What I’ve noticed is that the last 2 years of the pandemic has really re-invigorated what it means to host events and meetings because it forced us to be innovative again.

Grace & Ease Productions, Inc supports our clients in creating Powerful and Profitable events.

Producing In-Person and Live-Virtual events from 200 to 4,000 attendees, and collaborating with many well-known celebrities such as Dr. Oz, Lisa Nichols, Bill Baren, Alison J. Prince, Josh Turner, and many others. We assist Speak-to-Sell clients to be extremely profitable with their events: generating over $2 Million dollars in one LIVE 3-day event. And just recently, a client added $790K to the books in her VIRTUAL Live event.

During the global pandemic, our clients have made over $3.7 million in revenue, an average of nearly $400,000 per client, and changing the lives of over 7,000 attendees.

Our team handles all planning, execution, and implementation of Virtual LIVE and In-person events to create experiential, revenue-generating, and exciting events for attendees.

How long has your company been producing events? What is your main focus?

Since 2014. My specialty is helping transformational leaders, make Money and Impact with Powerful & Profitable Live Events. My team and I assist them to plan, produce and host a Powerful & Profitable event with grace & ease. Taking away all the pre-planning logistical stress so they can focus on being on stage, making an impact in their clients’ lives, and ultimately doing the thing they were meant to do.

What do you enjoy most about your role in corporate event planning?

What I love most about my role in transformational experiential events is watching people come in being a little unsure and afraid of what’s going to occur, and what they’re going to be getting out of the event. They may not know anybody and then by the end of it, it’s like a big family. The transformation that happens and the experience that the audience ends up having creates a community that I’ve never seen before and you just now gained 300 new friends in the 3-day event.

How do you keep up with the constant change in the industry?

Working with leaders in the personal development, business & leadership industry, their collaboration is one of the driving forces to keep me moving in the industry knowing what their goals and intentions are with their event and how they are looking to serve their audience. I am always on the lookout for what’s working now and how we can make things happen. So if you know of any amazing platforms out there, please send them my way.

How do you mix the current trends with the traditional to create a meeting that is engaging and informative?

The way that I see our industry running now is 80% of what we did pre-Covid is what we still do today. Creating the experience, creating the transformation, supporting the audience, how we bring them into our space and how we guide them through, still remains the same.

The only difference is that 20%, and that has largely to do with are we doing virtual, are we doing live or are we doing a hybrid type of event? Depending on that piece, your engagement changes. So if we’re doing a virtual event, then we’re going to be utilizing more opportunities like Swag boxes. Just like we would do in person, we’d have VIP boxes, it now converts into a Swag box. When in-person and we would do shares at the table, we now have breakout sessions. So depending on the type of event, we’re going to slightly shift that 20% on how we continue to engage, inform, and support the audience with their transformation.

Do you have any advice for a company having a hard time choosing a theme. Is a theme necessary?

Theme to me is the same thing as the event promise. Why in the world would your audience want to show up to your event. You need to have an event promise, it’s absolutely paramount. That’s what’s gonna get them into the door and that’s how you know how to set up the event so you know that you delivered what you promised.

So in our industry, in the Sales & Enrollment type of events, this tends to coincide with the offer that is being made from the stage. We know that our audience has a certain pain point that they’re looking to solve. With that, we design the event, the agenda, the run of show to support them in finding the answers to the problem and thus create the event promise.

What are some ways to personalize a corporate event?

There are so many ways to personalize an event. If you are a virtual event, you can utilize what’s called a dashboard. A dashboard is one of the best ways that we found in supporting our clients with personalizing their events because it becomes a hub for all information. So, from the time that they check-in, they can actually meet with a live person to do tech check, they can sign their media release form, they can then have a video that is from the event host informing them what the experience is going to be like.

You can put applications for hot seat coaching and laser coaching on the dashboard. You can put all your handouts on the Dashboard and You can have your help desk there too. You can link it directly to the zoom room and track who is in the room. You can have multiple zoom rooms if you got a studio that can support that. You can support your different membership and ticket levels. For instance, if you have VIPs, they can see different goodies, virtual Swag, extra meetings, VIP sessions, VIP breakout rooms, these can all be designed around the dashboards. We found that when we create these dashboards for our clients, their event is personalized to them in their branding, in their language that the audience feels really taken care of.

