While social distancing continues and live, face-to-face events are paused, the need for connection and community is very real.

Truly engaging, transformational virtual experiences are possible. But they take careful consideration, planning and practice.

Unfortunately, this public health crisis is not going away in the near future. Business leaders must embrace digital programming.

Over the past months, we’ve worked with our clients to pivot to virtual programming, engaging both their workforces and customers, and we’re happy to share our expertise.

 

To build a transformational virtual experience, here are six things you need:

 

#1: A WHY – a clear reason for connecting.

Your event should provide something specific of value to your audience. Attention is scarce. Why are you bringing people together? Even a simple networking event should have a theme to drive the conversation and get folks on the same page.

#2: Opportunities for small group connection.

Interacting in a virtual setting can be awkward, especially if there are tens or even hundreds of people on at the same time. Those with larger personalities can easily dominate the conversation, allowing more reserved individuals to fade to the background. By breaking attendees into smaller groups, you can start to build 1:1 connections and allow everyone the chance to speak.

#3: Feedback loops.

Don’t just talk AT your audience – have a two-way conversation! Whether through text chat, polling, Q/A or times for verbal attendee talk back, build in interactivity wherever possible. It’ll make the experience that much richer for everyone involved.

#4: Practice.

Just because your event is virtual doesn’t mean it’s any “easier” to execute. It still requires ample planning and preparation. Nothing is worse than the awkward silence when a host or speaker doesn’t understand how to share their presentation, is stuck on mute, or can’t get their webcam to turn on. Put in the work ahead of time. Your attendees will thank you.

#5: Authenticity.

Remember #4? Well, you can practice and sometimes things can still go wrong. Don’t panic! A lot can be forgiven if you’re authentic with your audience. Cover up an accident with a joke. A dog might bark in the background, and a baby might run across the screen covered in paint. It happens! That’s the nature of our lives right now. And honestly, it can be viewed as a positive. We have all gotten more insight into each another’s lives. Don’t try to build up a wall of perfect “professionalism.” Show the real you. It will help your attendees feel a little more relaxed.

#6: A call to action.

Give your attendees a concrete action step they can take once the event ends. If it’s a networking event, tell them to follow-up with at least one person they met within the next week! If it’s a workshop on a specific topic, follow up with speaker contact information and additional reading/resources. Keep the conversation with your audience going even after the event ends.

 


Want to learn more about building transformational experiences? Our experts are ready to help.

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