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How to run events that build relationships and grow your business
Episode 34322nd April 2024 • Your Dream Business • Teresa Heath-Wareing
00:00:00 00:47:06

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Today’s episode of the podcast is an interview with Lorna Reeves, where we are talking all about event planning in business.

We cover everything from in person events, online webinars and big summits. Join us as we share they key things you need to do to get more people to sign up and show up, and how to make sure everything runs smoothly. And if you don't think running events is for you, this episode will explain why you might want to give them a shot!  


  1. Why events are a powerful tool that all businesses should consider utilising
  2. What you need to think about when running a hybrid event that caters to an online and in person audience
  3. The benefits of events versus webinars for building relationships and delivering content
  Lorna Reeves is an award-winning business owner & entrepreneur. MyOhMy Events is dedicated to supporting business owners and companies to create immersive, interactive evens that really pack a punch. Lorna is a force for change, driving representation and a voice for the change in the industry. As a best-selling co-author, public speaker and leader, Lorna’s solution focussed, no-nonsense style ensure her client’s events elevate their brand. If you enjoyed this episode then please feel free to go and share it on your social media or head over to iTunes and give me a review, I would be so very grateful.  


Connect with Lorna on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook Check out Lorna's free 'Fail Safe Event Planning' course Connect with Teresa on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook  


