Virtual audience needs – Part 2

This is the continuation of the article written by Emilie Barta on planyourmeetings.com

NEED 7: Make sure they know what’s happening now and what’s coming up next so they can plan their schedules accordingly.

  • Provide a detailed agenda of the day’s activities as soon as your registration opens.
  • Use a customizable window on the virtual platform (if available) to list the day’s sessions, provide speakers’ social media IDs and website links (if possible) to help generate buzz and increase the size of the audience.
  • Use the announcements feature on the virtual platform (if available) to remind audience members what’s coming up next.
  • Provide teasers in the selected chat tools, both on and off the virtual platform, to continue the conversation and heighten anticipation for upcoming activities.
  • Ensure virtual emcees (on-camera), virtual moderators (off-camera) and session speakers always introduce the next event so the audience is never left wondering.

NEED 8: Provide virtual viewers with tools they trust so they’re comfortable using them and use them often.

  • Don’t use a tool that you think is “cool” or “cutting edge” if your audience doesn’t feel the same way.
  • Provide training on proper usage of the tools before the event via a video tutorial, blog post, webinar, social media chat or some other form of tried-and-true-for-you” communication.
  • Provide a brief “tool tour” during a virtual pre-show to remind the audience of its choices, where to find them on the virtual platform or their second screen, and how to use them throughout the event.

NEED 9: Constantly tell them how they can participate through visual and audio reminders, so they’re not at a loss for “words.”

  • Provide constant information, explanation, moderation, conversation and reiteration through virtual emcees (on-camera), virtual moderators (off-camera), session speakers and technology tools.
  • Remember that the virtual audience is always growing and evolving, so make sure that every time something is said it is said with the same enthusiasm as the first time.
  • Take advantage of graphics and lower-thirds throughout the event since audiences retain more information by seeing it and hearing it at the same time.”

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Virtual audience needs

This is an article written by Emilie Barta, giving deeper insight into the virtual audience needs. Original article: http://planyourmeetings.com/2013/06/24/virtual-viewers-needs-explained-further-part-1/#.UfhgXZUf5Qw

NEED 1: Combine shared and custom content so virtual attendees participate in the experience and have an experience all their own.

  • Use communication tools and generate buzz by crowd-sourcing topics to discuss and soliciting help from industry experts for Q&A sessions.
  • Selectively choose which sessions to livestream based on the urgency of topic, its audience appeal and the ability/willingness of the speaker to go virtual.
  • Provide dedicated virtual content before the shared program, during on-site breaks and when the shared program ends.

NEED 2: Provide crisp audio, visually stimulating video and a user-intuitive virtual venue so that virtual attendees don’t get frustrated and walk away. 

  • Choose the appropriate microphone for the task, and train every single person who will use it in proper microphone etiquette.
  • Make sure camera operators have live-broadcast experience and follow the action at all times.
  • Don’t choose a virtual platform for its bells and whistles or cheapest price. Do make sure it has a clean user interface, that the communication tools make sense and that it works consistently.

NEED 3: Make sure speakers present content, ideas and discussions to the virtual audience not around them. 

  • Speakers must make natural eye contact with the camera as if it were another set of eyes in the room.
  • They must reference virtual audience viewers periodically throughout the session and ask for their input.
  • They must make sure that questions from the virtual audience are answered directly to the camera.”

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Online program for hybrid event

Article written by Paul Cook. Follow the link: http://pauljcook.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-feast-of-your-online-programme.html

“The Feast of your Online Program

In deciding to hold your hybrid event you begin to put your programs together for your different participants. As you know with hybrid events; you have your onsite participants and online participants.

In creating your onsite program you may well be able to call on your previous experience or that of your colleagues/service providers as face to face events have been with us for many years.

But creating the online program can be trickier for some event planners. There are some very good online programs forming part of a hybrid event but the majority I have experienced have fallen to being a victim of too much (feast) or too little (famine) for the online participants.

