The Coronavirus pandemic has transformed our working lives forever.
Over the last few months, we have all had to learn and discover effective ways of working whilst at home with our families and with our movements restricted. The boundaries between home, life and work have truly become blurred.
Making the most and the best of online communication technology is something that has been essential for us all, regardless of where we were on the adoption journey before the start of this process.
One of the biggest changes for business owners has been in attending, running, hosting, and speaking at in-person networking events, meetings, and training sessions.
Using simple and effective technology is the next best thing to meeting up, sharing, connecting, and learning in person.
Here are our top 5 tips for mastering online meetings and events:
1. Break boundaries
You can now attend online events with fewer constraints – such as time, geography, travel time and cost. Certain audiences that historically might not have been able to attend due to these restrictions in the past can now access, participate in and interact with certain training, events and meetings for the very first time.
For organisers, attendees are now more likely to be from a wider audience and geography so the content needs to be relevant and inclusive in order to be engaging.
The cost of many events, webinars and training sessions can be lower and therefore accessible to more people – the vast majority of networking events that have moved online are now free. We now have the capability, flexibility and freedom to attend a larger number and variety of events with fewer boundaries.
2. Maximise time
Online events, meetings, training programmes and webinars can allow you to have a far more efficient and streamlined workday when there’s no travel time to factor in. Typically, online sessions are structured so that they’re shorter than offline events, so individuals and teams can fit more into their working week, and if they choose to and have the capacity, have far more chances to network, learn and share. This opens up opportunities for both organisers and attendees.
3. Stay on point
We may find that our attention span is shorter when we network, meet or learn online. Organisers and presenters need to keep online sessions on point, dynamic, relevant and interactive to keep engagement levels up.
As a participant, try out new events and go back to the ones that motivate you or help you to work towards your goals. This unique opportunity that we have been presented with to test out new events from the comfort of our homes means that we don’t have to travel far to do so.
If you have committed to an online meeting, treat it like an in-person meeting or business event and be sure to show up. If it’s a new event, you might be pleasantly surprised by the session content and showing up and interacting helps to build your brand, reputation, credibility – and expands your existing network.
4. Keep connecting
By showing up at online meetings, events, webinars and training sessions, you demonstrate to your colleagues that you’re active, visible and focussed on moving your business forward in the current climate.
As we are all confined to our homes during lockdown, not only does joining online sessions with other business owners increase our morale and confidence, but having online discussions or learning something new generates ideas that can help our businesses or us as individuals.
Regular meetings and events with people we enjoy being in the company of, gives us a boost. In the same way that we continue to share with and build our networks on platforms such as LinkedIn, we should keep connecting and interacting through online meetings too. Online events enhance other online activities such as social media, email marketing and others – and vice versa.
5. Think about future events
By considering everything that came with traditional events – good and not so good, we have the unique opportunity to think about what we want events of the future to be like.
What are the elements that we could change or remove? How do we make one event, conference or meeting achieve various objectives for a whole host of different stakeholders? Is an event the right solution? How can we merge the convenience of online with in-person interaction? What outcomes are we looking to achieve from every event that we attend, host, speak/teach/exhibit at, sponsor, or engage with when we spend so much time, money, resource and effort on them? What is the environmental or social impact of every event?
Questions such as these might be better reserved for event planners and the events industry as a whole, but this unique chance that we have to consider, offer feedback, discuss, evaluate and influence events of the future is just as imperative for attendees as it is for organisers.
Online and hybrid events are here to stay.
As we’ve discussed, online events allow organisers and participants to reach a wider audience as well as maximising time during our working days.
Most online meetings are shorter than their offline counterparts, but it’s crucial that they stay on point, offering value and exceeding expectations. As participants, regularly showing up to online events helps to build our brands and credibility as well as allowing us to continue expanding our networks.
The future of events is being shaped now and will evolve as we go through this process. As an attendee, organiser or both, we all have a part in creating this.
What other online networking, meeting or training tips can you share?
Have you had to reschedule or postpone events, or are you thinking about moving your events online?
We have some fantastic ways in which we can support your plans so if you would like to chat them through, drop us an email at email@example.com or call us on 01506 300277.
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