From IRL to Online, Making Virtual Events Magical
Updated: May 3, 2020
In the past few weeks I've had a lot of folks who work in events, corporate workshops, training sessions, & conferences get in touch with me asking for tips & strategies on bringing energy, passion, & a feeling of connectedness to events that once were IRL (in real life) - but that are now moving online.
As we forge our forward in a world where working from home & telecommuting becomes the norm for most of us, I truly believe that digital technology is poised to be our greatest connector. Where digital platforms were simply tools through which we could transact if we had to, now they're our lifeblood. Our beating hearts. Our ways of working in high performing teams with structure & face to face time. My heart & head knows that human expertise & passion will shine through in the weeks, months & years ahead for all of us. I mean, let's be honest, how many bazillions of Zoom meeting screenshots have you seen popping up on LinkedIn, Instagram, & Facebook lately? Though we're apart, our teams are our tribes & it's always good to see each other face-to-face.
That said, with all of my positivity it's also understandable that many of us find it hard to imagine in-person conferences, seminars, & workshops being as effective as they might've been in person when they're undertaken online. I completely understand the reticence to move online for big conferences. Some of the best conversations I've ever had in both professional & personal spheres have happened whilst waiting in line waiting for a buffet dinner & a cheeky cocktail at a big conference. How can someone recreate ye olde awkward convo whilst waiting for kai online? In short, we can't. No two moments, conversations, rooms, or events are the same. Therefore, I believe we're superbly poised now to jump in boots & all. It's time to ride this digi-wave of awesome to shore.
In saying all of this, I'd like to share a few hawt tips for creating impactful online experiences if you're planning on or considering moving any of your real-world planned events online here:
Have a powerful "why" for broadcasting your event. A good place to start is in re-visiting the purpose of your original event. Make sure your "why" moving forward (if it wasn't already) is 100% about your audience - not about you. Put simply, what value are you offering virtual attendees?
Start sharing content about your event across your most engaged channels NOW. Even if your event isn't yet officially cancelled yet or is scheduled for a few months down the track. START. SHARING. CONTENT. ABOUT. IT. NOW. Tell stories. Ask questions through Instagram stories. Gather UGC. Create community conversation. Simply, start now.
Tell stories. Lots & lots of stories. Make these contextual to the content you'll be sharing during your online conference. Keep them simple, lighthearted, positive, & valuable. Add little tickles of magic into people's days. Remind your stakeholders & attendees about what your answer to number one above is.
Get digital natives/locals to help out. Keynote speakers like myself who are just as at home online as they are working a room IRL will help hugely in exciting your attendees about the fun of digital seminars/workshops/conferences. Building in engagement & competition opportunities with conversation leaders & virtual attendees is an easy way of keeping people happy, learning, & passionate.
Take a deep breath. For a lot of businesses & leaders moving into a new way of working & gathering online is scary because it's virtually unknown or untested in the context of certain businesses & teams. Scary is okay though, because there are a lot of folks who can help chart these waters (we've sailed them before.)
The best thing any of us can do right now is simply to test, learn, & keep moving forward. Kindness is staying away from others IRL (if you can), washing your hands, keeping an open mind, & asking for help when you need it.
If you're struggling, please get in touch.
I'm here & happy to help where & how I can.
As Simon Sinek says "Together is better." And now, more than ever I believe this to be true with every fibre of my being. Here's to checking in on each other, staying well, & using tech to bring genuine connections to our daily lives.