Don't Cancel Your Event- Go Virtual!
A virtual event is one where the audience participates online rather than in-person using a conferencing tool or social platform. Virtual events can be equally effective as their in-person counterparts, but there is no physical venue or close contact. However, it’s important to note that both types of events require the same efforts to make them happen.
- planning meetings
- fireside chats
Virtual events are a one way to stay in contact with your audience when you are unable to meet with them in person. When transitioning your live event to a virtual one, think about what you’d like your event to look like and the level of communication you need. Do you need to show product demonstrations or a slide deck? Do you need for your audience to have the ability to communicate one on one with you or others in the event? Do you need your audience to see a virtual walk through of exhibits or vendor booths?
These are a few questions to ask yourself as you consider the best platform for your virtual event.
Replicating a live event virtually is not easy, but when it is done correctly can attract large audiences, increase your brand identity as well as generate leads and conversion. Based on the type of event you want to deliver, you may need to partner with an audio visual company to help provide you with some of the technology required to put on your event. You may also want to rent studio space that will accommodate your filming needs.
Also consider the technological impact. With an increase in online activity, many shared networks are experiencing overload and slower than usual connectivity. If you will be broadcasting your virtual event from a home office computer or a remote location, please be aware that IT issues may crop up where they didn’t exist before.
Virtual events provide an avenue for you to continue to communicate and connect with your audience when live events are not possible. However, keeping the interest of your audience once they have joined your event takes some effort as remote attendees are faced with a mountain of distractions.
Your audience is connecting with your event to get something in return. Ideas for keeping them engaged include live polling, break away sessions, trivia games, scavenger hunts and other team building exercises. Use group chat functions to encourage networking during meeting breaks, send out polls to solicit feedback, use screen sharing or share content when appropriate.
Just because the logistics of a virtual event maybe a bit less complicated than a live one, don’t be lulled into a sense of complacency. The components of a virtual event require just as much planning. You will still need creative, attention grabbing visuals and content to keep your audience interested. Just with in-person events, failing to plain is planning to fail.
Be sure to consider your audience and their level of understanding technology. If your audience is not very tech-savvy, try to keep the experience as simple as possible- use a platform with minimal ways your audience can get lost. But a more tech-savvy audience will appreciate a sophisticated an engaging experience that could include breakout rooms or an interactive group chat.
Finally, do some sample recordings and play them back so you can gauge your body
positioning, speaking volume and where it appears your eyes are
focused. Looking into the camera makes the audience feel like you’re talking to them, while looking down at your keyboard or notes can be a bit off-putting if it appears you are constantly looking down.
Virtual Event Resources
We didn’t write these, but they’re from trusted resources and we think you may find them useful for further exploration.