Every job is different, every situation and action we take generates consequences, and everything has an impact on the company.
In our new monthly series, “A day in the life of…”, we aim to look closer at a particular facet of our organization, and understand it better through the eyes of one our colleagues.
Today, we are talking to Annika Kielgas, Senior Multimedia Producer, to learn more about her job and challenges. And in doing so, to better understand how things work within the world of Digital Events.
A perfect Multimedia Producer for a perfect Digital Event
Summing up her work, Annika says she must make sure events are perfectly set-up and that clients have all the information they need. But to make that happen, she relies on good use of her ‘soft skills’ to pick up on what the clients want. She needs to be a good listener, be patient, be flexible, and be proactive.
Annika started at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. seven years ago as Multimedia Producer. Having since become a Senior Multimedia Producer, she explains with a smile that this means she is now the “privileged one who gets the more complex projects which need a bit more work.” Every day, she prioritizes her tasks: the urgent one; the most important ones; “or even both!” She can be running up to 15 projects at one time, so it’s absolutely essential she is well organized and on top of everything. But what else? What makes her a good Multimedia Producer?
Sometimes clients may not express their wishes specifically or they might change their minds further down the line. “You have to try and read their minds and anticipate what might happen, what might go wrong, and what they may yet want to do.” Annika gives the example of making sure to send clients – and those who will be speaking – a test-link one week before the event. In this way, she can make sure everyone can get into the platform before ‘D-Day’.
Usually, with every new onsite event, Annika’s team visit the client’s premises to check whether the location is suitable for their event. “Then you take it from there. Where will you position the cameras? Is there going to be a live audience? How will we do the lighting? How is the sound going to work? Will the presenters be walking around, or stood still behind a lectern?” Every detail counts, “you have to look out for all of that.” With some clients, she is so used to being there, she knows everybody – from security, to the AV technicians, the presenters, and the organizers. Just as importantly she notes, “since you spend so much time there, you know exactly where to go to claim a free tea and coffee from.”
But this isn’t the only part of a Digital Event’s organization. There’s lots more preparation to be done and by many others too.
Preparation and practice, the keys to success
“It’s very important that the client feels comfortable, that they are not overwhelmed by everything they have to do, ” Annika says. As such, preparation and practice are essential. The local IT and events team are there for the clients on a technical side, but those speaking and the organizers also need to be well prepared too.
Annika kindly shares with us a few tips for future speakers:
- Keep it natural: “Don’t try and be too formal. If you sneeze or cough, that’s absolutely fine. Don’t make things too stuffy, because otherwise it won’t be engaging for the audience.”
- Don’t do death by PowerPoint: “You can, of course, have PowerPoint slides, but don’t bombard your audience with it.”
- Video is great – with practice: “You need to make sure that your video works fine by practicing in advance. For example, some people might tend to disappear out of frame or might have a bright light from a window behind them, meaning they are backlit and they cannot be seen clearly. Preparation and practice are definitely key for that.”
With Covid-19, and now that so many people are working from home, clients tend to lean even more on Annika’s team for technical support. “That puts more pressure on us to make the event a success, ” she says, but also notes that this isn’t the only challenge they face in these unusual times.
Working remotely, new situation, new challenges
“Just like everyone else, we were chucked into the deep end and had to just sink or swim! It was difficult, especially because aside from dealing with Covid-19, we were just switching from one webcasting platform to another.”
In addition, as a result of the pandemic, another challenge presented itself: reduced turnaround times. “At the beginning, it was very hectic and in terms of timings, clients changed their minds a lot, changing the date, the time, and so on.”
It required a new heights of organization and reaction times – but Annika and her team successfully overcome those challenges. “If you pull it together, most things – if not all things – can be achieved. And that really the biggest outcome to take away from this: it’s all about working together.”