Imagine you are on top of the world. You’re playing all the big stages with sold-out stadiums, your fans can’t get enough of you and the crowd goes wild!

Then one day it all stops.

Your tour dates are canceling one by one and new ones aren’t booking. The next thing you know you’re back in garage band mode.

Alright, you’re probably not an actual rock star. But 2020 grounded just about every one of us. There you were, creating raving fans in your business, growing your organization, focused on the future when everything changed. Overnight, business dried up, clients canceled, and the market became a chorus of frightened crickets. Business plans you started the year off with, were worth no more than the paper they were printed on.

Thankfully, we are now entering a new year, a time to wake up our inner rock stars and take to the stages of business once again.

How do great leaders and top producers “find their way back?” The same way great band leaders get their bands out of the garage and back on tour.

Unleash Your Inner Rock Star

The past year has sent many businesses back to the drawing board. Without a steady stream of clients, many organizations have gone into crisis mode, cutting back on “non-essential costs” (which aren’t so non-essential after all), furloughing employees, or laying them off. They have gone from offense to defense.

While this may be necessary for a short period of time, the problem with operating from a defensive angle is that a business tends to get stuck there. While it sounds counterintuitive, it can be easy or “comfortable” to be in crisis mode. After all, you don’t have to take responsibility for your situation and you can dip a toe in, but never dive in fully.

What rockstars on stage and rockstars in the office know, is that in order to succeed, you need to be all in. Failure is not an option and you must commit to doing everything in your power to hit your goals and thrive. Now is not the time to hide in the garage sitting on speakers and drinking a beer. Now is the time to reinvent, repackage, and “get back on tour”… whatever that means to your business.

Drive Change

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said “Change is the only constant,” and he couldn’t have been more correct. If 2020 taught us anything, it was that we need to be able to adapt. From setting up home offices overnight to conducting all meetings and trainings through Zoom, we have been forced to accept the “new normal” and adapt accordingly.

But what if the key to success wasn’t just adapting to change, it was driving it?

Take Madonna as an example. The “Material Girl” is one of the most successful and highly-paid women in the music industry. She’s stayed relevant over multiple decades to a fan base spanning generations. She didn’t do that by following trends and adapting to change. She did it by creating change. Madonna considers herself and her art a work-in-progress and that’s exactly how you should look at your business.

How can you use your creativity to be at the forefront of your industry? Challenge yourself every day to do things differently. Don’t just ride change, drive it.

While the “noise” of competition has moved to a virtual platform, that doesn’t make it easier to stand out. It actually makes it harder. What are you doing to set yourself apart from the competition and become a household name?

Do you think Sting, Madonna, Elvis, or Rihanna earned their single-name status by doing the bare minimum? No! They sang louder, played harder, and more unique than anyone else. Now it’s your turn. Figure out what people say about you when you leave a room (or a webinar). Is this how you want to be remembered?  What they say is your brand. Find what makes you different and memorable, and then lean into it with everything you’ve got.

As you begin 2021, remember that now is your time to get out of the garage and back on tour. Don’t let a setback affect your comeback. Unleash your inner rockstar and take your industry by storm!

With the recent passing of rock legend, Eddie Van Halen, I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs “Best of Both Worlds.”

Wondering what a Van Halen song has to do with the future of events? Everything.

While the world may be headed towards another COVID-induced quarantine, it’s safe to say that someday, life and business will be back to normal. We’ve all become accustomed to working, learning, and networking from behind a computer screen. But eventually, the threat of COVID will pass, we’ll be safe to gather in crowds, and live conferences and in-person meetings will once again reign.

The question is will we ever return to meeting face to face entirely, or have virtual events brought about a change in the way the world works?

The Benefits of a Virtual Event

Anyone who has attended a conference or training from the comfort of their home, while wearing a pair of electric guitar pajama pants and Gene Simmons slippers, can attest to the benefits of a virtual event.

(Am I the only one wearing those?)

