Managing Attendees Expectations around Virtual Events
Date : Dec 11, 2020
Author : DR A Zayed
Categories : Events
Most organizations have transitioned from physical to virtual interactions, all thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this change, most events are held online in adherence to the social distancing rules.
All events, whether physical or virtual, come with risks. One major thing that event planners worry about is whether the attendees will enjoy the event. Another risk is how they will speak of the event to their friends, colleagues, and peers. With virtual events, the risk of the spread of bad news is even higher, given the speed of communication in virtual spaces.
Seeing as people may be sacrificing their money, energy, and time to attend an online event, it is only fair that your event services in the UK are worth it. So how do you effectively communicate with your attendees to let them know what to expect? How do you get them to spread positivity about your virtual event? This article looks into the various ways you can use to achieve this.
Challenge their Perceptions
The biggest hurdle event management services in the UK face is their attendees’ view of virtual events. Different attendees will have different views on virtual events. Some of them will feel too conscious of the attention they are receiving because they are not used to virtual events. Others believe that virtual events are just a stop-gap until physical meetings are back. Then there are those at the middle ground who are confused about their view on these events.
What this means is that from the very start, event planners have attendees of mixed views. Besides worrying about the attendees’ perception, there is also the technology risk to worry about. While the poor perception of such events poses a challenge, it also presents an excellent opportunity to change the attendees’ mindset. You can do this by demonstrating how fantastic virtual events can be. From the start, let the attendees know what to expect, and ensure you get as much guidance on tech as you can.
Virtual events come in all sizes and shapes. They are different in all aspects. From corporate event services and virtual conferences to virtual awards and virtual gaming, all virtual events are different. Therefore, each event will provide a unique experience for attendees.
Look at it this way: if you are producing a virtual awards event, will you expect people to attend dressed the same way they would during in-person ceremonies? What dressing code is appropriate for what occasion? The earlier you help attendees understand this, the better you will get at managing their expectations.
Here are some of the step that could help keep attendees prepared:
- Tell them what the event is about
- Communicate the start and finish times effectively
- Explain the roles they have to play. For instance, will networking be expected? Will they have to break into groups?
- Let them know if they will be seen. If someone will be on camera, you should prepare them in advance as surprises would be a bad idea.
- Send them a video detailing what to be expected during the event
- Share guidelines on doing different things such as updating profiles, setting up meetings, making display adjustments, and much more. You can email the guides to the attendees beforehand to help them prepare better.
Design a Great User Experience
Another way of handling attendees’ high expectations is by designing a user experience that is as good as possible. If the advice highlighted in the prior points is followed, the attendees will know what to expect and what is expected of them too. Although this is an excellent thing, all the hard work could go to waste if the user experience is poorly designed.
How do you go about designing a good user experience? Start by rethinking your website. Ensure your event website contains all the relevant information. The information should be clear too. Also, make sure it is easy to navigate to avoid any confusion. What colours have you used on your website? This, too, is an important factor that impacts user experience. For instance, lettering that is too light-coloured could become challenging to read.
The second thing you need to think about when designing a user experience is the registration process. Do not complicate. Don’t ask the attendees for too much personal information and if you need to utilize different tech platforms, make sure the attendees fully understand. You can even go ahead and explain to them the reason for using different platforms. Although it may be boring for your attendees to register each time, they will comply provided they understand what is expected.
One crucial thing most event planners leave out is telling attendees what will happen to their personal information. This is particularly important if you have several tech providers. The attendees can then decide on how much they are willing to share.
Thoroughly Test the Tech
Although event planners are good with details, testing is one discipline that is vital when it comes to the production of virtual events. The kind of testing required for these events is on a whole new level. You need to check the user experience on different browsers and devices. Also, ensure you have the right app versions. Other things you should check are the audience interaction software and web links.
Remember, if you are unfamiliar with the polling’s working, your attendees won’t figure out either. As earlier mentioned, creating guides for your attendees is a fantastic idea as it helps them fully understand the system and its tools.
While testing isn’t the most exciting part of event production, it is crucial. How do you know you are giving your attendees the best experience? Place yourself in their shoes. Before the start of the event, sit in the attendees’ chair, and make improvements. This way, you can manage expectations better.
Create Event FAQs
Your attendees may need to know some event information. If you create FAQs for in-person events, you can pick them up from here during virtual events. If this isn’t the case, note the relevant points the attendees could find important. When you’re done, rewrite them in the form of questions and answers.
Here is what to include in your FAQs:
- Event login weblink
- Details of apps or software that need to be downloaded
- Details of web browsers that shouldn’t be used
- Availability of translations
- What to do in case of disconnection
You are likely to have a lot of FAQs, and this is a good thing. The more questions you answer, the more intrigued your attendees will be because they will appreciate the lengths you have gone to create that event.
Also, when it comes to FAQs also, do not forget to make them prominent. It would be nice if your attendees could find them on the event website. Another way to ensure all the attendees’ questions are answered is by sending each of them the FAQs by mil. It could also help if there were a customer support team to deal with any issues the attendees might have.
Tips to Improve Engagement in Virtual Events
Now that your attendees understand what to expect, it is time to spice up things to keep them interested. How do you do this?
- Create Exciting Content: As an event planner, you must know that a virtual audience’s concentration span is concise. Therefore, using PowerPoint slides will only worsen things. This doesn’t mean that slide presentations should be put off. No. you still can use them but in an exciting and vibrant way. Another way to make creative presentations is by incorporating video or audio. You can also give the attendees short breaks between sessions to enable them to take notes.
- Get a Passionate Presenter: Unlike in-person events, people participating in virtual events can actually switch off their devices and do other tasks. Ensure it doesn’t reach this point. Get a speaker that draws the audience’s attention, thus keeping them engaged. The speaker should fully understand the theme and be excited about engaging the audience. Besides, speakers can be a marketing strategy, helping popularise your event and attracting more followers.
Using interactive features and promoting engagement before and after the virtual event is also key to maintaining a lively audience.
Just like in-person events, virtual events require efficient planning, if not more. Planners often underestimate this fact. Once you have considered the need for preparing FAQs, rehearsals, and testing, you will understand why virtual events take longer to plan. Remember always to pay attention to detail. Being detailed and objective is a win-win for both you and your attendees as it improves the overall experience. This way, you are in a better position to manage your attendees’ expectations.
It may be difficult managing attendees’ expectations around virtual events, but we hope that the above tips will help kickstart your virtual event services in the UK. For those planning to host a virtual event, it is advisable to employ corporate event services that will give you value for your money.