The changing face of award ceremonies

By Jodie Guilford, event sales manager at London’s Science Museum

The face of corporate award ceremonies has changed a lot in the modern climate, to meet the needs of the evolving workforce, as well as new technologies and trends. Many companies are choosing to move away from the formal gala dinner format of the past, and are opting for an event which is much more modern and less rigid in structure.

We are noticing a new trend at The Science Museum for auditorium bookings, to allow key speakers to deliver awards presentations and speeches. These bookings will commonly be followed with a drinks reception to toast to the successes of the employees and the hopes for the future. These receptions maximise the opportunities for networking, and offer a more relaxed, informal approach.

Getting the running length right for an awards ceremony is a tricky balancing act and these events are notorious for over running, cutting into attendees’ networking time. Companies who have moved away from the traditional gala dinner format are embracing a quicker, less rigid award ceremony format and are placing as much emphasis on the post-awards networking opportunities as the ceremony itself. At The Science Museum our IMAX theatre offers the ideal space for this new format.

New technologies, streaming abilities and a demand for more enhanced live experiences has impacted not only the types of events that companies now want to organise, but also in terms of what the venues themselves are now able to offer. We are seeing an increasing number of companies requesting a more visual experience for their attendees at award ceremonies.
The IMAX theatre can offer ‘image maximum’ technology, state-of-the-art surround sound system and one of the world’s most sophisticated projectors.

Companies are also continuing to incorporate pre-recorded video snippets into the ceremony as a way to increase excitement and build anticipation, while also acknowledging the successes of the shortlisted entrants and giving them their time in the spotlight. Using an auditorium means the space is already fully equipped for this type of thing meaning one less headache for the organiser. And for award ceremonies that take place in our IMAX theatre finalists can really enjoy their moment on the ‘big screen’ (one that is taller than four double-decker buses!)

Ultimately, events are all about face to face interaction, and awards ceremonies are no different. While technology is advancing, making it easier and easier to meet and ‘network’ via conference call or video link, there can be no substitute for meeting and networking in the flesh. And awards ceremonies are still the perfect opportunity to get colleagues and industry peers together to network face to face and celebrate each other’s successes, no matter what format the ceremonies themselves may take.

Jodie Guilford

Event sales manager at London’s Science Museum

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