March 2021 …. exactly the same as March 2020 but now with toilet paper?

March 2021… exactly the same as March 2020 but now with toilet paper? Claire Bowley investigates…

Well, not exactly.  For sure, the office is still closed, in-person events for this year are once again looking increasingly unlikely, and I continue to go for the full-broadcast hair and make-up on a daily basis whilst channelling Waynetta Slob from desktop down. 

But …. the conference industry has surfed the wave of an incredible renaissance in only 12 months.  Technology has literally been the savior of our company and many others, and has enabled the world to communicate, do business and stay connected.

In March 2020, we pivoted our entire business to virtual conferences and set out into a very different world.  We have a truly remarkable team at Dynamic Events who never cease to amaze me with their can-do attitude, their positivity and their willingness to be led into an entirely unfamiliar landscape. Together we discovered what was hot and what was not, and how to deliver highly effective and engaging conferences. 

We also learned how to modify our entire business model:  we entirely changed how we were marketing and pricing; our operations developed rapidly, and we learned how to communicate remotely as a team and with our clients.  Our core values of positivity, innovation, flexibility and care supported us to deliver the same exceptional event standards and client service levels as we ever had done.

To begin with our clients were very uncertain about running virtual conferences and many were keen to keep to Zoom or Teams as it was familiar.  But gradually, as confidence has grown, we have seen our clients willing to try out new things and there is an exciting mindset emerging.  We see our clients being prepared to trial new ideas and technology, take risks and innovate.  And they are reaping huge rewards.  They are now able to communicate effectively and at short notice, to their usual audience, but also to those that they have not been able to reach before – and all in a sustainable and cost-effective way.

We are also seeing rapid and innovative developments in the technologies available.  The conference platforms are developing quickly, and there are new digital solutions coming on-stream all the time.  Our team is now structured so that we have a guru for each platform that we partner with, and other staff specifically tasked to know what platforms and other technologies are emerging.

And so we come to hybrid, which for our industry is one of the best things to emerge from this past year.  We will be able to have in-person events soon ….. and when we do, it will truly be a brave new world.  We will be blending the in-person audience with the virtual one, and through these rapidly developing technologies we will be able to communicate like never before.  A pre-Covid audience size of 500 can now easily be 5000, who will not only be receiving the conference messages, but will be communicating between themselves by using the technology at our fingertips, on an unprecedented level, and in a sustainable way.

So, March 2021 is not the same as March 2020.  We still have a strong, passionate team, thriving on virtual conferencing whilst we cannot yet meet in person, but we are now strongly focussed on planning hybrid conferences that are effective, productive and energising.  We still have our incredibly loyal and valued clients who have stayed with us throughout the past year, but we have also welcomed many new clients who are driving us to experiment and innovate.

I am incredibly excited about what the next couple of years will bring.  When I look back at the enormous changes and achievements in just 12 months, I can only imagine how energising the next 24 will be.  O yes – and I have had my first vaccine, so I am looking forward to the partaaay!

Claire is Dynamic Events’ Managing Director, in her past life Claire was a stage manager and loves bringing her theatrical experience to the events that Dynamic create. Claire says “managing our fantastic team and harnessing their creativity and dedication to produce outstanding events is massively rewarding.”

Promotion in a Pandemic

A promotion in a pandemic #promotion #pandemic #covid19 #events

This time last year I was on my first site visit for a large conference I was organising with my colleague and I was finally getting the chance to move on up and get more responsibility.

Before we travelled the news was featuring stories about a new virus spreading across the world but, as many did at the time, we never thought it would make its way to Europe so we continued with our site inspection, but how wrong we were. Not even a week after we got back, we were in lockdown with the outlook being ‘don’t worry we will be back up and running soon’. No one could imagine how the next year planned out.

We worked from home until April when most of the team were put on furlough, and in June I got the news, like so many others did, that I was being made redundant.

“OK, what now?”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Virtual-events-blog-3-1024x573.png

The global events industry was in shambles and no one was hiring. It seemed that even with a few years’ experience under my belt that I was back in the same position I was in when fresh out of University. Applying for jobs that were entry level, but this time competing with a huge number of overqualified candidates who had also lost out because of the pandemic.

