Advantages of Online Events
We can all agree that 2020-2021 has been a difficult time for businesses. The pandemic has put a halt to a lot of different trades, shipping has become significantly harder, and not only that but, if your business relies on footfall, then that has almost dwindled away to nothing. Though few and far between, there have been some silver linings to the past year. One advantage is that many organisations have shifted their focus and ways of working to the digital world. And, throughout the highs and lows, it has been the people who have adapted quickly, and taken on board the changing environment that have thrived.
Not only does this mean greater accessibility – for customers and consumers that have additional educational needs, and for whom leaving the house was challenging in a pre-pandemic world, the new move to online content has been incredible. So what have been some of the advantages of shifting online in the last year, and can you keep them moving forwards? Read on for some of the advantages of online events, and how to make the most out of them as a resource.
People might not be attending your event in real life, but sharing food is still a great way to break the ice. If you have dietary requirements, for example coeliac, veganism, or gluten-free, arranging an event online means that you don’t have to worry anymore on a personal level whether the event organisers will have bothered to cater for you. When you’re on a break between talks or workshops, you have everything in your own fridge at home at your disposal – bliss!
Can you use this when running your own online events? The writing centre Arvon has been running online workshops to replace their writing weeks virtually since the beginning of the very first lockdown. Something they have implemented is sending out a recipe card at the beginning of their programmes. This means you have the opportunity to cook the same meals as your classmates as you progress through the week and get a sense of community going.
One of the amazing things about the pandemic is how generous professionals and academics have been with their time and resources. With projects and in-person events cancelled, people have been more willing than ever to lend some of their knowledge and expertise to events. You might initially feel intimidated about inviting people with more experience to attend and speak at your event, but ultimately, as long as you are polite and courteous in your invitation, the worst they can do is say no.
If your event is digital, you aren’t limited to people being in the same room, or even the same continent any more, and this might be something you choose to continue when Covd-19 has passed. You can invite guests digitally, to speak via video conferencing software and projection. So much of the technology has improved in the last year that there’ll be no reason not to beam someone in. This will also save you money on transport and accommodation.
One of the statistics that has arisen from last year’s data is that women’s opinions are being heard more in online events. The queues of questions, hand-raising function, and taking turns to speak has empowered lots of people who found busy conferences and events overwhelming, and the requirement to speak out in front of a huge hall of people intimidating. One of the great things about digital events is that you can have break-out rooms and encourage people into smaller conversations so they can discuss topics in groups before feeding back to the event as a whole. Improved communication like this can also be a useful way to promote your brand during virtual events. If your voice isn’t getting heard in a huge roomful of people, then the break-out rooms are a great way to discuss what you do in more depth.
If you are running or planning events in the future, when social-distancing and Zoom conferences are a thing of the past, then try and keep as much of what’s working well digitally now as you can. This might mean that people can ask questions digitally (for example, through a Discord, that an event chair is keeping an eye on), or hosting smaller rooms in order to facilitate discussion.
There’s no denying that Covid-19 has been a terrible time for us all, but it’s important to try and hold on to some of the positive lessons we can take from having lives through a pandemic. If you’re making plans for your business’ future, then keep what works.