VIP room at virtual event

Networking is the number one reason that people attend events. Being able to connect with your peers and industry leaders in a meaningful way is what brings people together at conferences and events. With virtual events and experiences taking center stage, virtual networking events are becoming immensely popular and have proven to support physical events by reaching a larger group of people without any geographical barriers. So how do you put on an event where people feel like they are able to connect in a meaningful way online? 

People might find virtual networking events a scary place to strike up a conversation. However, with the right virtual event platform features such as fun games, polls or breakout rooms, you can initiate tons of connections and conversations from your virtual experience.

Guide to Hosting A Successful Virtual Event

If you’re trying to figure out the best way to host successful virtual networking events, the following guide will help you find the inspiration you need to design your next event.

virtual presentation panel

Before the virtual networking event

1. Come up with the overall plan

What are your event goals? What are you looking to achieve from the event? It’s important to sit down and plan the skeleton of the event to understand your overall goals and how you will structure the event. This plan will help you define your customer base, what kind of activities you will have, who the guest speakers will be and what will drive people to the event.

2. Plan the overall design

Take some time to come up with a theme and the branding for the event. People love to be a part of a fun theme and it’s a great way to have your audience engaged from the start! Take this planning phase to figure out how you want the flow of the event to be such as Q/A sessions and breakout rooms for attendees to network in. Additionally, think about your branding and how you want your business to be seen at the event.

3. Choose the right platform

Finding the right platform for your event is extremely important. As you understand your goals and what you need for the event, you need to find the platform that will have all the features that will drive engagement and ensure a smooth event. This could be features like gamification, social media integration, customer support and other networking capabilities.

4. Figure out the logistics

There are so many platforms and apps out there for virtual events. It’s important to figure out the logistics of how you will bring people together. Make sure you test the platform out completely and ensure that attendees are able to seamlessly log in and navigate the platform. You don’t want your attendees to be frustrated with technical difficulties or other issues that can be ironed out before the event goes live. Additionally, try to have a calendar invite with all the information required so everyone will be able to get a reminder and be able to access the event easily.

5. Decide on the guest count

You don’t want to be stuck with a huge guest count where it’s chaotic for your attendees to network with each other. Consider keeping your count to a manageable size. If your group can be segmented, it might be a good idea to break them up depending on the segments. You can do this by creating breakout rooms that are relevant for each group depending on specialties and topics.

6. Market your networking event

Don’t forget to promote your event! Use social media and other marketing channels to get word of your event out there. You can create a social media contest to encourage sharing among attendees and get their help in spreading the word. Depending on your budget you can even send relevant gift bags to further promote your event.

panel discussion at a hybrid event

During the virtual networking event

1. Have an introduction session

Depending on how large your guest list is, it could be a fun idea to have an introductory session where attendees can introduce themselves to each other. This can also happen in breakout rooms or other sessions to facilitate conversation before other events start.

2. Start the conversations (if needed)

It could be a good idea to head to chat rooms or other chat sessions and start a conversation with a question to encourage participation. Sometimes attendees might not want to be the first to say something or they might not know how to start a conversation. You could use this opportunity to create a game or a fun quiz around topics to further encourage conversation.

3. Make sure sessions aren’t drawn out

People have short attention spans. While you might have made sure video broadcasts aren’t too long, you cannot predict what your guest speakers might do. If you feel that topics are getting drawn out or that speakers are going off on a tangent, it could be a good idea to set reminders or have a way to signal them when it’s time for them to wrap up. This will only help make sure the event continues to run smoothly without any delays. 

virtual meeting room

After the virtual networking event

1. Send a thank you note

Make sure to send a thank you note or email after the event to all your attendees. This will help the attendees continue to feel connected and give them the opportunity to provide feedback  after the event. It could be a fun idea to include any highlights from the conference to further gauge attendees’ memories.

2. Gather feedback

When you send your thank you notes, use this as an opportunity to gather feedback for any improvement in the future. You can send out a post-event survey or poll to make it as seamless as possible for people to respond.

3. Analyze the event

Once you gather your reports on engagement and participation, it’s important to analyze this report to see where and what the strong points were of the event and where you could improve. The numbers you get will be extremely telling in understanding your audience further so you can continue to tailor your services to what your target audience wants.

The more you host virtual events, the more comfortable you will be and understand how your audience works. It might take a while to give everyone exactly what they want, but that’s what feedback is for and what will help you continue to improve and host successful virtual networking events in the future!

virtual event booth

From virtual events to hybrid conferences, the event industry is evolving rapidly. Virtual events have taken center stage as businesses see the ROI and wide range of audiences they can attract through virtual events. As companies start to partner with virtual platforms, certain virtual event platform features are more important than others.

“What businesses need to keep in mind is that not every event is the same and not every virtual event platform is the same. Businesses that are looking to add a virtual element to their event need to find the right virtual event platform that will deliver all their needs and help them reach their objectives from the event,” says Stephen Handisides, V-Unite CEO.

So, what are some of the most important virtual event platform features for your virtual event?

Top 10 Virtual Event Platform Features To Look Out For

Here are 10 of the top virtual event platform features to consider before choosing your virtual event platform.

leaderboard for virtual event

1. Gamification

People love a little competition. Ensuring a virtual event platform has gamification features is an excellent way to ensure your audience's engagement during the event. With attendees constantly checking the leaderboard, participating in polls, downloading content and participating in other opportunities, you can definitely ensure audience participation at your event. Additionally, gamification also allows for attendees to interact and compete with one another which further enhances networking opportunities among peers.

2. Automation

Automation will only help make your life easier. It’s important to have a virtual event platform where most things are automated such as uploading speaker data, event pages, and other processes. Not only will this help to streamline the virtual event planning and execution process but it will also bring the overall costs down.

3. Social media integration

This is probably one of the most important features a virtual event platform needs to have. You will want your attendees to post and share your event on their pages before, after and during the event. Having this integration for easy sharing during the event is especially important so they can share the event's content in real time and generate more buzz around your event and business. It’s important to make sure this platform accommodates most social media platforms for all attendees.

training room

4. Networking opportunities

One of the main reasons for people to attend a big conference or event is the networking opportunities that come with it. Therefore, the virtual event platform must have as many networking opportunities as possible. These could include breakout rooms, networking sessions, chats and any other opportunities to facilitate a conversation between attendees during the event.

5. Virtual exhibition booths

Virtual booths allow sponsors, exhibitors and other participants to connect and engage with attendees. Attendees can engage with relevant booths and have the opportunity to take away content to research after the event is over. Virtual booths are a great way to share content and increase exposure for a business.

6. Repurposing and sharing

You will want to be able to re share your content. Once your virtual event is over, you should be able to save content to be used in the future or on-demand viewing. This is an extremely important advantage as you can continue to generate buzz and intrigue more of your audience to want to join your next event.

VIP room at virtual event

7. Live streaming

If you’re planning to have speakers and looking to broadcast videos and other sessions, a live streaming option is a must. Most virtual events have live streaming options for their audience to view content in real time. This is extremely valuable for engagement and networking during Q/A sessions after guest speakers and other hosts have presented.

8. Customization

When it comes to hosting your event, you want to make sure you can design your event with your own branding. You should also be able to personalize the event with your designs. This means that the virtual event platform should allow for white labeling to make your event your own. A virtual event should have your audience feeling immersed in the experience you provide for them, therefore you should be able to customize it to your design potential.

9. Customer support

Having customer support during a virtual event is a must. Remember, not everyone is technologically savvy and some attendees may need some guidance during the event. Additionally, having customer support will enable you to fix any problems that may arise and ensure a smooth event. This is also a great way to gain additional feedback for improvement.

10. Reporting and analytics

The reporting and analytics feature helps you understand where your audience was the most engaged, what you did right and what you could improve on in the future. It could also be a good idea to see if the feature allows for integrating analytics platforms like Google Analytics.

The bottom line is to find the virtual event platform that works for your business. It’s important to take your time when looking at your options. Virtual events are here to stay, and partnering with the right virtual event software is key to successful experiences.

Giving a virtual presentation

As if giving a presentation isn’t hard enough - trying to capture your audience's attention through a screen can be even more challenging. As hybrid and virtual events take center stage this year, it’s time to sharpen your virtual presentation skills and understand that we’re not just trying to engage the people in front of us anymore. At a virtual event or conference, we could be speaking to thousands of people signing in from their laptops or phones. Hence, designing an organized and engaging virtual presentation is key to success. 

Engagement is the magic word here. While you might be able to conveniently log on to a virtual event, keeping the audience engaged is the tricky part. There are so many more distractions for the virtual attendee. As the presenter, it's your job to create a talk that can really capture your audience while keeping in mind that they are not physically in front of you.

Helpful Tips to Nail Your Virtual Presentation

With shorter attention spans and distractions everywhere, your content needs to be interesting and tailored to your audience to make them want to stay engaged throughout the presentation. Here are 7 important tips for you to keep in mind to give a successful virtual presentation.

1. Prepare and rehearse 

You need to be prepared for your talk. This means taking the time to rehearse out loud. When you practice your talk beforehand, you can keep track of the pace and allow you to make improvements. Once you have incorporated changes and seen where you fumble, you will feel extremely ready right before you go live. Rehearsing your content will allow for fewer mistakes will help you gather your thoughts. A great idea could be to record yourself on camera and see what you can improve on. You may come across things like your tone that might need to be improved for your presentation.

2. Test your equipment

Just like you need to be prepared with your presentation, it’s imperative that you test all your visuals, audio and any other tools you will be using. Do a sound check and also check to see that your video is working and that you can share your screen with others. Practice everything you need to do prior to your presentation you know where all the tools and buttons are. Get comfortable with the platform you are using to avoid any confusion and delays. You can ask a friend or family member to help you with this. Have them log on to make sure everything is working properly as you present. This also includes lighting, clarity and helping you get used to performing in front of a camera.

3. Keep your presentation short and sweet

People have short attention spans. It's especially hard to pay attention if the topic feels like it’s getting drawn out. Make sure you are to the point and deliver your speech with animated expressions and a confident tone. Your content should be straight to the point without tangents and try to include more visuals if possible. Overall, try to keep your presentation around 20 minutes or under before you start loosing people in the audience.

4. Create an interactive experience

In order to keep your audience listening, get them involved! Besides letting your audience know about the Q&A session after the presentation, have interactive tools such as live polls and quizzes during your presentation. You can even get some members to participate during the presentation. Another helpful tip would be to offer small prizes for participants who get the questions right - this will definitely wake up any members who are starting to nod off.

presenting virtual awards

5. Stay standing

Try to stand up when you give your presentation. Not only will this get you in the mood but you will be at the camera’s level which will help you keep eye contact with the audience. When you’re standing up your energy will be passed on to your audience and they will want to be as engaged as you are during the presentation. If you do have to sit down, make sure you maintain a good posture and avoid slouching - which will immediately disengage your audience.

6. Keep distractions to a minimum

If you’re opting not to use a branded background, make sure your area is free of clutter and distraction. You are trying to draw your audience to your content, not to your friend making coffee in the background. This is extremely important to avoid your audience from getting distracted! Clean up your desk from any clutter and have a neat and clean background with simple images or backdrops if possible.

7. Have fun!

And finally....enjoy yourself. One of the most important piece of advice is to be yourself and have fun! This presentation is for you as much as it is for the audience. You should feel proud that you are being seen as a leader. Make sure you keep it real when you are speaking to your audience and just be you. 

Get Ready for Your Virtual Presentation

You are going to kill it at your presentation! Remember, your audience is here to listen to your content. They have signed up because of the value you bring to them, so make sure you honor their time and do your due diligence to give them the insights they are looking for. This is your opportunity to continue to establish yourself as an industry leader. Keep this in mind to engage your attendees and keep your confidence when you deliver.

When was the last time you were at a virtual trade show? If you’re thinking that (virtual) trade shows are a thing of the past, you might want to reconsider your attendance. This is especially important if you’re a small business or a startup. Virtual trade shows are an easy way to put your company out there and meet potential clients and customers that you may not be able to through other marketing channels. Now that you can attend virtually, there isn't much more effort you need to put in, giving you no reason to not RSVP yes for the virtual trade show.

Now that trade shows can be hosted virtually, creating a virtual exhibition booth is easy and cost-effective - giving you no excuse to skip an important show. If you’re able to attend online trade shows, you can seize so many opportunities that could take your business to the next level.

7 Benefits of Attending Virtual Trade Shows as a Startup or Small Business

If you're a small business or a startup looking to grow your client and customer base, then virtual trade shows are an important event to attend. There are so many advantages to this type of event and we have highlighted our top 7 benefits.

1. Connect with industry experts and leaders, potential clients and customers

Virtual trade shows are an easy way to meet industry leaders, clients and customers. Everyone at that trade show is there because they are genuinely be interested in the businesses. This is an incredible opportunity for you to get face time with valuable people and brands. These connections can potentially help expand your business into new and more profitable markets if and when the opportunity arises.

2. Sniff out the competition

Use the opportunity of being at a trade show to learn more about your competition. You can take the time to understand your competition and research their offerings. This is a great opportunity to see what other brands are doing that you may not be incorporating. Doing research like this can help you understand more of what your customers are looking for and how you can tailor your business to give them exactly what they want. A trade show is also an easy way to gain important insights into trends and other information that you could use to better your marketing and business strategy overall.

3. Raise brand awareness and create buzz

Attending a virtual event as an exhibitor or attendee can give you immense opportunities. As a startup or small business, you want to get the word out there. A virtual trade show is the perfect place to do just that. From the opportunity to spread awareness about your business and generate buzz to connecting with industry leaders and peers you can really get the right kind of exposure for your business. Talk to influencers and journalists to get your voice heard and use every valuable opportunity to put your new business on the map!

4. Generate leads at virtual trade shows

The leads you generate from a virtual trade show will be more valuable to you because they will be targeted to your audience. Hence, networking at a trade show is beneficial because everyone attending is genuinely interested in the brands that are there. Make sure you take the time to talk to as many people that are there. Your connections will go a long way even after the event, giving you tons of potential opportunities for you and your business.

5. Ability to establish yourself as a thought leader

When you exhibit at a trade show along with bigger companies, attendees will see you on the same level as those companies. This can help you establish your authority and credibility in the industry. Use this event as the opportunity to create awareness around your company and announce your brand to the market. The best part is that this event is your biggest marketing platform for your business! You get instant awareness and can establish yourself as an industry leader. Now that’s what we call a win-win.

6. Get immediate feedback

We've already talked about the many opportunities that comes with attending a virtual trade show. One of the best benefits is the ability to gain feedback in minutes. You can learn so much from direct feedback and make improvements instantly if possible. This will only help your business thrive and give you the necessary information you need to understand your market.

7. Find relevant partners

As you put your networking skill to good use, make sure you scope out the scene for potential partners. While we have mentioned that you will have competitors at the event, you might also come across individuals with similar insights and areas of expertise. Having an influential partner and one with lots of knowledge of the industry could really help you grow your business.

Virtual Trade Shows Can Help Your Business

What do you have to lose? Take advantage of the connections and networking opportunities that will be available through valuable trade shows. Attending a trade show as a small business is a great opportunity to generate buzz around your company. This is especially important because your business is new and you are trying to get it off the ground.

If you have a trade show on the horizon and are not sure if you’re going to attend, keep in mind these advantages and opportunities for your business. Remember that you can use the event as an easy opportunity to show off your new company and gain important insights into the industry.

Conference room for virtual meetings

Looking to expand to a different market? Or are you in the middle of restructuring your business? Setting up a virtual office looks like the answer for you. With more businesses switching to digital platforms everyday, having a virtual office for your business has its many advantages. Companies are adopting flexible schedules and hybrid or remote work models as the new norm. Employers have found that employees can be productive at home. On the other hand, employees know the convenience of a remote lifestyle. Between childcare and other appointments, people are able to do their job and tend to their personal life with a good balance.

Remote work is here to stay. What better way to stay connected than with your very own branded virtual office?

Top Advantages of a Virtual Office

As companies figure out a new structure and adapt new work models, designing a virtual office is a must. Not only will it help you manage meetings but it will also create a seamless way to connect with employees and clients. Here are the benefits of setting up a virtual headquarters for your business and why you need to start ASAP.

1. Increased flexibility

A virtual office brings increased flexibility for employees. Having a virtual office enables employees to log in from the comfort of their homes to work on projects and other tasks at their convenience. After a year of working from home, everyone has adapted to a different kind of lifestyle and employers want to keep their employees happy. Being flexible and open is the best way to do that. There are so many life issues that can come up and having the option to log on virtually or take meetings from anywhere can reduce stress and improve the overall productivity of employees.

2. Fuels work-life balance

When employees have the flexibility to log on from anywhere, they can balance their work and their personal life. Additionally, imagine all the hours saved from long commutes and the ability to join a meeting after a personal appointment that your employee might otherwise have to schedule time off for. By designing remote and flexible schedules you can boost motivation and help your employees manage their work in a balanced environment. Employees will feel less stressed about their work and will be more productive overall.

3. Access to more talent 

Having a virtual office gives you the opportunity to hire global talent. You will be able to interview many different employees from all over the country or even the world. This means you can source unique talent with the skills you are looking for that might not be found where you are. Hiring the right talent is important and being able to widen your reach will give you the opportunity to source the best for your firm. Additionally, having access to global talent is a great opportunity for your business to expand and set up shop in another country.

4. One mailing address

Since you’re not physically in an office, a virtual office will give you the ability to have one location to get all your mail and other documents making it look like you have a physical location. Your business will also have the advantage of a mutual location without giving away your private information such as your home address.

Woman in a virtual office

5. Good for the environment

Not having a physical office is also beneficial for the environment. Virtual offices help the environment starting from your employee's commute. Not only will there be fewer carbon emissions from eliminating everyday commutes but everything is done online which reduces the use of paper and other products that further impact the environment. As companies continue to strive to be environmentally responsible, this is an easy and convenient way to start.

6. Cost effective 

Yes, you read this right! According to Business Wire, companies spend around 15% - 46% on office rent. Having a virtual office reduces your overall overhead costs. Therefore you spend less and reduce your costs over time. While you still have an “office” to conduct meetings, a virtual office provides the perk of no rent. Additionally you will also save on other expenses such as utilities, snacks and more. The money you save can be used on other aspects of the business that needs investing to boost revenue.

7. Easy to setup

Everyone likes things to be easy. The good news is, setting up a virtual office is easy and quick to have ready. When you want to close up shop, it's easy to even shut down without any additional costs or expenses.

8. Room for expansion

Opening up new offices can often cost a lot of money without the guarantee of success. A major advantage of a virtual office is that you can expand without the costs that come with moving to a bigger space. Also, if you want to tap into the global market or expand to other states, you can do so with cost efficiency. If the office fails in a particular market, you can shut it down without a big financial loss.

Design Your Virtual Office Today

While virtual offices have become increasingly popular with smaller companies and start-ups, having a virtual office has proven to be extremely beneficial and convenient companies of all sizes. The way we work has changed drastically over the past year. It's important to continue to evolve with the changing times to keep everyone motivated and happy.

V-Unite has it's own virtual office! Check out the branded virtual office and get inspired to design your own!

Virtual Exhibition Hall - GVAS

The virtual world is here to stay. While in-person events are slowly starting to come back, event planners and businesses have seen the value and revenue potential that comes with virtual events - making them a hot commodity. Events such as virtual trade shows have proven to provide immense benefits to businesses. One of the main advantages being the ability for businesses to attend a virtual trade show over an in-person one. Oftentimes, costs and travel factors can come in the way of businesses attending events. With virtual events, the possibilities are endless.

With the potential of being able to host and have more attendees at events, you’re going to want to invest in your virtual booth to increase awareness and buzz around your business. Moreover, the connections you can establish and community you can build can be a great benefit for you and your company.

7 Benefits of Exhibiting at a Virtual Trade Show

Navigating the virtual world can be a bit tricky. Especially if you're new to understanding how it works for your business. If you’ve been a bit hesitant in exhibiting virtually, there are many reasons you should consider it. Here are some top benefits of exhibiting at a virtual trade show.

1. Lead generation opportunities

Lead generation is one of the biggest reasons why you need to exhibit at a virtual trade show. You can attract a much wider range of attendees who are interested in your products. That’s why they opt to attend these trade shows in the first place. With features such as webinars, live Q&As, downloadable content and branded booths and platforms, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this opportunity?

Keep in mind - your competitors are going to take this opportunity for themselves. You need to up your virtual booth game and spend some time creating unique booth that showcases your brand in the right way. 

2. Increased ROI and reduced costs

By exhibiting with a virtual booth, not only can you reduce costs by using pre-existing designs but you will also save on manufacturing costs of designing a new booth. Additionally, you will also save on shipping and other costs associated with physically being at events. You can also increase your ROI by gaining new customers and increasing the volume of leads you might get from the virtual event in the first place.

3. National and global reach

Your brand will not only have the opportunity to become well-known nationally but you will have people knowing the name of your brand on a global scale! With virtual events being accessible from all over the world, you will have the opportunity to increase brand exposure to different parts of the world. Imagine the possibility of attracting customers from far and wide. It’s a win-win for you and your brand!

exhibition hall

4. Creative boost at a virtual trade show

Creativity can go a long way when exhibiting virtually. Whether you want to think outside of the box, change your visuals and update content every hour - your virtual booth is yours to explore and customize however you like. Play around with your brand colors and come up with a fun way to showcase your brand to the audience. Remember to have fun with it and let your creative juices flow.

5. Continued learning

With virtual events not going away any time soon, this is your opportunity to learn and understand the online community. This is a space where you can constantly evolve and showcase the latest around your brand. By understanding what you can do better and how you can take advantage of this space, you can push your brand to the next level and really wow your clients and customers in the long run.

6. Research competition and industry leaders

Virtual trade shows can be a great opportunity to research your competition. Get a feel of other brands showcasing and understand what they are doing with their marketing. You can take note of any other promotion tactics they are using and what their customers are enjoying about their booth. This is an advantage for you to make sure you are providing better offerings to your customers. By learning about your competitors you can proactively try to take charge of the market.

7. Analytics and reporting

Gathering analytics is one of the best advantages of exhibiting virtually. By looking at who downloaded your brochures, what part of the booth most attendees were engaged at and what the audience was captivated by will help you get to know your clients and customers better. Making reports and noting the numbers and other feedback will be invaluable to your organization.

Exhibit at a Virtual Trade Show

Markets and businesses are constantly evolving and it's important now more than ever to jump on the best way for your business to expand and thrive. There are so many benefits to exhibiting at a virtual trade show. Not only will your brand benefit from the virtual booth but you can come out with so many more connections and opportunities to expand your business! Virtual trade shows have been a great way to increase the exposure of brands. The virtual element has only allowed for a wider reach and more opportunities for growth and visibility.

Need help designing your first virtual event? To further get inspired with virtual events, here's how you can make money while hosting a virtual event. We even have a guide to hosting successful virtual and hybrid events.

virtual clinic virtual event

There are so many things to consider when planning a virtual event. From choosing the right platform to putting together the content to establishing engagement opportunities. Everything that is planned needs to be set up for success. Therefore, hosting a virtual event comes with a lot of responsibility and strategic planning before launch. As you focus on how you will make a profit and ensure your guests will be engaged throughout the event, you may stumble upon certain obstacles and uncertainty during the planning stages.

If this is your first time planning a virtual event, keep in mind that this will be different from a regular event. It's important to do your research and figure out every aspect of the event before making decisions. To make your planning process a little easier, we have come up with the top mistakes you might want to avoid when hosting your virtual event. Trust us, these tips will come in handy.

5 Important Mistakes to Avoid When Hosting a Virtual Event

Mistakes happen and for the most part, they are a normal part of the planning process. Mistakes enable you to learn from your errors and do better next time. However, here are some common mistakes made in the past that you can look out for to ensure your event runs smoothly.

1. Not scheduling time for a rehearsal

This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when planning your virtual event. Why? Because as much as we love technology, it can sometimes fail us when we need it the most. Make sure you do your due diligence when it comes to testing out all your equipment such as audio, visuals, speakers and gamification features. You need to also have your guest speakers test out their equipment. Everyone should feel prepared before the event is live.

It's a good idea to have a rehearsal of the event to ensure that everything will run smoothly on the actual day. Taking this necessary step will not only make sure you have a successful event but will also give you peace of mind knowing you did a complete run through. This is your opportunity to catch any issues and find anything that is out of place before the launch.

2. Choosing the wrong platform for the virtual event

Every virtual event is unique. Depending on what you’re offering to your attendees, you need to choose the right platform for your event. This could mean taking some extra time to evaluate different platforms and find the one that truly suits all your needs. If you're trying to have a networking event, you need to make sure there are networking capabilities that come with the platform.

You also need to ensure the platform you choose can deliver everything from integrating social media, to clear audio and video streams and anything else related to your event. Have a look at our features and benefits to get an even better idea of the type of features you need to enhance your event.

3. Not timing out sessions and speaking events

People don’t have long attention spans. It’s important to keep this in mind to ensure that people don’t get bored and log off in the middle of your event. Remember, attendees will be logging on from their screens and they can switch off their devices whenever they want. Some helpful tips include keeping guest speaker sessions and other webinars to 20 minutes. Shorter presentations will have more engagement unless it needs to be long for educational purposes. Sessions should be timed and include an agenda for people to follow and stay on track with.

virtual event lobby

4. Not focusing on networking and engagement

Networking is one of the main reasons many people attend big events and conferences. While in-person events are slowly coming back, virtual events are still a more accessible way to continue to network easily. You need to ensure that attendees will get the networking and engagement opportunities during the event. A few ways to do this is by incorporating breakout rooms, live Q/As, polls, social media and other participation opportunities. Encourage your audience to participate on social media. Have contents with leaderboards to get attendees engaged and want to compete with each other. The goal is to keep attendees immersed in the conference at all times.

5. Forgetting about sponsors

Sponsors are not only valuable to you but are also valuable to your attendees! Take the time to choose the right sponsors for the event and get them involved in the early stages of the planning process. Not only will they help fund your event but they will also help in creating buzz and engagement around your event. For example, your sponsors could put together a swag bag for attendees that will get them excited about attending the event.

It’s important to do your research and pick the right sponsors for your event. Sponsors need to be related to your event to keep your audience's interest. Additionally, sponsors need provide value to you and your attendees even after the event is over, therefore picking sponsors that align with your brand is important.

The Virtual Event Should Provide Value to Attendees

We hope by acknowledging these mistakes you will be able to stay on top of your planning process to make sure that your event will run as smoothly as possible. You need to make sure your audience will feel like they really took away valuable insights and were able to network with their peers at the event.

event information center

As most conferences and events have moved online and are probably going to be hybrid as we move forward, networking can get a little tricky when you’re trying to engage and interact with event attendees through a screen. Networking is one of the main reasons we go to conferences in the first place. Business conferences and other events are a great way to meet industry leaders and interact with peers in your field. As events start changing with in-person and virtual attendees, how do we network to ensure we meet with everyone we wanted to learn from?

While we can’t start up a conversation with the person sitting next to us as virtual attendees, there are many ways to successfully network and get a conversation started when attending a conference virtually.

Top Tips for Navigating a Virtual Event Successfully

networking at an event

Unsure about how to network successfully at a virtual event or conference? We've rounded up our top suggestions to successfully network with your peers.

1. Establish your networking goals

You need to set networking goals and create a plan on how you will network with your peers during the event. This is a great way to ensure that you reach out to everyone on your list and meet your overall networking objectives. A great way to create your networking plan is to research other attendees' profiles. Check attendees out on social media to understand more of their background and how you can have a meaningful conversation. Having these set goals will help you establish what you’re looking for and how you will achieve your connections during the event.

2. Create a strong attendee profile 

Just like you will be looking up other attendees and speakers, other people will also be trying to look you up as a possible connection. Use this as a chance to flush out your profile with all the necessary information that will help you stand out. This is your time to show off your credibility in the field and how you can establish yourself as a valuable network.

Some ideas include linking your website and social media profiles. Even have your portfolio on there for others to see all your work. Additionally, try to add a picture so attendees will be able to get familiar with who you are before attending the event.

3. Reach out and introduce yourself!

Don’t be shy! Go ahead and introduce yourself to the attendees. You can do this by sharing who you are, a little bit of your background and what you do professionally. Depending on where the conversation goes, talk about your hobbies and other fun elements about yourself. When establishing a connection you need to gauge the ambiance and figure out the tone you want to set for the introduction. This will be great way for people to get comfortable with you and start a conversation at the event. 

Conference room for virtual meetings

4. Leverage social media

Speaking of social media, use your platform to share conference news and information. Share your updates on attendance and what you are looking forward to at the event. This could be what speakers you will be listening to or participating in chat rooms. Use event hashtags provided and start a conversation around the event to engage other speakers and attendees.

Remember, you are trying to network and social media can help you create connections before the event even starts! Additionally, make sure to share follow-up posts after the event to continue the conversation even after the event.

5. Participate in real-time messaging 

Depending on what the event offers, try to participate in the live polls, Q/A and other live chats when you can. Participating in these offerings is an easy way to chat with other attendees, ask questions and stay engaged during the conference. Some events offer leadership boards and the ability to collect points during the event. This is a great way encourage more participation so use this as an opportunity to network.

Make sure to leverage all the networking options to make the most out of the event. If your goal is to meet the most number of people, you need to participate and engage consistently. It's also important that you share updates and information as much as you can to facilitate constant networking throughout the event.

6. Engage in breakout sessions

Breakout sessions are another great way to have thoughtful discussions with your group; This is the time to ask important questions after a segment or speaker. Take this session as an opportunity to chat with the guest speakers and also have a meaningful conversation about a topic at these sessions.

7. Follow up after the event

Conversations and networking capabilities don’t just stop at the event. To continue to establish your connections further, make sure you follow up (politely) with the people you met at the event and see how you can further help each other with business goals, etc.

Networking Opportunities Create Value

event lobby

Conferences and trade shows are extremely valuable in helping you connect with your peers. You will never know how your connection can help you in your career. From mentorship to job opportunities, networking is of great value and can open many doors.

We hope these tips will help you reach your networking goals where you come out with valuable connections after the event! If you’re new to virtual events, check out how you can make money hosting a virtual event to get inspired to create your own event.

Virtual presentation with full auditorium

We’re all starting to get a little familiar with hybrid events. Let's now master the art of designing and hosting successful hybrid events to ramp up revenue and continue to target your audience accordingly. As states start opening up, event planners are starting to figure out the best way to plan events. Virtual events have proven to have a wide reach and a great potential for revenue. Joining the virtual aspect with in-person events seems to be the best way to host events today. However, hosting hybrid events takes time and needs to be planned properly to ensure a successful outcome.

When event organizers and planners start planning hybrid events, it’s imperative to make sure everything is created and designed accordingly so that nothing is left to chance. This means testing all equipment, keeping all your attendees in mind and other extra factors that come with a hybrid event.

Do’s and don’ts of hosting hybrid events

One of the best things about research is that we can understand what works and what doesn't work. When it comes to events, each type of event is different. You need to plan accordingly and make sure you are focusing on what fits your event the best. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you have a successful hybrid event.

✓ Do: Make sure to have a solid engagement plan with ALL attendees

With hosting a hybrid event, you need to keep in mind that there are in-person attendees as well as virtual attendees. It’s important to create a plan that engages both types of audiences throughout the event.

Features such as live Q&As, polling, social media integration and other networking capabilities will help in facilitating and continuing the conversation between both parties from beginning to end.

╳ Don’t: Have too much planned that might overwhelm your audience

Scheduling breaks during the event is key to these types of events to not to overwhelm the audience. Remember, attendees will be connecting to the platform virtually and it will take them a few minutes to get used to the platform. Give them additionally time to also figure out how to navigate through the different pages and content. 

You need to give your virtual attendees the chance to figure out how to engage and navigate the platform as the event goes on. Scheduling breaks will give them the time to do so without feeling the need to quit if they get frustrated.

✓ Do: Test all content and technology before hybrid events

There’s nothing like planning everything only to find out that your audio or video platform doesn’t work when the event starts! With hybrid events, you will be using streaming platforms and other modes of technology such as mics for speakers, etc. to engage the audience. Make sure to do a test run with featured speakers and guests so that they are prepared when they go live.

Additionally, you might also need to do a test run with all the platforms and tools to ensure that they work. Additionally the sound and video quality needs to be clear as well. This is imperative to ensure that your audience will continue to enjoy the event and will stay engaged and immersed the whole time.

╳ Don’t: Forget that hybrid is not the same as in-person

This is extremely important because you need to be aware of both types of audiences. Simply placing cameras around the room to stream the event will not do it for the virtual audience. 