What do you see as the corporate event industry’s greatest challenge, currently?

The event industry’s greatest challenge is not pivoting fast enough. What I’ve noticed is that the last 2 years of the pandemic has really re-invigorated what it means to host events and meetings because it forced us to be innovative again. It forced us to think outside the box and get creative.

How do you leverage event technology and what would you consider the biggest game-changer?

We leverage technology by actually creating virtual live studios for our events. This allows us to reach a much larger audience than we ever could when we were in a live event space. Before the pandemic, we were live-streaming but we didn’t have the interactive piece we have today. What we’ve been able to do now is create what we call “Zoomzilla” where we can have thousands of people on the event with us, where we can actually call on a person by name, bring them into the space just like we would do a mic share and connect with them in the event.

It also allows the audience to feel like they have a front-row seat and they’re a VIP in the experience. We’ve also been able to utilize dashboards in our event technology that allows us to have that event hub for anything and everything that we want to communicate to, such as offer handouts, videos, sponsors, fundraiser details, etc. It allows us to share any information in one central location to support the audience in having the best experience possible.

Have you used Gamification in your events? If yes, how was it received?

Yes, absolutely. We used gamification in our events. We use it a couple of different ways. One is through our dashboard system. Anytime they click on a particular button, or a sponsor, or they go to a meet & greet with a sponsor, or meet with our coaches, they would be assigned a point value and we would list out all of the top point earners and they would win a prize.

We’ve also done gamification through what we call CTAs or call to actions. So before going to a break, we would offer a task for them to do XYZ in the Facebook group, and then the team would choose a winner to announce when we came back from break.

This is also a great way to have retention in your events. So absolutely, we love using gamification in our events. And people love to win, so they stick around and they get extra value out of the event as well. We also do trivia where we ask questions during break time or lunch time to engage with the audience.

What is your favorite city for events and why?

Anywhere I can build a virtual live studio. I’ve had a chance to build one in the Bahamas, in the East Coast, the West Coast, and I’ve also been able to support clients in building studios internationally while our team ran it from the States. Now it is limitless of where we can host events from and where we can support events from.

What are some practices to follow that will help you to create the Wow factor that attendees seek with a limited budget?

Intimacy and experience. If the event host has a limited budget, the best way to create WOW factor is the experience that you produce for the audience. People want to be seen and heard. How many ways can you support them in doing that?

In a virtual live event, we utilize the breakout session rooms and do something along the lines of “Let me go ahead and share or teach something. Then you’re going to do a writing exercise about it, next meet in a breakout session room to discuss it and you come back and share in front of the whole group.” So this system allows people to build community, build connections. The event host is seen as the expert in the field and they want to stay in that energy. And it doesn’t cost you anything more than just creating a dynamic run of show.

Sustainability is a current movement that can be challenging for large events. What is your approach?

Virtual Live events allow us to save on flights and travel so our carbon footprint is decreased. It allows for more opportunities for people abroad that wouldn’t normally get to be a part of our events and to interact with us. It’s usually less expensive to host a virtual live event than it is an in-person live event because you’re not having to pay for everybody’s food and beverage. The people are allowed to save money because they are not having to get the flight to your location, the hotel room, and also pay for their food. So virtual live events are huge in sustainability and save money for the event host, it saves money for the attendees, and saves the planet all at the same time. It is a win-win all the way.

How do you measure the success of an event?

Whether or not an audience member decides to continue doing business with the event host or not, we categorize success as “Did we deliver upon the event promise?” and “Did they walk away with what we said they would walk away with?”

Now we know that statistically 20-30% of the audience is ready for the next steps and continue to do business with our clients and our event hosts. However, that means 70-80% are not but they still receive value from the event and we see that in all of the testimonials that we receive post-event, whether it be in the Facebook Group, other online platforms, the feedback forms, as well as recorded testimonials from the audience.

Shay Wheat
Author: Shay Wheat

Share on Twitter: