Transitioning Your Event: Today’s Virtual World
Looking back on the last month, it is hard to believe how much has changed. We went from shopping at malls, eating at restaurants, and flying on planes, to suddenly, quarantined in our homes. That is the unfortunate part of our reality, but through this transition, there has been a lot to learn.
For anyone planning an event this spring, there have been countless hours spent obsessing over the little details, understanding the schedule, and placing minutes on a calendar to host a main event. Then quickly, and without warning, those plans have changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected event planners, venues, caterers, designers, and many other vendors. It is not easy, but it is a time to adjust and understand the opportunity technology presents in a situation like this. Here are some tips for all of the event planners out there that we’ve learned through transitioning our annual conference to a virtual event:
Whether we like it or not, technology has become our best friend. Solutions like Teams, Zoom, Global Meet, Google Duo, FaceTime, and GotoMeeting, have become an essential part of how we can still host events today. For example, our annual 3-day user conference, Prosper, is moving to a virtual platform. Although we’d rather spend time with our clients in person, there’s never been a more crucial time for us to share strategies for facing these unprecedented times. Without technology, this would never be possible.
Engage your Audience
With virtual events, it can be difficult to send excitement into the crowd since we can’t read body language as clearly. Therefore, it is important to keep the audience interested and engaged. Some tips I have learned is to introduce polling and Q&A into your virtual event. These features can enhance the experience for the attendee and keep them intrigued in the content.
Complete a Test Run
With technology, comes kinks. Technology is wonderful, but everyone knows that it can be difficult. Be sure to test out your event before going live. This ensures that everyone on your virtual event team knows what role they play and how to execute.
Collaborate with Your Team
When working on an event with a team, allow for a brainstorming session. See where you are currently and create a vision for where you want to go. Believe me, you won’t get the best event if you try to do it all alone. Other people’s ideas give you inspiration!
Give, Give, Give
Now more than ever, your event can make a positive impact. Use that money budgeted for attendee gifts and make a donation to an organization that is making a difference during this time. Giving is how we will get through this together.
The transition to virtual is not easy. There will be challenges along the way, but it is important to look at the big picture. Did you relay your message? Did you prepare your presenters? Did you execute a brand-new event in a short period of time? If you can say yes, I believe you have been successful in planning an event in this new virtual world.
Posted on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 9:45 AM
by Kayla Schaefer