How to Keep Connected in a Virtual Event Environment

17 April 2020

Why do we hold events? We love connection. Whether it be through networking with colleagues and friends or forming new relationships with suppliers, live events have always provided a conduit for maintaining and forming connections. In this anti-contact era, we are facing the reality of the virtual event for the present and the near future. The question of how we can continue to efficiently create events that foster connection becomes a challenge for the conference organizer. This challenge must be addressed.

The conference organizer must create an environment that fosters the relationship between speakers and attendees, attendees and exhibitors/sponsors, and promotes the attendee-to-attendee connection.

Speaker and Attendee Connection

In the virtual event model, speakers and attendees must interact in order to promote content engagement and feedback.  To create a virtual environment that enables interaction, the conference organizer can employ virtual connection tools. Some tools that can be incorporated are prescheduled/on-demand live polls, surveys, and the ability for the speaker and attendee to engage in Q&A.

Attendee and Exhibitor/Sponsor Connection

The exhibitors and/or sponsors make many of our live, hybrid, and virtual events possible through their generous sponsorship dollars. Providing opportunities where attendees are given the chance to connect with sponsors and their offerings are essential to a robust virtual event. This can be done by offering virtual trade show hours. A virtual trade show is where an allotted time is given within the conference for sponsors and exhibitors to interact with attendees. Within this virtual trade show, sponsors can speak about their services through live or prerecorded video, appointments can be scheduled, and Q&A can occur.

Attendee-to-Attendee Connection

Creating an environment within your conference that encourages attendee networking is essential to making your virtual event successful. Using creativity through technology can be helpful in ensuring that opportunities for attendee interaction are taken advantage of. One option of incorporating virtual networking into your conference is social feed engagement: social walls where your attendees can post photos or content that can be commented on, liked, and shared. Another virtual networking example is virtual happy hours. Scheduled virtual happy hour sessions can provide a relaxed atmosphere where attendees can chat and visually engage with each other. Within this forum, one-and-one appointments can be scheduled to continue discussions. In order to encourage attendee networking, it is helpful to offer prizes to your attendees based on their level of interaction throughout the conference.

Connection is necessary for our industry, particularly in a virtual environment. Using an event management system that effectively streamlines the creation, distribution, and collection of the virtual connection tools mentioned is vital in the planning and execution of virtual events. Contact us to learn more about how you can utilize these tools at your next virtual event.

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