When planning a hybrid event, you need to create ways for the in-person attendees to be able to network with the virtual attendees, especially because networking is one of the major reasons that people attend conferences in the first place! Designing breakout rooms is a great example of how you can capture your virtual audience and keep them engaged through their screens.

virtual presentation panel

✓ Do: Plan on setting a budget for hybrid events

While hybrid events are a cost-saving option for attendees, as the host, you are planning two events. Try to be mindful of how much you are going to spend on the event to incorporate everything you want. You need to create the right budget for both the in-person and virtual aspect so you won’t get caught off-guard with costs as you plan the event.

╳ Don’t: Expect too much

Take a deep breath and let the event play out as it will. You have done all you can in planning the best event, so don’t set your expectations too high. This is especially important when it comes to the audience interacting with each other. If your event has the engagement capabilities and entertainment that is suitable for the audience, you are good to go!

✓ Do: Follow up and collect feedback

In order to improve, you need feedback. Make it a point to send out surveys or other feedback opportunities to see what your attendees liked and what could have been done better. This will be valuable information for you to continue to provide value to your clients and customers. Your next event will only be better and more successful.

╳ Don’t: Forget to use social media

Social media will be your friend and way to help you get the word out there. Put your marketing budget to good use and promote your event on social media to reach your target audience. You can create buzz on the various platforms and keep your audience engaged even before your event starts!

Have you been inspired to design your next virtual or hybrid event? Check out the Top 7 Benefits of Hosting Hybrid Events to design your very own event. 

Hybrid events have almost become the norm for businesses that host events and conferences. If the goal of your event is to create awareness and reach a wide audience - hybrid events can do just that and go above and beyond your target reach. Not only are you able to increase exposure to your brand but you can also make a lot more revenue in the long run.

Still trying to convince yourself why hosting a hybrid event is a good idea? We’re going to share with you some major benefits you and your business can gain from a hybrid event.

7 Benefits of Hosting a Hybrid Event

There are so many factors that have made hybrid events a popular way to host events. From increased engagement opportunities to making more profits, here are seven benefits your business can take advantage of.

1. Increased reach and attendance opportunity

One of the biggest advantages of a hybrid event is the large audience your event can attract. Not only do you have in-person attendees but you also have a virtual audience that can attend from anywhere. some of the major factors that deter people from attending events is the time restraints and travel costs that come with it. With hybrid events, participants have the choice to attend in person or decide to log on from their bedrooms.

Additionally, having your event streamed online allows social media sharing and videos to be shared with other potential customers. Imagine the overall reach your event and brand can have by attracting multiple customers in different avenues.

2. Improved engagement at a hybrid event

You can provide the engagement tools to boost participation and networking opportunities among audience members for your event. Gamification and social media integration is an integral part of a hybrid event that can keep your audience engaged and immersed the entire time. One of the main aspects of a conference or an event is the ability to network with peers and industry leaders. Make sure you have an easy way for attendees to interact with each other.

Examples of networking opportunities include live Q&A sessions, break-out rooms, surveys and polls, live chats and much more. Take advantage of offering multiple features that will get the audience chatting among themselves as well as with virtual participants. 

3. Reduces overall costs for attendees

With in-person conferences, there are so many costs to consider such as tickets, hotel stays and meal stipends. Sometimes, these costs factor into whether someone would want to or be able to attend an event. Additionally, companies might not have the budget to send their employees to an event. By providing the option of attending virtually, you reduce overall costs for attendees, giving them more of a chance to attend your event.

Giving your target audience the chance to attend virtually opens the doors for more attendance and the possibility of increasing exposure with your potential attendees.

virtual presentation

4. Efficient and effective data collection

Data collection is of the most valuable aspects of having a virtual audience. While you can track certain engagements and feedback from in-person attendees, by adding a virtual element you can truly track and monitor how your audience engages, where they were spending most of their time and what the most popular section of the event was.

This is vital information that can help you provide better services in the future and truly measure, analyze and understand who your audience is and what they like.

5. Flexibility and adaptability

What’s amazing about offering a hybrid event is that they are extremely flexible and adaptable to any situation. While we can’t always predict the weather correctly or control flight changes, hybrid events can be a great option for attendees to have as a backup if they are running late or even missed their flight.

On the other hand, hosts are able to continue with the event if the venue cancels on them or a physical event cannot take place for some reason. It’s a win-win for any scenario.

6. Attractive to sponsors

Sponsors love a hybrid event because they know the reach and awareness it can generate. When you find a sponsor that suits your audience and aligns with your values, you can reduce your overall costs. How? Sponsors pay you to place their ads and other marketing materials to showcase during events.

You can also have full control of this and charge accordingly to ensure that your sponsors don’t make your audience feel that they are being spammed. 

7. Fresh revenue stream

If you’re looking for a way to grow your revenue, a hybrid event is the easiest and best way to do so. Not only is this an innovative solutions for your business, by adding the hybrid element you can generate a fresh stream of revenue from your virtual participants in addition to your in-person attendees.

Hybrid events are attracting a lot of customers as people find it convenient to attend and network. Because your reach is greater, the potential for profits is also greater.

Start Planning Your Next Hybrid Event

Hybrid events will only give your company an edge. Widen your reach and give your clients and customers a new way of doing business. A great avenue for you to make more $$$ and generate new customers awaits. If you’re not sure where to start, we've got the perfect guide for you. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Planning a Successful Hybrid Event to feel inspired.

GVAS virtual conference with space theme and audience

Meet the ‘new norm’ of networking - Hybrid Events. Last year we were wowed by the possibilities and reach of virtual events and experiences. So many individuals were able to attend events globally through their screens and continued to keep connections and conferences alive among lockdown and social distancing rules. While in-person events may be coming back, you can’t deny the benefits of virtual events for business.

So, what does that mean for events moving forward? Here’s introducing hybrid events.

What is a Hybrid Event?

Let’s first chat about what a hybrid event is. A hybrid event will have a mix of virtual and in-person attendees. While there is the option for attendees to go to a venue to experience the event, they will also have the option to sign in online if they are unable to make it in person. 

Usually, travel expenses and distance are major factors for people not being able to attend conferences and events. With hybrid events, attendees have the opportunity to participate and engage in important conferences and events in the comfort of their own homes.

How to Host a Hybrid Event

panel discussion at a hybrid event

In order to host a successful hybrid event, you need to go above and beyond simply recording the in-person event and streaming it to your virtual audience. You need to make every attendee, in person or virtual, feel like they are at the event and keep them engaged throughout.

Let’s go back to the drawing board and come up with the important things you need to do and plan for in order to host a successful hybrid event that will make you money.

1. Prepare in-person attendees and speakers

One of the most important ways to ensure your event will be a success and that it will run smoothly from start to end is preparation. The tricky part of hybrid events is that not only are you meeting the needs of the people who are physically at the event but even of those who are attending virtually. This means that all the speakers, presentations, live shows, performances, and Q&A sessions need to be effective when being live-streamed. 

It's a good idea to run rehearsals with speakers and with the technology you are using for the event. This will help you fine-tune any audio and video issues that may arise. You need to make sure that everyone tuning into the event will be able to access it and also enjoy the clear streaming and audio from beginning to end.

2. Choose the right platform

Choosing the right virtual event platform is important. Every event is different and you need to find the one that suits your event needs appropriately. As you plan out your event, you need to make sure that the virtual event platform has these important features:

3. Find innovative ways for attendees to stay engaged

Remember, you are not only engaging a physical audience, but also a virtual one. Your audience could also be from all over the country or even the globe! Keeping all attendees engaged during your event will be tricky but doable if planned correctly. Make sure to encourage participants to post on social media and share their experiences on their accounts. 

Keep discussions consistent and encourage attendees to network in chat rooms and break-out rooms with the virtual audiences. Most importantly, ensure that the guest speaker is able to communicate and answer questions from the live audience as well as with the virtual participants so no one feels left out.

4. Stay flexible and open to ideas

 If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for any issues or hiccups that might come your way. It’s important to try and stay flexible if any changes within your speakers and sponsors occur. Whether this means to have back ups or switch to a virtual presentation you should be ready for anything. You can even allow for the audience to share their opinion and ideas that could improve user experience.

Why Should You Host Hybrid Events?

virtual presentation panel

In-person conferences will start picking up again, but that doesn’t mean you should say goodbye to virtual events any time soon. Here’s why you should consider hosting hybrid events moving forward:

1. Wider reach at hybrid events

The beauty of a hybrid event is that you can reach a much wider audience. Without the physical barrier of distance and costs of hotel stays, you are able to reach attendees in different parts of the country and even the world! Additionally, people who are not able to come because of cost, time or other restrictions, have the flexibility now to attend from wherever they want to with ease, giving them more of a reason to attend overall. 

