The pandemic has introduced a new reality: we had to stay home! So, what happened to the trillion-dollar events industry when everything is shut down on a whim?
The virtual conferencing industry boomed! Carrying out online events & meetups has now become what’s holding us together while apart.
Of course, event hosts have been at the forefront of these sudden changes and first to experience the challenges. At Remo, we took a deep dive into this matter and identified the 3 most common challenges the industry is facing.
As we put these forward, we will share valuable insights on how to tackle them. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Challenge 1: Virtual awkwardness
Social anxiety was still an ugly phenomenon even before Covid-19. Back then, what really urged people to interact and communicate more was the traveling and the excitement of discovery. After all, what’s the point of making so much effort to sit in a dark corner and not make eye contact with people, right?
Now, imagine carrying that anxiety out to an alien setting, where strange faces keep staring at you from their little online cubicles. There comes one of the biggest challenges of virtual get-togethers!
Take this even further, you’re expected to be present and conversing at all times because no one is fond of awkward silences on camera.
While the above scenario is from the guests’ perspective, consider yourself as the event planner for a second… Oh boy! You are expected to run the show from A to Z and deliver creative solutions on-the-fly. The tricky part is not only to get people to show up at your online event but also to make sure that they interact.
As an event host, you want a virtual experience where people connect. You also want this experience to be purposeful and inspiring. Even if people are in the comfort of their homes, you want to cultivate a sense of togetherness.
Solution 1: Find the true purpose of your gathering
Virtual events don’t have to be the last resort replacement of in-person ones! They don’t need to be challenging or cause of stress! A perk of going online is that you can create endless reiterations of your one-time & not-so-budget-friendly physical event at no extra cost.
So, use that to your advantage! To spark deeper conversations in the group, incorporate icebreaker questions and gamification to reduce the level of awkwardness. Here some ideas!
Aim to create a special place, where your guests feel welcome to speak their minds openly, and really delve into finding the true purpose of your gathering.
You can start by asking yourself these questions:
– What do you want to tell the participants, and why?
– What do you want them to tell you, and why?
– What do you want them to talk about with each other, and why?
Allow everyone to understand that their participation also has a purpose.
Solution 2: Create anticipation and excitement through smart content strategy
Build an event content that’s enticing and relevant to today’s agenda. Invite speakers who are thought-leaders and experts in their fields. Create a buzz through social media. Show that you are doing whatever it takes to make your guests’ time count.
Apart from that, periodically notify your guests that you will be offering exclusive content during and post-session. These pieces of information should be intimate in nature for your guests to be excited about.
Pay close attention to the guest’s journey. They have most likely been jumping from one software to another, attending countless meetings and events each day. So, keep your event content interesting, honest, and personal. Because if you can be open about what you don’t know and what you can offer, you will establish trust and encourage genuine communication.
With a well-orchestrated content strategy, your organization can tackle the biggest challenges associated with virtual events!
Check out this article where we talk about the concept of priming and the importance of finding the true purpose of your gathering!
Solution 3: Encourage participation through peer-to-peer engagement
Seek for an online event platform with live chat, polls, and Q&A features. These tools are created to move people from being mere audiences to active listeners. They offer an exceptional opportunity to encourage communication among your guests.
Once the speakers are off-stage, allow your guests to explore the networking area. At Remo, we encourage free movement between tables, precisely like in an in-person event! Guests can switch tables and build opportunities for new business ventures or great friendships, who knows! Watch this demo to see what else you can do!
Solution 3: Take Zoom fatigue seriously
Your attendees may be experiencing “Zoom Fatigue”. You don’t want your guests to show up in your event as if it’s an idle chore to tick off. As Zoom fatigue is directly related to mental well-being, the challenge will be to figure out how to address it before the show starts.
Our recommendation is to plan and time your online gathering wisely throughout the day. Make it fun and exciting by customizing your floor plan entirely. Create lounge tables and break rooms for people to just switch off their brains and relax. Encourage them to play games, here are some cool ideas!
