In today’s business world, much more is done virtually than ever before. Companies have remote workforces and find new employees via virtual hiring events, business leaders hold networking and team-building events, and much of today’s shopping is done virtually. Given this trend, have you ever wondered how to host a virtual event?
Benefits of Virtual Conferences
In the past, industry conferences took months to set up and cost significant amounts of money. Therefore, many industries and companies started holding virtual conferences once the technology was available.
The most significant benefit of virtual events is the substantial reduction in cost for the companies, organizers, and attendees. You don’t have to rent venues, hotel rooms, furniture, and equipment. You also don’t have to provide food and other amenities.
These events have higher attendance rates because their attendees don’t have to travel, pay for lodging and food, and search for an excellent place to sit during the keynote speech. Instead, they can enjoy the conference from the comfort of their homes or offices. They can also schedule their work and life around the conference without the massive disruption physical attendance requires.
The attendees also have access to text, video, and audio chats, increasing opportunities for networking and learning from industry leaders. Organizers also gain quick access to high-quality leads. Question and answer sessions also provide nearly immediate feedback.
Virtual conferences also share new, trending or cutting-edge information. Therefore, you can access the most up-to-date trends and insights through readily available webinars, chats, and other events. This allows you to immediately increase your knowledge on critical topics, no matter where you are.
Virtual meetings level the playing field for small businesses, and information is shared more easily. Therefore, these are three ways to elevate your message during your virtual conference.
1. Spend Time on Presentation Design
As you consider different virtual event ideas, look for ways to cut through the noise. You don’t want to be just another business leader sitting behind a desk. Instead, search for ways to stand out.
First, start by learning the platform you plan to use during your event. Make sure it is available and works effectively on any device. This is especially important if you plan to later upload your presentation to social media platforms, e.g., YouTube because these users often view content on mobile devices.
Build an attractive slide format. Consider the colors and images you plan to use. For example, you should vary your content with textures and images while using contrasting colors and gradients to produce a dynamic slide. However, avoid so much contrast that it is hard on the attendee’s eyes.
Make sure your presentation is engaging and supports your brand identity. Focus on the audience’s perception and expectations by building slides that support the speaker and vice versa. Pay close attention to the readability of any text in your presentation.
Online audiences may be watching your conference while they are doing other things. Because they aren’t in the same room as the presenter, they can easily get distracted. Therefore, you need to design for engagement and focus. Your presentation should be eye-catching, carefully designed, and edited because your audience may look much closer at your content than at a physical conference.
2. Use Branded Backgrounds and Speakers
Branded backgrounds give your presentation consistency. Although it is a good idea to vary the content and structure of your slides, your background should remain consistent.
Your attendees may want to avoid seeing your personal or office space. Even if you are organized and hyper-clean, this background can be distracting. For example, if you show a bookshelf filled with books, your audience may start trying to decipher the titles. A blank wall can give your presentation a bland feel, while different people interpret the artwork differently.
While some events may benefit from seeing unique, natural environments, if you are giving a formal presentation, this can be distracting. Therefore, choose a virtual background that reflects your brand identity.
Also, a professional speaker understands the requirements of these events and is prepared to engage with your audience thoroughly. The primary goal is to keep your audience’s attention throughout the event. Although many people have interesting information to share, the information alone may not be enough to keep your attendees present.
Therefore, consider hiring a professional motivational keynote speaker. These individuals increase your credibility and that of your event. They also have ways to promote your conference that you may need access to, especially if they have many online followers.
3. Save Time for Open Discussion
While virtual events eliminate the distance between the attendees and organizers, they don’t always produce greater engagement. Therefore, make sure you save time in your presentation for open discussions. You can have a question-and-answer period or a classroom-type discussion session where the presenter asks the questions.
The purpose of open discussions is to encourage everyone to participate. These periods may use live chat options, video conferences, discussion boards, or other cloud-based collaborations. By allowing attendees to type in questions, you can overcome some of their fear about speaking in public or that they are asking a foolish question.
Ideas for Fun Virtual Events
You can start your conference with fun events that encourage participation and engagement. For example, you may begin with a game where attendees show what they know about your company, coworkers, products, etc. You can stage a murder mystery, escape room challenge, or holiday event. Trivia events can teach you and your attendees about different parts of the world, geographies, cultures, countries, and people.
Turn a networking conference into a fun event by hosting a wine, beer, and cheese event. Teach about work-life balance through a tea and mindfulness experience. Build team effectiveness through virtual team scavenger hunts. Support their interests through virtual painting or mixology classes. Finally, you can stage games, such as virtual Pictionary or Bingo.
Virtual events are great tools for persuading, instructing, motivating, and informing a target audience about you, your company, the industry, and its trends and innovations. However, they should be designed carefully to secure the attention of the attendees and encourage their engagement.