I pride myself on my generally positive outlook, so I spent my time freshening up my CV, thinking of the possibilities and was lucky enough to get a job back in a pub I used to work at during my student years. As they say, “when one door closes another one opens”, you just have to find the door… I’m not going to lie, there were times when it was overwhelming. I would think about what my friends were doing, what stage in their life they were at and where I currently was, not seeing any opening doors. But I would catch myself, take a breath and say “stop it, you’re young and this isn’t the end of the world despite what the BBC Coronavirus briefing says”. I think this is the first advice I would give to anyone, “don’t compare yourself, your life or your career to anyone else”. Everything is totally relative; no one is in the same position as you, the things you have learnt from situations will be completely different to everyone else. Take a breath and look for that open door! One of my favourite sayings is that “you never know what you know until you meet someone whoknows less”. It took me having new colleagues coming into the office to realise actually yes, I know how to do that, and it really grew my confidence.

Luckily Dynamic Events are incredibly versatile and forward thinking, always acting and never putting us in a position to react. During the months I was on furlough and then redundant, they worked on innovating their business plan, making relationships with technical developers to find virtual conference solutions for our client needs. They also put a heavy emphasis on new business development and gained new clients to make up for any lost business from in-person events.

Virtual events production at Dynamic Events

So not even 3 months after I was made redundant, I was asked to come back in the office to support all of this new business and the virtual events that were coming in. In a lot of ways, it felt like a brand-new job due to all the new tech, clients and procedures. There were times when I had no idea what I was doing. But then I realised, everyone felt like that at some stage in this crazy virtual world, even the people who had been at Dynamic for decades, and we still made a huge success of it because it’s in our nature.

This brings me to advice number 2, “be flexible, proactive and give anything a go”. Got a new software coming in? Learn it, be proactive, become the Master of It. You have one thing that you are the absolute authority on, your colleagues will come to you for advice. Everyone has at least one strength that is needed from their peers, what’s yours? This also shows your willingness to learn and improve your knowledge which will only help in the long run! You never stop learning.

So, there we go, in just 8 months I went from being an event assistant in a world where everyone travelled, then into lockdown, redundancy, rehired and recently promoted to an event co-ordinator!

The promotion was a great achievement. An exciting and nerve-wracking step but one I am thoroughly enjoying. Which leads me onto advice number 3, and is something I need to work on, “don’t be afraid of failure!”. Trust that your experiences can lead you to the right answer, and if it doesn’t work, look on the positives; what did you get out of it, what did you learn and could use in the future. Look for that door!

No one knows what’s going to happen so don’t stress about things that are outside of your control. Trust that you will find a way to that open door because when you work hard enough, the good stuff follows. And if all else fails eat some chocolate, take a breath, put on a feel-good song and dance it out.

Congratulations to Kelsey!

Promoting a Virtual Event in 2021

virtual event promotion

While at Dynamic we believe there is no replacement for face-to-face networking and the spontaneity of exchanging ideas, the pivot to virtual events can keep your brand top-of-mind, keep your audience engaged, and generate new leads. The real difficulty, is how do your turn potential leads into on-the-day virtual bums-on-seats, and, possibly more importantly, keep them there?

After organizing and hosting over 20 virtual events in the past 12 months, here at Dynamic we have worked out some key factors to success in promoting your virtual event both internally and externally.

1. Consider your platform

If you’re planning a smaller, internal meeting, your hosting decision may be straightforward, and chances are that your company already have an existing license with a platform such as Zoom Meetings or Microsoft Teams. This however, gets more complicated with a larger, multi-faceted, virtual event. Different platforms offer a variety of differing services, so being sure of what you need from your platform is key.

Considerations can include whether you would like people to turn on microphone or cameras, if you will need breakout rooms, how customizable you would like the branding opportunities to be, the inclusion of gamification, web integration, multi-lingual support, sponsorship opportunities, and hybrid functionalities. No matter what you need from your event platform, there will be something that suits your business.

2. The attendee journey begins long before your event

You need to provide a unique experience, not just on event-day, but throughout the whole process. If you are successful, your audience will experience something different to every other online event they have attended since last March. From the first contact a target has with your event, be that through a mailing-list email, social media image, blog post, or mentioned by a friend, your event must remain top-of-mind. A creative concept and innovative brief, paired with a tactical marketing plan, can really boost audience engagement and the memorability of your event, as well as basic attendance rates.