Virtual events rock because:

  • They are convenient to attend. And your ability to go is not hampered by location.
  • They require no travel (and no travel budget).
  • There’s no need to wear PPE or sit 6-feet away from your closest neighbor.
  • They are less expensive to host which translates to a lower cost for attendees.
  • Attendance is not limited to the venue’s capacity.
  • With today’s technology, it can be easy for even the least tech-savvy attendee to have a good experience.

When run properly, a virtual event can achieve the same desired outcomes as a live, in-person event.

 

The Benefits of an In-person Event

The more traditional route, in-person events have been going on since the days of the cavemen… although probably with less PowerPoint. You’re likely familiar with the benefits of an in-person conference, training, or tradeshow:

  • Being away from the office and family responsibilities allows attendees to immerse themselves in the experience and focus solely on learning.
  • Amazing networking occurs in the hallways between sessions. Relationships are forged, deals are made, and careers are catapulted.
  • The energy in the room is palpable and attendees can’t help but get swept up in the excitement.
  • The change of scenery can provide an opportunity for attendees to see more of the country and get a little break from the daily grind.
  • Swag bags offer the opportunity to showcase brands and products.

In-person events are a powerful way to rally the troops, introduce new products or ideas, and prepare your attendees for the future.

 

What is a Hybrid Event?

There will come a time when a vaccine is widely available and it’s once again safe to gather. When that day comes, there will be many people eager to jump on a plane, gather in a meeting room with thousands of their future friends, and have the full “in-person live event” experience.

Of course, there will also be those individuals who aren’t ready.

Whether due to residual fears about the virus, the inability to travel due to finances or logistics, or just the realization that

working in your PJs is awesome; there will be some people who are not ready to attend in-person events.

In order to host a killer event that caters to all potential attendees, you’re going to need to embrace the hybrid event structure.

A hybrid event is held in a venue and welcomes in-person attendees, AND live-streams the event so people can attend from wherever they feel comfortable. A hybrid event is truly the best of both worlds.

How do you make your Hybrid Event a Success?

Now that you’ve embraced the hybrid event model, how do you create a thrilling experience that will leave your attendees wanting more?

Always include your virtual audience

There’s nothing worse for a virtual attendee than paying your attendance fee and then being forgotten. Utilize games, live polls, and Q&A sessions throughout the event to engage your virtual attendees.

Consider your content

 

Content must be entertaining to keep everyone engaged, but it must also be presented in a way where the virtual attendees don’t feel like they are watching a bootleg concert. Make sure that any visual content you create translates across the different platforms on which attendees may view it.

 

Offer breakout sessions

Your attendees don’t just want to engage with the speakers, they also want to feel like they are in the room with their peers. Smaller breakout sessions allow in-person and virtual attendees to chat and learn from one another.

Hire an experienced MC

No matter what type of event you create, you don’t want to play on-stage host while making sure everything runs smoothly on the back end. You also don’t want to rely on the organization’s leadership to keep the troops engaged and the event flowing smoothly.

In order to create the best possible event for your attendees, you’ll want to hire an MC who excels in presenting in-person and virtually. Marvelless Mark Kamp has over 25 years of experience delivering electrifying entertainment to audiences around the world (and on the computer). He will ensure that your event creates a rockstar experience for every attendee, whether they are in business casual or Gene Simmons slippers.  He’ll help you provide the best of both worlds.

The show must go on.

After months of pandemic-induced quarantine and a slow-down to business as we know it, many organizations have switched their focus from surviving this crazy year to thriving during uncertain times.

Do you are one of those businesses who understand that you need to adapt to current circumstances and find a way to keep your organization moving, growing, and rocking?  Do you realize that to do this you need to keep things fresh and exciting? These two words have never once been used to describe online meetings, virtual training, or team-building exercises done while your team members are nowhere near one other.

Most virtual meetings are boring, attendees are disengaged and distracted, and the event is quickly forgotten.

Until now.

