make the most of both the space and the participants. Floor plans are commonly planned within a structured grid. However, due to circumstances of the pandemic, such as limited guests and health regulations, Saef suggested the industry move towards Area Zones. These zones are geared towards allowing people to safely share by community based on interest within the event. Area Zones prioritize time and audience needs. 


Guests also inquired how gaming can affect a digital event and exhibitor success. In general, we saw a positive outlook when incorporating gaming, with a 45% and 12 min increase in exhibitor engagement. However, it was noted that companies need to choose who and when these tactics are utilized for. For example, investing into gaming tactics with a more entry-level crowd will not be as efficient compared to a more experienced crowd.

“Touchless Immersion” 

The pandemic has placed multiple restrictions on what an experience entails. With Touchless Immersion, we can create our own picture, transporting guests into a new environment. This option is not only cost efficient, but would be truly memorable for everyone involved. The examples provided included a room evolved into the painting “Aterlier de Lumieres” and another room immersed into a pattern created by artist Yayoi Kusama. 

“Designing for Intent” 

Saef notes that the pandemic may often have us asking “How can I make my on-site, online?”. However, no matter how many times you ask yourself this question, it’s the wrong way of thinking. He suggests to not forcefully convert all our work to online, but instead that by doing less, and doing it better, we can find an equilibrium with doing both online and on-site events. For example, content curation will better help choose what should be delivered to certain audiences.

“Delivery Matters” 

As we move toward online, it is important to recognize how someone presents themselves on screen. Some suggestions for creating a successful online presence includes a smile, adequate headroom, alignment with the top third of the screen, and including your elbows. To create more lively communication, include body movement using your hands and upper body. 

Saef reminds us of the importance of taking breaks. Whether it be escaping to your safe haven, walking through nature, or having a coffee break, we all need to take a breather. By having the goal of uplifting others, we are creating an environment where we can all thrive. 

The Changing Role of Meeting & Event Planners

“The industry has changed more these past 6 months than ever in our lives,” our very own CEO, Tim O’Malley has stated. NHS Global Events President Sean Lynch, Michelle Durpetti Events Chief Planner Michelle Durpetti, and Huron Consulting Group Meetings & Events Manager Matthew Bohn share their thoughts on virtual events, pricing, and tips for future or current event planners during this difficult time. Want to watch the full video on our Youtube channel, just click here.

All four professionals agree that hybrid models are not going to end anytime soon. So,  how do we generate excitement using hybrid models? Lynch says the key is to broadcast these events by using production value. This includes assets such as lighting and sound that were crucial before the pandemic. 


Now, It’s important more than ever for an event to have fluidity and simplicity. “Remember it’s about the audience, the right content in front of the right people,” states Bohn. A useful tactic used by Huron Consulting Group during a virtual event is to incorporate a Q&A in the live chat. They also create polls that will keep the audience engaged.

Another question you may ask is, “how to lay out the experience” virtually. For example, in a gala if there was a certain meal, beverage or gift that would be provided in-person, that same commodity can be enjoyed virtually and sent out through the mail. 

In terms of pricing and business appeal, “everyone’s budgets have been slashed,” states Bohn. He mentions how important it is to work within budgets during this time. Lynch says to not be discouraged, “event planners are still worth the hours they put in.” He emphasizes to be proud of your product and the services you’re selling. Lastly, one aspect of business appeal mentioned by all the professionals is the need to have clear and updated websites. 

During this time it’s necessary to continue learning & cultivating communication, working on professional development and leveraging strengths. 

Career Search Success Strategies for Hospitality, Tourism, and Events Industries

Interview Like an Expert President, Lynée Alves helps those in need of career tips and strategies. Alves is a professional career expert and has focused on recruiting, interviewing, and hiring for more than 20 years. Here is her advice on topics such as current challenges, resumes, LinkedIn, interviews, and mindset. 

