Louis Zezeran: "Humor helps us break through"
Louis Zezeran (Estonia) is Baltic For Event Forum presenter on the second day. More than 8 years of experience in organizing and holding events in Estonia. Representative of COMEDY ESTONIA, one of the most popular show leaders in Tallinn.
- Tell us about yourself? What kind of child you were? What kind of student and worker? And how eventually you've come to events?
I am an only child so I have all those traits people associate with being an only child. I have very strong introvert and extrovert sides, I thought I was an introvert until I was about 17 when I said this to my friend and they replied "Louis, you have done public speaking competitions, you are the loudest person in the room AND you have already had a show on radio, I think you are not an introvert". This is the first time I realized maybe I have both sides inside of me :) My university education is in computer science, I was always a little nerd, so its like that appealed to the more introvert side of me. I didn’t even step into a theater until I was 25 but then my world quickly started to change and I quit my IT job and started to product theater shows in Sydney. I realized that "producing" a theater show was simply being the project manager and those skills of organization were easily transferable to another field.
So I am pretty organized. I was always organized, when I was in high school my parents made me do assessments like a week before the deadline and I didn’t understand this was weird until I got to university. It still took me another 3 years to really lose that from my system, by then I was handing things in at the last moment. But my work organizing comedy shows has brought out the organizer in me again and now I love nothing more than a comedy show which runs super smoothly because we planned it so well.
- How can you describe yourself as a ceremony master?
I want to make a fun, welcoming atmosphere for the people. I like to hide at first that my knowledge is quite technical so they think I am just a fun guy but later in the event I can start speaking about technical topics and then people realize I also know what I am talking about. I want to be amongst the people, I want to share the fun and enthusiasm with them for every event I do.
- Why do you feel humor is necessary for people’s lives? And for events? Why?
Humor is a balance. We all have struggles and difficult things each and every day. Humor helps us break through that and remember to enjoy life. I love how a great joke can cut through a difficult situation and make every relax, that’s always a great moment. For events, I think having a host who is "on the side" of the audience is nice. The host is saying "hey guys, let’s go on a journey together" and a few jokes can help to lighten the mood and make people more receptive to what’s happening.
- Do you think that digital era and social networks influence event business? How can we see that?
Digital and social effect EVERYTHING these days. The way we communicate with our audience before the event has totally changed. Before we only had 1 way communication, say a poster for the event which people might see and that doesn’t change much. Now people can interact with event organizers, things are much more dynamic. The organizer can provide a lot more content to the attendees about the feeling of the event if they have Instagram or twitter and keep posting constantly with updates and behind the scenes information, people love that stuff, it helps them feel more connected and invested to the event.
- What were the most interesting events you've participated in?
I personally love IT conferences because that’s my background. I love being able to enable technical presenters and help them get their ideas across in a way people can relate to. I think the nerd in me really enjoys getting into a very technical talk on stage too, I like to use that side of my experience and have a good old geeky discussion :)
I do enjoy summer days events too. We get to go to the countryside and spend a night or two with a cool group of people and ensure they have fun and bond as a group. I love those relaxed events in the sunshine.
- Do you think that the event compere must be also an actor? And a psychologist? Can you give the examples?
The events compere must be adaptable and read the audience very quickly. Sometimes you can do all the preparation possible but get to the event and find the people are in a totally different mood to how you expected. You need to know how to energize them and push them but not push too far. Its fun to be energetic but a host can be too "over the top" and you need an understanding of when you be outgoing and when to pull it back and be more serious or more calm.
I think a host needs to be an actor in a way to be "larger than life" and project and connect with people but I think the compere must also be more than this. Because what makes great hosting is not "acting", its not following a script. The parts people connect with and will remember are the genuine moments, the human moments where you really connect with the audience and you all share that experience equally. So sometimes you need to be loud and over the top and sometimes you need to "keep it real" with the audience and just be there and share it with them.
- What are you waiting from Baltic For Events Forum?
Oh, I can’t wait to be in a room full of events people and have some very nerdy discussions about events and how we do it best. I love analyzing what we do and how we can change and do it better next time. It’s a little scary because these are professional events people, they know the tricks of the trade, so i need to work very hard to impress these people and I can’t wait for the challenge!