The relevance of face-to-face interaction will never disappear. Indeed, as COVID 19 recedes, face to face programmes will emerge gradually to take its rightful position .But one thing is certain, going virtual will remain a necessary part of our events planning from time to time depending on the kind of programme involved. The challenge then will be-how do you turn a face-to- face multi-day conference, filled with networking opportunities, educational sessions, and attendee insights they generate into an equally impactful virtual event? And even when you do, how do you ensure attendees are engaged throughout the event?
Hosting a virtual event requires the same care and attention as an in-person event. With both events, you need to effectively promote the event, engage your attendees, create memorable moments for attendees, and prove event success.
The only thing that’s missing is the venue and the attendees on site. But, by thinking of virtual events not as small one-off presentations, but as value-added, engagement-driven experiences, you can create an impactful event that extends well-beyond a computer screen.
When it comes to your total event programme, virtual events can be added to the mix of events you host, events you attend, and your internal events. Virtual events are not a replacement for other types of events, but a new type to add and to enhance your entire programme. Below are the four main types of virtual events.
Webinars typically last somewhere from 45 to 80 minutes. Holding webinars virtually allows attendees from around the world to join in and listen as one or more speakers present the content. Companies can charge attendees to join webinars using online payment services or can be offered for free. Webinars typically use video conferencing tools that allow Q&A, the ability to present live or a pre-recorded video, and be offered as on-demand after the fact. Due to their one-off educational nature, webinars have thrived with 100% virtual attendance. These can also include internal and external trainings.
Much like in-person conferences, virtual conferences are built around a live, complex agenda that includes keynotes, sessions, breakouts, and more. Virtual conferences include multi-session content and can involve community engagement tools. While not as effective in terms of lead capture and networking as an in-person event, virtual conferences allow attendees to view keynotes in real-time, build their own agenda from relevant, on-demand content, and interact with other attendees.
- Internal Hybrid Events
These are town halls, sales kick-offs, companywide events, trainings, department meetings, and more. For organizations that span countries, even continents, internal hybrid events are used to share a message to the entire company when employees are not all gathered in the same place. While it would be great to fly every employee to your organization’s headquarters, it would be incredibly costly, and the scheduling required would be time-consuming. The next best option is to host events that are part in-person, part virtual.
-External Hybrid Events
These events are held for those outside of your organization. They can be user conferences or industry conferences. These events require higher levels of video production so that virtual attendees are provided a similar quality to in-person attendees. These events allow attendees who are unable to travel to the event to participate and learn. It is challenging to provide the same value at external hybrid events, as in-person attendees are able to network more freely and engage easily with content than those attending virtually.
Although we can find it sometimes awkward with diverse hiccups, we cannot escape from remote video meetings in any of the above options. . For instance, it can be awkward when you are having an online video-conferencing with your team and start asking questions like, ‘Can you see me now?’ ‘Can you hear me?’ These questions, to say the least, sound comical, especially when you are having an important official meeting.
There are indeed some tools we need at our homes and the offices to have smooth video calls with our business teams, as well as family and friends.
Laptop stand and external keyboard
The best position for your camera is slightly above your eyes, which is more flattering for your appearance and better for your posture. You could stack books to raise your laptop to the right level, but for a better option, consider a laptop stand.
It is easy to adjust the height of a laptop stand with the sliding knob, and in most cases, the aluminium material from which the stand is made helps to conduct heat away from your laptop, which is important because video-conferencing software can make your computer run hotter. Meanwhile, if raising your laptop makes it awkward to use the keyboard, you might want an external keyboard, which is quite easy to get from stores selling laptop accessories.
With features including autofocus, automatic brightness and colour correction, an external webcam offers better video quality than the built-in cameras on many computers.
It may not seem entirely necessary, but a wireless headset can block out noise, prevent others in the room from hearing your call (especially important for those in a busy home) and ensure you are heard clearly. If you don’t have or want an external microphone, a noise-cancelling headset is the best two-in-one solution for better calls.
Nothing can frustrate an online meeting quicker than audio that’s cutting in and out, and your laptop’s lousy built-in microphone may be the culprit. Once you’ve added a decent webcam to your setup, you’ll be in better shape. But a standalone microphone will make you sound clear, rich and full.You can look for a microphone that has three capsule microphones, four pickup patterns and just enough controls to help optimise the way you sound without overloading you with super technical features.
When buying a microphone, you can look for one offering a convenient mute button, so you can practise good etiquette in online video meetings by muting yourself whenever you’re not speaking.
Better Wi-Fi router
Poor internet connections or slow speeds can make your video calls freeze or drop, especially when multiple people are having a meeting online. So now is a great time to improve your home Wi-Fi. If you live in an area with a connectivity issue, you can also invest in a mesh-networking kit. It will boost your Wi-Fi signal.
Adjustable desk lamp
Just as photographers use lighting to capture their objects, you can use a lamp to cast a more flattering light on your face.
Position a lamp next to and slightly behind your laptop, and place a sheet of white paper on the desk between you and the laptop to bounce the light nicely. You can also bounce the lamp light off a white wall behind your computer. Either method is better than having a light pointing directly at your face.
For desk lamps specifically for flattering video calls, go for desk lamps that are highly adjustable, tall and sturdy. You can position the light at any angle, including behind your screen–and then anywhere else on your desk when you’re doing other tasks.
Get a laptop with better processor
If you are using an older laptop manufactured several years ago, you might notice that a short video-conferencing session can send your computer’s fans whirring, thereby affecting your video call. To avoid this embarrassment, you may consider getting a newer laptop with an updated processor. Laptops with better processors make video-conferencing sessions a lot easier and fun.