Importance of good marketing

3. Don’t stop marketing at registration!

Great, your target has registered for your event! But you can’t stop there. Attendee attrition rates can be over 50% for virtual events, so you can’t rely on registration numbers to turn into on-the-day attendees. Those who have registered could be sent exclusive access to articles written by featured speakers, or you could post guest blogs and social media posts to give the audience a taste of what is to come. If your event lends to it, make it part of the speaker contract that they must cross-promote. This pushes your name into fields you may not have had access to before, and some people will attend your event just to see the speaker.

4. Target your established relationships

Let businesses, clients, and customers you have worked with before know about your event. After all, you’ve already done the work building these relationships, and this way you are nurturing that relationship with existing customers. Even better if they can share it on!

Social media followers are key to this. They like your content enough to follow you, so use that! Draw in potential leads and generate registrations through social media by utilizing hashtags related to event material, and if possible, partnering with large-following pages who specialize in the field.

5. Audience engagement = success!

Virtual events come with far more distractions than a live, in-person event setting, so it is vital to ensure audience engagement is a key focus of your marketing plan, from day one. Basic suggestions for smaller events include in-event polls, or the inclusion of pitching questions to speakers in the registration process for the in-event Q+A sessions. For larger events, the only limitation is your imagination, you can include live sketch artists, virtual swag-bags, and even gamify your virtual event with contests and quizzes.

Providing your audience with the tools needed to interact with one another is necessary to ensure overall engagement. This can be through coffee-break breakout rooms, chatbox functions, or a platform that encourages quickfire live conversations. If you’re hosting a larger, B2B conference, this is definitely a factor to consider when choosing your event platform.

Dynamic Events can guide you through audience engagement tools

6. Keep the conversation going

Just because the event has ended, doesn’t mean the conversations around it should. Have follow-up emails ready to go with any promotions mentioned throughout the event, and access to recordings or on-demand files if you have them. You could even consider including a post-event feedback survey to get some first hand feedback while the experience is fresh in attendees minds.

Use quotes, screenshots, audience insights, or snips of recordings across social media for at least a couple of weeks. Social media forums such as Facebook and Linkedin have the capabilities to create private groups, within which further information regarding the event and other networking opportunities could be posted, ensuring attendees feel included and involved even after the event date.

To end..

Events always have had a way of bringing people together. It would be a shame to miss out on the potential sales and engagement you otherwise wouldn’t have received from people who are too far away, or wouldn’t have heard of your offering.

Each social media network have their own demographic, and you know your customers best. Utilize the channels you receive most engagement through, but equally, use your event to build engagement ton those platforms that seem to be slacking. Ensuring your clinets have content to engage with keeps your brand, image, and ideology at the top of their minds, to ensure when they need your service, they think of you.

The Journey of Mastering a Virtual Event Platform

How to become an expert on virtual event platforms
How to master a virtual event platform

The journey of mastering a platform

My journey navigating the virtual world started several months ago. Like everyone else in the events industry, I was suddenly forced to adapt my line of work to resist the shock of – what we now call – in-person events being cancelled.

I had finally reached a stage in my job where I felt comfortable in my abilities to organise an event to a high standard. I am in no way claiming to be the best event planner to grace the event agency world, but I was pretty happy with how far I had come since the newly graduated assistant who started three years ago.

This new-found confidence took a serious knock when my team and I had to leave behind our safe haven of planning international corporate events, to completely embrace the virtual event scene. There were moments where we all felt like we had started a brand-new job. We went from planning overseas site visits to building our own virtual auditoriums practically overnight.  

‘A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.’

Dynamic Events are virtual experts with 25 years of event management experience

To be honest, the second half of this blog’s title is rather misleading. To proclaim you have mastered a virtual event platform is a bold statement and something I can’t imagine anyone has yet been able to accomplish in such a fast-paced, dynamic environment.

There are endless virtual solutions on the market making it almost impossible to remain loyal to one platform only. You search “virtual event platform” on Google and around 674,000,000 results are presented to you. But the question is, when we talk about virtual platforms, what do we actually mean?

‘Virtual event platform’ is an umbrella term covering a comprehensive selection of online products and services all packaged as the perfect solution to successfully pivot your cancelled in-person event to virtual.

