Facing the Corona pandemic, digital events are a blessing for the business people worldwide. Via livestreaming and virtual show rooms, valuable contacts with customers, business partners and employees can be maintained, even in times of social distancing.
But virtual communication via screen and headset also has its disadvantages. For example, the lack of proximity makes it more difficult to build trust. Delays in image/sound transmission often lead to the fact, that facial expressions or gestures can’t be interpreted correctly. Overall, the attention span is significantly shortened.
But with a good portion of "psychology", these disadvantages can be overcome. All in all, there are four keys to greater success in digital meetings and events:
1. Make participants feel safe
First of all, it is important to have a well-structured agenda with a clear timing as well as clear and simple instructions on technical requirements; FAQs are always helpful, as well as service staff ready to help attendees via phone, e-mail, or chat to solve their problems. During the event, good moderation is essential, ensuring that the schedule is observed, the highlights of the event and the "etiquette" in virtual chats or breakout sessions are clear; tip: to motivate participants to stay till the end of the event programme, try to arouse curiosity about everything that is yet to come.
2. Increase the feeling of being integrated
Before a virtual (digital) event starts, it is important to point out the various opportunities for visitors to interact, e.g. via breakout sessions, surveys, community projects, etc. Participants should not feel that they are just anonymous observers of the event, but an active part of the programme. During the event it is important to strengthen the feeling of being integrated (e.g. by addressing individual visitors directly, asking them for their opinion or asking them to supervise a small breakout session, etc.). When designing the event concept, it is important to ensure that the digital event programme includes more interactive components compared with a classic on-site event.
3. Enable positive social experiences
Successful virtual business events always need sympathetic moderators and actors who talk in a lively manner, communicate at eye level, have a sense of humor, and make the participants feel good. Furthermore, it needs participants who appreciate each other and treat each other in a friendly manner. This requires: a) a nicely but firmly formulated event etiquette, b) a very good briefing of all performers (presenters, speakers, artists, etc.), and c) a friendly and competent front-end team (e.g. service personnel in the live chat, during the onboarding process etc.). Furthermore, it is important that every visitor can participate in the event without any technical disruptions, so a technical check in the run-up to the event is useful. A virtual event is remembered particularly positively if it enables a positive social experience. "Team challenges", especially challenges that serve a good purpose (charity), are an example of how this can succeed.
4. Support the "Ego" of the participants
"Am I in the right place?" This question is probably asked by each and every participant in the run-up to a business/corporate event. It is therefore important to reassure the target audience that your event is the right place to be (and that they are here among like-minded people). Clear statements about the target group are indispensable. When designing the event invitations, communicate the target group and the event objectives as clearly as possible. But do not keep the target group definition too wide-ranged – this can scare off real professionals, while a too exclusive target group definition can scare off "average" visitors. During the event, it is important to make visitors feel "relevant". Give them the chance to join in a virtual workshops and publish the results on a "wall of fame" (this might be a virtual pinboard, an ePaper or a digital showroom on the event website).
Conclusion: If you work on the four psychological parameters, you will certainly be rewarded with positive participant feedback. (P.S. All these tips are also applicable to on-site events and should be taken into account in the planning phase.)
Related topics (key words):
event management, know-how, event psychology, expert tips, success booster, success factors, digital events, virtual events, event, business events, successful events, corporate events
Photo credits: canva.com / AdCoach (adcoach.de)