The COVID-19 quarantine has completely changed many aspects of work and life, and has really drastically changed the ways in which we gather. This means events are a totally new ballgame, and even if you’d mastered them before, the pivot to virtual brings up entirely new challenges.
We brought together Carrie Brusven, of Gathered., Danyel Moe of Ladyboss Midwest & Kilbourne Group, Katie Pipinich of Livewire, and Dawn Koranda of Super Studio to give their tips and tricks for pulling off great events, even in this new, virtual world. You can watch the full panel here!
Consider the event’s “personality”
Design guru, Carrie Brusven, tells us that each event has a personality. Think about the aesthetic and the vibe that you want to portray and utilize the details in order to do so. The personality of an event needs to come from the personality of the client, and needs to shine from the moment an attendee arrives all the way to the end. Brusven suggests picking five to six adjectives that describe the event and go from there. Every detail, down to the chairs, should fit in with those adjectives.
Utilize social media
Social media can be a great way to engage potential attendees. Danyel Moe suggests creating a narrative through social media other than just “get your ticket,” or “this event is selling fast!” Moe recommends thinking through the actual takeaways attendees will get from the event and showcasing them via social media. Your social media strategy should think through before, during, and after the event, even before the event has started. That way you aren’t scrambling day of.
Be prepared, but remember things happen
No event in history has ever run completely smoothly. Now as more and more events go virtual, technology literacy poses even more complications. Katie Pipinich tells us there are plenty of ways you can prepare in anticipation of an event, but at the end of the day hiccups happen and it’s all part of the gig. Dawn Koranda suggests making sure to have at least one rehearsal with each speaker of an event using the actual device and wifi they will use the day of the event.
Offer new forms of connection
At Ladyboss Midwest, we pride ourselves on hosting events that offer empowerment and connection. But that connection piece has been a challenge in the era of Zoom events. Connection pods, or smaller Zoom breakouts, have been effective in keeping attendees engaged and offering an alternative way for them to connect in smaller groups during virtual events. You can never predict the chemistry of small groups, so it’s important to keep the time for breakout pods short, sweet, and to the point!
Swag bags, delivered lunch boxes, and craft breaks were all suggestions given by our panelists as creative ways to keep attendees engaged during virtual events. There are plenty of ways to creatively sneak memorabilia from the event into different kinds of delivered kits!
Consider zoom fatigue
We are now over six months into the pandemic, and it’s fair to assume your attendees have been part of countless Zoom meetings, virtual happy hours, and online panels. Giving attendees something to do other than sit and listen can actually help keep them engaged. Calls to action through social media can give them a brain break for a minute while they craft a tweet or Instagram post while keeping them engaged with the event. Despite not meeting in person, it’s still important to give a clear schedule to attendees which includes designated breaks, or else you risk having your guests up and leave to use the bathroom or grab a snack.
These are weird times! Over the last several months all kinds of things have changed, and if you have been dreaming of taking a risk with an event, there couldn’t be a better time. Many speakers have reduced rates and flexible schedules now that they aren’t expected to travel. If you have been interested in getting someone on a panel but think they wouldn’t have time, might be out of budget, or wouldn’t be interested, just go for it and ask!