Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the events industry. Even after the pandemic passes, it is clear that virtual is here to stay and meeting planners must master digital event technology in order to meet modern attendee expectations. Here are some of the top skills event teams should focus on in the new year.
Embrace a Producer Mindset
A live event is similar to a stage production. Once the attendees are in their seats, they're likely to stay there. But a virtual event is more like a TV show, and requires a producer mindset in order to be successful.
Digital meeting participants are easily distracted by work, emails and family obligations. Event organizers must therefore make sure the meeting content is both relevant and engaging. Sessions should also be kept short and must start on time, so attendees won't be tempted to leave their seats.
Too many event planners do not realize how powerful studying video analytics can be. Learning how to read the data must become part of a planner's skillset. Using these tools correctly can provide event organizers with powerful insights into attendee engagement levels and preferences. These analytics can then be used to improve event sessions and marketing strategies, ultimately increasing attendee satisfaction and revenue.
Virtual events need to be inclusive. Meeting planners should not only take time to diversify their speakers and panelists, but also to make sure that the event itself is accessible to all.
"Overlooking accessibility limits who you can view your content," says Margaret Glover, an event manager at Writinity, a content marketing company. "It is worth researching the accessibility options you have available to you."
This means adding closed captioning or ASL interpretation options for live and recorded sessions. Zoom, WebEx and others now offer closed captioning. Take time when selecting your virtual event platform to assess its accessibility options.
Focus on the Attendee Experience
An essential skill, while not exciting, is paying attention to the details. Want to know if you are giving the delegates a great experience? Test out the event from the view of an attendee and make improvements accordingly. Be sure to test out the user experience on different browsers and devices. Taking the time to get all the small things right helps make for a better virtual event and prevents hiccups on the day of.
Manage Speakers Closely
In a live event, if things do not go exactly as planned or if speakers run over, it is seldom a huge problem. But attendees are less forgiving in a virtual setting and can easily leave when their expectations are not being met.
It is therefore critical that meeting planners keep presenters on task and properly prepare them pre-event. Make sure your speakers know how the platform works and feel comfortable using it. Setting up session rehearsals is critical for ironing out any technology issues. You'll also want to make sure the speakers know the event schedule and how much time they'll have to present and answer questions, as well as how they can share resources and engage with attendees.
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays. In her spare time, Ashley regularly attends business training courses, staying up to date with the latest trends. As a mother of two children, when she is not working or being a mom, she enjoys reading and traveling.