There’s a way to keep your meeting attendees focused and enthusiastic (even when they are working remotely)? It’s called virtual or online gaming. If you are planning a virtual event, and you actually want your employees to enjoy it and benefit from it, incorporating online gaming is the way to go.

What is Online or Virtual Gaming?

Online or virtual gaming can be incorporated into your virtual training, team-building, or product development events, or used as standalone activities to reward your team for a job well done. These games can be broadcast on any platform and be 100% content-driven and customized. Here are a few ideas:

  • Virtual Golf Tournaments
  • Virtual Casino Games
  • Rock Star Bingo (this isn’t your grandmother’s bingo!)
  • Trivia
  • Corporate Feud (with customized questions for your organization)
  • Virtual Escape Rooms
  • Blinko
  • Wheel Of Knowledge
  • See more options at irlevents.co

 

Since these games are often just software programs that get launched during the virtual meeting, it’s essential to get assistance from someone with experience and the tools to take the stress out. That means a full digital show production with a green screen, production operator, executive producer, chat monitor, an engaging host or emcee, and everyone you need so you can focus on the rest of the meeting and enjoy your own event.

How Can You Get the Best Experience from Online or Virtual Gaming?

If you hadn’t yet noticed, technology issues are a big challenge in our current reality. With new platforms popping up every day, Problems are bound to arise.  In small, friendly meetings, most attendees just shrug off technical problems with “these are the times we live in,” and talk quietly amongst themselves while everything is sorted out, however, in a larger or more professional setting, a tech issue could send your attendees in search of a mid-afternoon snack, and your event off the rails.

Tech challenges are one of the reasons why you need to have an experienced virtual emcee at the helm who won’t freak out when your platform does. If a tech disaster strikes, and you aren’t able to load a program, your emcee knows how to keep the attendees entertained and engaged while your tech team can search for answers.

Even without tech challenges, an emcee is there to makes sure the event runs smoothly, keep everyone on time, and maintain high energy and engagement throughout your corporate conference. They are the virtual glue that holds your meeting together.  Please don’t leave this role to the sales manager or CEO who has better uses for his or her time… not to mention no experience!

Marvelless Mark Kamp is a digital emcee/virtual host who can make your event a success. He’ll have your meeting attendees rockin’ in their home offices and participating as if they were all in the same room. Don’t you want to maximize the retention of the content and increase the level of experience of your virtual meeting or corporate conference?  Contact him today to find out how he can make your online event unforgettable with virtual games and gameshows.

 

While virtual presentations have become a way of life in our current world, some online experiences are falling flat for attendees.

Your goal for an online event is the same as for a live event… create an experience that your attendees won’t soon forget. Yes, you want to deliver content, and you also want to deliver it in a memorable way that will leave a lasting impact on the people you serve.  If you’re planning a virtual event for your organization, there are ways to ensure that your guests are not only engaged but wowed.

5 Ways to Make Your Virtual Event Fun and Engaging

While your goals are the same, the way in which you achieve those goals is vastly different. A virtual event doesn’t mean your presenters can “phone in” their performance. In fact, the energy level of an online event will have to be even higher than in-person in order to transfer to an audience at home. It’s not difficult to feel the hum of energy at a live event, just think about the last time you went to a rock concert or a hockey game. You’ve probably never felt that excitement watching a live music performance or a game while sitting alone in your living room.

What used to stand in your way at an in-person event (room temperature, seat comfort, access to the restrooms, and food choices), has been replaced by comfortable bunny slippers and the draw of a television strategically placed in your attendee’s home office.

The great news is there are several techniques you can incorporate into your virtual events to raise the energy level.

Green Screen

Let’s face it; most speakers don’t have the most interesting backgrounds. Your presenters may have even upgraded their home office or studio with draping or a classy backdrop. Sure, it’s better than looking at a blank wall or their kitchen, but will it bring the energy you need to get your attendees fired up?

A green screen allows the presenter to dazzle your audience with exciting visuals that change frequently to keep them on their toes.

