By Ben Chodor

The past several months have forced businesses in every industry to assess their preparedness and flexibility. For some, that involved scaling quickly and becoming fully digitized; for others, it meant focusing on digital to bridge the gap while shelter-in-place orders were in effect around the globe. From what I’ve seen, the event industry experienced both kinds of changes. I have worked in the digital video industry for more than 20 years, and I had never seen such a quick, dramatic shift.

Events and conferences around the world have been cancelled, postponed or transformed into full virtual events. We are nearly six months in, and there still does not appear to be an end to social distancing in sight. As leaders, we want to remain optimistic, but the odds of being able to travel and attend in-person conferences and events remain low for the foreseeable future. It’s also worth considering how comfortable people will be with attending in-person events in the future. Will they want to go? Will attendees shake hands? How many people will be permitted indoors? These are all valid questions and conversations the industry is having.

As we think about reopening and what the future of networking and events will look like, it’s important to note that there is no going back. It’s unrealistic to think that the planning and learning curve that marketers and those of us in the event industry have experienced will be forgotten. However, the forced adoption of digital events has generated additional marketing opportunities and identified new ways to enhance the overall experience and maximize the potential for those participating.

Adapting to change is hard, and business leaders have been trying their best to understand what the new normal will entail. Change requires people to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, and because of that, not everyone is always in agreement. Not everyone will adopt a virtual event strategy, and some may be slower to transition. We’ve seen other industries experience similar changes like this. For example, in the early 2000s, digital media was on the rise and was considered to be the demise of print publications. Today, both print and digital remain. I do not anticipate that in-person events will fade from our future calendars and lives completely. Instead, I see virtual and physical events working together in tandem — as a hybrid, an insurance policy or another way to expand reach and capitalize on marketing to specific audiences globally.

Entering uncharted territory can be intimidating. Prior to the pandemic, virtual events were used in a limited fashion. Today, millions are attending virtual events from their homes, saving time and money and allowing themselves to comfortably partake in sessions and engage when they choose to. While the shift to virtual events may sound rather simple, there are several different elements involved that require coordination, collaboration and direction.

Here are some tips and suggestions for those looking to combine in-person and virtual events in 2021 and beyond.

Plan In Advance

We’ve seen events get cancelled completely or postponed due to severe weather, travel restrictions and now a pandemic. Rather than having to shift your strategy and revamp an entire event in record time, consider planning to have both in-person and virtual events from the beginning. By having the in-person event team and virtual event team collaborate during the initial planning phase, you’ll be one step closer to providing a smooth experience regardless of circumstances beyond your control.

Make The Experiences Complementary

Both events should have a creative element to them, but they should also intertwine and complement each other. If you are branding a venue a certain way or unveiling something special, be sure to marry the branding and hype across both events. Bring online and in-person attendees together by encouraging them to engage in your app and in chat rooms during live Q&As and more.

Give Sponsors The Chance To Reach Both Audiences

In-person booths now have the opportunity to become digital as well. Having an on-the-ground team go live on location at the sponsorship booths for those attending virtually can be a win for all parties involved. Organizers may also consider hiring an audio-visual team to set up projection screens throughout the venue to showcase online programming, questions, sponsorship reels or product demonstrations taking place from different locations throughout the world.

Catalog The Content

Map out what content will be available both in-person and virtually, and devise a marketing plan to promote the materials and maximize content distribution. This makes it convenient for attendees to access what they want when they want, and it also can decrease printing costs for vendors. Whether it’s marketing materials or recorded videos from on-site sessions, make sure the content is easily accessible for both virtual and in-person attendees. This gives the latter the opportunity to replay sessions and presentations they may have missed while attending other activities in different halls or networking.

While we wait for the world to return to some form of normalcy, it’s evident to me that we will not go back to where we once were. The events industry has evolved. Marketers, event organizers, attendees and businesses should embrace the new format, which blends the best of both worlds — physical and virtual. To continue to deliver exceptional experiences, consider the different audiences and their locations, and get creative in combining both in-person and virtual events.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Ben Chodor

Ben Chodor is President of Intrado Digital MediaRead Ben Chodor’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes


LinkedIn is probably the single best website for professionals who want to promote their personal brands, network with others and practice some online karma by saying good things about their peers.

It’s the “adult table” among social media channels.

However, as with anything else online, there are tried-and-true practices you should follow on LinkedIn.

That way, you can be certain you convey the proper tone, leave the right impression and ultimately land a great opportunity, in line with your career goals.

Here are nine ways to get the most from LinkedIn:

1. Connect with personality.

If you’ve used LinkedIn for any length of time, you’ve probably received numerous requests for a connection. Most of them were likely a connection request with no message at all.