2. Ability to collect more data

The added element of virtual participants allows for extra capabilities of capturing data and analyzing patterns they exhibited during the event. This is valuable information that can help companies generate leads, audit content and understand what their audience is really looking for.

With this information, businesses will be able to improve on their offering and tailor their products and services accordingly. Imagine all the revenue your business can incur when you tailor your services exactly to your audience's tastes and preferences.

3. Increase engagement with your brand

Technology has made so much possible. Not only are we able to instantly connect with someone from across the world, but we are able to share with and reach a larger audience. Hybrid events allow you to be creative and create components for the virtual audience to contribute to and have fun with during an event.

We are also able to gain valuable feedback and other questions answered by sharing surveys and polls that make it easy for people to submit. There are so many ways for your brand to create conversations with your audience than ever before. This is extremely important to keep your customers constantly engaged and entice them to share your brand with others.

Questions To Ask Yourself When Planning Hybrid Events

planning process

When planning any event, you first need to ask yourself a few important questions in order to have a solid plan moving forward. Some important questions to ask yourself before planning a hybrid event include:

The Future of Events is Hybrid

There are so many benefits to hosting hybrid events for your business. Imagine the possibility of reaching hundreds of millions of people worldwide who can learn more about your company and build on their interest through your conferences because they can log on from anywhere!

If you’re new to planning virtual events, check out our Ultimate Guide to Planning a Virtual Event to get inspired to design your next virtual event.

Virtual merchandising room for shopping

Why stop at virtual events when there are a whole plethora of virtual experiences waiting for us to enjoy? Businesses especially are now realizing the potential of having a virtual department to complement their physical locations one of them being virtual retail. Virtual retail has started picking up its eCommerce game and giving users a shopping experience that includes more than just scrolling through a couple of pictures on a screen.

The future of shopping has already started to change. More individuals have also started to prefer shopping online and the convenience that comes with it. Additionally, the onset of the pandemic has made more people switch to buying products online than heading to a store. This means that it’s imperative now more than ever to proactively try and keep our customers with us and ensure they choose our website over our competitors.

What is Virtual Retail?

Virtual retail allows your customers to shop and purchase products through an online portal set up for your business. This could be through a website or an app with a secure payment processing feature. Many retail stores are now adding on websites for customers to shop their products online. Some stores even have exclusive deals and features that are only available online to entice customers to use their website when they shop.

Top Features of a Virtual Retail Store

Implementing a virtual retail store? Here are some of the top features you need to have in your design.

1. New design and interaction

Connect with new and loyal customers with your brand in a new and interactive way. You can go all out with your design and how you want to welcome customers to your online store. With bespoke designs from V-Unite and exciting corporate branding, you can create a feeling of awe in the customer journey as they navigate through your plush virtual store.

Technology has made is possible to truly create a new virtual retail experience. You can navigate and interact with products and feel like you are physically in the store with creative designs.

2. Allow customers to schedule and interact with personal shoppers

Create your own way of connecting and chatting with your customers to boost engagement. To give your customers a more exclusive feel, you can assign a personal shopper to each customer as they browse through the merchandise. The personal shopper will help them choose products and give them style tips as they pick out products. This is a great way to add personalization to your virtual store.

3. Private viewings

Design the retail experience with virtual rooms that showcase your products and merchandise that customers can interact with. They will have the opportunity to see how the products will look and maybe even enjoy a virtual try-on if the platform allows. You can also set up a live catwalk show and connect other interactive videos to keep your customer engaged.

4. 24/7 conversations 

Connect an interactive chatbot to answer customer enquiries in real time. Prepare any common questions and have a live chat feature in case of more complicated inquiries. Your customers will appreciate getting feedback as quickly as possible, which will make their experience with your virtual store better.

5. Share product information easily

Conduct regular Virtual Education workshops with pre-recorded or live presentations to drive revenue product sales. As your customer browses through your store, you will have the ability for them to learn more about products and updates.

6. Educate, engage and convert

Make a sale through your customers by including images, videos, surveys and polls. Your customers will love giving their feedback if they are able to access the surveys easily. If you have a loyalty program in place, this could also be a section for them to earn points through social media sharing or other games. With customers earning more points, they will want to spend their points and money on your products.

Top Benefits of a Virtual Retail Store

A virtual retail store comes with many advantages. Here's why you should design and implement a virtual store for your business.

1. Measure and track your customers

As with anything done online, it’s easy to track and measure impressions and conversion rates as your customers navigate through your virtual store. Additionally, you can see what your customer is browsing and make recommendations based on their interests and habits. With this ongoing consultation, your consumer will end up spending more time at the store which could convert to a sale.

2. Reduce overhead costs

By focusing on your online store, you will be able to save on costs such as rent and storage. You can then use these savings to give your eCommerce store a good virtual experience boost that will attract more of your target audience.

3. Keep consumers engaged

By providing personalized consultations with personal shoppers, you can keep your consumer immersed in the experience and make them want to check out every department and feature you have to offer. Additionally, when you give a consumer a bespoke and curated experience, you are really showing them that you know them and they will be able to shop items that are curated to their interest and style.

4. Expand your virtual retail market

A great aspect of a virtual store is that you can reach global markets if you choose to do so. The ability to market and reach a wider audience is a big advantage and one that will give you more customers provided you create exclusive shopping experiences for the global market as well.

5. Associates become brand ambassadors

As your associates sell your products online, they can also use their voices on social media and other online platforms to share product information and be the face of the brand. This is a great opportunity to tap into different markets and reach a wider audience through your brand ambassadors.

6. Create loyal customers

As your customers interact with your store, you can gather their information to send them targeted ads, messages and emails to keep their interest in your store. Simple notifications about favorite products back in stock can convert potential and current customers into loyal ones that will keep coming back for your items.

Virtual Retail is the Future

There are so many ways for businesses to be innovative and take advantage of virtual shopping. The retail industry has been one that has suffered the most during the pandemic and businesses are looking for new and profitable solutions to bring their customers back. With an interactive and exciting virtual event platform, they can do just that and much, much more.

virtual-presentation-with-audience

Managing a virtual team has been a big learning moment for managers. When dealing with remote employees, managers have been trying to ensure everyone feels involved and a part of the team. Cue in the virtual meeting. Leading a virtual meeting or think tank conference might not be new but has become the new norm of conducting meetings nowadays. While we acknowledge that getting a large group together online and somehow keeping their attention throughout the event can be a little tricky, there are ways to overcome this obstacle and manage virtual meetings to deliver success.

An effective virtual meeting is one where all employees feel like they were able to share updates and gain insights into projects and other tasks. Employees need to feel like they are still a part of the team, even though they are not physically present. This is one of the biggest challenges of managing a remote team.

Top Secrets to Lead An Effective Virtual Meeting

When planning your virtual meeting, there are a few secrets to keep in mind to ensure an engaging and informative discussion takes place. The following tips will help give you an advantage when it comes to leading virtual meetings and conferences with your team.

1. Make video mandatory

Most people like to hide behind their screens, especially when they don’t need to have their video on during a meeting. This opens up the floor to zone out or do other things during the meeting. In order to avoid this issue, make sure your meeting requires all team members to have their videos on so that they don’t have a choice but to be attentive to what’s going on. This will force employees to pay attention whether they have something to say or not.

2. Have a virtual meeting agenda

Time is valuable. When you lead a virtual meeting, you need to make sure you are keeping time and following your agenda accordingly. Having a prepared schedule will keep you on track and also keep the audience focused on the presentation. Sometimes discussions can go on longer than expected and while this is okay sometimes, you need to bring the chatter back to the topic. Everyone has a busy schedule and you need to be mindful of that. Try to navigate away from tangents or opt to continue longer discussions after the meeting. 

3. Open with a question

A thought provoking or powerful question will draw your audience towards you from the start of the event. Think of opening the meeting with a question that sparks conversation. Having a good opening line will establish instant connection between you and the audience from the beginning. You will also feel a boost of confidence if you start the meeting powerfully.

