Let’s meet! Virtually, in-person, or somewhere in between?

May 24, 2022
Digital Transformation

The love/hate relationship with virtual events and what can be done to deliver better experience

Credit: Shutterstock/Fizkes

The United States seem to have a love/hate relationship with video conferencing. Almost everyone has used it (or at least 81%, according to the Pew Research Center) but few seem to relish the experience. Many formerly in-person events from team meetings to conferences transitioned to virtual events and many companies seem conflicted on if, when or how they can get everyone back to the office. So, will virtual events continue to thrive and, if so, can they deliver better experiences?

Those are the questions posed to a panel (yes, virtual) of implementers, consultants, and influencers who seemed more than happy to participate in a May 19 #IDGTechtalk Twitter chat, moderated by Isaac Sacolick @nyike and sponsored by @GlobalNTT. Here’s a sampling of their views:

Virtual events have afforded me opportunities to attend talks that I wouldn’t have been able to make normally. I have a love/hate relationship with virtual events. #IDGTECHtalk
Will Kelly@willkelly

Right, love the flex but the lost human connection is evident in virtual “fatigue” #IDGTECHtalk
Adam Stein@apstein2

Some pointed out that we’ve only scratched the surface on the potential of this medium.

It must be remembered that our experience with virtual events to date has been with “virtual chat technology version 1.0” which is like judging the entire internet on a Netscape page from 1992. #IDGTECHtalk
Steven M Prentice@StevenPrentice

Virtual event platforms & events matured at an incredible rate. For the most part, I enjoy them now. Still very concerned about large, in-person gatherings & stories of folks knowingly attending while positive w/o masks. #idgtechtalk

Is it even possible to stuff that virtual Genie back into its lamp?

While live events will come back to certain extent, I do not think they will ever attain their old volume. There is far too much convenience in the virtual events, and we have seen that life does not get affected if people do not meet. #IDGTechTalk
Ashish Belagali@belagali17

Room to grow virtually

If virtual conferencing is here for the duration, TechTalkers would like to see event organizations make some improvements.

They need to make them more engaging. As it’s much easier to tune-out & get distracted at a virtual event. To get them more impactful, minimize the marketing fluff & provide good, actionable information to the attendee. #IDGTECHtalk
Ben Rothke@benrothke

If your virtual meeting is the exact copy of a physical meeting then you need to rethink. For virtual, get to the point quickly and make it easier for people to collaborate virtually. Maybe have a post-meeting document that people can access anytime. #idgtechtalk
Arsalan Khan @ArsalanAKhan

Short sessions, 2-3 people on panels, make best attempt that speakers (esp employees) have equipment/space/network for broadcast, and don’t even bother gamifying participation. Did I mention short sessions? #IDGTECHtalk
Isaac Sacolick@nyike

What to banish

There are some virtual event experiences panelists are eager to consign to the scrap heap of history.

Those that require you to create an avatar and navigate to the specific sessions, & exhibit hall. It’s a poor attempt to mimic the real-world experience. And only ends up being invasive & fake. It’s trite & I really don’t like that approach. #IDGTECHtalk
Ben Rothke@benrothke

While I understand the need to say “let’s take it offline” but this gives the impression that what the person asked isn’t important and assumes that others don’t need to know the answer. #idgtechtalk
Arsalan Khan @ArsalanAKhan

What to enhance

There are some must-haves, according to the TechTalkers:

AR! Every slide should carry a QR code. for interaction, QA and download. #IDGTechtalk.
Joanne Friedman@joannefriedman

A4. Must have: a great place to socialize. #IDGTECHtalk
Steven M Prentice@StevenPrentice

One foot in, one foot out?

Ok, so some folks are in the office, some full-time at home, and others mix it up. Is this hybrid world going to dictate event management?

The challenge for #HybridEvent #strategy is to achieve both in-person and #virtual #audiences to be engaged. #Organizations can make #hybridevents successful by ensuring that both types of audiences are engaged. 1/2 #idgtechtalk.@IDGTechTalk.@GlobalNTT #FutureofWork #Digital
Elitsa Krumova@Eli_Krumova

I wonder if the “hybrid model” will bring together the bad points of both. #IDGTECHtalk
Ashish Belagali@belagali17

But some hybrid virtual event venues just don’t seem viable:

Virtual Hawaii is a cruel place 🙂 #IDGTECHtalk
Adam Stein@apstein2

Go to @IDGTechtalk for more insights and check out to NTTGlobal to stay on top of digital collaboration.