That’s typical LinkedIn usage.

Of course, part of your purpose on the social media website is to stand out. To do that, you can’t be typical.

Instead of just sending people a generic connection request, add a message to it, explaining why you’d like to connect.

By adding a simple, “I really enjoyed our telephone conversation on Tuesday,” or, “It was great meeting with you earlier today,” you’ll leave a much more positive impression.

2. Be consistent.

If you’re making any kind of online effort to promote yourself, there is one word that should characterize your journey: consistency.

Simply put, you’ll be ineffective on LinkedIn if you’re an on-again, off-again user.

That’s why you should be constantly logging on, engaging with others, recommending peers, sharing articles and keeping your résumé up-to-date.

Think of your LinkedIn presence as bread. It has a short shelf-life, and it goes stale quickly if it’s not used.

3. Social media is a great place for social proof.

If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, “social proof,” it’s basically a reference to online testimonials by other people about how great you are.

Fortunately, LinkedIn allows people in your network to endorse you as an expert in your skills.

For example, if you’re an accountant, you can ask people in your LinkedIn network who are familiar with your accounting skills to endorse you for it on your profile.

Then, others who view your profile will see your accounting skills are recognized by several others.

Users will want to know for sure you have the skills you claim to have.

One of the best ways to reassure them is with social proof. If you haven’t already done so, reach out to people in your network and ask them to endorse you for your listed skills.

Also, recommend other people, and ask them to recommend you as well.

Recommendations on LinkedIn are like digital references.

Through them, you can show potential employers others who have worked with you think highly of you.

4. Understand the principle of brand name recognition.

Remember, LinkedIn is about building your personal brand. One of the best ways to do that is by creating brand name recognition.

What is the LinkedIn version of brand name recognition? As the name implies, it means people will recognize your name when they see you online. Be sure to keep your name in front of your fellow LinkedIn users.

Create blog posts, comment on the blogs of others and participate in active groups of people who share your interests. That way, you’ll be developing personal brand name recognition.

5. Remember: What goes around comes around.

LinkedIn is a great place to practice the principle of sowing and reaping, often referred to as “karma.” The site gives you a wealth of opportunity to go out of your way to help other people by recommending them, endorsing their skills and connecting them with the right people.

When you do that, you’ll eventually see others doing the same for you. Although you’re trying to promote yourself on LinkedIn, it’s always a good idea to also promote others.

6. Use LinkedIn when you don’t need it.

The sad reality is people often find themselves out of work due to company layoffs or budget cuts. They then try to network on LinkedIn so they can find a job quickly, but by that point, they face a tough effort.

It’s best to use LinkedIn to build relationships and practice karma when you don’t need a job yourself.

Then, if you find you’re suddenly unemployed, you have a portfolio of connections that might lead to your next income.

On top of finding a job, LinkedIn can help you find business. Even business owners with years of experience can use the platform to form connections and network.

Having a stellar profile also helps potential clients who are searching for you to get to know you and your business better.

One thing you can do to aid in this is to share your accomplishments and successes in your profile, so potential clients can see what benefits you can bring them.

7. Use a call to action on your profile.

A call to action is when you ask somebody to do something.

On LinkedIn, it’s a great way to give people a little nudge to click on a button or link that will take them to your webpage.

People often fill out their LinkedIn profiles and offer up a generic “my website,” hoping viewers will click the link.

You should create a call to action with something more in depth like, “Click Here to See How I Can Save Your Business 10 Percent in Energy Costs.”

That’s far more marketable than a generic description.

8. Optimize your profile.

Did you know employers and potential clients actually use the “search” function on LinkedIn to find people who have a certain skill set?

They do that by searching for keywords such as “Java,” “accountant,” “project manager” and “electrical engineer.”

If you want to be found by people who are searching for some of the skills you possess, practice a little LinkedIn search engine optimization.

Be certain your profile is rich in the keywords that reflect your competencies.

9. Avoid the predictable buzzwords.

Are you “efficient” and “effective?”

No, you’re boring.

Remember you want to stand out.

You’ll do that by describing yourself in a way that doesn’t make you sound like you’re writing a generic résumé.

Think about power words you can use in your profile to impact those who are viewing it.

Look for creative ways to highlight your career history, and what you offer potential employers.

LinkedIn is an ideal way to build a network of professionals online.

Just be certain you’re maximizing your impact on the social media site.

Feature Image CreditVictor Torres



Sourced from ELITE DAILY

By Ted Leonhardt

Hey! Get on board with this critically important personal branding advice! You too can become a brand like Nike, Apple, or Tesla. You too can be famous like Steve Jobs. Sheryl Sandberg. Oprah! You just need a logo, a catchy name, and an elevator pitch. That’ll get you started. Then add:

Social media – The new “how to win friends and influence people” comes envy-enabled and bursting with bunny pics. Tag your momma and hashtag your mantra.

