5 Lessons Any Business Can Learn From Our First Ever Virtual Event
Are we done pivoting yet?
I am, of course, joking. But honestly, I don’t think anyone expected to be making changes to their business on a monthly basis. Here in Arizona, we thought we had things under control. The next thing we knew, we were rivaling New York in the number of COVID cases.
Bottom line…pivoting is the “new normal”. At least for now.
In light of that, I wanted to share an experience we had recently. One that changed my perception, if I’m being truthful. Because (and I almost feel guilty saying this), we learned some incredible, valuable things by hosting our first ever virtual event.
This was our first, because prior to March, we believed that our program was a hands-on program. That it required the physical presence of our customers to get the full benefits.
Well…we’d still probably prefer to do live events. But virtual works. And it works well! And today I want to share 5 lessons we learned that can be applied to your virtual events, virtual employee training and meetings, personal coaching, and any other typically in-person activities.
So here goes:
1) Your Host and Co-host play huge roles in the success of your event.
Keeping energy high and maintaining engagement is tricky in a virtual world, but with awesome co-hosts, it is both valuable and doable. For any events you plan (even if it’s one-on-one interaction), consider adding an extra member to your team. Someone who can spot opportunities you (as the host) will be too focused to identify.
Also, if you plan to allow your attendees to communicate through chat, having an extra body on hand to manage chat comments is beneficial as well.
2) Develop a healthy respect for your technology.
We had wonderful lighting and a great visual because we had access to a nice camera. But we lacked the right audio equipment for the co-hosts. Having a good mic for them will definitely be on our list for the next event.
Nothing kills the tone of an event or meeting faster than tech troubles. And we’re all going to have them. Prepare yourself for that inevitability now. But with a good run through, you’ll have a better idea of what to be on the lookout for and can troubleshoot quickly.
3) Seriously…goodie boxes for the WIN.
Our favorite thing in the box was pom poms. We used these pom poms as a way to bring energy visually into the virtual meeting. Everyone waved their pom poms to welcome a speaker, or to thank them at the end of their presentation – since all the participants were muted and we couldn’t hear the cheers and applause. When we all waved the pom poms on camera, it lit the screen up in colors. It was awesome!
4) Speakers bring the gold, but don’t skip on polishing them up before the event.
Lesson learned: spend a little more time on the front end to coordinate and prep speakers and refine their message for our audience. (And the time they are allotted.)
5) Make appropriate accommodations for international attendees.
Also, our goodie box did not arrive on time to the international clients – which was disappointing. We’ll be more mindful of the international attendees with our next virtual event.
But what about you? What’s in the works virtually for you?
Are you connecting with your employees while they work from home? Have you switched to more webinars and less in-person meetings? Do you have plans to launch online events to compensate for the changes we’ve all been forced to adapt to?
Here would be my ultimate advice to you…give it your all. Put some serious energy into your plans and help your clients and/or employees feel how much you care about them and their success. We’re all a little bit down right now. But with the right set up, even basic company meetings can inject hope and motivation into the people you connect with. And you can make it a good experience for everyone.
If “virtual” is the “new normal”, then make sure it counts. Good luck with your next meeting or event!