Digital events are not a flash in the pan. Triggered by the Covid19 pandemic, they are developing into an independent medium. Yes, in many respects this medium is still in its infancy, but it could also be said: Children will grow up and digital events will earn a permanent place in the catalogue of measures for live communication in the long term.
We have expanded our expertise in digital and hybrid events since March 2020, have been able to accompany numerous customers on their way into the virtual world, and thus filled our backpack with new skills. Here we would like to share with you seven lessons learned on the way to a new medium:
#Preparation is key
Digital events and meetings require a lot of preparation. The digital audience is less forgiving of false starts, hesitations, pauses, repetitions, etc. than in a face-to-face event. The speech should be crisp and the interaction with the various camera positions must be well-practiced. TEDtalks can be used as a benchmark. i.e. the speech should be rehearsed at least 2-3 times so that the speaker is perfectly familiar with the studio environment and cameras.
Also possible: Pre-produce the speech and show it as a film at the event. Special effects such as augmented reality can be integrated through pre-production. The cut can create more dynamism and the speakers can relax at the event itself.
#Keep it shorter
Concentration time is shorter online than in the conference room. The rule of thumb applies: Offline 30min, Online 15min. A 30-minute speech in the hall should get to the point after 15 minutes online.
#Make it engaging
It is a fact that people are not consistently focused offline as well as online. Online, however, participants quickly drift into processing emails etc. Active involvement of the participants counteracts this and increases the time that the participants actually follow the action. The strongest tools:
• Interaction: Surveys, Q&A, Wordcloud, comments etc.
• Storytelling: The meeting is part of a story and is integrated into other measures.
• Visual communication: Images and videos that reinforce immersion into the story.
What do participants see in my background? Is there an option to choose a digital background? The image can be staged to reflect professionalism, the company’s CI or the imagery of the story from the home office.
#Team: Speakers, facilitation and technical management
Depending on the size of the meeting, the team should be chosen accordingly. However, there should be at least one facilitator in addition to the main speaker. They oversee the online meeting tool, the chat and has the speaker’s back. The chat can also be used for interactions at the same time. For larger meetings, we recommend that facilitation and technical management be split between two people.
#Posture and tension
Anyone who gives a speech in a physical space is usually standing. You can breathe better, you are firmly anchored to the ground and you can let the energy flow better. This also applies to digital meetings.
Online meetings quickly seem less binding than real meetings. This makes it all the more important to have clear facilitation from the beginning, a concise summary in the middle and a view ahead to the next steps at the end of the meeting. Here, creative mini-formats can also help ensure that content reaches the participants, e.g. question roulette, A or B, hot chair, elevator pitch, 7 days in 7 pictures, etc.