Music

Music is powerful. From the spine-tingling notes of a classical piece to the heart-pounding excitement of rock-and-roll, the music we choose can affect our emotional and mental state. A good virtual presenter can craft the perfect playlist to guide your attendees through their journey.

Props

Everyone learns differently. While some need to hear a concept to take it to heart, others have to see it in action before they can absorb the information. Props can be used to demonstrate a point, add humor to the presentation, and give the audience a visual cue to really capture a concept.

Humor

There’s nothing quite like humor to drive a point home and to keep us engaged. Audiences love to laugh and humor breaks up the monotony of dry content. Incorporating humor into your event will go far in making it a memorable experience for everyone.

Interactive Activities

Even the most fascinating presentation can be a challenge to focus on when you’re sitting behind a computer screen. Sitting still, all alone in your home office or living room, can make anyone tired and disengaged.

How do you remedy this?

Make your audience work! Using interactive elements where your audience needs to stand up, move, and do something will keep them awake and interested.

The even better news is you don’t have to do all of this by yourself.

Hiring a Virtual Presenter

Just like live speakers and entertainers, all virtual presenters are not created equal. Many speakers made the shift to virtual events; few really understand what goes into a successful virtual presentation.

In order to make your event stand out, you need a virtual presenter with character, personality, and enough energy to make your attendees feel like they are back in a conference hall, rocking out together.

You need Marvelless Mark for your next event.

 

“Marvelless” Mark Kamp has more than 20 years of experience as a speaker, entertainer, and Las Vegas headliner. This has given him a unique perspective on the event industry and an array of tricks to pull out of his hat.

Mark knows what it takes to keep your audience fully engaged. He uses a $15,000 back-up band in the form of a multimedia presentation with videos, high-resolution photos, music, stimulating visuals, and cartoons. He harnesses the raw power of rock-and-roll to keep your attendees on the edge of their seats… until they jump out of them. He encourages the audience to drum to the beat, using items they can find on their desk and teaches them how to use hand cues and signals to communicate with him on video.

If the visuals from his green screen backgrounds and props don’t wake up the audience, his branded jackets certainly will.

You need your next event to be a success and that means you need Marvelless Mark Kamp as your go-to virtual presenter.

Working remotely definitely has its advantages. Employees save time and money commuting, are often more productive when there aren’t constant distractions (we’re talking to you, birthday cake in the break room), and during our current pandemic, it’s much safer.

But like anything with advantages, there are also disadvantages. Employees that rely on one another to get a project done may face virtual team communication challenges that hamper their ability to succeed in their role. Without your teammate down the hall or a few cubicles over, it can be difficult to collaborate on tasks and truly foster that spirit of “teamwork.”

The good news is there are ways to improve virtual team communication so your rock star employees play together like a well-tuned band. But before we dive into that, let’s look at some of the virtual team communication challenges you might be facing.

Read more

You want to protect your employee’s safety and adhere to governmental orders, but you also want to continue running a profitable business with happy employees. Thankfully, with the team building activities below, you can do both.

Read more

While business events came to a screeching halt for a few months, many organizations are now remembering how critical conferences are to their future (and revenue streams). For safety and convenience, these events are now online.

Virtual events aren’t new, but they’re certainly more prominent these days. Now, instead of worrying about swag bags or transportation arrangements, your primary concern is how to ensure that your audience comes away with a great experience, that they learn steps they can use right away to improve their performance, and that your event is memorable.

After all, your attendees have been through a lot, they are amazing at what they do, and they deserve an event that keeps them engaged and entertained… not just more hours wasted staring at a computer screen. They deserve a rockstar virtual emcee. 

Fortunately, if you’re looking to increase the energy of your event and improve the focus of your attendees, there’s an easy solution: hire a virtual emcee.

Read more

While this global pandemic has been difficult for individuals and businesses alike, there are several benefits that have come out of it. One benefit is that now we truly understand the power of virtual sales meetings and how easily we can conduct business remotely.

