Having to cancel conferences or events? Here's 4 virtual alternatives
There’s a lot of disruptors happening in the world at the moment; flooding, fires, huge storms, and most recently coronavirus. These are consistently making headline news and people around the world are faced with the challenge of adapting to these fast-changing circumstances.
Due to limitations of travel at the moment, we are seeing more and more conferences, training events, and group meetings being canceled or postponed.
At VTT, we say, do not despair!
We have a few ideas on how you can lessen the impact of these recent events and still continue with your work as planned.
Virtual events are the natural alternative to face-to-face events. We've been supporting companies with their virtual events for years. Want to host your own? Check out how we can help to make your Virtual Event a roaring success.
Here are 4 things we think might help.
If your training event is being affected by the limitation of travel, there are some great alternatives available.
With some design tweaks and clever facilitation, in-person training can be converted to a virtual event. And we aren’t talking webinar here!
Don’t cancel your in-person training event - shift to a virtual approach - we can arrange a demonstration for you to experience what a learner experiences.
Interactive virtual training involves lots of live discussions, the sharing of experiences, and intimate breakout sessions. The key is to design and deliver the training in a way that drives purposeful interactivity and high engagement to supercharge the learning transfer.
If you need a steer on how to best make this work for you, this is our area of expertise and we would love to help. We also have loads of resources you can tap into, just by visiting our Resources page on our website; here.
What if you have scheduled a F2F event and some people can make it, but others cannot? Do you cancel the whole thing or push on without those unable to make it?
Whether it is a meeting or training event, our first piece of advice will always be to ask everyone to log in virtually if they can; even if some people are co-located. This way, the playing field is level and everyone has the same access and tools for engagement.
If you still choose to go down the hybrid route, then it is critical to ensure that your remote participants have the same experience and still feel completely included and valued in the event.
We will be publishing more content on how best to achieve inclusivity in these hybrid situations very soon, but if you can’t wait for that, get in touch with us and we will happily share some tips and ideas with you.
If your usual F2F meetings are being postponed or delayed due to travel restrictions, then think virtual meetings. They are different to F2F and the importance of preparing a clear structure and having a strong, focused facilitator is elevated.
When left to their own devices some people logging into virtual meetings have a tendency to multitask, or even do a bit of ‘social loafing’ if they are not fully engaged.
We have loads of experience in this area, and even have a virtual workshop on the topic of facilitating virtual meetings. As above, we will also be uploading more on this topic over the coming weeks.
In the meanwhile, if you want one key tip that will instantly boost participant engagement in your virtual meeting, it’s this; get everyone to turn their webcams on. No excuses.
Tell them in advance, so everyone has the opportunity to get themselves and their environment ready, to shut the dog or children in the other room, and neaten themselves up. This can make all the difference and you will be surprised at how rapidly the engagement improves.
If you need to provide more encouragement, we have a short, 1min video on How to Make Webcams Work for Your Virtual Training Workshops that you can send to your participants to fully convince them.
Conferences and large scale events
Having to cancel or reschedule large events can prove costly and frustrating.
That being said, there are some great virtual alternatives that can create a similar experience to a large, F2F event.
Finding the right platform is the first step. Our favorite at VTT, by far, is Remo. When you log into an event in Remo, it genuinely feels like stepping into a live, in-person event. The platform can cater for numbers ranging from 25 - 1000!
You might remember we wrote a blog about it, recently - Check it out here.
Essentially, whilst at the conference event, everyone attends and engages with speakers, leaders etc. You can also network in real-time with other attendees, jump from table to table to chat, answer questions, even work on virtual whiteboards.
You are always encouraged to log on using a webcam too, which goes a long way to cultivating an intimate and realistic connection during the table discussion.
In addition to these networking opportunities, you can still have keynote speakers, panel discussions, and really great, interactive Q&A.
If you would like to discover more about virtual conferences in general or get a share from our personal experiences, we would love to chat to you.
So there you have it. 4 useful tips on how to make the best of these global situations we find ourselves challenged by.
Remember, if you need some advice on what might be the better solution for your organization moving forwards, we are happy to chat.