Cancelled trade show? We can build your exhibitors’ virtual booths!

Postponed drinks reception? We can send you the wine and set up a Zoom call!

Missed your child’s 8th birthday party? We have the best virtual magician for you!  

As an agency we are fortunate to have the resources which make us “platform omniscient.” Every client we work with has varying event formats and prioritise different features for their audience. The consequence of this means not every client will want the same platform, meaning we have to master them all.

‘Not all those who wander are lost’

After meticulously running through your client’s requirements, you have finally agreed on the perfect platform to host their virtual event. This is when the journey to mastering that platform begins – when you have found “the one.”

But just like humans, these platforms are also constantly growing and evolving. With new features being released each week and updated road maps being constantly published, it can be rather daunting trying to keep up.

So, my advice to you is this. Don’t be fooled in thinking there is an end to this journey because there isn’t. ‘Mastering’ a virtual platform is a never-ending journey and one I expect to be on for as long as I am in this industry.  

Five tips on mastering a platform

  1. Learn to accept their “flaws”

With any relationship comes compromise. By accepting the other person’s flaws, you surrender your personal values to maintain a harmonious relationship. Your relationship with platforms is no different.

Not every platform can provide you with exactly what you want. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have which can seem annoying at first, but ultimately highly rewarding when you have dug deep into your creative side to find the perfect solution.

2. “What is done cannot be undone, but at least one can keep it from happening again”

It goes without saying but you only truly overcome obstacles through trial and error. Ask your account manager for your very own demo platform to use as the perfect base for making those mistakes.

3. “There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory”

Do as many “dummy runs” of your virtual event on the platform until you feel 100% confident with its features. Not only does this massively benefit you for the actual event, but it will also eliminate the initial time wasted figuring out the platform’s settings for your next project.

Another (more enjoyable) way of practicing is by signing up to events open to the public hosted on that platform. By seeing it from an attendees’ perspective you soon learn what works well, and what doesn’t. It also helps with inspiration for those days where you are seriously lacking.

4. “You can’t hire someone to practice for you”

But in this case, you already have! In our team we have allocated one person to a platform we regularly work with to monitor any new features which have been released, as well as keeping track of general tips and tricks for managing an event on there.

If you are a smaller team, or a one-woman show, then perhaps allocate one platform per week to check in with. Try not to overwhelm yourself with staying updated all the time, most significant changes are usually rolled out per quarter.

5. “Eat that frog”

Take on the job and do the event. You are already a fully-fledged event professional. If you can handle the pressures of on-site events, you can do anything.

Top Tips for Problem Solving

Top Tips – Problem Solving for Event Managers in a Covid World

If there is anything that anyone has learned this year, it’s the need to problem solve and act rather than react. Advancing our Virtual plans was one of these actions.

As experienced Event Managers we constantly look at the worst case scenarios in every aspect of a plan and how we can avoid these; while preparing for what we do in these instances.

Event Managers work incredibly well under pressure, it’s a job proven to be one of the most stressful in the world. However, we do everything and make every endeavour to avoid these stresses, making the plans soundproof, bulletproof, shatterproof… Just all the proofs, while also implementing back-up plans and fail-safes throughout.

Before we could see the impact of Covid-19 in this country we acted to negotiate unassailable force majeures and contracts with suppliers that protected our clients as much as possible. Although no one could have foreseen the effects on the Events industry, it is our job to plan for the worst possible outcomes.

In our top tips this week we have noted the key topics to consider as Event Managers and how we go about problem solving.

  1. Asking the right questions. How you look for answers will determine how you overcome your challenges. This means defining your question before looking for the solution. It means involving your whole team in the conversation, having people from different backgrounds and experiences to bounce off. The more information you have the more likely you are to get to the answer.
  2. Embrace the bizarre. Now is not the time to be “stuck in your ways” – looking for solutions where you wouldn’t expect and changing your perspective opens you up to inspiration and experience. Being versatile in your approach is the key to growing and learning. Just look what happened to the Blockbuster stores – they stood still where their competitors embraced the online avenues.
  3. Use a pre-mortem. Imagine a hypothetical future where everything has gone wrong, then work backwards to determine the factors and issues which lead to this failure. This is also beneficial to look at what went right. From this, you can realise how you bring about the good and how you can plan for the possible demise of a plan.

