Speaker Q & A: Jeremy Shakerley, managing director of UKSV
Jeremy Shakerley, managing director of UKSV talks about immersive events and explains the benefits ahead of his educational session on the subject at The Meetings Show on Thursday 27 June.
What will you be tackling in your session at The Meetings Show?
My session at The Meetings Show will cover everything surrounding immersive events, from the initial planning stage to the day of the event.
How would you define an 'immersive event'?
Creating an immersive event is all about engaging the delegates as much as possible. All of the elements of the events should immerse the delegates, so they feel completely involved in what is happening. Delegates need to feel like they have an influence on the event themselves.
Can you share an example of a successful immersive event you have hosted or attended?
One immersive event that I always look back fondly on was the Close Brothers Conference earlier this year. We were tasked with designing, supplying and creating the entire conference from the ground up; to create something from nothing and to be instrumental in writing the brief and the agenda. The primary aim of the conference was to engage unite, educate, inspire and entertain the audience.
The first way which we created an immersive atmosphere was through story telling. We wanted attendees in four pods of 50 and moving around the conference space whilst sharing stories from Close Brothers i.e. ‘A day in the life of a sales rep’. Using the same technology used in silent discos, we were able to create four distinct pods that rotated through the fascinating short stories of our carefully prepped and selected presenters.
Another prominent immersive feature of the conference was an open panel with the leadership team and external speakers, such as the Mayor of Manchester. We used an app, Sli.do, to give the audience a voice and make discussions interactive. Sli.do enabled those attending to ask questions to the panel in the open discussions and to feel involved rather than preached to.
What are the benefits of running an immersive event?
For event organisers, the biggest benefit of creating an immersive event is how engaged delegates become with the message and aim of the event. If delegates are fully immersed in an event, they are more likely to be aware of the key messages and have more of a response to the overall aim of the event.
An immersive event also creates a more positive experience for each of the delegates. Immersive events provide plenty of value to delegates as they feel involved and instrumental in the day. If done well, they’ll be both entertained and educated!
What is the secret to getting delegates to engage in an event?
Know who the delegates are – that’s the main thing to consider. You can have impressive light shows, expensive celebrity speakers and top-of-the range giveaways, but none of this will matter if you don’t understand what interests the delegates.
What do you hope that people will learn in your session at The Meetings Show?
I hope that from sharing my 20+ years’ experience of creating immersive events, attendees at The Meetings Show can create their own immersive event that bonds people together, creates a positive experience for planners and delegates alike and keeps the memory of the event in people’s minds for years to come.
Jeremy Shakerley will lead the session ‘Going immersive’ at The Meetings Show’s The Skills Clinic Campfire on Thursday 27 June at 11.10am.