You may have heard recently that we ran our very own virtual conference. We might have mentioned it once or twice on social media. It was all about how organisations are preparing for the rise of remote working.
It was great! We got positive feedback; attendees expressed how they enjoyed the experience and that the topic was of great value to them.
We had four super inspiring panelists who shared some great insights in our half hour discussion broadcast, which was framed by some interactive, virtual networking opportunities for the attendees.
And the time just flew!
We thought an hour would be plenty, but it slipped through our fingers faster than fine sand.
It was fantastic to have so many attendees in a virtual space, discussing and sharing their experiences and insights on the world of remote work, whether they were ‘digisavy’ or novice.
The networking took off, the conversations were as natural as if we were all inhabiting the same physical conference room, and we all gained the bonus of never leaving our desks for travel and being able to go straight back to work once the conference was completed.
In total, it was a grand success!
We are a training company however, so it wouldn’t feel right if we came away without learning something.
So, here are our top learnings from our very first global virtual conference.
1) Communication, communication, communication!
Preparation is everything. You are excited about your event, so promote the heck out of it. Get your social, email and promotion materials ready so around a month prior to your big day, you can start pushing out that material.
Similarly, have all your post-conference communication prepped and ready to go so that the moment your event has concluded, you can get in touch with your attendees and thank them all for coming.
2) Be prepared for tech wobbles
Tech can waiver even at the best of times, but in order to have a super smooth and pleasant experience, you must plan for those wobbles as best you can. For example, have contingency plans for if one of your panelists is unable to log in, or if someone is having audio issues, or even for if the software is being challenging.
Try to plan for everything, so if it were to happen, you feel equipped to deal with it and not let it phase you.
3) People love a recording
Our platform of choice, Remo, recorded the panelist discussion automatically, and we recommend you do the same because having access to that recording was really helpful. While we didn’t advertise having a recording, attendees were still requesting it mere hours after the event had concluded.
So, the learning here is to make sure you have the capacity to capture the important bits of your conference, so that no one misses out!
People love a freebie. The days of putting together a conference goodie bag of pads, pens and branded highlighters might be dying, but the idea of giveaways has translated quite easily into the virtual space.
We set up a couple of panelist tables, promoting the panelist companies and offering a variety of merchandise; free eBook downloads and product trial periods, and it worked really well.
Make sure you promote the tables both before and during your conference. They aren’t going to have the same effect if they aren’t being seen by your attendees.
5) Ensure the networking has purpose
Networking is great, but sometimes attendees need some help to get going. Pose a question to help break the ice and get groups talking, and encourage them to move around the room, getting acquainted with new people.
Networking virtually is really easy, literally just a click of a button to move around the room and get acquainted with new people. Yet, be aware, the time goes QUICKLY, so help your attendees to be aware of it, so they make the most of the time they have.
We really enjoyed hosting our virtual conference and will certainly do another one soon.
Would you ever run a virtual conference?
Did you come to ours? What did you think?