In February 2020, I ran our last ever Excelerator workshop.
Prior to this, we'd been running three each year, but that one - at Bridgeclimb Sydney - was something special.
But then COVID came and things changed.
In recent weeks, I've seen one-to-many events start to surface again. It's got me asking whether or not people are ready to start meeting in person.
Having attended the excellent Lifespan Conference and run a workshop with a wonderful group of advisers on marketing, then flown straight up to Brisbane for the Better Business Summit, evidence would suggest, Yes.
Which is why I think I'm also ready to get back into it.
It's also why I wanted to pin a quick blog about these kinds of events when it comes to client experience and the role they might play for you.
If we go back a while, client events formed a premium part of many value propositions. It wasn't unusual to see really well-run events getting stellar client feedback.
Then things moved on. The prevalence of webinars and online seminars and people's general busy-ness with life, coupled with the myriad of challenges foisted on the industry by round-after-round of legislative tinkering, meant that somewhere along the line it got harder and harder to get people in a room.
Not impossible, just more challenging.
This is why some of the best events I've attended these past years have gone down the route of aiming to be small and focused, rather than big and brash.
One that still sticks in my mind was one run by Absolute Wealth that I was invited to a few years back called Common Sense.
A simple boardroom event with wine and cheese and the opportunity to listen to Connie McKeage in the company of 20 other clients of the firm.
It was perfect.
It's just one example of what feels like a trend for practices to run small, intimate events with a focus on quality-of-speaker and an opportunity for personal engagement.
The benefit of doing it this way is it gives you the opportunity to try things, test ideas and concepts, focus down on specific niche topics and tailor the guest list, and not to have to bet the house on it to run it.
Large events are expensive. Filling a room can be hard. Seeing a big event not get traction for a bunch of reasons that often have nothing to do with you can be disheartening.
Running a small boardroom get-together, on the other hand, is easier. You can really target who you want to attend.
When you have to get a hundred or more people in a room, it's a different scenario than focusing on getting 20. You can spend less time on planning the "show", more on getting people along.
In many ways, running a small-scale event is a lot like running a webinar. You still have to work to get people to attend but once you're there, you can manage the room a lot more easily.
As I mentioned, I will be looking to restart these events because personally I really love the opportunity to get together in person.
It's not that online isn't a fantastic medium, and I think it provides many benefits in-person doesn't.
....but there's something about getting together, having a natural multiple-way conversation, and eyeballing each other.
If the same goes true for your experience as mine and you've got a boardroom, the question is...
What's stopping you?
Related: Which Adviser Would You Choose?