On the one hand, it has become a cliché that COVID-19 turned the world upside down, and on the other hand, the virus is the most effective digital transformer. It is a fact that before 2020 only some people organized an event without personal presence, but now everyone is trying to create the events on a digital platform. Let me introduce our experiences of the previous months.
Right in the beginning an important question asked: can a virtual event be the same as a real one?
Well, yes and no. We cannot replace live communication, the experience of personal presence, the buzzing, or the flow nor stage production - for now... In addition, we can "only" digitally stimulate 2 out of 5 senses with more or less success. There are two factors contributing:
- The computer is an odd-one-out device to attend an event. There are things that we do not do on the computer, at least we have not done it by so far. Basically, each visitor joins the virtual event from their own device that they control. So, the success of the event is in the hand of the attendees, based on their device: hardware updates, their knowledge, routine, and the willingness to cooperate.
- The digital platforms are delivered by IT teams which means, the system it is created with a software developer logic. In the rarest cases it consists some event management or communication approach. It is a misconception to list all the elements of an event on a piece-by-piece basis and try to map them on a website.
A virtual event is a fantastic thing, it definitely has a place among the communication tools. Properly applied and implemented virtual event effectively supports business goals. It will never be the same experience, but we should achieve well-thought-out and defined goals with a system of digital tools that requires a different approach.
What shall you be aware of when organizing a virtual event?
Quality content is a must that is visually presented with enough interactivity. The screen is the key because this is the only way to connect with attendees. Most likely there is something else happening around the visitors at home and we must impress them and get their full attention.
Professional performers, with professional streaming all professionally prepared. We all know the classic TV fail story when the announcer was wearing his underwear with a jacket… Anything can happen in a live broadcast and trust me, it does! So, maximum preparation is a mandatory step.
Smoothness. It is much easier to lose attention sitting front of the screen. Even the best live event can be ruined by an organizational fail, the same is exponentially true in a medium where most of our visitors do not have a routine that would guide them in an ambiguous situation.