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Live Events, Online Events and Hybrid Events – A New Way of Thinking is needed – Smart Live Communication in the “New Normal”

The Corona pandemic has affected live communication stronger than almost any other industry.
Solutions that had functioned perfectly for decades were undermined almost overnight. It sounds like
a catastrophe at first, but it is also a great opportunity for the future of the industry. This is what
Carsten Knieriem, CEO and founder of what when why® – Emotion Engineering, is convinced of: as
long as the right conclusions are made, existing opportunities are used creatively, and the
development of new, innovative solutions is pushed forward.

If you don’t communicate, you lose your connection to the people

The fact that the consequences of the Corona pandemic have affected live communication so strongly
is no surprise for Carsten Knieriem. After all, there is no substitute for real encounters. We humans
are “social beings” and we nourish ourselves by satisfying important basic psychological needs. The
sense of connection, strength, belonging, security and self-worth is strengthened and fostered many
times more in direct, social interaction than alone in front of a screen.“
The challenge is to also create experiences online that emotionally affect, activate and involve
people. The basic human need for belonging, communication and safety has not changed during the
Covid 19 pandemic. In times of social distancing, this has grown even more – emotions are gaining
more importance, especially at a distance. Especially in uncertain times, it is important to create
perspectives. This can only be done through good and constant communication. “Those who provide
direction become relevant,” says Knieriem, and he adds: “Even and especially the participants of
digital or hybrid events want to be perceived, to feel part of a larger picture and to be able to actively
participate in shaping the topics.

Video conferences are not digital events

Countless video conferences via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx or Big Blue Button prove it: Video
conferences are efficient, digital work platforms. They are no substitute for professionally designed
online events or hybrid events.

The digital filter limits important senses. Emotionalizing factors are missing. There is a lack of
magnitude and impact.

In short: video conferences lack everything that makes them emotional. But people need both: the
factual dimension as well as the emotional dimension. The special power is in the combination of
both dimensions.

The big challenge for the industry is to activate people’s important basic social needs with digital or
hybrid formats as well. Here, too, the formula for success is to turn participants into stakeholders.
The goal: “Motivation, identification, commitment. And: getting the participants to DO something.
The essential questions are: How can the achievements of live communication be transferred to the
digitalized world, to online events? How can the combination of online events and onsite events
create even more impact? How can the diverse possibilities of online communication be used to
provide direction and create perspective systematically and with added value?

First mover in online and hybrid events.

New thinking is needed and new solutions are already showing great success. “There’s a real sense of
optimism here. That’s great! As a thought leader in the field of 360-degree communication, we have
long been using the possibilities of digitally supported communication for an overall communicative
experience with added value. So it was comparatively easy for us to consistently align our agency
with the requirements of successful communication in the “new normal”,” says Knieriem.
That’s not a surprise, because even before the pandemic, ’what when why’ was the first mover in the
field of online and hybrid events, and that worldwide. The communication concepts are consistently
structured in such a way that the events are supported by constant pre- and post-communication.
And the right tools have also been available for a long time. “We have been working continuously
with our partners for years to extend the impact of live communication,” says CEO Knieriem. “The use
of event and community apps, streaming and the temporary involvement of target groups via online
participation, have provided smart, attractive and cost-effective communication solutions long before
the restrictions of the pandemic.“

The future of live communication: smart events

The time has come: It is in combining the advantages and opportunities of online communication,
with the unique strengths of live communication. Digitalization means that communication can
become more comprehensive, more up-to-date, more transparent and much more involving.
„In the future, we will have to offer participants a variety of opportunities for interaction and
involvement with specially customized formats“, says Knieriem. Live events will explicitly continue to
play a major role in this context. Knieriem believes there is still potential for growth in this area.
“Companies will invest even more in these formats in the future – but will choose the occasions much
more selectively,” says Knieriem. Live events will then act as „lighthouse events“.

“In the era of the “New Normal”, communication concepts – which enable the connection of online
and onsite, of live and digital, of coherent communication tracks that build on each other (360-
degree communication) – will provide trend-setting answers to the most urgent questions about
effective, emotional and sustainable communication, as well as about the future of the industry.
The future has already begun and the event industry is just at the start of an extremely exciting
development. The Corona crisis has torn huge holes in the invisible yet insurmountable barrier that
previously existed between the analog and digital worlds. This opened up a view of a completely new,
enticing universe.

“If we combine the two worlds, make full use of their individual strengths, and expand the physical
space to include the digital one, a world of almost unlimited possibilities opens up. Welcome to the
new world of smart events,” says Knieriem about the hybrid future of his industry.

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