An online participant has the same physical needs as an onsite participant. Whilst you cannot see your online participants you will know that they will need to eat, drink and have time for comfort breaks and that has to be built into your online program experience. If you don’t consider this then you are not looking after your online participants.

I have experienced many hybrid events as an online participant only to find that there wasn’t a gap in the program for me to do anything other than stay glued to my computer. It probably wasn’t intentional on the part of the event planner but it didn’t help make my experience as good as it could have been.

My key tip here is not to have speaker presentation, speaker interview, speaker presentation, speaker interview in a continuous loop but to have a balance which allows breaks for your online participants.

Let them grab a coffee, check their messages, and generally provide them with the freedom to do what your online participants are able to do in their break periods.

I think that one of the reasons why so much is packed (by some event planners) into an online program is simply due to the ‘engagement fear’ that many event planners have. It can come from the idea that if there isn’t enough content then the online participant will leave the event.

My view is that with carefully planned content that allows breaks and reflection time the online participant will be much more likely to return to your program and become involved in your event.

Good luck with your online program planning and next time I’ll look at the ‘famine of your online program’.”

Top 10 tips for hybrid conferences

Source: http://www.successfulmeetings.com/Event-Planning/SM-Top-10/Articles/The-Top-10-Tips-for-Hybrid-Conferences/

1. Brief, brief and rebrief your speakers
Speakers need to be aware there is an online audience not just the one in the room and can help if there are issues on the day.
2. Make a contingency plan
Plan for every eventuality – problems do happen especially with live events and online streaming. Check your plans with colleagues who have hybrid event experience or consider using a consultant for bother planning your event and contingency planning.
3. Interact with your audience
Make use of the virtual platform engagement/networking tools. Also use Twitter, it’s a great way of interacting and can really help if you do experience technical problems with your virtual platform. Promote your Hybrid hashtag in advance and monitor tweets though Hootsuite or GleanIn, this also allows you to measure participant engagement and satisfaction levels.
4. Experiment
You can experiment with physical and virtual attendees, live and remote speakers and all sorts of technology to help find the best fit for your event.
5. Use your contacts
We got great advice and help from people who’d done it all before and they really helped us avoid some obvious mistakes. LinkedIn is a great way to find experts in the hybrid field if you don’t have contacts already.
6. Make A/V a planning prerogative 
Have your technical requirements for lighting and power agreed by the venue in advance to ensure they have the capabilities that you require long before you arrive to set up.
7. Market early
Allow as much time as possible to market your event, ideally 4-6 weeks and ensure that your marketing communications strategy includes a mix of email, social media, online website promotions and PR.
8. Extend your reach
Ask your speakers to invite their audiences and promote their sessions using the Hybrid hashtag and URL to your virtual event centre.
9. Get the word out
Involve a PR agency to help you raise awareness in advance, the press love technology and can secure valuable column inches for your event.
10. Measure!
Set clear objectives, benchmarks and targets to help you measure your success. What are your objectives, what does success look like for you?

Tips for planning your online program

New article from Paul Cook, here is his blog.

“You have decided to hold your hybrid event and are now busy working on your programme designs. Yes no longer can you develop a programme for your face to face delegates and promote the same for your online delegates.

Now you have a second programme (unless your hybrid event is on a tiny timescale) to develop which is for your online delegates.

A face to face audience at a conference has made a decision to be there and be totally immersed in the event experience. Apart from checking in with their work and family on occasion they have no other distractions.

Your online delegates have also made a decision to be immersed in your event but they have many more distractions whether they are taking part from their office or their home.

In my experience, the online delegates require their own programme which of course can be worked around the face to face programme but the planning needs to be carefully considered.

3 Key Considerations

1 – Scheduling 

When will your online audience be able to devote the biggest part of their time to your programme?
This question will ensure that you understand where the majority of your online delegates will be joining from.
You could argue that as your event is global it’s difficult to know but as with all events you will have a target audience that you are catering for so be sure to look after them as your primary consideration.