Teresa: When I say the word event planning, what do you think of? I'm guessing you're thinking of big in person fancy events with fancy food or big massive online events with loads of speakers. What if I told you a webinar could be considered an event? And then what if I told you That there are a few key things that you need to do to make sure that you get maximum signup and attendees and so that your event runs smoothly. This is what we are talking about in today's episode with the amazing Lorna. And if you think events aren't for you, then this episode will share with you why you should even consider them. Welcome to this week's episode of the Your Dream Business Podcast. How are you doing? This week, I am interviewing the very awesome Lorna Reeves from My Oh My Events. So you will know that I held a summit back in March and I had Lorna from My Oh My Events help me run that summit, which I'm gonna do a podcast next week where I talk you through what went well, what didn't go so well, and what we are going to change about the next event that we do. But Lorna was the one that helped me manage the entire event, not only before, but also on the day and slotted in almost to my team, which was amazing. Now this episode, we are going to be looking at events and why you should do them and what we class as an event, because the world of online kind of changed everything because suddenly a webinar can become an event. So I am really pleased that we have her on today, not only because It's good to talk about these things and events. Like I said, you know, they're varying different things, but also I'm really happy to present it to you guys because she was so good and so pivotal in running my online summit. Now, Laura is an award winning business owner and entrepreneur. My Oh My Events is dedicated to supporting business owners and companies to create immersive interactive events that really pack a punch. Lorna is the force for change in driving representation and the voice of the change for the industry. Now, I don't always read the full on bio, but I'm going to because we didn't talk about this on the podcast and I want to make sure that I put it in. Lorna was a member of the Met Police, spending over 15 years in forensics. Boom, mind blown. It is everything you imagine, evidence, fingerprints, firearms, and serious investigations. Lorna finished her career as a senior leadership team, managing a team of 160 people, managing the forensic work of 3000 cases annually, contracts, procurement, HR, staff development, communication, and negotiation. She took these skills and used them in her business. And if you know anything about events, It is the orchestration of managing many, many, many moving parts and being very organized. So I can entirely see why 15 years in forensics helped with her career in events planning. So even if you're not considering doing an event, I think you're still going to get so much from this episode. Here is the awesome Lorna. Welcome to the podcast, Lorna. Lorna, how are you doing? Lorna: I am all right, thank you. I'm all right. Good to be here and still buzzing after your awesome summit. Teresa: Well, thank you. I am still buzzing after my awesome summit. It was brilliant. It was so, so good. And obviously I couldn't have done it without you, which one of the things that, and I didn't mean to jump straight into this, but we will. But one of the things that Lorna and I talked about is that, and we probably will talk about it in this episode, is that she wasn't who I was looking for, but boy, was I glad I found her. Like, well, she found me really, but I'm just super glad it worked out the way it does. So. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's start as we do by you explaining what you do and how you got to do the thing that you do. Lorna: Well, that's a humongous question. Right at my events is a company and we focus on corporate events and we essentially we 10x corporate events. The events of companies, charities, business owners, we specialize in face to face hybrid online, and we're more about experience, user experience being the top priority. Lots of people think that events just happen. And quite often good events do happen more by luck than judgment, but great events. there's a science behind them, there's a psychology behind them, there's a method to the madness and the chaos. And we were primarily before COVID and there should be an age for that, like BC should be like. Teresa: Yeah, absolutely. Lorna: Before COVID. Teresa: Yeah, a hundred percent. Lorna: So 2020 BC, we were at a face to face events company and we'd specialize in cool things like light psychology and color psychology and bringing in sense to embed memory and all those kind of weird and wonderful things that really influence people's behavior and help you construct the best event. It's not just People sitting in a conference room, watching four hours of content and then leaving again and forgetting it all in six weeks time. It was really about cementing people's knowledge and therefore enhancing a brand or enhancing your particular program or your offering and making people walk away and think that was the best event I've ever been to. But I can't put my finger on why it just is. And then obviously life after COVID, we ran our first online conference on the 23rd of March, 2020. So the first day that the UK was locked down. And that was mostly born out of panic and necessity. That was a lot of our clients going, how in the hell are we going to run our business now if people can't meet? Yeah. So we switched. We, I spent. Probably a week awake and learned everything there was to learn about zoom, about hopping, about teams didn't really exist back in 2020. Every platform I could find WebEx was a huge one at the time. Lots of conferences, WebEx. How can we take what we'd been using for a face to face session and make it. One to many, like one to hundreds and how do we bring in some of the theory from the face to face space into the online world and then it just grew from there really, we just gave away loads of stuff. I spent the first six months just doing tutorials and LinkedIn lives and just saying, I've learned this overnight. Zoom has released an update. This is how you use it. This is how you might want to keep your business alive for the next year. And we kind of grew from there. And still work on sharing our expertise, sharing everything I've learned, sharing any updates, any new developments, any, how can we make people's experience in the online space or the face to face space next level? How do you go from boring webinar to epic event? Teresa: And I think In my experience, so we, we had the in person event thing, which was big, it's in my world anyway, and I came from corporate, and in corporates one of the things I did was some, a bit of events. So we did the in person thing. That was brilliant. Then we, COVID hit, then everyone went online and it was awesome and everyone did the stuff and everyone was learning really quickly. And, you know, and as someone who'd been online for a long time, it was like, brilliant. Welcome to my world, everyone. But then, We got in this really awkward place and I still don't think we're out of it and I think it'd be good to get your thought on this of some people don't want in person and lots of people are sick of online. So what the hell do you people want? Because those are your options. So just are you feeling that too? Lorna: Absolutely. And that we are in this really weird half and half space. And we know because people's employment behavior has changed. We know because people are talking with their feet. If you are not offering flexible or agile working, people don't want to work for your company. If you're not offering other ways to work, some people don't want to go back to the office and five days a week. And that is transferring into the wilder events as well. And the data in 23. I said that a third of all attendees still want to attend online. So if you are running and solely face to face event and you're charging a hundred quid for a ticket. Yeah, third of all people third of all your potential ticket sales would rather be in the online space. So you potentially are leaving money on the table by not having an online offering. And I think there's multiple