How to Get More from Your Virtual Events

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By Liz Lathan, CMP, CEO Haute Dokimazo

The digital transformation of the events industry came rapidly, without warning and without an invitation. While we didn’t RSVP to this global event, we do what most do to make the most of our situation: We Adapt.

Where are you in your virtual event journey?

Level 1: Webinars QUICK! Take your event content that was supposed to be at your conference and turn it into a series of webinars!

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Level 2: Experiences Webinars are boring. Let’s have some fun! How about a bourbon tasting or a cooking show?

Level 3: Conversation Experiences are fun, but we aren’t getting any meaningful content across. We need to talk to our attendees.

Level 4: The Balanced Portfolio Understanding that there’s a time and place for each event type and are using each one appropriately. Webinars for lead gen and training. Experiences for retention and development of current customers. Conversation for building community and collaboratively solving problems.

Why are conversations important?

The exchange of ideas and best practices helps us all grow. Through conversation, we are able to dive deeper and explore problems, we are able to form meaningful connections and deepen relationships and increase our understanding of ourselves, others and the world around us.

Brene Brown says, “Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives. In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen. We have to be vulnerable.”

That connection is hard to establish when your event is in the form of a webinar where the communication is one way and there isn’t an exchange of information. However, when we discuss problems and are vulnerable enough to open ourselves up to that connection and learning, we all grow. That is where the magic happens at our HD Think Tanks and roundtables.

Whether your roundtables are spontaneous (like at Haute Dokimazo where we crowdsource the topics during the event) or the topics are pre-planned, the ROI secret is rarely in the topics; It’s in the conversation! 

Top 10 ways to inject conversations into your event:

  • Prescribed Roundtable

Set up like a panel discussion, you pick your topic du jour in advance and the entire group gets to talk and share.

  • Crowdsourced Roundtable

The format is just like #1, however the content is crowdsourced in advance by the participants. Whether they submit their topic ideas to you, volunteer to lead a session, or vote on a selection of ideas you present to them, the content comes from the crowd, you still pre-plan the facilitators and discussion leaders in advance.

  • Spontaneously-Crowdsourced Think Tank with Subject Matter Experts

Leveraging the wisdom of attendees, a spontaneous think tank crowdsources the conversations your participants want to have while at the event. You can use tools like Mural, Miro, Note.ly, or have them vote on the topics with polls, annotations, or through chat.

  • Spontaneous Think Tank with Peer-led Sessions

The Haute Dokimazo way adds a little spunk to a roundtable. Crowdsource topics like #3 above, with an eye toward problem solving. Ask participants to share a problem that they’ve solved and can help someone else with, and problems they are currently trying to solve. Within 30 minutes, curate the discussion topics, identify who can lead the sessions among the participants, and build the agenda for the sessions.

  • Speed Networking

Using a tool with breakout rooms allows you to easily move people around. Randomly distribute participants in groups of 3 into rooms to meet and greet. Give them no more than 10 minutes to introduce themselves and answer 3 questions.

  • Drop-In Networking

Some online tools give you the ability to see the networking rooms (AirmeetSocial 27Gatherly) and jump into them. All you need is someone to host the room and the link to join!

  • Innovator’s Compass

Leveraging the free Innovator’s Compass tool, this 1-hour session brings together your group to get “unstuck.” Whatever problem you’re trying to solve, a team can facilitate through the challenge and into the executable possibilities.

  • Haute Dokimazo Strategy Session

Building on #7, we use our award-winning framework to focus on a problem, or define priorities, and carry that through to the team creating a plan of action to execute. It’s a collaborative, co-created session that gets team members coming together to solve a real business problem.

  • Conference Call

Remember that time when we didn’t have to be on screen? Run like a roundtable, you have a host and your initial conversation starters/case study subjects.

  • Phone Call

Whatever happened to phone calls? What about adding into your event the ability to set up 1:1 meetings that are actually phone calls?

Are you interested in leveling up your virtual event? We’re hosting the Age of Conversation event for event professionals on September 9 to help you bring conversations to your event and provide professional development opportunities to our industry. Join us! For just $20, register today to get solutions to your problems. https://ageofconversationsummit.splashthat.com

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Sam is the assistant content manager for Event Industry News (EIN). Sam is involved in publishing news stories, videos and podcasts. Sam also collates the latest stories for the EIN e-newsletter. If you have a press release or story you think we might be interested to know about please email editor@eventindustrynews.com