AN EVENT COORDINATOR’S GUIDE TO NAVIGATING THE DIGITAL SHIFT
July 1st, 2020
Whether your experience with digital events spans family quizzes or serious conferences – tech blunders are inevitable. But don’t be put off by the memory of Aunty Margaret reeling off an entire round of answers whilst muted, or the anxiety of watching a key speaker with a questionable internet connection.
With tonnes of tech-y tricks and benefits, plus a carbon footprint to make Mother Nature dance with glee, hosting your event digitally is not only the present, but the future as well. Our Events Coordinator, Paul, talks through navigating the dramatic shift to online, as well as sharing 5 lessons he’s learned along the way.
It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention. Whilst there is nothing new about digital events, recent disruption has forced organisations to dive into the unknown – and rather daunting – world of online conferences.
At MWC, we strive to nimbly navigate whatever challenges we are faced with to bring out the best value in any project. With that at our core, shifting face-to-face events online seemed a rather obvious choice. And certainly a more favourable option than delaying or cancelling important work.
And whilst the shift to online events has come with inevitable #TechFails, months into our sudden uptick in online demand we are still proudly planning engaging events that capture all the objectives of the original in-person event. Plus, we’ve even taken the opportunity to apply our freshly-polished skills to host some events that were always intended to be online as well.
This disruption has also highlighted some key benefits, as well as shining a light on bad practices that we tolerated seemingly because ‘that is just the way things are always done’. Chiefly, as an environmentally-conscious non-profit, the carbon savings from hosting online events rather than encouraging people to travel cannot be overstated.
More practically, online events have allowed us to reach people across the globe and attract delegates who would never have been able to attend in person. It also means that we can schedule events that last as long as they need to, and not worry about padding out a day to justify the travel, or condensing important work to fit it all into one day.
5 key lessons that we’ve learnt throughout this time are:
MIX IT UP
Don’t just copy and paste an in-person agenda online! Online events are different formats with different needs. If you don’t adapt the agenda, it’s likely your delegates will suffer from ‘screen fatigue’, and you’ll be missing out on all the benefits that come with hosting online.
IT’S A SMALL PRETTY MASSIVE WORLD AFTER ALL
Be aware of your global audience! Because of the ease of attending an online event, people will happily tune in from across the globe. Bear this in mind when thinking about potential speakers, invitees, and the timings of your event in different key time-zones.
BREAK IT UP, BREAK IT UP
Tailor your timings for the most impact! As a rule of thumb, short breaks every hour and a half are needed, but this will be more frequent for longer events. This isn’t a barrier though, as online events can be shorter, more targeted, and spread over multiple days if more time is needed.
NOW THAT YOU’RE ONLINE, GO REALLY ONLINE.
Amplify your digital event to the next level with heaps of other promotional support. Links to social media, partner organisations, or shared tools can be distributed in the chat. Live polling can also be easily integrated, and if you’re feeling uber-fancy, utilise the dedicated Q&A panels to allow for questions to be voted on and captured for post event reporting. The digital possibilities are endless.
SWALLOW THE DIGITAL FROG.
If there’s one thing humans are good at, it’s adapting. People are more comfortable and familiar than ever at integrating digital into their lives; whether it’s a work conference or social drinks. Waiting until an in-person event can be held can delay projects, lose momentum, or even bring in uncertainty for your delegates. Strike while the iron is hot, be where your audience is, and go digital.
And so, as is the way with most things in life, grabbing the digital-events-bull* by the horns and embracing the online shift is the way to go. Modernise your meetings. Contemporize your conference. Revamp your rendezvous. Bask in the glory of the numerous benefits, previously unattainable attendees, and give a cheeky ‘I got you’ wink to Mother Nature along the way.
*Digital-events-bull is udderly hypothetical.
For examples of the numerous online events we have helped to create, check out our services page. From policy makers and academics, to fishermen and the public, whole day conferences to hour long workshops, we’ve done it all!
Want a hand bringing your next event to life, digitally? Get in touch to find out how we can deliver a seamless and engaging experience.
What are your thoughts on such a dramatic shift to online platforms in the recent months? Let us know below.