We'd like to share a cautionary tale of the new reality we're all facing with the staging of virtual events.
Simply put: Don't be fooled by their reach.
In our experience, more is not always better.
Yes, virtual events (and their cousins, hybrid events) often do attract much wider audiences.
We've seen numerous post-event summaries shouting about how amazing the events were because of participant numbers. And if the attendees are novices, no doubt the feedback was excellent too - because they knew no different.
But to our mind, it's the value that participants receive that really matters. And that isn't always immediately clear.
It's also important to remember - people's attention in virtual events is often compromised. Especially when it’s a webinar, with one-way information transmission. We are hearing it time and again, and some even (unintentionally) show us what they're really doing!
Arguably though, “success” depends on the purpose of the gathering.
Trying to educate as broad an audience as possible about something new? Bingo, virtual events will have indeed opened the door to a much wider audience. And will continue to do so post covid-19, as most people are now familiar with them at some level. Some might (dare we say) prefer them – especially when you can multitask!
Our own industry's need to pivot to virtual when Covid-19 struck is an excellent case in point: we all joined countless webinars to better understand the landscape, and benefited to some extent (at least initially).
But what if your event is not just about simple information transmission?
What if you wanted to gather your community for the purposes of truly unpacking the challenges being faced? And what if you wanted to workshop those issues and help lead them towards a new way forward?
Then you might want to ask yourself if more participants are indeed better. Instead it's more likely down to having the right people “in the room”.
And for that you need to:
- Start with defining the objective (We call this "gathering with intent")
- Uncover the issues facing your community
- Decide the end goal: where do you want (or need) to be?
- Last but not least, figure out who can help you get there, and how to get them “in the room”
Sounds complex? Well yes, it would be, for the uninitiated. But we've been doing it for years and can definitely help you on your journey.
Hit us up to find out more!
- Team UC