By Julia O’Grady

A virtual event should not be a recreation of what your live event was going to be. Your virtual event should be what you envision your event would look like virtually, if that was the way it was planned originally.

If you had been tasked with from the start to create a virtual event, what would your vision be? 

Obviously depending on the event, it could look so many different ways. 

A conference could include pre-recorded content from your speakers with strict guidelines on what you want the final product to look like. No death by powerpoint, no Zoom talking heads. You have to force your speakers to get creative and step up their game. I had to present at a summit last week and I forced myself to do my presentation standing, like I was on a stage.  That small adjustment alone made a huge difference because I presented like I would have if the event had been live. I was more animated and likely much more engaging. 

What about a fundraiser? How can you get people to support your cause virtually? How do we share the stories of challenge and triumph to get people to pull out their virtual cheque books? Work with your story tellers to create a video with music, photos and their story. We all know images set to music are a weak point for everyone. Follow that up with an online donation that can be made directly from their phones while they are sitting in their living room. Envision an event that could take less than an hour of their time – no drive time, no uncomfortable forced networking. The best thing about this idea is that you can host it at any time of the day. You don’t need to worry about planning around office hours. And, let’s not forget about the opportunity over and over again for other purposes.

 

Even a networking event can even be virtual. For someone like me who is not great at networking in the real world, a virtual networking event sounds like heaven. In fact, I have attended many in the last couple of months and made way more connections then I would have certainly have made without these opportunities. There are many platforms to use and they all have good and not so good features. But let’s make sure to do better than a Zoom call style. Try using conversation starters? Create a list of topics that may be of interest to your attendees and have groups set up to address each topic. Your attendees can jump in and out of conversations that are of interest to them all while making potentially valuable connections with others in the group.

Attack your virtual event with a fresh set of eyes, with a child’s mind. They say that a child’s mind is open to possibilities and new ideas. Use that to guide you in creating a new fresh virtual event, instead of trying to recreate your live event virtually

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julia O’Grady, President ITM Events, has big vision,fresh ideas and a proven track record in the events industry. Analytical by nature, Julia excels at conceptualizing the vision for aneventas well as managing details large and small. She is a strategic thinker who considers the lifespan of an event — planning an event today that is designed to evolve and meet stakeholder needs tomorrow. Rational and detail-oriented, Julia implements decisions and policies that ensure the seamless production of every event she manages. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis.

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