Part Two: 8 MORE Things We’ve Learned About Virtual Events Since the Start of COVID-19
We gained so many new insights into creating the optimal virtual experience that we had to start a second list!
1. Sponsors need love too.
The days of a 500,000 square foot expo hall with throngs of passersby gathered at booths to collect free samples may be over, but still consider how you can create space for key sponsors to get in front of your audience.
Choose a platform that designates functional virtual event space for sponsors to not just show up, but to engage. From things like content-relevant interactive elements that are integrated as part of the programming to downloadable freebies to even a pre-mailed swag bag of products – a reimagined brand footprint that cuts through the noise is what will keep sponsors coming back.
2. People need breaks.
Screen time fatigue is real! Be thoughtful when building a scheduled to include things like bio breaks, group stretching, or meditation, as well as a variation in intensity and tone of the programming.
For example, if there is a heavy or heady hour-long keynote on a tough topic, complement it with lighter more creative programming coupled with a short break.
Refreshed and ready to engage in the next segment – your audiences will thank you.
3. Combine live and pre-recorded.
Leverage a bit of Hollywood magic to lift some of the stress of a live, virtual event. How? By pre-recording certain segments that don’t require live audience interaction. From a musical performance to a 1:1 interview or panel discussion across multiple continents – pre-recording select pieces of content can free you up as the organizer on the day of the event when all you have to do is press ‘play.’
4. Play to your audience.
We can plan our events down to the minute, but there will always be hiccups. Have the oversight to manage the crowd on the fly with an acknowledgment of the issue, or a back-up video reel to play while troubleshooting behind the scenes. Having the cushion of a plan B, C, and even D ensures that no matter what the show will go– even if there is an unplanned intermission.
5. Don’t wait to collect feedback.
While it seems like a no-brainer, feedback post-event surveys end up being irrelevant. The event is over, after all! So why wait until after the fact to get feedback that can be easily fixed or implemented on the spot?
Leverage polls and quick surveys mid-event between sessions. Think quick, yes or no questions that will create a smoother experience, like “do you need any technical assistance?” Or get creative and have the audience choose their own adventure with a “Vote for the next topic of discussion” poll. Not only will on-demand feedback provide a more customized event experience, but it will also ensure increased audience engagement.
6. When it comes to time: less is more.
We have all sat in an hour-long meeting that could have been an email. Why not apply that mindset when planning a virtual event? Could your full-day conference be an afternoon seminar? Filling the time with content fluff does both you and your audience a disservice and is a sure-fire way for drop-off. Embrace the power of brevity, and leave them wanting more.
7. Be a gracious guest.
Yes, you read that right. A guest. Despite being the event host, you’re still coming into the home of your attendees. And that’s a much more intimate, personal experience than if you were meeting in neutral territory in person. Employ the same grace and self-awareness that you would when visiting someone’s home – after all, they’re letting you into their world, treat their virtual space with kindness.
8. Don’t stifle your creativity.
Though it may seem otherwise, virtual events are not a punishment! Enjoy working in a new(er) medium and try not to let the virtual nature of the event crush your creative spirit and ingenuity. Let it instead fuel your imaginative fire, not put it out. Use a flexible virtual event platform like Tocca that allows you to be creative with your events.