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.’
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
- 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.