2 – Time

Are you giving your online delegates enough time for eating, drinking, comfort breaks and time to reflect on sessions?
Some online programmes can become even busier than the face to face programme as there can be a desire by some event planners to add in studio interviews following presentations from speakers.
There is nothing wrong with this of course but please ensure that you have allowed your online delegates enough time for them to be comfortable throughout the programme in the same way that you will have considered the needs of your face to face delegates.

3- Interaction 

How does the online delegate interact with the programme?
How do they send in their comments or questions? Have you ‘walked them through’ all the things they need to know to be able to make the most of the event?
The easier you make it for your online delegates to become involved the better results you will have.”

Business objectives for virtual events

In their Digital Event Benchmark Report, the Virtual Edge Institute focuses on business objectives for organizing online events.

“The vast majority of survey respondents have multiple goals and objectives for their digital events, with the most reported goal being the ability for digital events to expand the organization’s reach and audience. […]

Half of respondents list generating revenue as a goal or objective, with nearly as many interested in establishing their organization as an industry leader, driving more international attendance and providing more value to physical event attendees by providing them access to event content, post- event.

Interestingly, while only 49 percent say their goal is to provide this additional value to physical event attendees, a 2013 physical event attendee survey conducted by VEI, found that 80 percent of attendees would actually use the fact that they had access to such content after the event as justification for their physical attendance.”

businessgoals

Tips for your hybrid event planning

This is an article written by Paul Cook on his blog, that we think is worth sharing.

“I really enjoy the challenges and opportunities that hybrid events bring. To me, a hybrid event is “bringing together a face to face and remote audience for a shared participatory experience in real time.” Here are a few quick tips that I hope will help you with your hybrid event planning.

Tip 1 – Event Objectives

Is the hybrid event really the right format that is going to deliver according to your event objectives? Do not have a hybrid event just because you think it is the latest thing you have to do. It always has to be appropriate and not every event needs to be or should be a hybrid.

Tip 2 – Two Audiences

Never forget that you have more than one audience. There is absolutely nothing more annoying than to be the remote participant that has been forgotten.

Tip 3 – Planning The Program

Programme planning is very important as you need to be able to visualize how the remote attendees will be able to participate and how you will let them know to return to the programme.  With a face to face audience it’s simple, at the end of the coffee break people return to the main room. But with remote attendees how will you ensure that they have come back and are ready to join you again?

Tip 4 – Exercises Do Not Always Translate

An exercise that can be easily carried out in a live environment may make for some challenges when trying it with remote participants.  Networking is a good example. It is easy for people to get to know each other in a two minute ice breaker style session in person but how will you do that with remote participants?

Tip 5 – Focus Your Speakers

Many professional speakers will not have a problem in speaking at a hybrid event but they can still forget (albeit inadvertently) that there is an audience outside of the room. So it’s always worth prompting them to be on the safe side and do let them know which camera to address.  With those speakers that may not be used to being filmed you may need to help them so that they become comfortable before speaking.”

Real-time engagement tools

Virtual events are a great complement to in-person events, and they aren’t meant to replace them, as face-to-face interactions are essential for business.

That is why Visiofair has integrated real-time engagement tools within its software platform, in order to enhance the visitors’ experience by putting a touch of humanity at the heart of web exchanges.

Discover those functionalities by watching this video:

http://vimeo.com/57835358

Getting accurate measurements about the leads

You are wondering how virtual events can help you get accurate measurements about the leads?

As attendees have to register themselves to log in, the Visiofair platform grabs the data given by them and analyzes it. You know accurately who browsed your event and when, since the software enables keeping track of who logged in. It even collects the information of participants and their names.
Moreover, you can see what documents they viewed, what files they downloaded and kept, helping you to know what exactly they are interested in. This kind of data is invaluable for sales personnel. In the same way, you don’t have to stand by a booth and count how many people go in: so does the software. With our application VisiofairWatch, you even get notified anytime an attendee is on your booth,  without having to be online!

That’s the difference between looking up a name while hoping for the best and getting all the information you wanted to know on a qualified lead. Holding a virtual event means being able to keep track of everything that happens.