Everywhere you look, there is change across the events industry.
Against a backdrop of technological disruption and physical disruption due to the coronavirus, a shift in the dynamics that define the relationships between brands, agencies and consumers is taking place.
It can be overwhelming to navigate this change and identify what conference attendees find valuable and what is just hype. To help, I’ve listed out my four top tips when it comes to making online events a success.
1. Identify Which Technologies Save Time and Admin
It’s astonishing to see just how many event apps there are on the market now. But while there are plenty of innovative ideas, the reality of using apps that have to be integrated, populated and rolled out for each event can be time consuming and tiresome for both organizers and end users. Event planners must be selective with which technologies and apps they choose to use.
When identifying the right technologies for your event, ask yourself what the central goal of the event is, what the expectations of attendees are and how the technology can help attain both of those goals.
It’s also important to look at the demographics of your attendees. What are their needs and interests? Do they have the necessary tools in place to effectively navigate the event and make connections with speakers?
Moreover, does the technology you’re considering using help to reduce administrative work, save costs and time, improve the event layout or enhance the user experience? If the answer is yes to one or more of these criteria, it’s worth considering.
2. The Event Should Flow Well and Remain Succinct
Technology has facilitated the rapid exchange of ideas. We’re able to obtain information in real time and on demand via smart devices.
One of the consequences is that consumers — and therefore event attendees — want to get straight to the point. At the same time, the way in which we receive information and engage with others has changed. We’re used to obtaining data from multiple sources in a less structured way than we might have before the digital age.
Consider how you might reflect this in your event. You’ll want to make sure that everything on the agenda, from the general sessions to networking breakouts, is well timed, flows together and adds value. Any elements of the event that are unnecessary should be removed. Instead, leverage technology that will help event participants connect with one another and with speakers in a meaningful way. This is harder to accomplish but all the more important in a virtual setting.
3. Personalization is Key
Today’s attendees expect personalization at every event they attend. It’s no longer good enough to take a one-size-fits-all approach.
Meeting planners can create a more personalized experience by taking the time to gather critical information on their attendees pre-event through registration forms and surveys. Then, draw up some persona profiles to cover their unique interests and expectations. These can be used to create targeted sessions and personalized breakout groups.
Ask yourself if all of your attendees needs are being catered to and what else you can do to make sure they feel comfortable and valued at your meeting? By asking such questions, you can take your event to the next level.
4. Consider the International Makeup of Your Attendees
All too often, we see international events that are only offered in a single language. This discourages engagement, limits attendance and is off-putting for speakers and delegates alike who, in today’s digital era, expect a personalized and technology-enhanced event.
Hosting international events online comes with its own unique challenges, but language barriers need not be among them. There are cloud-based platforms that can provide remote simultaneous interpreting for one-to-one meetings, roundtables, corporate events and large-scale conferences, in as many languages as required.
The right technology can help enhance the event experience for attendees and make the planning and execution smoother for meeting organizers. The technology is there — we just have to use it!
Kim Ludvigsen is the founder and CEO of Interprefy, which provides cloud-based software for remote simultaneous interpretation at meetings and events. He has also worked for Accenture, Apax Partners and Ernst & Young and co-founded several start-ups.