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How to take your virtual meetings and events to a whole new world

Globe Above Hand | Axiom Communications

Innovative new interactive solutions combine with familiar skill sets to increase success and reduce stress

There is nothing in the world of work that I enjoy more than designing and facilitating highly interactive meetings and events that delight both speakers and participants alike.

And although the world of conferencing has changed dramatically in 2020, due to the long shadow of the pandemic, my determination to deliver success and reduce stress for our clients remains undimmed.

So how can you make your virtual events shine brightly in a world where every meeting you attend now seems to take place via MS Teams or Zoom? Even the ones after work with friends and family.

How can you continue to play to your strengths, secure in the knowledge that other subject matter experts are adding value by playing to theirs?

How can you do all of the above, and enjoy the experience, like you used to at physical events?

How can you take your virtual meetings and events to this whole new world – and even make them better than they’ve been before?

New innovative interactive solutions

I’ve long been a fan of highly interactive, action oriented events, often powered by collaborative technology. In fact, it has become a hallmark of our approach to meetings and conferences.

Over the years I’ve used all sorts of tech, from a wide range of providers, to engage participants with both the meeting content – and the actions they need to take as a consequence of it.

Our preferred partner in this space, for over 15 years now, has been Crystal Interactive. So naturally I turned to them to see how they have evolved their approach to help clients in this new all-virtual world.

As ever, I’m seriously impressed with their new offering – Jam.

Jam combines many of the features that I have become familiar with and frequently designed into our interactive events. Things like capturing, prioritising and fine-tuning ideas from participants, voting, quizzes, live Q&A and action planning.

And now there are some great new tools, including:

  • An onscreen meeting navigator, so participants can always see where they are in the process
  • Built in exercise countdown clocks, to keep delegates on track
  • Clever reporting to highlight how engaged participants actually are during your meeting.

It’s all hosted on secure servers, for your peace of mind, and features some of the production facilities normally associated with a control desk at the back of a room, in the ‘old’ world; including mixing between speakers, slide progression and video cuing, so you don’t have to worry about the technical details – unless you want to of course.

It is a powerful tool that will help your virtual conferences, events and meetings really stand out from the crowd.

Harnessing familiar skill sets

Harnessing these evolved virtual event technologies to deliver to their full potential, is where combining them with some familiar skill sets can make a big difference.

Recently, we’ve all gone ‘home’ at the end of a day totally tired out from staring at screens all day, so short virtual events are highly recommended. Carefully working out what can be best delivered pre-event, as opposed to at it, is the skill of a conference producer or agenda designer.

And then there is the post event follow up to ensure action is taken as a consequence of the event. Regular readers of this blog will know I’ve been banging on about that for years.

Having the interactive tech is one thing, creating a good blend of interactive exercises to deliver the outcomes you want is quite another – and quite a skill.

Sure, you can ‘play in’ short videos in the run up to, at, and after your virtual event. But guidance in ensuring they are on message, well-scripted, shot and produced will always make a difference.

Speakers probably need coaching, now more than ever, to deliver compelling presentations on a 13 inch wide screen, as opposed to a 13 metre wide stage.

And to allow everyone to play to their strengths, most especially the speakers, there’s still a role for a skilled facilitator to ensure the meeting runs smoothly and delivers success.

Increase success and reduce stress

Before COVID 19 made everyone recalibrate, delivering conferences, events and meetings was considered amongst the most stressful jobs on the planet.

We’ve all had a reality check on that front recently, but by combining new innovative interactive solutions, specially designed for virtual events, with more familiar skill sets, we might just be able to get the best of both worlds; increase success and reduce stress.

Who knows we might even be able to put a smile on a few faces.