Important note! Avoid stacking activities back to back and encourage coffee breaks. If you give your attendees some breathing room between sessions, their engagement level will increase drastically.
Challenge 2: Resistance towards the new technology
Online events are somewhat new and may not be readily intuitive for everyone. One of the challenges that trouble both guests and organizations are to be the pioneers of this change.
When you introduce a brand new technology, you shouldn’t expect your guests to dial-in naturally. It’s essential to be aware of the technical requirements and hiccups that might arise. After all, you don’t want some connectivity error or device incompatibility to derail your fantastic event.
Remember! This is uncharted territory for everyone. As long as you acknowledge that you are taking people out of their comfort zones, you will be better prepared for a bit of convincing and hand-holding in the beginning. We’ve created a short demo video to enable a smoother transition, watch it here!
Solution 1: Understand who is coming to your gathering
One of the biggest challenges of running events virtually is to get people on the same page. Before choosing your virtual events software, understand the age group, demographics, and the industry you are catering to.
A list of lawyers and bankers may be slightly more resistant to adopting new technology than a university or a gaming community. If you know your clients and guests well, you can create better onboarding and demo sessions.
Solution 2: Adopt an all-in-one solution and ease the stress
Adopting an all-in-one solution means that your team can build high-level expertise on one platform and assist your guests accordingly in the moments of crisis. With proper guidance, you can turn “the unfamiliar” into exciting and memorable for your guests.
If you are looking for headache-free onboarding, make sure to find an online event solution that offers live troubleshooting. With thousands of guests logging in to the space, event facilitators will appreciate an extra set of hands.
At Remo, you can use the Run of Show and Agenda features to ensure a smooth experience both for your guests and event managers. This way, you can shed light on what is expected and when. You can sit back and relax once you centralize all the hassle in a single platform!
Now, get ready because the next challenge is something you are very familiar with!
Challenge 3: Money, money, money!
Unless you are magically in the hand sanitizer or virtual events business, surviving the pandemic must have been quite a challenge. Let alone coping with the potential loss of your biggest financial supporters, your sponsors!
Think about it… Sponsors are also going through a difficult time. They may be unaware of the value you can bring to them via a virtual event.
After all, they are used to setting up physical booths, distributing printed marketing material, and directly engaging with your guests. On top of that, if their comparison point is Zoom, you have a bit of convincing waiting for you.
Solution: Get your sponsors excited about the world of virtual events
Remember, featuring sponsors isn’t a one-way street. It’s mutually beneficial for both parties. How you will get your sponsors excited over your event is directly related to your content and how you create a buzz around it!
Show your financial supporters that you are opening your event up to global participation. The cost of traveling and all other logistics are pretty much gone. So, use that advantage and surplus capital to boost your event marketing and bringing in quality speakers. Show that you are branching out and scaling things up.
Write exciting blogs and newsletters. Reinforce your social media presence and make sure to create an enticing email sequence before your event to boost your attendance.
Find a fully customizable virtual event platform to ensure you can virtualize all the physical elements your sponsors might be seeking for. Walk your sponsor through the cool virtual event platform you found, take them on a test drive!
Possibilities are endless: custom floor design, virtual sponsor booths, sponsored tables, poster, and Q&A sessions. Here are some creative ideas to use virtual sponsor banners!
The world of virtual events is challenging to adapt to. As we talked about these challenges you might be facing, we also wanted to demonstrate some solutions to overcome them!
With a bit of forward-thinking and moderation, you can unlock the real magic of online events, where you stimulate a sense of belonging and truly connect people.
Once you start approaching these challenges with patience and understanding, you can create virtual events that can outshine the traditional ways of getting together.
Are you willing to be a proactive part of this change or be in the passenger seat?
If you decide to be a proactive part of the future, join the Remo Revolution Community, and let’s find meaningful ways to be together while apart!