Over the last few weeks, we have attended a variety of zoom calls, webinars, networking forums, and online 121s - some very successful and some less so!
Even in the current situation, not all events or conferences can be postponed until later in 2020, or even into next year, as we have found happening with some of our clients. We are helping those that can’t postpone to pivot to and formulate plans for online events over the coming months.
We wanted to share some of our ideas, thoughts and observations. These are considerations if you are thinking about taking your event online, or holding a webinar, or can even be implemented for informal 121s or team meetings!
Whether an online game of bingo, a quiz, entertainment or polls, wellbeing activities such as meditation or stretching or encouraging webinar selfies - give people the chance to have a voice, contribute and make it engaging. More and more people are coming up with new and innovative ideas, so don’t miss out on this opportunity. It also can be cost effective to add to your event!
Pre and post comms –find new ways to invite people, either a video invite or a voice message. Post event you can ask people to submit photos and create a takeaway from the event, by designing a logo, or strapline using the images. It is easy when people are not sat in front of you for them to be distracted very easily, make people stop and think!
Why is the event taking place, what’s the one thing/message for everyone to take away? It’s important not to lose sight of this! Is this the same end goal that people would have been taking away from a face to face event? Does it translate to a virtual environment?
Bottom line, it is not possible to take a full day event and replicate it exactly in an online environment. People have short attention spans, so sessions should be short and snappy. Include regular virtual coffee breaks and give people time for a quick stretch and walk away from the screen. Make the breaks time for interaction.
It is essential to make sure the content is valuable, so that the audience can still benefit – educates, entertains, drives emotion as this is what will attract people. Creativity is significant. Keep it condensed and include video. Death by PowerPoint is still applicable!
Finally, remember not everyone is comfortable with technology and how it works. Spend time to create clear joining instructions including information such as “how to “ guides for people joining. Offer time for drop in practice sessions with additional technical assistance. For speakers create briefing notes and presentation advice, including important information such as not to sit in front of windows and wear headphones as the sound quality will be better. Rehearsals for speakers is also very important, so any issues can be resolved and ironed out in advance
It is more important than ever to collect attendees feedback and thoughts. Make sure this is captured as soon as possible after the event has taken place and again make it interactive if possible– include a thank you for attending message or offer a prize draw for completed feedback
Most importantly is to make sure that by attending the event all involved feel included in these weird times. Everyone is dealing with situations differently and its imperative to give everyone a feeling of belonging or togetherness. The event needs to be the closest thing to a hug or a handshake to replace our normal face to face interaction, the feeling of being in a room with other people who are all living the same moment. So, how are you going to give your attendees a ‘virtual hug?’