4. Connection is key

Connecting with your audience is a top priority. Make sure you are empathetic, informed and approachable to your audience. Your tone and facial expressions are important. It is what your audience will be taking note of and those features are what will set the tone of the entire meeting. This also means that as employees talk to you or one another, everyone should maintain respect and have empathy to ensure the meeting is effective and efficient.

virtual meeting room

5. Everyone should get chance to speak

As you facilitate the virtual meeting, it is important to open up the platform for everyone to speak up their thoughts, answer or ask questions. If time permits, ensure that everyone has gotten the chance to share what’s on their mind as you don’t want to miss something important. This will also give an opportunity for the more quieter employees to be able to share their thoughts and give any important updates as necessary. 

6. Keep people engaged and involved

You need to keep your audience engaged throughout the meeting. In order to capture and maintain your employees' attention, your presentation should be on point, contain visuals and should have elements of audience engagement. This could include break-out rooms for the team to discuss, real time polls/Q&A and maybe even a light game to end the meeting with.

7. Virtual meeting goal reminder

Every meeting has a goal. As you begin the meeting you will talk about the goal, therefore, you need to have a reminder of the goal at some point of the meeting. You can do this with having your goal written down on every slide or even set it as the title of the meeting.

8. Set rules and guidelines

Guidelines are set to ensure a smooth run of any event or meeting. Make sure to send attendees your rules for the meeting. This will help them understand what to expect and what is expected of them. For example, you could set guidelines for attendees to log on 5 minutes earlier. You can also request for everyone to have clean backgrounds free of clutter and even ask attendees to stay muted until they need to speak.

The Virtual Meeting Might Be Here to Stay

We know there are many challenges that come with navigating a more digital world. The business landscape is changing and we need to be proactive to find innovative solutions. The good news is, we can always learn from past mishaps and make the next meeting or agenda an even smoother and more successful one. 

Before you plan your next virtual event, our guide to hosting successful virtual events will help ensure you plan a great meeting from the start.

Virtual awards show with a stage and tables

We can’t deny the fact that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay. As you plan your agenda of the event event, you need to think about audience engagement throughout the virtual conference. After all, your attendees are probably going be logging on to the event from their couches. Having them completely immersed in your virtual event is your key to success.

“It's important to understand your target audience and how they digest content to give them the best possible experience." Stephen Handisides - CEO of V-Unite.

This brings us back to the big question, “With thousands of individuals attending your virtual event, how will you ensure audience engagement throughout virtual event?”

Ideas to Improve Audience Engagement During a Virtual Event

You need to plan your event accordingly and have some tricks up your sleeve that will ensure that your audience will stay engaged in the virtual experience you provide. Here are some helpful ideas to start thinking about today.

1. Create a theme

Go all out and add a theme to your virtual event. Whether you choose an intergalactic theme where you take everyone to space, or opt for a gala dinner to present awards to your employees, setting a theme for the event is an instant crowd pleaser.

Think about it. If you choose to do a fun 60s or 90s theme, your attendees will love to use this as an excuse to dress up at home. Attendees will be excited about having to switch up their routine and wear a fun outfit for an event they are attending from home.

2. Social media contest

Everybody likes to win prizes! Use social media to your advantage and create a contest that encourages attendees and even prospective attendees to engage and promote the event on social media. We mention prospective attendees as this contest could potentially be a way to attract a wider audience and get them to attend your virtual event.

You will be surprised how competitive your attendees will get with these competitions. You also just got an easy boost of awareness around your event.

3. Content. And More Content

As you plan your virtual event, you need to make sure you are going to have content that is relevant and important to your audience. Remember, your audience is attending this conference through a screen. You need to make sure they won't get easily distracted and zone out if they are bored.

The content you are providing should be engaging and also thought-provoking so the audience will be intrigued as the event goes on. A good idea could be to have break-out rooms to encourage different types of discussions after each speaker or presentation to continue the conversation.

4. Add gamification features

Similar to the social media contest, adding gamification features to your event is another exciting way for the audience to get involved. You could design a leaderboard for the audience to earn points as they move around the virtual platform. Trust us, people get competitive! You can also have interactive games at sponsored booths to help them stay engaged during the event.

GVAS virtual conference with space theme and audience

5. Live Q&A series

If you have live speakers and presentations at your virtual event, it could be a good idea to have a live Q&A session for the audience to get even more involved.

Especially for topics that are more complicated or focused on learning, a Q&A session where the audience can then ask questions after or share their feedback, will keep them around until the end. The Q&A sessions also ensure attendees feel involved which boosts engagement in the process.

6. Surprise guests

Keeping a little mystery around the event could cause intrigue and have the audience buzzing about who or what the surprise at the event could be. If possible, bring on a notable speaker or a surprise performance by a popular artist to really get the audience engaged and excited!

7. Live entertainment 

Virtual events can become heavy with speakers and presentations. It could be a good idea to have a "fun" room for the audience to take breaks during the event. Additionally, you could also plan a live performance mid-event to really get the crowd going during the conference. Plan events that may not be too information heavy so your audience does get too overwhelmed before the event ends.

8. Virtual gift bags

Depending on if budget prevails, you could send your audience a token of your appreciation with a gift bag related to the event. You can also gift your attendees something they could use during the event. Your audience would then most likely head to the booth where they can use the gift which could get them more engaged around the virtual platform.

9. Networking opportunities

One of the main reasons to have trade shows and conferences is for the networking possibilities. Your event should encourage peer to peer networking within your platform. Whether this is through break out rooms or online groups to facilitate chatting, networking capabilities is important.

There is a high possibility that your audience is at the event to network with industry leaders and other peers. You need to make sure they are able to connect with other attendees conveniently.

10. Polling series

An easy, yet effective way to ensure audience engagement is to have polling series before, after and throughout your event. This will keep the communication lines open and will also keep the feedback coming during the event. Additionally, as you get this feedback, you might be able to make small changes to improve user experience and ensure your audience is staying engaged. 

Conference room for virtual meetings

Audience Engagement is Important

You need to make your audience feel like they are as much part of a ‘live’ event as possible. If your attendees feel like they were able to network with peers from your event, they will keep coming back for more.

Now that you have these techniques to consider for your next event, make sure you check out our ultimate guide for hosting successful virtual events as you plan your next virtual experience. 

Woman in a virtual office

According to Capterra, the leading online resource for business software buyers, V-Unite has been named one of the best virtual event platforms of 2021! Look no further than V-Unite as your virtual event platform for your future events.

We have the perfect software for you to design your own branded corporate events. Think trade shows, conferences and even think tank meetings. V-Unite also has bonus features like social media integration, gamification and other add ons to keep your audience engaged.

Virtual and hybrid events have become the new norm as more companies become remote. While we have all adapted to the WFH routine, meetings and events don't need to stop! Networking events, trade shows and other conferences are still important to conduct business and give employees and clients a sense of belonging. Additionally, these events and conferences give the audience the ability to network with their peers.

While we all might be craving an in-person event, virtual events are a great solution to continue business. Budgets, time restraints and travel can come in the way when it comes to attending an event. The solution? Finding the right virtual platform that can make you feel like you are at a live event. 

What is V-Unite?

V-Unite is an easy-to-use, cloud-based software application that enables organizations to save time and money conducting high-quality virtual events, conferences or trade shows. The virtual event platform empowers the user with the ability to set up, schedule and organize virtual events. Clients also have a choice of including multiple features including a hybrid of pre-recorded and live presentations for hosting their event.

The result? A fun and interactive virtual event experience that improves attendee participation and attention. V-Unite also allows the user to store and deliver their content for continued ongoing training objectives and future events.

Why Go Virtual?

Adaptability! Many successful events now incorporate a digital or online element in their business. Whether it's streaming content or live chat functionality to facilitate better attendee engagement. Companies are looking at virtual to increase their exposure and revenue by running a series of virtual events throughout the year. As the business climate evolves, it’s important to be proactive and adapt to every situation. That's how you can set your business up to thrive in any environment.

The pandemic has affected so many live events, conferences and even training and sales meetings. Why not overcome this obstacle and set up virtual sessions that can make your employees and clients feel like they are almost at a ‘live’ event?

Choosing a Virtual Platform

There are tons of benefits of hosting besides engagement at virtual event. Your business has the ability to increase exposure and make revenue with a virtual event. Whatever physical event you are planning, our team can help you create a virtual experience to match without the obvious physical handshake!

COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION

Virtual events are a cost effective solution for all. Without a physical venue and other costs associated with a live event, organizers are able to use their budget elsewhere. Attendees also benefit from travel and hotel cost savings. Not to mention the convenience of being able to attend an event from their homes.

