Virtual work events: the good, the bad and the Wi-Fi woes

18 July 2023

In a post-pandemic world, virtual work events have become all the rage. We’ve bid farewell to the days of stuffy conference rooms and awkward icebreakers and said ‘hello’ to the convenience of online gatherings. But, as with anything in life, there are good bits and bad bits.

The pros…

Super convenient

No more commuting long distances, getting stuck in traffic, or rushing to make it on time. With virtual events, you can join from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere with a stable internet connection. Plus, it opens up opportunities for employees globally to participate and collaborate more easily.

Kinder to the purse strings

Hosting an in-person event can be a hefty financial burden. Think about it: venue rentals, catering, travel expenses and accommodation can quickly add up. Virtual events, on the other hand, eliminate these costs. All you need is a reliable platform, and you’re good to go. So, not only can companies save a ton of money, but they can also allocate those resources to other important areas of their business.

Being inclusive

Traditional in-person events can be challenging for employees with disabilities or those who have difficulty attending due to personal commitments. Virtual events allow everyone to participate on an equal footing, creating a more inclusive and diverse environment. Moreover, introverts, who may feel overwhelmed by large gatherings, can find online events more comfortable and less intimidating.

And the cons…

Lack of in-person interaction

While technology is wonderful, it can’t fully replicate the experience of being physically present with others. Non-verbal cues, spontaneous conversations and building personal connections can be more challenging in a virtual setting. It can be harder to establish rapport and develop strong relationships with colleagues and clients, sometimes leading to feeling isolated or disconnected.

Screen freeze and other glitches

We’ve all been there – frozen screens, lagging audio or poor internet connections. Technical issues can disrupt the flow of the event, cause frustration, and hinder effective communication. Backup plans are a must. Test the technology in advance and be prepared to troubleshoot problems on the fly, before it turns into a tech nightmare.

The buzz

Virtual events can seriously lack the energy and excitement that come with in-person gatherings. The buzz in the air, the shared laughter and the spontaneous moments of inspiration can be harder to replicate virtually. Engagement and motivation can suffer too.

Winning with virtual events

There’s no exact formula for producing a gold-star virtual event but you can follow some easy steps to make it much more likely. Here’s how to engage your audience and add some digital dynamism:

  • Trying creating a fully managed vision-mixed broadcast with production levels that’ll make the audience feel like they’re watching a TV show – as opposed to it feeling like ‘yet another virtual meeting’.
  •  Share real stories that capture the attention and imagination.
  • Mix up the content with live speakers, interviews, video, Slido (or similar), and chat.
  • Ensure the content is fast paced, with no one presenting live without interaction for longer than nine minutes. There’s even some proper neuroscience research from Inc to back this up.
  • Give people a reason not to switch off with a ticker tape teaser – ‘coming up next is….’
  • Make sure everyone knows it’s fully live (and not just a recording they can snooze through).
  • Let people interact with the speakers via the chat and Slido.
  • Keep it interactive and fluid with quizzes, questions and polls.

Let’s champion the virtual work event revolution, adapt to its challenges and make the most of our digital connections.

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