We can’t manage other people’s internet connections or background distractions, but as we gain more experience and gather knowledge from the teams that have already been doing this for years, we can boost engagement and find the technology and formats that work best. Bouvier Kelly has been exploring these issues – even before COVID – and we wanted to share a few tips and ideas that have worked for us.
A Virtual Event Doesn’t Have to Be Digital Only
Though many conferences are seeing record registration numbers, many registrants aren’t showing up or sticking around. One idea to boost engagement and attendance is to generate pre-event connections and excitement.
- Go old school and send out a pre-conference goodie bag/prep kit. Try including helpful tools like a headset or webcam.
- Add some of the fun factor back in with prize cards with QR codes or selfie accessories for your networking chats. What you include should be aimed at your attendees, what they like and most importantly why they like coming to your event.
Improve Virtual Presentations
For formal presentations or webinars, to help boost your confidence and not lose your audience as you work to communicate your subject matter, the number one tip is the same as it was in “real” life: practice!
- Ask your team to do some run throughs so you can get familiar with the technology and feel more comfortable talking into the camera.
- Your test audience can also make sure your microphone and connection work well and that your visuals support your ideas.
- For sessions and presentations at virtual events, we recommend pre-recording. That way editing can take care of any blips or interruptions, and you can add in some interest by cutting between the slides and speaker. By adding a live Q&A session, you can get the best of both worlds.
Get Comfortable with Video Calls
Video calls aren’t going away any time soon, whether we like it or not, so let’s figure out how to improve them. Remember the human connection and relationship building that we lose by going virtual can be built back through the use of a camera, and use that as motivation to power through the awkwardness and keep getting better.
- Similar to presentations, do test calls with your internal team and make sure you understand the software and have the right equipment.
- If you can’t move your workspace to one with a less cluttered background or better lighting, consider purchasing equipment like a backdrop or some lights.
- Interruptions are going to happen, so try to be patient with whoever you’re talking to as well as yourself. The more you focus on it, the more it affects the rest of the meeting.
Build a Digital Tool Kit
Brochures or one-sheets that are perfect in person and in print don’t always translate well to a screenshare.
- Consider at least resizing for a screen and going landscape mode.
- Going a step further, we recommend an engaging web page with all the information your sales team needs available at one click (or many clicks that have anchor links to the appropriate sections). You already have the content in your tool kit, you just need to convert it to a digital kit that’s designed for the job. And if you do it right, you’ll have a tool your customers or distributors can even navigate on their own.
The most important thing to realize is that virtual and digital aren’t going away soon. They were here before, and they’re here to stay. The best way forward is to embrace the change. If we cling to the way business has always been done and try to wait it out, we’ll be left behind. Adapt for the future while learning from the past.
Check out more tips on virtual presentations here.