Unfortunately, many managers and leaders are not yet comfortable with technology and this will be obvious to your attendees. Virtual sales meetings that lack enthusiasm and substance are no better than their in-person counterparts. If you truly want to lead a team of rock star salespeople, you’ll need to energize them through virtual meetings.

Read more

While we are grateful for virtual conferencing technologies that allow us to maintain business as (sort of) usual, many participants don’t understand a critical component of it. Virtual meeting etiquette enables remote meetings to be productive and participants to walk away with exactly what they came for.

As a rock star leader, you not only need to know how to make the most out of a virtual meeting, but how to teach your team to do so, as well.

Want to help your team of rock stars stay strong together even when they’re apart?
Contact Marvelless Mark to emcee your next virtual corporate event!

Use an Appropriate Video Conferencing Tool

There are a variety of different platforms available for virtual conferencing. Before you select one, decide what features you need and what may be overkill. The best platform is going to be the easiest one for your attendees to use.

Come Prepared

Just like an in-person meeting, attendees want to know what will be discussed and for how long. Once you schedule a meeting, create an agenda and send it along with meeting details, including the date, time (and time zone), a link, and instructions on how to log on. Request that your attendees read the agenda ahead of time to prepare, and then remember that emails can get buried. If you are sending this well in advance of the meeting, you’ll want to send follow-up emails with the log in details or create a calendar event that provides the link. Make it as easy as possible and respect their schedule by ending on time.

Remove Distractions

If working from home, you and your attendees may have a variety of other distractions vying for your attention. This could include children needing help with homework, dogs barking, or spouses asking when you’ll be ready for dinner. Whenever possible, set up your work area in a room with a door and as little noise as possible. Then request that the participants stay on Mute until they need to share something.

It can also be really tempting to check your email or texts during a virtual meeting, so ask your attendees to put their cell phones away, stay focused, and stay seated throughout the call.

Speak Clearly

Technology is wonderful, but it isn’t perfect. Even rock stars do sound checks. Test your mic levels in the beginning of the call to ensure that everyone can hear you, but that you aren’t destroying anyone’s ear drums. Remind people that there is sometimes a several second lag, so they should pause momentarily to avoid speaking over one another. And seriously, don’t forget that Mute button. 

Look Professional

Working from home is fun, isn’t it? No need to brush your hair, shower, or change out of your pajamas. It’s great… until you have a virtual meeting. Then you just look unprofessional.

Whether you’re the host or a video call or a participant, it’s important to look professional during a video call. Wear business-appropriate clothing and make sure your hair looks presentable. While you may be tempted to wear jewelry, shiny objects can be distracting and earrings may rub up against headphones, making distracting noises.

Make sure that you don’t have anything offensive, inappropriate, or displeasing to the eye in view of the camera. This includes letting other people in your house know that you’ll be on a video call.

If your background is less than perfect, some of the virtual platforms allow you to set a backdrop. Last but not least, double check the lighting in the room to make sure that you won’t appear too dark or too bright.

Hide Personal or Sensitive Information 

Many of the platforms offer screen-sharing during the call. This can be great to show participants what you are working on or to use visual aids throughout your presentation. However, this can also go horribly wrong.

Be mindful of what you have on your desktop and make sure that you choose a fresh browser window when you decide to share your screen. This will prevent any personal information or non-work related websites from being viewed by your attendees.

Have Introductions 

One of the biggest challenges of virtual meetings is the lack of comradery. Thankfully, there are ways to get around that challenge to give your meeting more of an office atmosphere. Here are a few options:

  • Leave time at the beginning of the meeting for the presenter and the attendees to introduce themselves and have a bit of small chat.
  • Open the meeting room a few minutes before you are scheduled to start and leave it open when you finish so people can catch up.
  • Plan an ice breaker to loosen everyone up.
  • You can send people into smaller breakout rooms if need be.

