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Part 1: Two Takeaways for Creating Successful Virtual Events for Your Small Business

By: Alex Bickers | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Jan 20, 2021

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Committee Note: If only we had a crystal ball! This series will focus on next steps and looking to the future of our industry.  As we navigate the upcoming year, we encourage our MPI Community to connect with us to share a ‘What’s Next?’ story of your own with colleagues! 

Is your small or mid-sized business hosting a virtual event? According to Alex Bickers, a seasoned event professional, these are the four critical elements for a successful online event shared in two parts!

Though virtual events have been around to some extent, they have become an essential aspect of the workplace in 2020. As in-person events were cancelled or postponed at the beginning of the year, businesses had to pivot to connect with their communities online.

Virtual events can be powerful and scalable, as they allow people to gather in a virtual space and connect without the constraints of travel. However, with our ever-shortening attention spans and “Zoom fatigue,” hosting a virtual event also comes with its unique set of challenges.

In part one of this blog post, Alex Bickers, an award-winning event consultant and the President of Reveal Events Group, offers expert advice and insight into how businesses can host successful virtual events and connect in new and exciting ways.

Know your event objective

One of the first things you should do before planning your virtual event is know the event's goal. Just like any other event, the purpose of the virtual gathering needs to be identified. Brainstorm and think about the following questions:

Pic - Part 1• Why are we doing this? What do we want to accomplish?
• How do you want attendees to feel?
• Is this a small gathering limited to a certain number of people?
• Is this a large-scale event dedicated to sharing information more widely?


“Then we get to what I refer to as the ‘need to haves’ and the ‘nice to haves,’” shares Alex. “Consider what the essential requirements you need to accomplish are, or the absolute project deliverables, such as tracking continuing education credits, for example, versus the elements that are not vital, but you would like to happen.”

Reduce Zoom fatigue by investing in the right platform

A common hurdle in planning a successful virtual event is figuring out how to reduce Zoom fatigue. As an article by BBC Worklife reported, communicating via video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype, or Teams, make us work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, tone, and body language. This becomes exhausting, leading to what we know as ‘Zoom fatigue.’

Pic 2- Part 1Then there is also the fact that aspects of life that used to be separate – work, family, and social life – now happen in the same space as many people rely on Zoom or Teams to not only do their jobs but also stay connected with their family and friends. "Everyone is feeling that level of exhaustion. The key is to create engagement that goes beyond feeling like you’re just in another Zoom meeting,” shares Alex. “One way to do that is by using a virtual event management platform."

Investing in a virtual event platform such as Socio or Pheedloop allows you to go beyond a webinar-type experience, where attendees simply click a link and passively watch a presentation.

 “A virtual event platform can be fully branded to your company. You can have a landing page that recognizes your sponsors. It allows you to interact with speakers in advance of the conference in networking groups. So, in a way, it gives you these pieces of human interaction back that we lost when we stopped doing in-person events and allows for more engagement,” says Alex.

About the Author:
Alex - Headshot
Alex Bickers
President and Creative Director
Reveal Events Group
alex@revealeventsgroup.com

This article originally appeared on the Kwixand Solutions blog and is reposted with permission. You can view the original article here.

 

Author

Alex - Headshot
Alex Bickers | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

 
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