From physical to online events - what works & what doesn't!

What works and what doesn't? How do you keep the attention of the participants and what do you have to take into account in the preparation? Read here 6 tips for organizing an online meeting!

I have been working in the event industry for about ten years! From agencies to venues, hotels to an AV supplier. Different jobs, but they all had one thing in common: it was always LIVE. Creating the most creative and original live events at special locations. Helping to organize congresses and events for a hotel chain. And creating light and sound shows for companies and locations. In ten years I have helped organise and sell so many small and large events. And what a fun and dynamic industry it is!

And then there's Corona. March 2020... the world went to lockdown and the live industry fell into a hole. Large groups of people were no longer allowed to get together! And now?!
The theatre curtain falls, public events are cancelled and companies anxiously cancel upcoming business events. It was quiet for a while and the Netherlands and the industry were in a state of depression.

But the industry is recovering! Because what makes event people strong? Their large dose of energy, creativity and perseverance. Thinking in terms of possibilities, performing under pressure and moving forward with the glass half full. New plans and formats were forged. There was no ONLINE! The possibilities were discovered at a rapid pace and by working together a lot, beautiful concepts, online events and sessions were created.

But still, online is totally different from live? Can the event industry deliver the same calibre of events? Do we reach the right target group? Will there be enough visitors to participate? All questions and a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is for sure, nobody was sitting still!

I myself came to Welkom A start-up with a special online platform for which there was an unprecedented demand. Virtual networking, organizing social moments, bringing back the energy 'on the shop floor' even though it was now at home in the living room behind a laptop. And how surprised I am and how much I have learned! The power of online events is immense! With creativity, good technology, tools and people, you can create the best events online. I would like to share with you my greatest learnings of the past year.

Do's online events

Design a short & concise program!
Absolute Do's are to design a well thought out and tight program. The biggest difference with physical events is the time frame. Where a live conference with break-outs and breaks can last for hours, the maximum time for an online event is one hour to a maximum of three hours. Think carefully about what you can do with this time and make sure all topics and sections are short and to the point. Keep the attention!

Think of strong content
Make sure the message for the event is very clear and translate it into all communications. So in addition to a good content programme, make sure you have beautiful visuals and design in your online environment. Recognition and a good common thread of the event is extremely important online.

Provide creative & innovative sessions!
Create a program where people are really surprised again! Think of an 'I secretly danced with you' session where you have to find your match while dancing, a blunder forest where you show your vulnerabilities together with colleagues, a crash course in seduction techniques, a speed dating session in Spatial Chat...

Get real interaction online!
Think about the right tools, on our virtual island of drinks for example you can do real networking, social programs and you really feel like you are in a room together. So think about the tools that make you feel like that!

Create the right expectations together with the event producer/executor of your online event.
When is the event successful? At how many visitors are you satisfied? And important: is this realistic? The no-show rate for online events is many times higher than for live events, so keep that in mind. Together, clearly outline the desired outcome and what people should know and be able to do after the online event.

Provide energetic and appropriate guidance!
Look carefully at the purpose, theme and content of your event and make sure you use the right facilitators and people to make your online session or event a resounding success!

I've learned so much in this year, and for me it's especially nice to realize that some unexpected twists aren't so bad.
Stay all healthy, learn and combine! Live, online and hybrid. I believe in a nice mix and that people can continue to choose what they feel good about.


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