It happened in a blink of an eye. One day, virtual events were mere alternatives. Then, almost every company—from the likes of Apple and Samsung to the small business in town—is holding webinars and virtual events. What exactly happened? The coronavirus pandemic happened, that’s what. Since the country was under shelter-in-place orders for most of 2020, companies needed to find a way to continue engaging their audience without holding a live and physical event. That’s why virtual events boomed.
As information about the pandemic changed rapidly, companies and organizations have to think on their feet. Meaning they couldn’t rely on current government policies on the pandemic. They need to be one step ahead of the government because they have to make a tough decision on future company events, releases, meetings, etc.
In the past year, almost everyone witnessed how big companies like Facebook, Intel, SAP, Microsoft, and IBM pivoted to virtual events. They poured their resources into finding event production companies that can execute these virtual events successfully.
That allowed them to connect and serve their customers even amid the pandemic. But how about small businesses? Do they have the resources to hold virtual events? Lo and behold, virtual events are actually quite more cost-effective than staging large events. You have to focus on the four important types of virtual events happening right now.
These are educational in nature. They last somewhere between 45 and 80 minutes. Participants can come from all over the world if they want to hear the webinar speakers present their content. How many speakers should a webinar have? That’s for you to figure out. You can divide the webinars into topics and have different speakers for each one.
If you are hosting a webinar, you have two options: charge participants or offer it for free. Participants can pay through various online payment platforms. You will give them a passcode so that they can join the webinar. If the webinar is for internal training, you have to offer it to your employees for free. During the webinar, the speakers can share their screens for presentation. They also use video conferencing tools for the question-and-answer portion.
These are the same as in-person conferences. The only difference, of course, is these are happening virtually. Virtual conferences have one specific topic. The conference will be divided into breakout sessions, keynotes, and more to discuss different aspects of the topic.
Organizations took planning a virtual conference to the next level. Attendees will be ushered into a virtual lobby where similar to in-person conferences, they’ll need to register. After that, the attendees can choose different “rooms” to listen to speakers or check out an exhibit. Organizers made sure that virtual conferences will feel like an actual event. Here, attendees can interact with fellow participants.
Internal Hybrid Events
During the pandemic, many companies have to ask their workers to work virtually for the time being. This meant no meetings, brainstorming sessions, training, and company-wide events. Thankfully, they could use internal hybrid events, which are designed to share a message to the entire company. Even before the pandemic, these events successfully bridged the gap between employees from different parts of the world and those you have back at the headquarters.
These types of events are part in-person and part virtual. Meaning, companies encourage those who can attend the event in person to do so. For those who cannot, the company will host a virtual gathering that will have the same activities, workshops, and talks.
External Hybrid Events
An example of an external hybrid event is an industry conference. Unlike internal events, this kind of event will need the expertise of an event planner because there is an actual in-person event happening at the same time as the virtual one. Anyone who can attend the event in person will learn from the exhibits, sessions, and meetings. But those who can only attend virtually will be treated to the same experience through live streaming and video conferencing tools that enable engagement.
Virtual events are the answers to your organization’s predicaments right now. If you are unsure of policies in the next few months and there’s an event looming in your company, it’s best to switch to a virtual event or at least plan one. This way, you can still proceed even if the situation and protocols change.
Companies already suffered from a lot of distractions in the past year. They can no longer afford the continuous disruption in their operations, so virtual events might be the way to go for now.