As the scenario has changed completely in 2020, it’s no surprise that it resulted in an upheaval of events. Various events, seminars, conferences, or trade fairs either got postponed, cancelled, or moved to an online medium. The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020 has been a catalyst for such a transformation. Organisations that never thought about going online, leveraged online events to keep going in the times of global health crisis. Hosting virtual meetings and conferences to connect with remote workforce and global delegates have become an integral part of organisations. Additionally, the most important internal and external events of the organisations are even transformed into a visually rich digital space. Right from hosting virtual meetings, town halls, AGMs, career & on-boarding fairs, and more, a comprehensive virtual event platform serves all.
The demand for virtual events has skyrocketed, which resulted in upscaling the demand for virtual event platforms. The number of emerging virtual event platform service providers on the internet nowadays says it all. As virtual has become the new normal, attendees have become used to receiving notifications about the modifications in the events. What the future holds in 2021 is still uncertain. By now, no one is aware of when the in-person events will be back in action completely. This makes many of the organisations wonder if they will have live physical events in 2021 or have to continue with online ones.
How COVID-19 Impacted Organisational Events in 2020?
With the sudden advent of an unforecasted global pandemic, live physical events have come to a stop. The most important industry events planned up for the entire year have been shifted to a digital venue. It helped in ensuring the safety of participants and prevented them from the health implications caused due to public gatherings. As government orders have been released, people were pushed to follow social distancing protocols, virtual events took over in-person events. However, virtual events have closely replicated traditional live physical events.
All thanks to advanced technology that helped us sail in the challenging times of the pandemic and in generating revenues. Without the advancements in technology, hosting online events and networking with global delegates virtually was next to impossible. A large variety of technologically advanced virtual event platforms are available nowadays. Which suits you the best depends on the business requirements.
A covid-19 global pandemic has forced many organisations that never thought about hosting online events to adapt technology to keep going. Today, virtual hybrid events have become the only medium that enables people to connect and network remotely. Virtual events have overcome various roadblocks faced during in-person events such as limited space, geographical constraints, different time zones, travelling expenses, etc.
What are the Several Issues Faced During Online Events in 2020?
Online virtual events are a massive hit for 2020. It prevented many businesses from dipping down during the challenging times of the global pandemic. Along with all the benefits it served, various issues have been faced by some people recently while attending virtual events. We have listed some issues faced by people during online events have a look:
- Unwanted Distractions
Some people find it easy to attend a virtual event remotely by sitting at their own convenience. Whereas a small percentage of people find participating in online events highly distracting. Various distractions such as household chores, the ringing of doorbells, unwanted distractions by kids, etc. are quite annoying during the event. Unwanted home distractions is one of the issues faced by some people during online virtual events.
- Excessive workload
As some people get distracted during online events due to home distractions, it significantly results in decreasing efficiency. However, it results in having many work tasks for the day left undone. It results in leaving people loaded with an excessive workload thus keeping them distracted from the on-going live virtual event.
Organisational Events in 2021
As we look ahead, seeing the current scenario it seems that organisations will keep hosting online events for 2020 as well. It has been anticipated, even post COVID-19 people will still remain skeptical in travelling and attending large gatherings for some time.
The news for the COVID-19 vaccine has just come and is making sound around the corners. But, what the future holds is still uncertain. Even if the vaccination emerged in 2021, mass production in a shorter period of time is impossible. In accordance with it, it is beneficial for organisations to keep on hosting virtual events in 2021 with more innovative and creative strategies.
What are the Strategies to Engage Your Virtual Attendees in 2021?
To have a better impact on online virtual events in 2021, you need to change your strategy. Create a creative and innovative strategy to boost engagements and networking during online events in 2021 to have better performance.
Keep your attendee’s needs in mind while creating a strategy for virtual events. Give your audience a reason so that they invest time and money in attending your online event. Apart from it, educate your attendees and keep them engaged with the event using various tools and methods. Determine your event goals and achieve them by meeting your virtual attendee’s needs. However, it results in making your online virtual event successful.
Let’s have a look at some of the ways to keep your virtual attendees engaged with online events in 2021:
1. Give Instructions to Expert Speakers Who are Holding Virtual Events
Instruct your experts who are responsible for holding an event. If you are hiring experienced speakers, ask them to use their skills and methods to engage the audience. Additionally, you can ask them to join in a little earlier and engage participants in meaningful and engaging conversations. An expert speaker may answer the relevant questions asked by attendees during the event. Furthermore, they can boost the power of positivity to the entire event and discuss other issues as well.
2. Upload Extra Material for Participants
You can upload creative presentation slides, engaging written content, and other extra material as well for event attendees. It helps in encouraging them to access it when it’s uploaded on the platform. You can opt to upload it pre or post-event and ask your audience to check it out. It helps in imparting better information about the event. Whereas it enables attendees to access the valuable content even after the months of events.
3. Host Q&A sessions
Organise Q&A sessions amid your online event. It offers the opportunity for attendees to ask relevant questions. You can designate experts of your organisation who have impressive communication skills and knowledge of the subject to run these sessions. They can talk to attendees seamlessly and engage them with the event.
4. Do not Overpopulate Your Online Virtual Event
To have better engagements do not overpopulate your online event. Divide your participants into several groups to offer them a chance to participate and share their opinion. You can not engage 500 attendees one-by-one in a limited time frame. It helps in delivering better value to your audience with less noise and more interaction.
5. Incorporate Breaks amid Online Events
Include breaks during your online events. It does not bore the audience with long talks as looking on the screen for long hours is monotonous as well as tiring. Apart from it, you can have an informal friendly chat with attendees while sipping a cup of coffee. It helps in breaking the ice and let your audience participate in talks.
6. Gamify Your Online Events
Gamification is the key to make your event more exciting and fun. It helps in keeping your attendees engaged with your online event. Add some fun games to your event, organise contests, and offer gift cards, and giveaways to encourage your virtual attendees. The idea of incorporating games depends on your business type.
7. Do not Forget to Collect Feedbacks
Gathering feedback is one of the most effective ways to know what your attendees expect from the event. Feedbacks help you in gaining an insight into what your attendees enjoyed at the event and which part does not hold their interest. Do not forget to send a follow-up survey post-event. It helps in measuring how well the event performed and what are the impediments you need to fix for the next event.
In this post, we have listed some future predictions on how organisations will adopt innovative strategies to organise online events in 2021. Outlining the estimations are nearly impossible. But, it has been well anticipated that organisations will host virtual events for at least some time.