Communicate Virtual Meeting Etiquette Expectations to Your Team

At the beginning of the meeting, let your attendees know what to expect and what is expected of them. Are they just there to listen or is participation requested? How long will the meeting be? Should they stay on Mute and raise their hand if they’d like to contribute or can they jump in at any time? 

When you explain virtual meeting etiquette and share any specific expectations you may have, attendees will know what to do and your meeting will flow more smoothly.

Virtual Meeting Tips 

Now that you understand virtual meeting etiquette, there are a few tips that may help you make your online meetings even more productive.

  • Record the video so people can review the content later, and those who couldn’t attend can catch up when they’re available.
  • Send out meeting minutes and a recap answering any questions.
  • Be kind. Not everyone is tech savvy, and while this shift is perfectly natural for some, others may have a great deal of difficulty.
  • Realize that it’s more challenging to make your presentation more engaging and more interactive, but different video conferencing platforms have different types of tools, such as polls and chat boxes.
  • Remind participants that depending on the platform, their private chats can be viewed by the host once the meeting has ended.

Maintaining a connected team can be challenging when virtual meetings are your primary way of interacting. Thankfully, when you and your team know proper meeting etiquette, you can rest assured that your home-based rock star team is just as engaged in the meeting as they would be in the office.

Just like it’s true in business, it’s true for a band: If you want to drive change and achieve your goals, you have to surround yourself with the right kind of people. You want to create the right kind of culture and relationships that allow everyone to effectively work together. But synergy like that doesn’t happen by accident. Job descriptions and interviews must be thorough. Applicants must know your vision.

Want to keep your team of rock stars together through a crisis?
Let Marvelless Mark help you with team building to make your organization stronger than ever.

Do you know what Steve Jobs’ business model was? During a 2003 interview with “60 Minutes,” Jobs said, “My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

There are three concepts that rock star business leaders need to learn and understand about working together as a band, especially in time of a crisis.

First, put the band first. It’s that simple. Our good friend Steven Tyler of Aerosmith said, “As good as I am, I’m nothing without my band.” So, but the business first. During these crisis days, co-workers may have new needs and they should not be ignored.

Second, honor everyone’s unique abilities. In a band, some people are up-front and very noticeable, like the lead singer. Others, like the bass player, barely get noticed at all. A smart rock star business leader makes sure that everyone in the band gets recognized.

Do you know who Bill Wyman is? No? How about Mick Jagger?

Wyman was the bass player for the Rolling Stones. When interviewed about the Stones, Jagger repeatedly spoke about Wyman’s talent as a bass player. That’s why the Stones are still together. (They’re all eligible for AARP, but they’re still together!) 

The same is true with your business. You have to allow each person to showcase his or her skill and then honor that person for his or her contribution. It’s been said about the Rolling Stones that Jagger makes them famous, while Keith Richards, their guitarist, makes them a band. Some of you successfully market your business, while others make it work on a day-by-day basis. A rock star business leader realizes that everyone plays a vital role for the success of the business and everyone should be valued for that part. During this pandemic, some workers may move to the forefront to meet new challenges. 

The third concept that we need to learn and understand about working together as a band may sound a little unusual coming from rock stars: There’s no room for egos. Let’s take the advice of Grammy Award winner and producer Quincy Jones. He worked on the USA for Africa project with more than 40 A-List artists to produce the song “We Are the World.” While the song was being recorded, Jones put a sign on the studio door that read: “Check your egos at the door.”

Ego is almost always what breaks up a band. Some bands like U2 endure and become legendary, while other bands cease to exist. What keeps a band together is humility. A band — or business — leader with confident humility and who is not overcome with ego knows that the band is better together. A rock star business leader is one who is receptive to suggestions for improvement and will take time for self-reflection, listening to the feedback that he or she gets from the other band members.  

The bottom line during this crisis is that we need each other now more than ever. We need to be honest, transparent, have an open line of communication, and celebrate with our bands when this crisis ends. In the words of Brian Tracy, “Success comes before work only in the dictionary.”  Performing together in these three ways will create success, whether in a crisis or normal working conditions.