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Going Virtual: What We’ve Learned Supporting 2000+ Virtual Events in 6 Months Part I

Going Virtual_ What We’ve Learned Supporting 2000+ Virtual Events in 6 Months Part I

Recently, Blue Sky eLearn’s Senior Sales Director, Lance Simon, sat down with Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, CEO of AG Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, David Ditker, CEO of the Assistive Technology Industry Association, and Dan Streeter, Vice President of Learning Strategy and Development at Blue Sky eLearn. 

The four sat down to discuss what has been learned hosting virtual events over the past six months. In this blog series, we’ll be recapping what each speaker has learned, but as always you can watch the entire webinar on-demand by clicking here. 

The Beginning 

Emilio attended the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference who quickly had taken their conference online at the beginning of the pandemic. When Emilio learned that Blue Sky had produced it he contacted us right away. 

Time to Plan 

AG Bell slimmed their original schedule down and tailored it from 68 to around 40 sessions and held a two-day conference in July with multiple concurrent sessions. One bigger challenge was that the conference had to be captioned and simultaneously translated into Spanish and Portuguese. Left time during the conference for conversation and expanded networking sessions as well. AG Bell wanted to make sure they could connect with and inspire their community. They help webinars prior to the conference explaining what the conference would be like and the registrations started flowing in. 

The remainder of the sessions that were not presented in the conference will now be presented as webinars throughout the rest of the year. 

Sponsorship 

AG Bell kept their main sponsors while other small sponsors were nervous about people attending the sessions. Those that decided to continue sponsoring the event now that it went online, not only received views during the live show but in the weeks after while the on-demand content was live. 

Surprises and Lessons Learned 

As always when doing a first event of its kind at your organization, there will be surprises and lessons learned. For AG Bell it was all positive! 

  • The conference is usually attended by 400 people, this year the conference attendance more than doubled!  
  • The event also became global and was attended from 44 different countries. 
  • They were able to create a high-quality production in less time than an in-person event. 
  • Received overwhelmingly positive attendee and presenter feedback. 
  • Great vendor partnership.  
  • Networking has continued after the event. 

To hear more from Emilio, you can watch the webinar on-demand here. Stay tuned for the next segment of our blog series, recapping David and ATIA’s experience! 

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