GMID is one of my favorite days of the year. It gives us in the event industry a day to come together and celebrate community, connection, and collaboration. We come together to tell others outside of the industry why meetings mean business and remember that it takes a village to produce exceptional events.
#GMID2021 was filled with a buffet of on-demand, live virtual and hybrid events across the world. In contrast to last year, where many programs served as therapy sessions, day drinking opportunities, and group hugs – this year was filled with stories of recovery. Sessions were overflowing with a renaissance of ideas around resuming meetings in-person and how events had thrived from March 2020 to the present.
Did this mean that things went exactly right? Absolutely not.
And I think what was interesting as a thread throughout the day was the vulnerability and transparency across programs, people, and platforms around the message that we didn’t have to have it exactly perfect.
We are still here.
It looks different to meet; we’re facing different challenges—and many of the same. But we’re still here, and we’re going to keep driving innovation and transformation as we pave the road into the future of events.
Highlights from GMID 2021
Navigating events in a new normal
Conversations around liability, contracts, vaccine passports, and insurance abounded. Tactical and strategic questions of how you're handling these topics, what the new best practices are, and requests for more and more information were hot and looking for a place to land.
One of our favorite new finds is Kimberly Corbin’s Meeting Shields and an old favorite, Desi Whitney’s Emergency Concierge. Both brought checklists, legal perspectives, and ideas for figuring out who should be asking for what and when from a regulatory perspective.
Conversations around diversity and inclusion
More than once, I was on a Slack channel or Twitter thread where someone made comments like, “Man, that’s a lot of white people here,” or, “I think the conversation happening around DEI is awfully performative.”
Intentions were in the right place, but it seems apparent that we as an industry still need to do more work around this topic. This means having discussions on how each of us can play a role in helping ensure equity at the table for our meetings, events, leadership, and stages.
staffing, staffing, staffing...
With so many still on furlough, laid off, or figuring out the new normal, those that are creeping back into in-person events are discovering an alarming lack of staffing and uncertainty of when to expect full teams back onsite.
Tim Albright, CMO of Conference Technologies Inc and founder of AVNation, jumped on Nifty Method’s GMID live stream to fill in some of these uncertainties still looming in staff needs. He provided several resources to find production teams to help you navigate and close these ongoing gaps in expertise and talent for your audiovisual needs.
💡Pro tip: Add to your checklist for your site visits questions around how and when staffing plans and timing for housekeeping, banquet teams, and general venue staff to ensure your meeting isn't lacking them.
Lots of lively... and not so lively conversation
No matter how you spin it, engagement is still missing or isn't up to par at events. Many of the programs put on by event associations and industry groups were pre-recorded, which meant the conversations were one-sided during many of the presentations.
Twine, Icebreaker, and the #GMIDParkingLotParty over on Clubhouse helped filled in the gaps by provided “hallway” and networking conversations depending on where you planned your day.
By the way— #GMIDParkingLotParty was one of my favorites as the Clubhouse room has been the closest that I’ve gotten to a real in-person event experience since this whole pandemic thing has gone down.
Let’s be real—entertainment suffered from a virtual perspective. Yes, there were some great moments with SongDivision, notably performing an MPI song, as well as a happy hour event and other online events bringing in a comedian emcee.
However, it mostly felt like we were still at home, weirdly watching people sing on camera while the rest of the video chat watched, sipped a beverage, and awkwardly bounced their heads along.
The Nifty Experience
Here at Nifty Method, we had a full lineup of speakers, ranging from topics over events to leading hybrid activities.
- Jenny McDevitt, DES joined us to talk about the Future of Events, and Erin Keplinger joined us from CTI to talk about the Future of AV.
- Tim Albright hosted an AMA around Production and Getting Back to Work Safely.
- Scott Drennan led an amazing session around innovation and the future of leading transformation in events.
- To round out the day, the Caldwell Vineyard Crew presented a how-to on booking and leading hybrid events like wine tasting.
- Check each of these out on-demand, as we’ll be sharing tidbits over the next few weeks.
How did we do our livestream?
For the second year in a row, Nifty Method produced its own GMID event. This year, we're sharing what our tech and studio tech looks like:
- Broadcast software: Wirecast as our production software with its networking built-in feature Rendezvous to bring in our live guests.
- Livestreaming software: Vimeo Enterprise served as our virtual stage and simultaneous chat
- Virtual Event Venue Stage: Hubspot functioned as our registration platform and website. All these pieces came together to stream live from our Nifty Method studio. Our main setup featured the following:
- Our studio setup and tech:
We also dropped in repeatedly to the Global Events Collective GMID Parking Lot Party. Aside from the amazing conversations, we were given a first look at their newest sizzle reel about their upcoming documentary: Moments that Matter.
Bringing It All Together
We tried to make it to a hybrid event at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas but weren’t able to fit it in. And I suppose in some ways, that’s absolutely progress. The day was full without being in-person, and we left rejuvenated and excited for possibilities for the rest of 2021.
GMID 2021 in the books. We look forward to seeing each of you around online and in-person over the next year and sharing why meetings mean business to the greater world. Let’s meet well, meet safely, and meet often.