These points may seem obvious from the outset, but implementing them is a different task, taking the time to go through these is a vital investment in a thorough strategy that needs to be prioritised. Time is valuable and other tasks get in the way but action is better than reaction and sets aside the Netflix’s from the Blockbuster’s, and the Toys R Us’s from the Amazon’s (interesting Forbes article: here).

How did we act on the COVID crisis..

Sometimes a positive exception already exists; the ability to continue with events seemed to disappear in March, but our theme for 2020 was sustainability and we looked back at all of the virtual solutions we had been partnering with when researching alternatives to live conferences. The airmiles associated and wastages caused vs Corporate Social Responsibility that our clients wanted to value more didn’t equate, and so looking at hybrid and virtual solutions was a great alternative. We realised you can have the same valuable, interactive, networking experience on a virtual platform as a live event. It just takes a bit of creativity and some good old proverbial elbow grease.

Covid has forced a change of perspective, it can be easy to throw around ideas to solve a problem but benefiting all stakeholders with this solution is another situation. This creativity is combining existing elements to create something else entirely, and not comparing oneself to others reactions because their way is not always the best way, and every situation is unique, along with the people involved.

For more on how we have adapted and helped our clients create their conferences online, check out our MD Malcolm Wallaces blog posts, “The Covid Series”.

The COVID Series: Christmas Party Arrangements

Malcolm Wallace Christmas Party

Is it starting earlier this year? My kids (young adults, actually Dad) are already talking about plans for enjoying the festive season and with an extended family, two grandchildren and siblings it is complicated, even for two experienced event organisers, to juggle the needs of step-parents, great granny et al.

Having learnt the dark art of delegation, honed to perfection by 25 years of running a business, or as my young adults would say, the art of lazy. I tend to take a back seat and let negotiations take place in the 2nd tier of management, trust me, it works.

And all this reminded me of Christmas parties. As a company we have had some memorable years and some not so. My favourite had to be last year’s stay at Amberley Castle with a cocktail making competition in the Alan Sugar Apprentice style, the worst, I have wiped from my memory!

What is going to happen this year? As a team we are back in the office enjoying a socially distanced and carefully managed working environment, but for us that is relatively easy. Being based in sunny and rural Rye, we have a large office with room to sit apart and nobody needs to commute by public transport, we even have room for a Friday evening after work drink together.

But what if you are a larger company based in a major city? Your staff may have been working from home for a long time now and there is a need for some social interaction.

There are few solutions really. One is a wait and see strategy, social distancing regulations may have eased, who knows? The reality though is that this is a risky strategy, with the likely position being much where we are now.

A venue could be booked, but if doing so, be very careful of the cancellation terms and Force Majeure and ensure that they are mindful of any social distancing and cleaning regulations in force.

Or you could use a virtual platform as a social meeting place with entertainment and opportunities for networking in smaller groups. There are many viable and fun solutions for this option.

My favourite would be a super hybrid event with staff in different locations enjoying smaller group, in person get togethers and with each location connected to a central virtual platform, a bit like Children in Need. Each location could demonstrate an activity or fundraiser, the opportunities are endless.

I’m looking forward to the challenges our clients will throw at us, whatever happens, it will be a very different year.

Until next time,

Malcolm

Malcolm WallaceManaging Director at Dynamic Conferences & Events Ltd

Top Tips – Researching a Venue

Researching venues top tips

When researching a venue what factors do you need to consider?

Start early

Good venues get booked early, especially in the current climate when many events have been postponed to next year – start your research as soon as possible.

Location, location, location

A central location with good transport links and restaurants / hotels nearby is vital. Transport can be expensive so a few local venues in walking distance makes all the difference.

Budget

Is there a venue hire charge? What does the venue hire include? Is there a minimum Food & Beverage spend? Is Wi-Fi included in the cost? Also, very important to remember to ask about taxes and how to calculate them.

Size and capacity

How many delegates in your group? What is the room capacity? Will your client need a stage for speeches? What is the staff to guest ratio? The room needs to be the right fit for your group size to help create the right atmosphere.

Local knowledge

Check for national holidays or local events happening in the local area. Does your client have a local firm or contact the local tourist board – recommendations are invaluable.

