In this series of 5 posts, David Smith will explore the 5 ways we can make our virtual events as effective (if not better) than the face to face ones we run
How do we make our virtual events as good (if not better) than our traditional face to face ones, something many many employees and their managers may be troubled by every single day?
Many employees are being asked to work using virtual platforms like GoToMeeting, WebEx Meeting Center or Skype for Business and while they get access to the technology very easily do they know how best to leverage this new virtual world?
Virtual events can be every bit as effective as their face to face equivalents, and in fact in some instances well run virtual events can be even better, more interactive, more engaging than face to face event can ever be.
There are 5 steps that we need to focus upon to ensure that our virtual events are every bit as effective as our face to face ones – not focussing on these 5 steps means that your virtual event is unlikely to be as successful as it should be.
In this series of 5 posts I will look at each of these steps in turn, so let’s start by focussing on the first and for me one of the critical elements of great virtual event design - Interaction
Often we hear of organisations that have selected a virtual platform to deliver events virtually, such as GoToMeeting, WebEx Meeting Center or Skype for Business or any other platform and expect that their virtual events will be interactive because the platform supports interaction – It does not just happen; we need to design the interaction.
Why do we need the interaction?
Well not only is Interaction vital in keeping and maintaining your audience’s attention and focus, but attendees are also much more likely to have a beneficial learning experience if they are involved in the event rather than being passive observers.
Unfortunately, we have all probably been on the receiving end of a virtual event that is not highly interactive, one that affords us the opportunity to hide behind the bandwidth and ‘tune-out’ or multitask and attend to other tasks.
In the virtual event we should think of interaction taking place in 3 different ways:
Between event leader and attendees - The most obvious and often used way on interacting in the virtual platform, where the event leader/host interacts verbally with the attendee audience – asking questions, hearing past experiences, thoughts and opinions.
Between the attendees themselves – So very often the opportunity to have attendees collaborate and work together – where we can ask attendees to build upon the previous attendees comments, break into small group discussions (as we do in large group meetings) allowing attendees to tackle a task/activity/discussion, come back and present back.
Between the attendees and the platform tools – Whether we are using the polling tools, asking attendees to share thoughts and opinions in chat, asking them to annotate on whiteboards, using hand raise or feedback icons - there are many ways to get audiences interacting with the platform tools.
If we pull all these different ways to interact together that experience is going to be lively, interactive and engaging, and it is less likely the attendee will want or feel the need to multitask, and as a bonus they will learn more in the process.
Interaction is a key step to ensuring you make a success of your live online events.
Stay tuned for the next 4 steps!