The Events Expert Interview Series #28: Miguel Neves

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We have been interviewing expert event professionals in our industry, sharing their insights, advice, and unique experiences. This week we spoke with Miguel Neves, who describes himself as a curious creator and caring curator of computerised content and conscious connector of charismatic characters. He holds a masters’ degree in Conference and Events Management from the University of Westminster, and is a Certified Meeting Professional and a Digital Event Strategist. 

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1) Can you walk us through your career path from your early days as an event producer through your extended tenure at IMEX, and how that led to your current role as social strategist at miguelseven.com?  And what does a typical day look like for you now?

I started my professional career in the music and live concert production world. I worked both with bands and venues. In 2005, I started to move toward events and ultimately received a Master's Degree from the University of Westminster in Conference and Events Management.

I then worked as an event planner for 3 years at SYNAXIS Meetings and Events and later joined IMEX for 6 years. During my time at IMEX, I initially led the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum portfolio of student-focused events and went on to become the group's digital content and community manager.

In July 2017 I left the company on a sabbatical and later that year I started my own consulting company. This gives me the freedom to work from anywhere and focus on live events, which I am passionate about. I have since worked with several organisations in the events and event technology space.

My typical day starts with a cooked breakfast and a luxurious coffee. I work from home/co-working space or on the road, and my first task is to plan the day ahead. I then look at any large tasks that are important and urgent. I try to do big tasks early, get creative later in the day and do that admin tasks towards the end of the day. 

My days are a mix of admin work, solo project work and conference calls. I try to keep fit so will usually exercise either first thing or at the end of the day. When I am on the road I have to adjust my schedule as needed, but I try to keep the same structure. It works for me, but I am always looking for ways to improve.

2) What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?

Most clients seek engagement online, yet they neglect the needs and desires of their target audience, and instead look to find ways to serve their own message to the target audience—which is then, perhaps not surprisingly, ignored by all. 

3) What types of event-related technology do you use or interact with? 

I use presentation software and audience response systems such as Slido or Glisser. I interact and have plenty of experience with event Apps, registration software, survey systems, webinar/streaming platforms, meeting scheduling systems and lots of others.

4) What do you see as the biggest trend(s) in events this year, particularly in relation to event technology?

I see a move away from public to private. I believe this is driven by GDPR, Cambridge Analytica, and other privacy issues. In general participants are much warier about sharing their data and sharing their experiences online.

This has meant that many social media activations are not as popular as they once were. I for one welcome this and I am actively looking for more engaging concepts that do not have any privacy concerns. I encourage content sharing within private messages and groups, despite this making it more difficult to track and measure success.

5) If you could give event planners / marketers one piece of advice, what would that be? 

Always put the participants first. Focus on creating experiences, both online and offline, that engage. Only move on to other priorities after you've ticked that box.