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2020: The Year of Virtual Award Ceremonies
By Donna O’Toole
Usually at this time of the year we’d be donning our most glamorous black-tie outfits, and attending award ceremonies at some of the most stunning venues. But with all events cancelled we’ve had to adjust to the magical world of virtual ceremonies…
And although virtual ceremonies will never be as good as the real thing, the ones we’ve had the pleasure of attending have been pretty fantastic!
So how are award organisers ensuring attendees will still have great experience in a virtual world?
Online Presentations to the Judges
For some awards, the next step on a finalists journey to the finals is to present to the judges.
In normal times, finalists present to a panel of judges in person to get their story across and put a face to the written entry. But this year, the finalists have had to put their video call expertise to use and present online.
Every year August founder Donna O’Toole judges at some of the top awards and had this to say about her experience judging virtually:
I’ve been so impressed with the quality and standard of all the presentations I have judged this year. Some of the stories coming out this year in the Covid-19 categories have even brought a tear to my eye! Everyone has done so well to adapt to presenting online, and the organisers have done a great job to bring it all together.
Award organisers know we would all rather be in a glitzy ballroom enjoying a glass of fizz, so to help us get excited they have introduced finalist hampers!
At this year’s virtual Lloyds Bank National Business Awards ceremony finalists could receive a luxurious hamper complete with prosecco, pralines and a confetti cannon to celebrate their win.
Just a little something to build the excitement of being a finalist and make the experience special.
A-List Guest Speakers
The promise of hearing from high-profile speakers is always hugely exciting! And with the logistics of having a guest speaker physically attend removed, some awards have gone all out to impress.
At the Great British Entrepreneur Awards Regional Finals the finalists were addressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak:
The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards notoriously book incredible keynote speakers, and this year they did not disappoint with not 1, but 6 guest speakers. Including Lewis Hamilton MBE, Dame Joanna Lumley, Ruby Wax, Simon McCoy, Steph McGovern, Baroness Karen Brady and Sir Chris Hoy MBE
With hundreds of people to seat, wine, dine and entertain at live events we rarely get to hear from the winners due to strict timings of the evening.
The beauty of virtual ceremonies means attendees get the opportunity to see and hear from the people that win, as and when they win!
Awards are nothing without people. Seeing happy, smiley faces of the people behind the winning projects celebrate their win is a really great moment. Plus, winners don’t need to worry about stage fright from the comfort of their desks!
And if you screen record or screenshot the moment you win, you can share the good news with your teams, clients, shareholders and customers too.
2021: The Return of the Live Event (hopefully!)
No matter how well award organisers have done to make virtual ceremonies fun and exciting, I’m sure we are all itching to get back to live events once it’s safe to do so.
The events industry has taken a huge hit in 2020 with the majority of suppliers and events teams furloughed and out of work since March. And campaigns such as #WeAreEvents are so important to raise awareness of the struggle of the events industry and to highlight the support they need.
We’ve spoken with many awards organisers this year who have shared their experiences of working in the events industry in 2020 and how they all came to agree that the show must go on.
But for now, we’ll continue supporting the awards and events industry, attending virtual events and encouraging everyone to continue entering awards and get the recognition they deserve and reward their teams in what has been a tumultuous year!
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