Events have changed, face-to-face interactions have been swapped for sitting down in the home office and listening to webinar-type conferences. This should be disappointing, as a lot of the focus is on improving attendee engagement, and the success of online events are now measured by the involvement of people and not just the number of sign-ups. So, in all the uncertainty around COVID-19-19, what are the steps needed to make online events a success? CEO at Interprefy, Kim Ludvigsen gives us 5 steps to creating a successful virtual conference.
Chat and connect with attendees and speakers
During the online event, attendees want to be able to communicate with each other, ask questions and engage with speakers. They want to get answers to their questions, actively participate (rather than just listen) and make new connections.
To achieve this, some events set up chat groups via communication applications, such as Slack, or have their own dedicated chat solution. This enables attendees to readily communicate with each other (whether it’s to talk about the event, ask questions or connect) and for event managers and speakers to provide answers or updates in real-time.
Not only does real-time chat improve engagement, but it also provides event managers with crucial insight; they can see the questions attendees have and how they felt about the event. This information can then be used to personalise aspects of the event (i.e. what updates and content the attendee receives) for attendees.
Event is far more diverse than they were just 5 years ago. More and more people from different backgrounds are coming together to learn, share and collaborate. Audiences will only continue to diversify, but all too often events are offered in a single language or fail to consider the audience’s diversity. What does this mean for event managers? Diversity and inclusion are necessary, so event managers need to ensure attendees feel included and engaged.
Remove language barriers
Removing barriers to entry is crucial to increase event attendance and reception, yet according to the 2020 Industry Trends report, almost half (46%) stated that their biggest challenge when organising interpreting services was the cost.
If speakers for an event only speak in English, you risk alienating people from parts of Europe, Asia, Latin America etc. who wanted to attend because they believed the content was valuable. If prior to registration potential attendees see that the content will be offered in their language, they’ll be far more likely to sign up.
Expert speaker panel
It’s important to avoid unconscious bias in the speaker selection process, as you want speakers to be chosen based on the merit of their work. Consider doing it ‘blind’; this means evaluating speaker proposals without any kind of identifying information attached.
Attendees don’t just want to hear from five men of the same nationality, background and age – they want to hear a range of opinions. If attendees see a varied speaker panel, they’ll be more likely to attend. The more diverse the speaker panel, the more experiences and opinions offered.