The little things matter

Lighting, ceiling height, acoustics, layout, toilets, outdoor space, time of year – average temperatures, do they cater for all dietary requirements?

Coronavirus

In the current climate another key factor which must be considered is Health & Safety. What procedures has the venue got in place? How will they ensure social distancing? What happens if there is another spike in cases? What are the cancellation Terms & Conditions?

All the above listed factors play a huge role when considering a venue, but the key and our number one piece of advice would be to have a SITE VISIT. You need to see the venue for yourself, meet the staff, see the space, ensure the photos you have seen are current and not taken 10 years ago.

If you need help with your next event, give us a call on 01797 223626 or contact us here.

The COVID Series: Leading the team while coping with Covid

COVID Series, Malcolm Wallace
The COVID Series - Malcolm Wallace

The exciting news, for us anyway, is that we have begun a phased return to the office. I know that we all had mixed feelings after so long working from home, but it does feel good to be talking (a socially distanced) face to face and bouncing ideas around without sound delays, dialogue gaps and barking dogs.

We have been able, amicably enough, to sort out how we use the kitchen, clean the toilets and spread ourselves out among the desks, I guess after a week or two it will feel normal and then we will think about bringing the rest of the team back and adjusting to yet another new normal.

So, as a business, how do we view this next new phase and the challenges it is going to throw up?

The most important thing?

After some 35 years of running businesses, surviving Foot and Mouth, volcanoes, various recessions, SARS, strikes, 9/11 and, I am sure, some other crises I have forgotten about, my mantra is Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. I am not sure we do it particularly well compared to some of the creative items I see, but even at our lowly level it is, again, paying dividends.

The reality is that marketing relies on the hard work, self-belief and perseverance that being successful at anything requires. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no easy solution, no guarantee of success. You just have to keep trying new things in different ways and be thick-skinned enough to take failure on the chin until you find the solution that works for you. Just remember to keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for the successes.

The second most important thing?

Has got to be budgeting, it is of course important normally, but it is critical in a crisis. As soon as we realised how seriously we would be affected by the Coronavirus, our management team sat down and re-worked our budget for the next 24 months.

The important thing though is sticking to it. I check at least weekly that we are not overspending in any areas and want to know why we are if that happens. I ensure we have plenty of contingency as invariably something unexpected crops up.

Cash is King in a crisis, so credit control must take priority, get your invoices paid on time but remember we are all in the same boat, so pay suppliers on time as well!

And finally

Have we learnt anything new during this new crisis? For me, it has reminded me that having a strong and cohesive team is paramount. It has been difficult with lockdown and having to slim the business down to maintain positivity and focus. Like a lot of companies, we have done our best with regular ‘Teams’ and Zoom meetings, quizzes, virtual cocktail making and the rest of the virtual menu.

I have been massively impressed with the ideas and suggestions that have flowed from everyone in the team. It is easy to think that at my end of the spectrum, with too many years under my belt, experience is all that matters. The reality is that the youngest members of the team have been able to come up with fresh and original thinking. Time for the old boy to move over.

Until next time,

Malcolm

Malcolm Wallace, Managing Director at Dynamic Conferences & Events Ltd

[email protected]

07515 664 368

The COVID Series: How far outside our comfort zone are we?

Business Management Covid-19
Business Management Covid-19

As businesses, we are all adapting to the unpalatable truth that most of our industries have changed irrevocably for the short-to medium-term and quite possibly for the foreseeable future.

We have had to make changes to the way we market and communicate with customers, clients or employees. This has been a particularly massive sea-change for those of us in the communications industries usually accustomed to simply meeting to collaborate, connect and share whatever information or message we needed to get out.

Now, we need a new medium and, for a lot of people, the obvious choice of virtual events is proving to be a taxing one.

The obvious choice?

It is the obvious choice; however, it is not necessarily an easy choice. Virtual event platforms are springing up almost, it seems, on a daily basis. Essentially, they are all tools that enable people to communicate remotely. But how do you know which platform is right for your organisation? And what can different platforms offer?

The very basic virtual platform is simply a video call and the more complex ones can recreate a complete virtual conference environment. They can include an auditorium, collaboration spaces, exhibition halls, speed networking, networking lounges and any other space you would see at in in-person event.

What’s the challenge?

The challenge, in reality, is not dissimilar to delivering an in-person event.

