Last week we talked about the importance of quality over quantity in virtual meetings, events and gatherings - i.e. it’s not how many you attract, it’s who you attract. This sounds obvious, but the proliferation of virtual events has brought with it a sort of democratisation of who can join. Visas, travel budgets and shortage of time no longer seem to be barriers to joining what used to be exclusive and highly sought-after affairs. This has undeniably brought huge benefits and a much better, and more diverse*, representation of participants. However, if you are relying on a specific group of people to come together and solve a challenge or move an industry forward on a thorny issue, more is not always better.
So the question is, how do you get the right people in the r(Z)oom?
The answer is not so different to what you should be doing for a live event.
Decide why exactly you’re gathering and what the expected outcomes are, and be crystal clear in your communication. Then think about your format.
Questions to ask yourself:
Are you better served by gathering 100 people all at the same time or 5-10 people meeting separately and much more intimately?
How much can you prepare and prime your participants in the lead-up to the event?
How personalised and customised can your invitations be?
Can you rely on a trusted smaller group to emanate the message for you?
Are you willing to get creative with your invitation process?
Can you pick up the phone?
The clearer you are on why you’re gathering, and the more time you’re willing to invest in inviting your tribe, the easier it will be to attract the right participants.
Bonus tip: Once they’re there, Priya Parker suggests a great way to introduce them to your event and ensure they participate fully and effectively:
“Create an opening ritual to cleanse their palette from whatever they were doing before. In part because they are no longer traveling to your workshop (or event). They are no longer ducking under a door frame. They are no longer walking down a hallway to enter a classroom. It’s even more important that we create opening transition rituals as they enter into your Zoom room.”
Have you joined a Zoom event recently that impressed you with its participant quality? We’d love to hear from you.
*Diversity at conferences is a topic we’ll be touching on in the coming weeks.