How To Rethink Physical in a Virtual Events World

Navigate the pitfalls of taking physical events into the virtual world

Taking Your Physical Event Virtual: Top Tips & Tricks  

Are you tasked with hosting your annual conference, or maybe it’s an introduction meeting but it’s virtual? What’s your gut reaction? Circa 2019, and your gut has probably hit the floor with fear. Enter 2022 and it’s a whole new ball game. Your gut goes, I’ve got this! I’ve joined thousands of virtual meetings. While we are all familiar with how they work, how do you make the most of virtual events? Let’s break down the virtual events options. 

Having the Right Platform 

Like finding the perfect location for your physical event, take that into consideration for your virtual space. Questions to ask yourself: 

  • Do you need one main room?  
  • Do you need smaller rooms after the main event?  
  • Do you want a place for attendees to ‘hang out’ virtually? 

As you think through all these options you can start to piece together the space you need virtually. Ensure that you are with the right partner that can technically assist you with your vision. Keep in mind your core themes and overall message so everything is aligned. 

Zoom Fatigue is a Real Thing  

You may want to step away from the “Hollywood Squares” look. With the right partner, you can change the entire look of the event. Excite your audience with something they may have not seen or experienced before. Metaverse opens many new doors but if you are not quite in the fully virtual world yet, why not go hybrid? Many organizations are leveraging a hybrid event space by having a stage while using a combination of physical and virtual speakers. This allows for global interaction. 

Helpful Reminders 

People are busy and very distracted. Keep things simple! What do I mean here? List clear instructions on how to navigate the platform and include program packs, clear agendas, and don’t have too much happening at once.  

Expert Tip: Look at having a virtual lobby that allows people self-serve and find what they need.  

Host Coffee Breaks 

You might have heard the statistic from 2015 where humans are predicted to have a shorter attention span than a goldfish? Well, we might or might not be there yet but the reality is, whether it’s an in-person or online event, everyone needs a break. But how does a coffee break work virtually? Offer vouchers for people attending virtually to grab a coffee on you! Also, have a couple of breakout rooms for a coffee network break. The reality is giving people options to use communal spaces to check-in, or look through content while allowing others to network and grab a coffee is exactly like a physical event. Let technology help you with this.  

Audience Q&A  

You have fantastic keynote speakers and an inspirational line-up. You don’t want your audience to hear their thoughts and not have the opportunity to join in, right? So how do you leverage best-in-class audience Q&A?  

  • Offer a chat function for those that want to comment or chat during events. This helps people to connect or resonate with others’ questions or thoughts.  
  • A raising hand function is a great way for audience members to signal they have a question to your team!  
  • Encourage the audience to join speakers on stage virtually and get involved! 
  • Launch some interactive polls with your audience while encouraging them to agree or disagree with the results. 

Invite A Professional Host 

An event is a lot to plan on its own, but who is going to host it? Why not get a professional moderator or host to take some of the work off your plate? By having a third-party expert hosting the show, your team can concentrate on logistics, presentations and making sure the audience members are taken care of. A professional can amp up the crowd, offer insight to nervous speakers, and help facilitate Q&A in a seamless way. One less thing for you to worry about!  

Say Goodbye with Meaning: Enter the Gift Basket.  

How do you sign off in style? If you’re looking to do more than your round-up email, feel free to reach out to your attendees with a physical thanks! Did you know? Home can often be a lonely place to work. Show your thanks for an audience member joining your virtual event with a little gift that aligns with your theme or messaging. Equally, a courtesy email encouraging everyone to stay connected and revisit content created for the event is also worth the time.  

Finally, Have fun! It is an event after all. Can I get a “let’s do this?!” … sorry, you are on mute 

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