TIME & RESOURCE EFFICIENT

By their nature, virtual events are time efficient. Not only does it save time for events’ personnel tasked with delivering the event but also for attendees who can save on travel time. Without the issue of time zones, attendees are further able to beat the time that factors into the commute of attending a big event.

IMPROVED ATTENDEE ENGAGEMENT

It is notable that delegates are far happier to ask questions online than at a live event. Attendees also find meeting other attendees much easier online than walking up to a ‘stranger’ to introduce themselves. The opportunities of networking at a virtual event are endless, thus creating a highly engaging event.

ON-DEMAND CONTENT

One of the best parts about a virtual event is the ability to share content on-demand after the event. Virtual events can be used alongside a live event, often to create an ‘on-demand’ element where event delegates can revisit the event to gather information, content and resources at a convenient time. Additionally, if a virtual event is created, it can be left ‘on-demand’ to attract those who were unable to attend the original virtual event.

V-Unite is a virtual platform like no other. Contact us now to schedule a demo!

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What is a virtual event?

You may be seeing virtual events popping up all around you lately. Before you ask the question “How can I create a virtual event?” you may want to understand what a virtual event really is. Over the past year we are no longer strangers to the term “virtual”. With so many businesses having to shift to remote work and host virtual meetings and training, we have all slowly adapted to incorporating the virtual world in business.

A virtual event is an event that is held online where a virtual event platform replaces the physical location. This means that one will attend the event from any location they choose via their chosen device as opposed to attending a physical event. With virtual events, the possibilities to reach a vast audience as endless.

Virtual events has given businesses more opportunity to connect with their audience. There are other benefits of hosting an event virtually including the ability for guests to be attending from anywhere in the world. With travel times reduced, people no longer have to worry about time difference or commuting across the country or world for an event. Additionally, costs associated with travel are also reduced due to the ease of accessibility. A virtual event also allows for teams to stay connected and collaborate in a similar fashion of being physically in a room together. 

Awards Room

 Where do I host a virtual event?

Where you choose to host your event will determine how you plan your event. It is extremely important that you choose a virtual event platform that will best suit your needs. In the process of choosing a platform, you may want to consider factors such as accessibility, privacy and data security, and functions. You want your event to be easy to access and this will depend on your audience of which you are reaching.

Additionally, having the right features is also important for the event. The event will need to have features such as gamification, social media integration, ability to have breakout rooms and more to make sure you engage your audience. Attendees will also be looking for networking opportunities which you will need to consider when you plan your virtual event.

Something to keep in mind, if your event is targeting an audience that is above 65 they might have limited technological skills. It could be a good idea to choose a platform which doesn’t require complicated downloads and installations to ensure no one is frustrated and confused when trying to attend the event.

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How do I plan my virtual event?

1. Create a schedule 

No matter the type or style of event you choose to host, the planning aspect of the event is crucial. Have a schedule leading up to the event and one designed for the event. Decide on factors  such as fees, registration and promotions. Once you have decided on what your event is and how your event will run you can create a schedule for the event that outlines the programme. This is a necessary step to stay organized and prepared. You don't want to be stressed out at the last minute.

2. Timing is key 

It is important to pick the most appropriate time and date to maximize attendance for your event. Pick dates and times which are most suitable for your audience by considering holidays, time-zones (if your event is global), and competing or similar events. If you struggle with accommodating certain time-zones for your event, consider allowing your audience to access your event content after the live event.

This goes back to choosing the right platform for your event. If you want to have on-demand viewing, pick a platform that includes video recordings, that can be played back afterwards. You can also add the ability to download or connect to any content such as files or links relating to the event.

3. Plan for technical difficulties

A crucial point to keep in mind. If there is anything we’ve all learnt form our WFH situations over the past year is that having a good and stable internet connection is important, but it still fails from time-to-time. Buttons don’t always work when you click them and other features might have a glitch when you need to use them. While it’s not the end of the world when these things happen, it's imperative you plan to have backup solution. 

The event should also have a live help booth or a help chat feature incase your attendees run into problems. These booths are great for you to be in the know of whether everything is running smoothly and helpful if you need to step in.

4. Attendee engagement

Keeping your attendees engaged and entertained is the most important thing. You will want your event to be engaging to your audience. You need to make sure they are busy! There is nothing worse than sitting in front of your screen being bored, so make sure you plan the event with ways to engage your attendees. You can do this by physically involving your audience in answering live polls or participating in break out rooms. Your audience is attending your event for a reason and you need to show them the value your event provides to them.

Working remotely has become the new normal. We can conclude that having meetings and events digitally is a concept that is is here to stay. Now is the time to wow your clients with your innovative solutions. Virtual events are the best way to start doing just that.

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2020 has taught us the importance of being able to find alternate solutions to move forward when things don’t go as planned. One of the major changes that businesses have had to deal with is the loss of live and face-to-face meetings. The solution? To host a virtual event. Over the years, virtual events and experiences have slowly started to become the new way of doing business. Now more than ever, companies have been looking toward virtual solutions to continue their training, conferences, trade shows and even onboarding new employees.

As we start heading towards a more digital world, virtual events and virtual conferences can be a great solution to bringing people together cost-effectively and conveniently. While face-to-face meetings will eventually come back, virtual events and experiences will help so many companies, employees and clients to be a part of an important event if they cannot make a flight or have to be mindful of their travel budget that year.

8 Advantages of Hosting A Virtual Event

We’ve only just touched on some of the benefits of hosting a virtual event. Let’s do a deep dive into how virtual events and experiences can help your business in the long run.

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1. Cost effective

Hosting a virtual event might help your business to save money due to the reduced cost of putting on the event. When going virtual, you can save money on staff, setup and take down costs, hotels, travel, meals and so much more. Companies have found virtual events to be 75% less expensive overall. The only cost you have is the event platform you choose to go with and any additional features to enhance the over virtual event experience.

2. Saves time

Virtual events save the host time by eliminating the process of researching and choosing vendors for meals, hotels and travel logistics. Planners can then focus on booking their speakers as well as creating and designing the virtual experience for the attendees. On the other hand, attendees are also able to save time that they would otherwise spend on travel for the event if it’s held in another country. All that is required is a stable internet connection and attendees can log on from anywhere.

3. Reach a wider and larger audience 

Who wouldn't want the ability to reach an unlimited audience? Say goodbye to worrying about audience capacity at a venue because with virtual events, your reach just got a lot wider. Without this capacity limitation, your event can be attended by anyone who has an internet connection. With a good internet connection, you can reach about 100,000 people. The networking opportunities are endless!

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4. Global reach

Not only can you reach an audience who is sitting across the country but you might even pique the interest of potential attendees from across the globe with your virtual event. Imagine the possibilities that come with this wide reach! With the added bonus of being able to attend from home, you're about to get a lot more sign-ups for your event.

5. Event data and feedback

From attendees having to register online, you can collect information that can help you improve and plan your future events. You can see how many people attended the event, what their engagement and activity was, who they were most interested in listening to and more. Measuring the engagement of your attendees is a great way to ensure success for your future events since you are able to truly understand what your audience is looking for and cater future experiences towards their interests.

6. Innovative experience

Virtual events are still a new phenomenon and companies are still figuring out the best way to host events. You have the opportunity to be the most innovative company out there and wow your clients with your event. Your business can create a special and personalized feel to your event and improve the networking ability of your attendees. With various virtual event platform features, you can theme your events by hosting a wine tasting and sending wine to your attendees, add a cool space theme element to your conference or customize your offices to really make your meeting or event have a unique touch. 

7. Enhances value to sponsors and exhibitors

There is so much value that comes out of virtual events, especially when it comes to sponsors and exhibitors. Why? Because sponsors and exhibitors are able to collect data on who visited their booths, what attendees were interested in learning about, how many times someone looked into their products and so much more. 

8. Flexible and convenient

You can’t beat the flexibility of logging on from anywhere, even if you’re relaxing at the beach! Your audience will love the fact that they can sign on from the comfort of their couches. Additionally, they are also able to save on costs and time that usually comes with commuting to an event.

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Ready to Host Your Next Virtual Event?

With so many advantages to hosting virtual events, giving this innovative solution a shot is a no-brainer. As you come up with strategies on how to incorporate virtual meetings and events, you are taking strides in improving your employees’, clients’ and your target audiences’ experiences. Let's start planning your virtual event today!

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