I recently received an email about registering for a live virtual event. This is a somewhat common solicitation these days, but calling a virtual event “live” does not sit well with me. I understand their usage of “live” being the adverb Merriam-Webster defines as “at the actual time of occurrence : during, from, or at a live production.” That particular word has two additional forms though, both a verb and an adjective, which carry much more depth and I struggle to ignore the totality of the word when reading it in any singular form. This word expresses many things in the English language. Here are some of those, also from Merriam-Webster:
- to be alive
- to attain eternal life (though he die, yet shall he live)
- to have a life rich in experience (they live more in a day than others in a month)
- exerting force or containing energy (live ammunition)
- abounding with life (vivid)
- being in play (live ball)
The live events that we get to be connected with point to so many of the attributes listed. If you’re like me you had taken a lot of this for granted, but a live event is immersive, it is an investment of all of you. Your full attention, person, time and thought go into travel, decision making and informed communication. Live events like trade shows touch all of your senses; seeing the enormity of the McCormick Center or the glitz of the Vegas strip, hearing who you’re talking to with a background of people conversing, touching products and promo items (and shaking hands if we do that still), smelling and tasting good meals with colleagues on the company dime. You’re LIVing and aLIVE more when you’re in person at events instead of in front of the computer in the office or at home.
That experience utilizes and employs an estimated 12 million people here in the United States, myself included! Whether a small birthday party or a show with hundreds of thousands of attendees I get excited to hear about people attending and enjoying live events. I personally cannot wait to go to a concert, football game or even a work related conference again. In speaking with others, that is a shared and prevailing sentiment.
Virtual events have become a band-aid, and I’m thankful they offer a way for connection during the pandemic. They just cannot simulate the life that is in a true live event. Whatever it takes, let’s get back to living live events.