Virtual is here to stay
In 2020, we witnessed a seismic shift of the entire industry to the virtual space, albeit forcefully. This trend will continue for the most part of 2021, with digital remaining a major component of the event strategy.
Why? Because the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccinations (once launched) will be a lengthy process with tier-wise priority given to the recipients – based on risk, need and profession. Secondly, not all attendees will be entirely comfortable with travelling to the event venue. Thirdly, by now everyone has seen the value that can be derived from them and is familiar with the usability. Especially, organisations where events are not the main revenue-drivers and/or who have a large percentage of customers located globally, will host events online.
However, the difference between virtual events in 2021 from 2020 will be that you will need to invest in agencies and AV specialists that can help with technical production. This is because just like you, attendees have also had the chance to experience lots of virtual events in the past couple of months. By next year their bar of expectation is going to rise.
This means there will be less room for mistakes, especially when it comes to content. Content quality has to be top notch, as good as the broadcasting quality of a film running on television. Hence, you need to be prepared and ensure that there are no glitches with camera, sound and Wifi.
But it isn’t just about technology. In order to ensure the success of the event, you will need to choose the speakers carefully too. Ultimately speakers are responsible for making or breaking content. One option is to hire speakers who have become experts in speaking at virtual events and at keeping online attendees engaged. Another option is to hire less experienced speakers but invest in their training and also facilitate them with relevant equipment.
Regardless of the choice made, for a live session to run seamlessly, enough time and budget needs to be allocated to conducting rehearsals and dry runs. But if you want to reduce the burden on speakers, consider pre-recording sessions and bringing up the speakers for the live Q&A segment.
Virtual event platform
The virtual event platform you choose to host your event on means everything and will do so even when we move ahead to 2021. Thus, you must invest in a virtual platform that provides you a one-stop solution.
Create a list of your platform requirements and scout for a virtual event platform that checks most of the boxes (if not all). Look at the sort of networking options available, how the agenda is displayed, whether it has an event feed and the kind of integrations it offers when it comes to streaming your sessions. At the same time, the most important parameter to keep in mind is user-friendliness. Yes, including the latest fancy features in your event will make your event look cool but ultimately you want your audience to get a good experience – for that the importance of UI and UX should not be undermined.