Event professionals seem to be slotting neatly into two camps right now:
Those who have total, out-and-out Zoom fatigue and those who are rolling up their sleeves and getting on with this strange new digital world with a ’best of British spirit’ attitude.
Tina Compton, of agency Tx2events, is one of those in the latter camp. She’s making the most of virtual connections as an organiser AND as an invited attendee of virtual awards, parties and events – and she’s really quite enjoying it.
The former corporate event manager turned agency owner recently attended two private-member events, a virtual grand dinner and a virtual cheese tasting event, praising both for their organisation and attention to detail to ensure that everyone got the full company experience from their own from rooms.
Normally held at a Livery Hall or The Mansion House, the first event, a virtual grand dinner for members of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, is a special annual occasion.
Black tie is normally worn and a beautiful three-course dinner served. This year’s event was to mark the Inauguration of the new Master of the WCIT who recently took up office and therefore the celebration was to go ahead with the best nod to tradition possible.
Going just that little bit further than virtual dinners we’ve heard about, the WCIT didn’t just send bread rolls in the post, they delivered an entire pre-cooked, three-course meal to each of the 180 attendees’ homes complete with instructions from the catering company as to how long to reheat each course and even how to set each course out on a plate à la the experts do.
“The evening started with the inauguration of the new Master of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (which had been recorded earlier that day) and led to the drinks reception (everyone had their own wine/Champagne) followed by the Master’s speech,” Tina tells us.
“We were put into tables of ten (a ‘room’) where we were able to speak to each party at the table. The food was excellent and the starter, main course and pudding was prepared, pre-packed and cooked and we followed the instructions for reheating.
“During each course, there was some entertainment such as an opera singer and there were various speeches during the evening and also the Loyal Toasts.
The evening ended with the Master thanking everyone and inviting everyone to have a networking drink (this was where ‘the floor was opened up’ so people could chat to each other virtually.
All in all, a great virtual dinner.”
The evening lasted a standard ‘live’ event duration of three-four hours and Tina reports that everyone really enjoyed themselves, especially the fact that people could drink as much as they wanted to without having to worry about travelling home after.
The Cheese tasting that Tina attended was a smaller event with 80 guests participating. Six individually wrapped cheeses were delivered 8ahead of time accompanied by two bottles of Italian wine, one red and one white.
A speaker from Love Cheese guided the guests through the tasting, talking about the different cheeses and pairings of wine.
Lasting approximately one and a half hours, the event proved ideal for networking as there were check-in times and Zoom was set-up to see the gallery.
Inspired to attend more virtual events and organise more of the same, Tina is busy working on client events, as she explains:
“I am organising a virtual Christmas festivity for one of my clients, where I am arranging for a case of Italian wines to go to each person (35 of them) and a small hamper with Italian snacks for 15th December. Parcels will arrive a week before the lunchtime event. We are intending for a talk to be given on each wine and we will then have a quiz with some virtual awards. I will let you know how that goes!
“Sadly, I think this is going to be the norm for a while yet and perhaps events in the future will always have the virtual element included so as everyone can participate, especially those who do not wish to travel.”