Hosting an online event takes proper planning and strategic thinking. Annett Polaszewski-Plath, CEO at Interprefy, offers several suggestions to help ensure it is a success.
In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, more and more events are taking place online. But thanks to digital platforms, itās easier than ever for businesses to deliver meetings, conferences and seminars via the Internet.
Weāve seen a rapid shift to digital platforms: in April, Microsoft announced that all of its events will be ādigital-only until July 2021ā due to the coronavirus pandemic, while many others, such as Apple, Facebook, IBM, Dell, Intel, and SAP, have followed suit.
So while the short-term future of events may be digital, āgoing onlineā isnāt as simple as downloading a tool, switching it on and asking delegates to participate, especially for those that need to host global events in multiple languages.
For these businesses, the only real option is an online conference platform capable of delivering events at scale and to a multilingual audience.
But with so many different online conference platforms to choose from, what should you be looking for and how can you get the most out of the technology? Here is a quick checklist for event managers looking for a capable online conferencing platform for their next conference.
1. Get technical
Taking your events online requires much more than just a platform ā you need a partner thatās capable of helping you to configure and manage your event.
The right provider will be able to explain how the solution works, implement it for you and provide dedicated support before, during and after your events.
Other questions to ask include, if they:
- Provide training to you and your team on how to use the platform?
- Offer dedicated support before, during and after the event?
- Help set up any equipment? (Not so much providing the equipment itself, but explaining how to get the best possible audio/video quality out of current devices)
- Record audio and/or video for use after the event, including for transcripts?
These are all relatively obvious questions to ask, but they must be asked nonetheless. To make the most of your online conference platform, find a supplier that can help you with every aspect of it as this will significantly help improve your event.
2. Remote events
In the current climate, the only feasible way businesses can host large online events for audiences of multiple languages is to connect attendees and organisers remotely.
This kind of technology enables people to work from anywhere, and without the use of complicated specialist equipment ā they can simply use their own laptop in any location that they choose.
With an online conference platform in place, the plus side is that there is:
- No need to bring equipment onsite ā events become much more resilient as if thereās a problem onsite, for example, if equipment stops working, or someone is unable to travel due to Covid-19 restrictions, they have the option to work remotely.
- More flexibility ā events are no longer restricted to a single location and can be moved online with anyone delivering their services remotely. More people are also able to attend as they are no longer restricted by travel and events could even be hosted as hybrid or cluster events ā part onsite, part online.
- Lower costs ā no need to pay guests or speakers for travel or accommodation, only for their services. The money saved can then be spent on providing a stunning event experience, such as offering the event content in more languages, inviting guest speakers and working with media sponsors.
3. Host a more inclusive event
When you take your events online you reduce and/or remove a few barriers to entry – mainly location, time and cost. But what about language?
Onsite events are limited in that thereās only so much space for interpreter booths, so often only the few most popular languages are chosen – space which could have been used to host more attendees.
However, by taking events online you donāt have to worry about space and can enlist as many interpreters as you like. Also, because your events are now online, you suddenly have access to a much larger audience.
The money saved on infrastructure can be used to acquire more conference-level interpreters, including for language interpreters for only a few delegates. Not only will this attract more people to your online events, it will also make them more inclusive as it shows you have considered everyone.
Platform for success
Virtual events have quickly become the new norm, and for good reason.
Being able to host events from anywhere in the world can save a serious amount of investment while still allowing businesses to engage with global audiences and potential customers, generate leads, build brand awareness and establish themselves as industry leaders.
Virtual events have been an effective way to reach people all over the world a long time before the pandemic hit, they simply became much more important in the aftermath.