Evolve 2024 is a case of receiving due to asking

By CEO, Peter McDonald

Its now just a few weeks until Australia’s premier annual events industry conference, Evolve at Rydges Resort Hunter Valley.

In the busyness of nowadays life, you may not have recently had time to look at the sessions and speaker lineup. Allow me to snapshot how we’ve built the program that industry told us they wanted and explain why registering must make its way to the top of your priority list.

The topics being spoken to include AI, sustainability, sponsorship, collaboration, global trends, brand management – both personal and business, lead generation, taking control to achieve results, thinking skills, AV, building bonds, managing and engaging people in a multi-generational workforce, sales and business development, exhibition, whether accessibility or profitability should be the priority, and there’ll be a revelation of a weapon for massed connection. These will all be done using event industry business contextualisation for the benefit of immediately transferrable lessons, and in the framework of upskilling delegates to better lead, empower and connect.

And this doesn’t even begin to consider the social benefits to be gained from being there.

Day 1 begins with a session for first-timers. We’ll get you set to ensure that you’re best placed to have an optimal Evolve experience through an interactive get to know one another session with people in the same boat. The potential of lifetime relationships awaits. I know of a situation where someone met his wife at a MEA event! The program proper kicks off with Collaborate to Thrive, a plenary session a salient lesson reminding of the creativity and beauty that can come from a collective of people working together to form a common goal.

Then we go big picture with 2 globally focussed plenary sessions. First there’ll be Global Event Trends Unveiled (with learnings for Australian event and marketing professionals) to provide delegates a jump on people who aren’t there about what’s happening in the events world overseas but is yet to hit our market, to be followed by a panel discussing The Power of Global Events in Australia with speakers representing SXSW Sydney, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Football Australia – FIFA Women’s World Cup ring a bell? – and Flight Centre.

We move to 3 concurrent streams of 2 sessions each after lunch. The topics of those sessions are:

·        Everyone Smile and Say…A.I ! about how AI and digital technology have revolutionised event photography

·        The Yellow Car - Drive Stress Away Instantly about transform stress, fear and anxiety from problems to sources of humour and resilience.

·        Brand You about defining and enhancing your unique personal brand

·        Zero Carbon Culture about the opportunities and challenges of transitioning to sustainable practices and net zero emissions.

·        Triple Win Sponsorship: Elevate Events, Engage Guests, and Delight Sponsors about meeting client guidelines and budgets, creating compelling sponsorship activations that deliver on ROI, and enhancing attendee experience without being intrusive, and

·        Smarter Lead Generation: Fuelling Growth about the relationships within the marketing ecosystem and how they work together to create smarter and more effective lead generation practices that can enable growth.

We go plenary again to wrap the day with Play a bigger game: Kick more leadership, empowerment and connection goals to understand 4 things that everyone can control that ultimately affects their ability to get the results they want.

Then its time to chill a bit, and we’ll ferry everyone over to Brokenwood Wines for a Welcome Reception, then bring everyone back to Rydges.

The day 2 program includes Design Thinking: Your Daily Special an engaging workshop serving up a feast of practical strategies and insights to make design thinking the go-to recipe for success in work and life.

We’re back to concurrent again after that, this time with 3 sessions for each of the 3 streams offering up:

·        Ignite Your Impact: How to lead with confidence and credibility for outstanding business performance about the framework and tools needed to communicate with such credibility that you’ll truly have impact for your clients, team and business

·        Why is AV so damn expensive? about the hot topic of AV budgets and the best ways for clients to get impact within a limitedone

·        Maximising Connections: Unleashing the Power of Mini Moments in Events and Conferences about how it's the small, often overlooked "Mini-Moments" that create deeper, longer-lasting connections.

·        Lead with Courage and Amplify Your Leadership Impact about how to become a leader who commands attention, inspires action, and drives results.

·        Gen What? Engaging Your Multigenerational Team for Business and Event Success about corporate communications and human connection to guide you through the nuances of leading a workplace that spans five generations.

·        Accelerate Your Business Development - Turning Sales Reluctance into Results about the key distinctions of the business development process that will turn sales reluctance into sales confidence

·        Leadership for high-performing teams about the importance of integrity and leading by example, what each individual does matters, complacency coming before a fall, situational leadership approach and capitalising on prime coachable moments, the power of listening and seeking to understand, advancing women in leadership roles, and reducing leadership stress and gaining clarity with mentoring and counsel.

·        Creating connections on the exhibition floor about the process of connecting with audiences before the event begins, effectively engaging with visitors at the stand, and ensuring that brand remains memorable well after the event concludes, and

·        A session on AI with title remaining a work in progress at the time of publishing.

Post lunch there’s be industry organiser, venue and supplier representatives debating the statement Events industry pricing should prioritise accessibility over profitability from their sub-segment perspective in both the affirmative and negative context, to be followed by an interactive session with the Board and I on stage responding to questions and comments from delegates.

The program capstone session this year is Creating Harmony through Unity where Jonathon Welch AM, the man behind the Choir of Hard Knocks, will discuss how through a collective experience people develop empathy, communication skills, and mutual respect, laying the foundation for lasting connections.

Later that night everyone will be in their ‘glad rags’ for the 2023 MEA National Awards presentation dinner at Rydges Resort, before the dance floor livens and the kick-ons begin.

I hope you find yourself full of FOMO now and itching at the bit to click this link to register your attendance.

If you need some more information about the program, speakers, how to convince your boss to send you, how to get there, accommodation, or our event partners, please click the applicable link.

I hope to see you in the Hunter!