Public speaking – Why not be brave? The only thing people are more scared of is dogs. Imagine yourself entrancing that huge audience as you clickety-click through your PowerPoint. Dare I use the “T word?” Big stage TED is public speaking on steroids.

Write a book, become a thought leader – Imagine how many books you’ll sell once your TED talk goes viral.

Do all these things. Be confident (even when you feel vulnerable), be original (even if it means copying someone), develop your elevator pitch (even if you’re afraid of heights) and build your personal brand. Once you become a brand, the world will follow.

Screw that (if you even made it this far). People are people and brands are brands. Branding was created to inject innate, commodity products with human characteristics so the products would be more appealing to humans. “Defining the functional and emotional benefits” is what it’s called in brand-consulting land.

We are born with functional and emotional benefits and spend our lives creating a reputation, not a damn brand The fact is, we are born with functional and emotional benefits and spend our lives creating a reputation, not a damn brand. Did some personal branding expert tell you to create an elevator pitch? Don’t do it. It’s disingenuous and degrading. Elevator pitches make the listener uncomfortable. And mostly they make the speaker feel weird too. Next time you’re stuck in an elevator with someone just say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious backwards three times.

They’ll remember that!

People: To mangle a Walt Whitman quote, humans are large and contain multitudes. Complex, textured, smart-and-stupid. Contradictory. Jam-packed with congenital emotional and functional benefits. Connect with others auto-magically.
Hidden attributes make us interesting.

Brands: Consistent, reliable experiences. Simple, clear, and direct. Have emotional and functional benefits made up (by people!). Strive to connect personally so people will spend money. Hidden attributes­­ –bad.

Personal-plus-branding is no peanut butter-plus-chocolate accidental smashup that turns out just right. It’s a bad fit. It means you are a liar, creating a fictional story about yourself. Your real story is much more interesting.

Where To Start?

Find a way that you really help people. This might be something you already know about, but be open to surprising yourself. Ask the people you work with and interact with for some specifics on how you’ve helped them.

Stand for something that’s important to you and extend that to others. What matters to the people you want to matter to? And what do people need? These are great ways to build community.

Build on your existing reputation, what you’re known for, what you love to do.

Let people know what drives you. Let people know who you are, what your personal interests are.

Take care of yourself and your personal sustenance by pinpointing the place that your skills and expertise intersect with money.

Talking About It – What We Can Learn From Brands

Be clear and direct when you present what you do.

Just do it.

The Real Thing

Driving Machine

Think Different

Most people struggle with being brief and that’s fine. You’re not a brand, and you don’t need an elevator pitch. But it’s all right to think in terms of concision and of communicating in a way that doesn’t impose on others’ time.

What’s the issue you want to explain to a prospect, investor, coworker, friend, or client? Why is this problem a problem? Who needs the help? And why do they need help? How you will solve their problem?

What we can learn from brands: Be clear and direct when you present what you do. Describe it in three sentences or fewer. Here’s what I’ve been saying about my work:

Creatives are more emotional than the general population and have a difficult time asking for money as a result. I provide insights and techniques specifically designed for creatives to ask for and get the money they need to succeed.

What we can learn from brands: Be clear and direct when you present what you do. Get it down to three words. Mine:

Protector of creatives.

On the face of it, distilling your essence down to three words might seem like coming up with a personal brand. But it’s not. For example, you could take those three words and build a brand around them, but you couldn’t take me and shape me around three little words if the fit wasn’t there. It’s a reasonably fine line to walk, the one between writing fiction about yourself and using words to tell your story. You’ll know you’re walking on the right side of the line when you feel empowered and emboldened, not like you’ve just constructed a house of cards.

By Ted Leonhardt

Ted Leonhardt is a designer and illustrator, and former global creative director of FITCH Worldwide. His specialized approach to negotiation helps creative workers build on their strengths and own their value in the marketplace. Ted is the author of Nail It, a contributor to Fast Company, and publisher of NAIL Magazine.

Sourced from Brand Quarterly

By J. Kelly Hoey.

People see your email signature much more often than your business card.
Networking. The mere word conjures up discomfort: There you are, making forced small talk with complete strangers while balancing cube-shaped cheese or veggies and a pool of dip on a plastic plate.

But networking isn’t just an activity you do over cocktails and canapés, with conversations centered around safe topics like the weather or what you find most “rewarding” about your job. Nor does it require coffee or sitting awkwardly through yet another “informational interview.”

To use LinkedIn to its fullest, you can’t just treat it as a directory.

