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Part 2: Two Takeaways for Creating Successful Virtual Events for Your Small Business

By: Alex Bickers | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Mar 30, 2021

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A Look Ahead - What's Next - Series

Committee Note: Part two of Creating Successful Virtual Events for Your Small Business! Part one available HERE.  Do you have a ‘What’s Next?’ story of your own?  Please share with us so we can update our MPI Community!! 

Alex Bickers, a seasoned event professional, shares two more critical elements for a successful online event!

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

Focus on virtual attendee engagement

The number one factor that contributes to the success of a digital event is attendee engagement. Businesses need to create an environment that engages their attendees to their specific purpose.

Picture1  “You need to think about creating a virtual experience with some excitement,” says Alex. He points out that for now, most people’s lives are full of screens – they attend work meetings, connect with friends over Facetime or Google Hangouts, and then watch Netflix at night. “We are screened out because we are at home. So, think about what you can add to your event to engage your participants, so they don’t feel like there’s one more online meeting to attend. Think about what initiatives you can take to make it fun for somebody to experience this event at home."

Alex notes that there are many tricks and tools to create virtual attendee engagement, especially if you are using an event management platform. These include features like live online Q & A sessions, virtual exhibit halls, one-on-one demo chats, breakout groups, and more. Most platforms allow you to upload presentations and interactive documents, which can be gated. You could also go a step further and arrange to deliver tangible items for your attendees. For example, at a virtual gala or fundraiser, where dinner is often included in the ticket price, you could arrange to deliver a pre-packaged meal to the attendees along with a branded bottle of wine.

“As an event professional in this virtual environment, we are constantly thinking about what are the actual hands-on elements that somebody receives at an in-person event, and how can we recreate that,” shares Alex.

Creating a contingency plan and other considerations

Rehearsals and run-throughs are just as crucial for virtual events as they are for in-person. Connect with the speakers and presenters in advance and ensure they know what to do. Alex also suggests investigating your selected platform well before the event and familiarizing yourself with the features so that you know how to use it.

“Don’t forget to create a recovery plan,” Alex advises. “A common issue with virtual events is that you are moderating or managing an event, and then the internet fails you, or the power goes out unexpectedly.”

Picture2Another consideration to keep in mind when hosting a virtual event is that your attendees will have different technical skill levels. Some might be extremely comfortable navigating through your online environment, but others may not and will require extra support. Consider how you will provide technical support to your attendees and have a technical admin as part of your event team.

Finally, make sure you have a team supporting your virtual event. There is always a support team to rely on for in-person events, whether that is the conference room or tradeshow staff. When hosting a virtual event, almost all that work falls on the organizer. Alex says, “Whether it’s your internal team of employees or whether you choose to hire a virtual event management professional to handle it all for you, you need to have a support network in place for success.”

Picture3Alex Bickers
President and Creative Director
Reveal Events Group
This article originally appeared on the Kwixand Solutions blog and is reposted with permission. You can view the original article here.



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Alex Bickers | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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