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While the world transitions back into having in-person events, many people may not feel comfortable gathering in crowded spaces yet. Attending a large event after being in lockdown for over a year may be intimidating or overwhelming. While we are ready to jump back into in-person events, we understand that not everyone else is. Virtual events may look different, but they are great ways to keep in touch and experience an event while keeping you and others healthy and safe. Virtual events can expand your audience and inclusivity, save you time and money, provide flexibility, collect data for feedback, and can be a contingency plan. Here are some tips we have learned over the past year about having virtual events.

Photo via Eventbrite

Livestreaming via social media is the easiest way to connect with others. What makes a virtual event special is that the audience can interact with the event and not just watch the event unfold. Some platforms include YouTube, Twitch, Periscope, Instagram, Facebook, UStream, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. However, there are hundreds of software programs to choose from including free and subscription sites. Keep in mind the capabilities of the platform; do you want your attendees to be able to have the video on and speak or do you just want them to be able to watch? Do you want everyone on social media to access the event or just a specific group of people? Many platforms can control the audience by creating a password for the event and some platforms can control the comment section. Overall a great event platform allows you to customize your event, engage with users, has minimal technical issues, has live troubleshooting or a helpline, has analytics reports, and allows live streaming or the uploading of pre-recorded content.

Screen fatigue can occur quickly and easily if you are not keeping your audience engaged. Some great ways to keep your guests upbeat and engaged are audience chats or breakout groups, Q&A sessions, polls, trivia or quizzes, games or competitions, or one on one networking. You could encourage your attendees to dress up or submit social media content that will be shown live on-screen at the event. Or some unique ways for audiences to participate online can be virtual escape rooms, solving virtual murder mysteries, interacting with a guest speaker, or participating in a leadership seminar.

Photo via Faber

You don’t have to keep your audience staring at a screen to keep them engaged. Many successful virtual events have involved physical activities or forms of entertainment. You could put on a virtual concert or comedy show, participate in health and well-being activities, do a cooking or cocktail class, watch a magic show, put on a scavenger hunt, donate hair or shave your head, create a DIY project, have a talent show or open mic, exercise, or create a dance marathon.

Just because your event is online, doesn’t mean you can’t personally interact with guests. Any easy way to do so is by sending gift bags to their workspace or home. This package can be sent before the date with goodies they can using during the event, or it can be sent after as a thank you or reward for coming.

Photo via Charity Digital

            Virtual events may look different, but you may find your friends or workplace prefers a virtual format. Virtual events are flexible, inclusive, and just as rewarding as putting on an in-person event. You may have to give a virtual hug to your friends and colleagues but keeping everyone safe and comfortable is worth it. Need help setting up a virtual event? Conker Events is here to guide you through the process.