Just as the workforce is going to become more and more reliant on a hybrid model – with a mix of in-person and remote attendance – event hosting will also need to evolve to include a mix of approaches. Virtual events are here to stay, but how can we make these virtual and hybrid events as engaging as in-person offerings? Is it even possible?
Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom are already well on their way to providing more immersive and engaging virtual event features. Though COVID cases are slowly trending downward, many people are going to be hesitant to jump right back into full-contact workplaces and events.
Collaboration Tools Are Changing
Microsoft Teams recently announced some new capabilities for their collaboration tool, including Dynamic View, PowerPoint Live, and updated chat and collaboration interfaces. These changes were made in an effort to help “make everyone more productive and workplaces more inclusive.”
Zoom has published an Ultimate Guide to hosting the best virtual and hybrid events using their platform and its features.
And Cisco Webex has acquired Slido, an audience interaction company, and also partnered with Prezi to try and achieve the lofty goal of delivering “Webex experiences that are 10X better than in-person interactions” by “making these experiences inclusive and equal for all.”
Just As People Prefer Working Remotely, Some Will Also Prefer Attending Events Remotely
The preference for remote methods will also extend to event attendance. In the coming months, many people may still be hesitant to venture out into large crowds or cramped conference rooms, especially now that there are better options available to them.
Even as we transition back toward more of a balance between virtual and in-person events, it’s important to think about the ways in which you will continue to attract attendees to fully or mostly virtual events. Because let’s face it – virtual events almost never have quite the impact that an in-person event does.
The key here will be finding the balance in creating great hybrid events that are as engaging online as they are in a physical gathering space.
Events Will Have to be Tailored to Engage Virtual Audiences
Looking at the changes and improvements that the big three collaboration tools we mentioned above are rolling out, it’s hard not to wonder how we will need to alter our approach to ensure that our future events, even the virtual ones, are as engaging as past, in-person events.
It’s becoming more obvious that online events are going the way of social media – and that’s focusing on engagement, engagement, engagement in very diverse ways.
Classes, panels, and sessions will now need to be heavily interactive, with polling, breakout chat rooms, live Q&A capabilities and so much more. Instead of trade shows and exhibit areas, swag will either have to be virtual or shipped to participants individually.
While this may seem daunting, it’s something we will have to embrace as we move forward into hybrid lifestyles and workplaces. The good news is: we already know it’s coming. It won’t be as bad as a pandemic blindsiding the entire world. The things we’ve learned in the last year are still applicable, and the skills we developed to adapt to rapid change will serve us well in the future of work and of virtual and hybrid events.
We’ve Already Been Meeting in the Cloud, This Next Generation of Virtual Events Are Just More Dynamic, and You Can Be Too!
Unsure how to get started on your road to achieving hybrid success? Meet Me In The Cloud is equipped with solutions to help you foster technology adoption and plan, set up, and execute flawless meetings and hybrid events. For more information, check out our Event Assist and collaboration technology adoption services.
Have questions? Contact us today!