Eventex in the spotlight, the series that brings you insight from event industry leaders and introduces Eventex Awards jury presidents, is happy to present Paul Cook, an events writer, producer and lecturer, and founder of Hybrid Event Centre. Paul shares his events industry journey and gives valuable insight into how to organize hybrid events. Last but not least, he has some inspiring tips for all those who’re about to craft their Eventex Awards entry.
While insurance was Paul’s first career, he also set up a company for content sharing back in 2008. It wasn’t until years later, however, when he was invited to go climb Mount Kilimanjaro, that he took a decision that would put him firmly into the path of events.
“I think it was whilst I was on this journey that I thought, I really don’t want to give [the porters] anything extra that is gonna weigh them down. And that became something that I felt really strongly about. So, I thought, yeah, why be bogged down with things that are no use to you? And when I came back to the UK, I decided that I didn’t love the insurance enough, that I needed to let it go. So, within a week of getting back off the mountain, I went to the people in the insurance and said, right, exit me out of here because I’m not enjoying it enough.”
Paul’s insurance experience, however, has helped him “sell the invisible” when it comes to vitural and hybrid events which went through the rough as Covid hit.
“When it came to talking to clients about what a virtual event might look like, it was drawing on some of those skills again. So, we can’t quite see, we don’t know what it’s gonna look like, how can we know it’s gonna be a success?”
Paul does share some insight with Laura on how to make a hybrid event a success.
“It’s about knowing that when you have a hybrid event, it has to work, so that each of the audiences can have their experience, which is fine. But then there are gonna be times when you’re bringing both elements together so that you are integrating both sets of attendees and you can do that through exercises, you can do that through games.”
It’s no wonder then that hybrid events have raised the bar of expectations among customers and audiences.
“Our clients, our buyers, our attendees, they are way more sophisticated than ever before. And they are expecting all sorts of things because of all this hybrid world that we’re in. And I think we need to keep striving to push those edges, to push the things we can do.”
As a jury president, Paul also has some advice to give to those entering Eventex Awards.
“Before you even begin to fill in an award entry, just take a breath and say, why are we doing this? What do we want to achieve by putting this entry in? What does it do and how does that benefit all of us? Because, I think, if you understand why you’re entering, that it’s gonna make the way that you structure your entry that much cleaner.”
He further urges entrants to not be afraid to share if something went wrong with their event, “because the journey is just as important”.
“If you’ve got something that you’ve overcome, I think it’s that much stronger.”
Paul Cook has been immersed in events for over 20 years, as a writer, researcher, speaker, facilitator, educator, advisor, and producer. He is also the founder of the Hybrid Event Centre.
Laura Schwartz is a professional Emcee and Keynote Speaker — one of the top 7 speakers in the US. She’s been the Director of Events for the Clinton Administration, where she created and executed more than 1,000 White House events. Laura is an Eventex jury president, host of Eventex in the Spotlight series, and partner.
Eventex in the Spotlight is a new series by Eventex which showcases prominent leaders from the world of events and experiential marketing. Watch all the episodes and get inspired.