The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic greatly affected everyone’s daily living. Businesses are affected by this too, however, most of them are coping up with the current situation in order to maintain their business running. Enter online events!
Changing the norms is not easy but every organization is trying their best to transition from a brick and mortar office work schedule to work from home.
Every business owner, employee, and operator is in their happy place while retaining their timeliness, enthusiasm, and dedication to the industry they work in. The question remains, though, “how does everyone keep their business running?” This problem makes virtual events possible.
What is a virtual event?
Virtual events happen on online platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, BigMarker, GoToMeeting, even Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In simple terms, virtual conferences are events on the Internet. These events are filled with different purposes like online conferences, public streaming, teaching, and even private meetings.
One advantage of using and hosting virtual conferences is that it is inexpensive, safe, and convenient. This can be taken advantage of by schools, small businesses, corporations, and event organizers.
Event organizers had to cancel all their scheduled in-person events because they needed to comply with government protocols like social distancing. But thankfully with the help of virtual events, they are able to engage in some events, and some professionals have been able to keep in touch with their colleagues to share some tips and new ideas.
Different types of Virtual Event
Virtual events do not happen if they do not have any specific purpose. There are different types of virtual conferences and here are some of them:
Virtual Networking events
Virtual networking events help the speakers and attendees to communicate with each other and network in a virtual environment. A wide range of networking events such as after-work, happy hours, get-togethers, and many more can be a theme of any networking event.
Online job fair or hiring events
This is one of the most known events right now. Virtual hiring events help the applicants to easily identify whether they meet the qualifications of a certain company or not.
On the other hand, employers benefit from this hiring session because it helps to narrow down the numbers of applicants and easily identify the qualified candidates without exhorting much time, money and effort.
Communication with the members of an organization is essential especially now that everyone is working from home. With the help of virtual meetings, employers or upper management can conveniently measure the performance of their subordinates, get an update of their task load and find the best solution immediately if there’s any problem.
Virtual team-building events
Virtual team-building allows the employees to share tips, build work relationships, team camaraderie, and good teamwork despite being in their own home offices.
Online fundraising event
With the help of technology and virtual conference, nonprofit organizations can now be easily heard and reach out to everyone. Virtual fundraising events are one of the most popular ways to raise money and additional resources for their needs.
Digital shopping events
With the help of live streaming, many small businesses gave life to virtual shopping events. This event is one of the awaited sessions that is happening in social media and e-commerce right now.
Virtual shopping events are used for product demonstrations or sales where shoppers can virtually buy clothes, jewelry, furniture, cosmetics, plants, and many other things.
Virtual social events
Virtual conferences are not just for business purposes. You can set up informal sessions which can be done with your family or friends. You can virtually play board games, catch up, drink, or anything.
Virtual Event Ideas
This type of virtual conference is used nowadays to accommodate any participants from any part of the world. With digital workshops, anybody can learn any skills while having their training session in the comfort of their house.
Seminars are classified as one of the personal conferences that were being done before this pandemic came in. This type of conference is still going but was transitioned into a virtual conference and is now called a ‘webinar’.
Webinars are an easier way to invite speakers and connect with other professionals all over the world. Attending or hosting a webinar is beneficial in building your reputation and expands the network of connections.
Social media is commonplace for everyone right now, doing live stream sessions on social media platforms can help you with making connections, produce marketing campaigns and build awareness to attract potential customers and other people from the industry.
How to prepare for a virtual conference?
Whether you are planning on organizing or attending a virtual conference, you still need to consider the preparations that should be made. Just like an offline or physical event, you should come prepared to avoid any inconvenience.
Here are some tips that could help you to get the most out of a virtual conference.
Learn how to use the tool
The first thing that you should do is to know how to navigate the online tools. You can check how to set up your audio quality, changing backgrounds, and every basic question that you can think of.
Just like an ordinary conference center, you want to be in the right room for the session that you are looking for. By taking control of the online tools, you can lessen the struggles of searching for those sessions you have chosen.
Be ready and early
Virtual events play an important role in establishing social relationships. These events are set beforehand so there is no reason for you to be late, you shall be able to mark off your calendar and be in the event early to talk with fellow attendees and build relationships.
This is not just applicable to online conferences, this rule also applies if you will attend a physical event soon.
Dress your part
You do not want to be caught on cam wearing your sleepwear, right? Your room is your new office but that does not mean you can wear pajamas to a virtual conference.
Virtual meetings can be less formal than usual, but it is still advisable to wear appropriate clothing. Whether it is a social event, networking or meeting, it is still important to look presentable as a sign of respect to the entire conference.
When at home, you should be able to remove everything that might distract you, it is also better if you have a noise-free place to stay. It is hard to multi-task so it is suggested that you block off your calendar to reduce notifications from unwanted emails and phone calls. For the best result, consider watching in full-screen mode to fully pay attention to the session alone.
To keep your attention on the event, take down notes by using pen and paper. This will not just help you to keep awake, it also helps to retain the information thoroughly.
Others prefer to write down notes on their computer or phone, this might be working for them but this can cause distractions. However, whether you like to write your notes on your phone or paper, make sure that you really capture the information that has been interesting to you.
Attend with others
Attending a virtual conference is fun, especially with your friends. If you have any colleagues or friends attending the same event, it would be better to make plans to catch up, share insights and discuss the things you learned from it. This interaction can help you to learn more and better understand the topic through brainstorming with your good buddy.
Network and connect with other attendees
Feeling alone in the conference room? Do not feel confined because every online platform has chat functions that enable you to communicate with other participants. Online events are made for participants to learn and network with each other. It also comes with the opportunity to meet other participants who work in the same industry as yours. Once you get to talk to other people, you can check out their details and or social media channels in order to connect with them.
Where do Virtual conferences take place?
As mentioned above, online events happen on the internet and on different online tools. To give you an idea of these platforms, here are some online tools that virtual events take place.
Zoom is one of the most popular digital event platforms used by small virtual events. Zoom can take an audience of about five hundred people.
There are two forms of virtual events that can be hosted on this platform – an interactive virtual event with open microphones and a webinar type where people can raise their hands to speak. When the zoom audience exceeds its limit it will automatically manage and assign people into smaller groups or sessions called breakout rooms.
Google Meet is a video conferencing platform that is commonly used for educational sessions. There are three user types of usage with this online platform they are the personal use, business use, and google workspace admins. These three have different functions, the personal use which is the most used among them can obtain one hundred people and up to sixty-minutes of the conference.
Microsoft Teams has the capability to host virtual meetings consisting of one hundred people only. Similarly, this platform can set up breakout sessions to manage the audience effectively. This platform is best used for small events or company presentations with a small number of employees.
BigMarker is a web-based platform that runs all the virtual meetings through the web browser on your computer or cellular phone. BigMarker makes it simple to engage your audience and promote your brand. It also allows you to create digital whiteboards for your presentations where attendees can comment on the board or post questions in real-time.
Live streaming on Instagram is usually done by the users that have a big number of followers. There is a live room in the software that enables the event organizer to stream with up to three other speakers. However, the viewers can only be able to comment to ask their questions, state their reactions and any concerns.
Should you join a virtual event?
Still hesitant about attending a virtual conference? With the current situation that we are in, many conferences are more likely to happen digitally and it will slowly become an industry necessity.
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to deciding whether you will attend the next virtual conference or not. The only thing that you can consider is the benefit that you will receive from that particular event.
You are already equipped with some tips and basic knowledge about digital events through this read. In the end, it is your own skills and decisions on how you could take advantage of these platforms and the next virtual conference events. Now it is your time to embrace the change and accept that this will be part of your career, business growth, and the new norm.