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Webinar Recap: Virtual Events; Trends, Best Practices, and Pitfalls

On June 28, 2017, we held a webinar with MedComms Networking and hosted a panel of speakers from different elearning and virtual event backgrounds.

We spent an hour discussing virtual event trends, pitfalls, and best practices. Here were some key takeaways.

Trends

  • There are so many distractions in the world today that we have to compete with. We’re pulling people away from their jobs, their families. We need to make it worthwhile. This engaging, active learning is anything from old-fashioned engagement – polling questions, surveys, peer-to-peer sharing, to newer technology such as gamification and mobile.
  • Hybrid Meetings. This has been a growing trend for a while, but where there was once hesitation, hybrid meetings seem to be more widely accepted and expected. It is not always cost effective to send your entire team to a face-to-face meeting and now hybrid meetings make it possible for everyone to be involved.
  • Shorter Programs. In the era of TED Talks people are yearning for short presentations that don’t exceed 15-30 minutes (depending on the topic).
  • Whether it’s a micro-module, digital badging, gamification, evaluation or assessment, certificate of completion – anything you do online should conclude with a reward or recognition for the user.
  • Pre-Recorded/Mock Live. This mitigates the risk on the presenter side because you’re recording the content in a controlled environment. With some industries becoming increasingly strict, the opportunity to have a regulatory review prior to the live presentation becomes a huge benefit.

Pitfalls

  • Unforeseen Challenges. Preparing and doing practice sessions with your presenters is critical. It takes commitment. You need to make sure they are comfortable – even with the little things.
  • We see this word a lot, and we all work on trying to make our presentations engaged, but often times that takes 5-10 minutes to kick in. Get your audience engaged right off the bat – don’t spend time going through presenter credentials as people might start dropping off immediately!
  • Hold a poll before scheduling an event to make sure you are choosing a time when everyone can attend. While this can be difficult, having a general idea is better than just guessing!
  • Unexperienced Team. Working with an experienced team can be really helpful – they’ve navigated through all kinds of unforeseen challenges and technical hiccups that your staff who performs a handful of DIY virtual events per year might never consider.

Best Practices

  • Presenter Training. Going hand in hand with preparing your presenters to avoid unforeseen challenges, the presenter training is very important. Make sure the presenters have tested their system, send them any and all pertinent information, and in general, don’t leave anything to chance.
  • Audio/Sound Quality. Part of this testing with happen during your presenter training, but working with a professional, fully-managed webinar company also helps ensure there will be no audio issues.
  • Whether it’s a summary paper, white paper, links to research that support your content – people love to have content so give it to them! Once the webinar is over they’ll still be thinking about you!

We could go on and on about virtual events, so if you are interested in discussing more, contact us today!

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