Networking is simply any act that builds strong personal connections with other people. And it’s an essential activity—a necessary evil, some may say—for advancing your career or, if you’re an entrepreneur, for securing new business and meeting investors. Since it’s a human-focused undertaking, you’re actually networking every time you interact with another person—or at least you can be.

Each tap, tweet, post, message, and comment is the chance to make a connection—therefore, it’s networking. That means that in the space of an ordinary workday, you have plenty of opportunities to network in a multitude of micro-ways, hold the micro-cheese. Here are a few of them.

Your Email Signature

Come what may of other communication tools, email isn’t going anywhere soon. According to a recent Radicati report, the average number of business emails sent and received per user each day totaled 122. And that figure is set to grow; by 2019, researchers estimate, we’ll be trading 126 emails a day.

So rather than groaning about the state of your inbox, consider the 122 networking opportunities you have each time you hit “send.” Set up an email signature line if you don’t have one, and take a fresh look at it if you do. Do recipients know not only how to reach you (off email) but also what they should be seeking you out for when they do?

Does your signature line appear at the bottom of each email sent, or do you have to remember to drop it in each time? Send yourself an email and consider how it looks from the perspective of a recipient. Would you like to talk to that person on the basis of the signature line alone? If not, change it.

LinkedIn Updates

You may have a polished, professional, up-to-date profile on LinkedIn, but that only tells part of your career story. To use LinkedIn to its fullest, you can’t just treat it as a directory. You have to share updates pretty regularly in order to tell connections what’s on your mind, whether it’s your point of view on some industry news story or just congratulating a colleague on a business win.

Set up an email signature line if you don’t have one, and take a fresh look at it if you do.

You can break out of your own immediate professional sphere, too. Consider sharing updates on a nonprofit cause you care about; many business connections deepen around shared charitable interests, not just professional ones.

And yes, updates are a chance to toot your own business horn—but just as the best networking isn’t all “me me me,” you should also use updates to cross-sell your colleagues’ talents or promote the services of vendors you trust. (Just remember that LinkedIn is still a business platform, so keep your LOLs and selfies for other social networking sites.)

Your Speaker Or Award Bio

Okay, maybe you aren’t exactly invited to speak or receive an award on a daily basis, but the further you go in your career, the more often these opportunities may crop up. As they do, you’ll need to craft custom bios that are tailored to each one. And as counterintuitive as it sounds, even if you’re the main-stage attraction, the bio you submit should be all about the audience, not about you: Who are they? Why do they care about what you have to say or what you’ve accomplished? How can you draft your bio to connect with them more meaningfully?

The bio you submit won’t just appear in a program handout, it’s also likely to be posted on the event or organization’s website, included in online marketing materials and even a press release (where others will readily find it with a quick Google search). So take the time to craft a targeted bio each time you’re asked for one. Use the opportunity to not only just tell them what you’ve done in the past, but also to show them what they should be seeking from you in the future.

FAQs And Instruction Materials

Whether someone chooses to buy your product or service may come down to how you network your FAQs. Even an instruction manual can be the deciding factor for future purchases:

To be fair, as an individual professional, you aren’t singlehandedly building and selling cars, but if you’re a consultant or independent worker, chances are you have an FAQ page on your website. Pay attention to it. Even if you’re an employee in a traditional business, chances are you’ve been called on at some point to train a new hire. Any guides or resources you draw up in the process are direct proof of your knowledge base and communication skills—and in one sense, of your networking prowess.

Just like good dinner conversation, all of these resources should guide and engage, leaving the inquirer better informed and, hopefully, impressed by your expertise.

Your Professional Headshot

Have a look at the photo you’re using on networking sites—not just on LinkedIn and Twitter, but also Facebook, Google+, and even Instagram and Snapchat. The standard “shoulders suit and tie” portrait could be as unapproachable as the “candidly caught lounging on the sofa” selfie.

Does your photo show who you really are? Does it convey your personality?

Does your photo show who you really are? Does it convey your personality? It’s 2017, but so many people’s headshots on even the most well-established platforms still aren’t formatted properly—they’re sized wrong and wind up pixellated, cropped, or stretched awkwardly. This doesn’t just look unprofessional, it’s bad networking.

Keep in mind, too, that there’s no hard and fast rule as to whether you should use an identical photo on each site versus changing it up depending on the social platform. It depends on how (and how much) you use each one. But whatever you do, your image should fit the type of networking scenario you’re looking to create in a given digital space.

The bottom line is that you should put as much care and consistency into these routine activities as you would a formal business event. You can network in more ways and places (and often more effectively) than you might think.

By J. Kelly Hoey

J. Kelly Hoey is a speaker, investor, and author whose latest book is Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World.

Sourced from FastCompany