  • Clear, focussed event objectives
  • Measurable goals of success
  • Adaptable environment to deliver objectives
  • Interesting, relevant and articulate speakers
  • Professional production
  • Branding to promote and reinforce  core messages
  • Accessibility for all visitors to the event
  • Staff available to solve problems for conference hosts, speakers, delegates, exhibitors and sponsors

But here is the crux of the challenge – there is an assumption that a virtual event is easier, simply because it is delivered digitally. No travelling, no lost luggage, no hotel bedroom mix ups.

However, to stage a successful virtual event requires just as much pre-planning as an in-person event. I recently attended a virtual event where the first speaker didn’t start on time, leading to many attendees thinking they had logged on incorrectly, with a substantial number leaving entirely.

The help desk wasn’t staffed meaning requests for help were not promptly addressed and there was no communication for the reason for the delay. The first speaker appeared unprepared, was incorrectly framed and lacked specific direction in his talk. Obviously, people who are sat at their laptops in their home office are not going to concentrate for that long with all the other distractions they have.

A well planned, virtual event will have the correct platform selected with the event running to time. If it can’t run to time then attendees need to be informed, attendees requesting assistance from the helpdesk must be responded to immediately.

Speakers often require guidance to transition to delivering a message to a virtual audience; to get orientated and understand the functionality of the platform; to juggle presenting with pushing out live polls, organising questions or using a white board.

In this new digital era, it is far better to use the ‘Ted’ talk model, keeping speakers to shorter, punchier presentations and then utilising collaborative spaces for interactive discussions to dive deeper into the subject. And it is so important for presentations to be delivered to a professional standard.

Thought should be given to interspersing the business content with ‘gamification’ or social activities, whether to introduce a fun element, encourage networking or foster team collaboration. Specific networking time can be included to encourage your audience to engage with content, sponsors and branding.

It is important to convey your branding and messaging throughout the virtual environment, to reinforce your professionalism and values. This is often underestimated for both in-person events and virtual events.

The solution

As with most aspects of business life, an industry professional can effectively tackle what seems an insurmountable situation. They can anticipate problems and remove the stress of the unknown.

Just as you would use a professional event management team, whether in-house, or outsourced it is important to do the same for a virtual event.

Your production partner will guide you through the vast range of available platforms from webinars to virtual reality, recommend the most suitable platform for your event and support you through the entire process., They will work with you to craft a compelling, diverse agenda to maximise delegate interaction and engagement. Assist with practical guidance for speakers, sponsors and exhibitors and help delegates navigate the platform and interactive functionality to ensure they receive a fulfilling an beneficial experience.

After all, the aim is to give everyone concerned the correct impression that you have a professional and inclusive organisation.

If you are ‘out of your comfort zone’ and need help in this new virtual world, get in touch and let’s discuss how we can create an amazing virtual experience.

Until next time,

Malcolm

Malcolm Wallace, Managing Director at Dynamic Conferences & Events Ltd

[email protected]

07515 664 368

www.dynamic-events.co.uk

Welcome to a ‘Dynamic’ virtual world..

Virtual Networking Lounge, Group chat
Virtual Networking lounge, group chats

The current global situation that we all find ourselves immersed in doesn’t need explaining – these are truly exceptional times, and no-one can predict how this extraordinary time in history will continue.

However, at Dynamic Events, we believe that extraordinary times provide the opportunity and challenge to reflect on what is truly important and create positive solutions to enable our clients to continue their global conversations.

We all know that live events will return and can never be completely replaced, but until that time, we are looking to harness all the amazing technology that continues to connect us and allow enriching engagement, even when we can not be together.

The virtual event creates an environment that can bring teams and wider networks together – whether through delivering powerful presentations, facilitating group discussions, providing a platform for face-to-face interaction or engaging participants in an array of social, wellbeing or team building activities.

The team at Dynamic Events are spending time with each client to devise an immersive and experiential platform to provide real solutions to replace live events.

The possibilities to engage are only restricted by our creativity and imagination. At Dynamic we have been doing this in the live event space for 20 years – the Dynamic virtual world is an extension of our teams’ desire and passion to innovate and deliver.

We would love to talk to you about how we can support you.

Find out more out our virtual conference solutions here

Call our team now on +44 (0)1797 223 626 or email [email protected]