It’s no secret that career search has become even more challenging due to COVID-19. There’s more competition, a rise of resume filtering software, and higher rates of unemployment. Applying is just the first step in the job process, but Alves gives a list of tips that will help your resume stand out. Watch the webinar below, or click here to watch on our Youtube channel.


Your resume must be in an updated format and layout with a sans serif font. You need a clear header that includes your LinkedIn URL and a professional summary, that highlights your key strengths and skills. “The most important part of your resume is the top half,” says Alves. When listing professional experience she advises to list responsibilities but to focus on your results and accomplishments. Additionally, job experience only needs to go back 20-25 years and if you have more than 15 years of work experience listing a graduation date is not necessary. 

When discussing LinkedIn, Alves emphasizes the importance of professional social networking. Recruiters use LinkedIn Recruiter daily and look for potential employees. On your LinkedIn headline, you can write your job title plus key strengths and skills. The ‘About’ tab is the place to write about what makes you unique and interesting in what you do. You can also make an ‘open to opportunities” tab with the type of job you're looking for and make it public for recruiters to see. Alves advises to have regular activity on LinkedIn and to ideally have 500+ connections. Posting and sharing content on LinkedIn will help you become more visible.

Interviewing can be nerve-wracking, but Alves ensures research and practice can help make a difference. Always visit the company website and learn the role you’re applying for. Focus on soft skills which are characteristics that showcase your teamwork and communication capabilities. If you’re nervous, create a cheat sheet, practice out loud, and study interview questions that can be found online. If you’re interested in a career pivot, Alves advises focusing on your professional experience and what’s most transferable in similar roles. 

Alves says the secret weapon is the mindset. “You attract what you put into the world.” Focus on positivity, your strengths, and be confident in yourself and your work experience. You can join Alves’s Facebook group if you’re looking for additional resources. 

Written By: Marla Chavez Garcia

Live events may always have our heart, but virtual helps us smile right now

Things just aren’t easy now, for pretty much everyone. Sometimes it’s even tough to think about all the ways we used to be able to get together and connect only a year ago... And that’s just the baseline these days. We’re not trying to bum anyone out here, but we think about this stuff. 

Lately, if anything funny or cool or interesting does happen, it seems to be happening in the virtual world. Like, Shaq being too big for even virtual NBA bleachers. Or Shia LaBeouf smoking weed in his truck during the virtual Fast Times at Ridgemont High table read... The virtual world, and virtual events, feel light and fun right now, because they feel more natural. And to be honest, more safe. Maybe hybrid events will get there soon. We hope. But a packed convention hall is sadly not happening anytime soon.

In fact, one of the reasons we built Expo Pass was to help organizers get thousands of people into an event space as fast as possible -- not sitting in front of their webcams. Sure, we had ideas about how virtual events could change everything, but live events were king... Until the world made it clear that live events were in fact, not king… And we had our first freak out. And then we quickly decided to pivot -- to utilize the strong platform that we had already built for live events, to support virtual events in every form. Including a new attendee interface to spur engagement between attendees and sponsors/exhibitors. And we also added streaming, obviously. 

The Expo Pass platform now gives organizers the power to plan events that might be live, hybrid, or virtual, and then decide on the right format whenever it feels right. The branded registration and check-in process stays the same, and everything organizers build in Expo Pass stays intact in any event format. So switching to virtual, or hybrid, or maybe even making the leap to live one day, becomes a no stress decision. Which is what we all need right now. 

It’s hard to tell how everything is going to end up. But after a few months of this new normal, it’s clear that events still make sense. They can still be good fun. And maybe even make the day a little easier. And that’s what we want to be a part of. Now more than ever.

We would love to share some ideas and practices we have seen while helping hundreds of event planners produce virtual events. Our Zooms are always on, literally, and we’re here to help out in any way we can. To schedule a chat, please visit www.expopass.com/lets-talk.


Written By: The Expo Team