Types of Events

Why Virtual?
Josh Harrison, Producer
vConferenceOnline

Types of Events

I realize that the name of our platform might lead some to think that we only do conferences online. I assure you  that is not the case and my bosses didn’t make me write that either. There are many different types of events that can be done online. I’ll get into the  types we work with most often. Starting with the most obvious… in person events.

Conferences

These may be the most popular and well known types of events simply because there are so many and they generally happen in every area of interest. From finances to comic books, there are people with like interests that need to gather and communicate. For the most part these consist of keynote sessions to start off and general sessions combined with a show floor or exhibition hall for vendors to tout their offerings to attendees. Depending on the area of interest you’re probably going to a conference for the sessions or the exhibits. A subgroup to conferences would be shows or exhibition events for vendors. The attendees at these events only represent a very small portion of the actual audience for their topics. Many can’t get away from their daily lives or simply can’t afford to travel and attend.

Education

This is  also a very popular type of event. In most professional industries there is some sort of Continued Education implemented to keep pros up to date. There are requirements and standards that must be met to qualify for these CE credits. Professionals are usually busy, and time is money, so fitting in travel or even leaving the office for CE is usually a struggle.

Training

Training events are usually done on a smaller scale in person. There will be an instructor going over hours if not days worth of courseware with a select group of people. Some training programs will do a circuit or tour run to try and reach as many people in different locations as possible. Still, the reach is limited and you have an instructor repeatedly delivering material to a small audience. This requires higher registration prices due to trainer costs and can eliminate some potential trainees due to travel or costs.

Webcasts/Webinars

Marketers have long been creating events to attract attention to their product or services. A company may be releasing a new product and they want to tell the press or educate potential customers/clients. In many of these situations these are small events that require their attendees to travel.

If you are starting to see a trend I’m hoping you are starting to see the advantages of Online Events. Factor in time and costs for travel, food, lodging and attendance charges and you may see why in person events have seen a decline in attendance.

I said all of that to say this. Give the people what they want. In today’s world, individuals and businesses are accustomed to instant gratification. Everything is at their fingertips thanks to the internet. If your information isn’t easily available to the world they will find another option as quickly as type, point and click. The good news is all of these events and more can be done online.

Any craftsman knows that you need to use the right tools for the job. In the next article we’ll start to talk about what type of delivery suites your information.

“Honoring” the Attendee

It sounds pretty corny, but I think it’s a point that’s often lost with events.  Honoring the attendee – the fact that they’re spending their time and attention on your event means you owe it to them to have the best event possible.  While I’ve talked a bit already about content, planning and such, I think another piece that is often overlooked is the presentation of that content.

Content Is King… Presentation Must Be the Prince
OK, so it’s a weak analogy, but bear with me a bit.  So many times when you attend a webcast or virtual conference, you get to watch a PowerPoint slide and listen to someone reading you the contents of the slide.  It’s pretty crazy to think that that requires a webcast or virtual event.

The point of a presentation is to have the presenter embellish on the content shown.  Add to it, enhance it.  Show a demonstration.  Have a discussion.  I know, it’s pretty one-sided when you’re doing a presentation but actually looking to have a conversation with your attendees, providing information they can’t get from reading the slides, talking clearly and honestly… all of these, combined with your Q&A, mean you’re having a discussion with them.  Think about you sitting in the audience.  Would you want what you’re showing/providing/talking about?  If not, it’s time to re-think your presentation approach.

Slides Are Important
Sure, slides are key to a solid presentation in many cases.  It gives the attendee a reference point, it gives you talking points and some people are visual and just really need to see it to get it.  But consider having different types of information presented, perhaps a graph on the slide, then talk about the numbers in your presentation and offer a spreadsheet download of the factual backup details.

Don’t just read the slide, talk about the why and how, use the slides to show the what.

It’s Really Storytelling
If you think about it, movies, TV, webcasting, virtual conference sessions… it’s all about storytelling.  You’re passing along knowledge of an experience, a happening, something you’ve learned that you want to share.  Storytelling has evolved online and moved beyond 6 bullet points and 6 words.  As you build your presentation, think of slides as backup information, downloads as the details and your verbal presentation is your story – the meat of the presentation.

Be Seen, Be Heard
Consider using that webcam.  It’s more uncomfortable for some to get on-camera, but it’s really just the two of you – you and your attendee.  Just talk to them like they’re your best friend that you’re explaining your points to.  Your attendees will appreciate the personal touch, and they’ll take in your information, your story, much more quickly and effectively.  There’s just something about seeing someone, seeing them think as they present and seeing them work through the presentation that makes it easier to “get it.”

Honor the Attendee
By providing information that isn’t redundant, that is in different forms that people can ingest and by providing it in a way that can be best understood, you honor that attendee.  You make it worth their time to attend your session, webcast or virtual conference.  It’s important to keep that in mind, and keep your attendee’s goals in mind for your event.  To learn about what you have to present.

They want to hear and learn from your story!