Taking your conference (or even just a part of it) online is a great way to keep communities connected and thinking about a future beyond the current COVID-19 crisis. As an agency that delivers solutions to conference organisers, we’re all about helping communities through this period.
We recently covered that it’s not a simple case of switching to a virtual platform like Zoom and showing up. All the challenges of a live event remain, except perhaps for the bad food and watered-down coffee.
To add to the woes, it seems virtual events are simply not a natural way to build connections and form meaningful bonds the same way as IRL.
Which, if you think about it, runs contrary to our personal lives…
Many of us are comfortable sharing intimate details to total strangers over a dating app, even to the extent of sending potentially compromising photos (gasp!). That said, it's what happens next that usually determines the success or failure of that “connection” - the infamous meeting in real life.
And so it is with virtual conferences: the bonds of any virtual connection can be loose at best.
That’s not to say it isn’t possible to strengthen them. It’s just harder, and the reason is simple. It’s human nature; so much about us and who we are is communicated in non-verbal ways.
One trick then, is to figure out how to get delegates to turn their video on and actually “face” each other. Obviously, this is useless if your event has attracted any more than a couple of dozen participants, unless you are working on a massive screen. But that’s where the power of breakouts should be realised.
Given where we are today, anything is better than nothing. So yes, let’s give virtual a go. Perhaps just keep “those” photos in a separate folder to avoid any embarrassing mistakes, and remember to have put a comb through your hair and change out of your PJs for when the video turns on :)
Hit us up for more virtual conference grooming advice,