In our new, socially distanced reality, we are faced with the challenge—and opportunity—of hosting events differently. The COVID 19 pandemic has allowed event planners to recreate the event experience and embrace the new normal: Virtual events. In addition to being safer from a health perspective, virtual events are cost-effective, they cut down on waste, promote sustainability, and are accessible to new groups of people who may never have attended the event.
But the challenge still remains: How do we make virtual meetings feel like traditional events? Here are four ways to make your virtual events more personal.
1. Create a sensory experience
Before the event happens, find a way to keep it tied to the five senses: sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. Research shows that when you engage the five senses, you are embedding the experience in memory. With a virtual event, you can still be creative in this regard. Perhaps you send your attendee a sensory box as a pre-event unboxing experience. Boxes may include a custom branded mask, an amenity that matches the event experience, a pre-packaged snack, and a link to the entertainment so that the attendee can hear it in advance.
2. Share resources to support attendees
Team-building activities are not just for in-person events. Virtual events need human connection too. During the event, utilize the different features in your online event space to connect attendees with check-ins, break out rooms, and icebreakers. Remember that event attendees really value the space in between events, so use this time to create specific chat rooms to allow attendees with similar questions and interests to connect.
3. Continue the connection after the event
Virtual events transcend more than one day. By providing attendees with a recording of the event, you can promote attendees to relive and reconnect with the event and its educational resources. You can also use social media to remind attendees of the experience.
4. Maintain morale with safety guidelines
Even in a virtual event space, you can continue to support your employees and volunteers by maintaining morale and providing safety guidelines. Eventually, in-person events will be back and you want your team to be healthy and ready. As event professionals, we have added facemasks to our tried-and-true uniform of company t-shirts and khaki pants. When the time comes, we will be ready to host our guests.
Ultimately, the goal of making virtual events successful is to ensure that both employees and event attendees feel seen, cared for, and safe.
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