Today, we are delighted to have the honor of speaking to Liz King Caruso! Liz is an icon, a thought-leader, and an innovator in our industry! She is an entrepreneur. She has been running her company for the last ten years, and she has gained recognition for her success from many different publications and organizations.
Liz is joining us today to discuss the difference between virtual and face to face events and how to design them. She will explain what you need to learn now to be ready afterward. She will also talk about what you need to know to be able to plan a virtual experience and to partner with the people helping you to deliver that experience to your customer.
Liz King Caruso’s bio
Liz King Caruso is an Event Specialist, Consultant & Speaker who is passionate about impactful, successful & fun events. Liz launched Liz King Events while still running events FT for Columbia University and quickly became a thought leader/influencer amongst her peers after voraciously sharing content on event best practices.
Liz works with thought leaders like Ramit Sethi, Microsoft, SeatGeek, Teamworthy Ventures, Ramon Ray, and many others to host strategic conferences and events that engage their audience, build their brand and sell their products and services.
She also works with other independent event hustlers to help them run more successful businesses through her consulting program called IGNITE. IGNITE helps amazing planners tap into their brilliance and build their thought leadership so they can get more of the right clients and become more financially stable. In addition, Liz ran one of the most iconic event-tech conferences in the industry called Techsytalk LIVE.
Liz has been featured in the Successful Meetings list of 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry, Connect Magazine’s list of 40 Under 40 Up-and-Coming Event Planners, and Meetings and Conventions list of Top Influential Female Leaders in the Events Industry, amongst other awards.
How Liz King Caruso got into the industry
Liz initially worked in a counseling center and wanted to be a family psychologist. She later changed her mind, so she moved on and took an administrative position on the event team at Columbia University in New York City.
Before that, she had no idea that event planning could be a career. She had always planned events while growing up, so she pursued it and ended up getting promoted into a role that just did the events. She got lots of experience and eventually broke out on her own and started running Liz King Events.
Having a mentor is very important. Liz was mentored by France La Flamme, who runs La Flamme Consulting Group, in Connecticut. They got connected through an organization called Score.
Becoming a thought leader
If you want to become a thought leader, Liz advises you not to try to become one. You need to be curious, willing to collaborate, and willing to share your experiences. You also need to pay attention to understanding your specific niche and what you are very good at doing, and you have to be specific.
A key to developing thought leadership
A key to developing thought leadership is keeping people in the know regarding what your thoughts are.
It is not about the size of your audience
It is not about the size of your audience. It is about you having some meaningful thoughts around a particular topic that people can identify.
Techsytalk started in about 2010 because Liz wanted to know more about the cool platforms that she was learning about. It was Internet Week in New York City, so Liz partnered with a friend in the industry, and they decided to do a showcase. They gave ten companies four minutes each to share what they were doing, followed by networking. The goal was for Liz to learn, and from there, the conference kept on evolving.
Techsytalk is coming back
Liz will be bringing Techsytalk back in November of this year. She is ready to push the boundaries now because the demand is a lot higher, currently.
The balance between hybrid and online events going forward
Many people have been doing many online events during the COVID crisis, so there is a lot of scope for opportunity. Since many have seen that some platforms are not meeting their needs to do things virtually, the technology is currently evolving very quickly because the tech companies finally have enough clients to push everything to where it needs to be.
Getting back to in-person events with hybrid
Liz thinks that hybrid is not going to be just a transition. She thinks it will help us get to in-person events faster and more safely. And now that people know what can be done with virtual, it will stay as a long-term component of most large conferences and events, and larger conventions and city-wide events.
Retreat businesses will be booming
Liz foresees that the retreat business will be booming in the future. There will be a lot more small face-to-face groups of people, high-end tickets, and meaningful experiences, and also a lot more similar virtual experiences.
Some tools for engagement
Liz suggests mixing up your formats and offering short sessions combined with longer sessions when necessary. And also rethinking what you would typically do in an in-person environment.
Fun is important with virtual
Fun is important with virtual because it is harder to keep people engaged in a virtual setting.
Virtual is flexible
Virtual offers more flexibility than in-person, so you need to consider new kinds of opportunities for using virtual.
Designing a virtual event versus a face-to-face event
Many planners become overwhelmed with the idea of a virtual event. Yet, the skill set required for planning a virtual event is much the same as the skill set for planning a face-to-face event. A great event planner will look at the goals and then design a program to fit those goals.
Great event planners need to work out new and innovative ways to do virtual networking.
People prefer person-to-person
Since people prefer having a person-to-person experience and talking to others face-to-face, Liz does not see virtual reality and holograms taking over in the events world.
An optimistic view of the future of the meetings and events industry
Liz sees good things for the future of the industry because it is very resilient, and it brings out people’s creativity. Technology, particularly in the virtual space, is being pushed to new levels, which gets companies to innovate, and people are craving in-person experiences right now, so there will be more opportunities for in-person experiences in the future than we have had in the past.
Disruptions are necessary
Liz believes that we need disruptions in our industry. If we look back at this time thirty years from now, we will see how far we have come as a result of having gone through this difficult time.
Getting ready for the future
Right now, you will need to learn more about technology and the virtual experience because that will carry you long into the future. You also need to think about the value that you bring to the table and what you do for your clients because there could be some new, non-virtual services that you could be offering them that are just outside of the box.
Links and resources:
Connect with Liz King Caruso
You can find Liz under Liz King Events on all social media platforms.
If you’d rather watch the video of this interview, subscribe on YouTube