facets that have come into that. There's the, there's Gen Zed, who some of them have never been to a classroom to do their university degrees. Some of them don't have that. And right, they haven't even owned a textbook. They've never owned an actual textbook. So they actually are quite happy to learn in the online space. It works for their psychology. We're much more open and aware to things like neurodiversities and people's style of learning. And some people learn better in the online space. Some people really get overwhelmed in the face to face interaction space and they just can't deal with it. They especially can't learn while in that space. And then there's this whole other aspect that some businesses and big corporates stopped spending millions of pounds every year on their travel budget. Teresa: People suddenly went, Oh my God. We can do this online for like a fraction of the cost. Lorna: And all of that just falls to our bottom line. So our profits have increased by 20 percent just by cutting a travel budget. And then there's the commitment to sustainability. Do we want to be flying people across the world to go to an event that they could go to from the office or from home? Teresa: That's the answer. Yes. But this is the thing, and then someone like me, well, I say someone like me, it's a tricky one, but if there's travel involved, i. e. somewhere, you want to fly me to Dubai to do a session? Yes, thank you. You want to fly me to the States? 100%. Like, Totally. There's the having people in front of you thing, which is a great for a speaker. The feedback's brilliant as in immediate feedback. So you can see what's working and what's not working. There's nothing that beats meeting people in real life. I don't think. However, On the other side of it, for some events, like when Atomicon went back in person, and I spoke at that event, three days I'm out of the house for, the same when I went to Edinburgh, three days I'm out of the house for, because you've got to go up the day before, you're there all day, you've got to be there the day after, like, suddenly then, from a business owner and a productivity point of view, I'm like, well, I could either do 45 minutes online, or three whole days out of my home. And like I said, I, I personally quite like that. Like, you know, most of the time I am more than happy to have a trip somewhere because I do work from home all the time, but it's, we were given options. And now I think, Do you ever see it not having to be both? Lorna: I can't see it. Now that we've kind of gone through this fourth industrial revolution, where people and technology have caught up with this timeless, spaceless ethos, I can see there always being a provision. We can get some of the biggest names in the world to come and speak at our events. But it only takes them 45 minutes out of the day. It doesn't take them three days out of the day. Teresa: Exactly. And, and that's the other thing that's interesting. Like, you know, the summit for a great example, if I had asked Michael and Amy to fly into the UK and give me an hour of their time, I know what the answer would have been. It probably would have been no. Or it would have been, yeah, this is how much it's going to cost you. And it would have cost me tens of thousands without doubt. And understandably, you know, you're flying them in or having away from home. Like, you know, I get it. So therefore the online thing worked perfectly, but then But then there is all the advantages to an in person event. Lorna: 100%, which is I think where the interesting place of a hybrid event comes in. And I'm a strong believer that a hybrid event shouldn't be flat. It shouldn't be a recording that people dial into and they watch it and they walk away. It has to be interactive. It has to be Produced in such a way that there's a change in camera angle every now and again. There's a change in slide deck every now and again. Like when you're an experienced presenter, you are taught to keep the background moving, not to rely too heavily on your slides, use them as an aid, maybe move around the stage, do some interaction with the audience. It needs to be exactly the same for the hybrid people. So they get that changing screen should happen every 45 seconds. Cause that's how short people's attention span. Teresa: It's crazy. Isn't it? Lorna: We need to be finding a way that the online people can ask a question, can interact with the room, because the same principles apply that when you involve your senses, when you involve your hands, when you involve both sides of your brain, you're going to retain stuff for longer. And that goes for in person and the people online. So it really has to be a curated way of building content and sometimes a bit of a speaker education to say, we really want you and we're having this hybrid. This is how your content needs to be structured. Yeah. Don't be afraid to speak to the camera and address the online people. They love it. It's like calling into your favorite radio station and getting a shout out. It works the same way. When you go, Hey, online people, really great to have you here. Don't forget to drop your questions in. I'd love to answer them. Suddenly everybody goes, Oh, talking to me. That person's talking to me. I want to get involved. Teresa: Yeah. Yeah. I love it. Lorna: So it's, it's, it's all about experience and building the interactivity. Interactivity and immersion is what will get you higher ratings in your feedback, will get you a longer memory half life, so people are more likely to remember your content in 12 weeks time rather than six weeks time, and therefore gives you a longer window to build know, like, and trust or to onboard somebody onto your program or to continue to build that relationship. You will be in their brain for a lot longer. Teresa: Yeah. Yeah. So let's go back a bit in the sense of. If someone's listening to this and going, Oh, I don't think I'm ever going to run an event. Probably not something that I'm thinking about doing. Whether it's in person, online, both, whatever. Why are events so good? Lorna: You can build an event to do whatever you want it to do. And I always say that's the starting point for all events. It's not about the venue, it's not about the tech. What do you want it to do? Is it a marketing event, and it's a product for prospect. Is it an educational piece? Something that you feel really passionate about that you want to impart? Or is it you're called part of your core product and you want to sell your knowledge for want of a better word. You know, you want to spend a day with people and make their life better. You can build an event to do any one of those things. And it's the fastest way of doing one to many. You don't have to spend hours building an online course. Online courses are awesome, but this can be an introduction to that. You can make it do so many things, but also it means that somebody gets to spend four hours, six hours, eight hours with you. Imagine how much of your content they would have to consume to get that kind of relationship, to get a potential of asking you personally a question, to actually learn from a person that they've been following in a book for a long time, or they've been following someone on Instagram for an age. They actually get up close and personal and in the same room. There's a bond building and a relationship building that's second to none when you, when you run an event of some description. Teresa: What's the difference then between doing a webinar and an event? Like when, where, what's that sliding scale? And when do you go, Oh, this is an event and this is why I should be focusing this way, or is it a webinar or an online training is an event and you need to imagine it like that from the very beginning? Lorna: I think in some facets, they're very similar. Your user experience comes in all the way through whatever it is that you're, that you're selling your relationship with that person starts the minute they click the button that says, I'm interested in this. So the minute they say, yes, please sign me up, whether it's for a whole day event or whether it's for a pre recorded webinar. Their interaction with you starts then. So that's the focus on experience and making it easy and...




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