Crises are the perfect time to innovate. Once we have woken up seeing birds after the technical KO produced by the Coronavirus, we are now starting to raise our heads to see in which direction we have to run when we have the capacity to move.
It is clear, this is a great opportunity to improve our processes, improve our companies digitalization, and strengthen both teleworking and remote interaction, because now, we have no choice but to adapt quickly to new circumstances.
But we have to think long term: what will happen next?
It is almost certain that we are going to spend a season with multiple restrictions that will have an effect on the way we interact, move around, meet, and of course, on our capability to organize events.
This is where virtual and hybrid events (combining face-to-face audiences with virtual attendees), will be most useful, not only because of the ability to bring a presentation to hundreds or thousands of remote attendees, but also because they can incorporate other interaction dynamics such as chats, social networks, interactive voting, polls and much additional content to improve the user experience and make the communication truly bidirectional.
We know that using streaming for virtual events such as product presentations, webinars, or e-learning has so many advantages, that for years we have feared its proliferation as a prelude to the end of the reign of face-to-face events.
However, not everything counts in this field of digital event communication. There are five aspects that we must take into account if we want to ensure the success of our virtual events:
1. Use a professional system
This is the baseline. Use a good technical provider and make sure that all the points involved have enough connectivity, with sufficient capacity on the dedicated lines for the event, and they are able to provide you with connection statistics.
2. Promote your event before and after it is held.
It is important to make a proper communication in advance so that your virtual attendees know about the event and create expectation beforehand that they save their valuable time to sit in front of their mobile devices or computer and see what you have to tell them. On the other hand, the subsequent contact with attendees will extend the life of your event and create community, also keep in mind that you can upload it so that other attendees can view it on demand.
Format and communication strategy is very important, if you can afford it, consider the possibility of hiring a moderator or a host to ensure the smooth running of the event.
4. Think about duration
Be careful, we cannot design a virtual or hybrid event in the same way as if it were a face-to-face one, the first ones should be much shorter. Remember there are no coffee breaks and attendees have the possibility to leave the room without calling attention. When we talk about digital, hybrid or virtual events, we must remember that “good things if shorter, twice as good“.
5. Encourage participation
Hybrid events engagement is even more difficult than onsite or face-to-face events, elements that ensure interaction such as chat, social media integration or gamification will help the success of your event.
Surely in a while, we will return to face-to-face events, to informal coffee break conversations and to the desired WOW effect that is so difficult to achieve in the virtual world. But the digitalization of events is here to stay, as a tool to reach more people, for longer, and will last without competing with the face-to-face events, but enhancing and complementing them.
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