The virtual event has become increasingly popular in recent years due to concerns about personal safety and the need for increased security at public gatherings. Virtual events allow attendees to stay safe while still being able to participate remotely, without putting themselves or their employer at risk of harm.
Virtual events offer many benefits for both attendees and organizers, but what is a virtual event? Let’s explore exactly what makes an event virtual and some of the pro’s and con’s of such an event.
What is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event is an online gathering that allows people who are unable to attend a physical conference in person–either because they live too far away from where it’s happening or there are other reasons preventing them from attending–to be present virtually via video chat software such as Skype or Zoom.
The virtual event is usually held in a chat room or video conferencing software and may include presentations from speakers as well as discussions between participants taking place at their individual computers. Some people also use screen share technology to show slideshows, images, videos, webinars etc., which allow remote viewers see what’s being displayed on their computer screens and take part in a more interactive way. Attendees will often have an opportunity to ask questions during presentations while still able to hear responses from other members of the group via audio connection such as Skype call or Zoom videoconference. Virtual events are often recorded for later playback and may also be archived to a website or blog.
Virtual events are organized in much the same way as physical conferences with some common features including:
– Presentations by speakers on relevant topics,
– Discussions among attendees taking place at their individual computers,
– Audio connection such as Skype call or Zoom videoconference, and
– Recorded event that can be played back after it’s over.
Virtual events do not usually have any live audience members (other than those who would participate remotely) so there is no need to worry about security concerns like someone throwing something harmful from behind the stage or running out onto the front of an elevated podium, unless your event is a hybrid.
What is a Hybrid Event?
Another type of virtual event that you might have seen, particularly with industry conferences and summits that might have previously been completely in-person, is the “hybrid.” What does that mean? It means that there will be both a physical component to the event and a virtual experience.
For example, if you’re attending an education summit in New York City, they might say that for the first two days of this week’s conference “your sessions are going to happen virtually via Zoom with speakers from all around the world joining us on video chat sessions remotely–so you don’t have to travel anywhere! But then starting next Wednesday we’ll also have some time-limited events happening at our designated hotel location so attendees can come together face-to-face as well.”
Are hybrid events better?
This really depends on what you’re looking for. Virtual conferences are great if you want to participate from a distance, and they can be more interactive than traditional ones by giving participants the ability to chat with one another at any point during the event–not just when someone is talking or presenting.
On the other hand, hybrid events can offer attendees an opportunity to meet in person as well as share virtual experiences online. It’s all about what matters most to each individual attendee!
Benefits of Virtual Events
Virtual events are much cheaper to produce than physical ones because the only costs for organizers is software and a video camera. Virtual events can be accessed at any time, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection which means that even if you’re not able to attend your own event, it’s possible to either watch live or catch up on recordings later after the fact. Virtual Events allow both attendees and presenters more flexibility when scheduling their schedules as they don’t have restrictions based on local geography.
Virtual events offer many benefits for both parties involved:
- For attenders, virtual events eliminate travel expenses while still allowing them access to speakers remotely;
- For conference planners, virtual events provide increased security by removing people who might try to cause harm from the event.
- Virtual events are also cost effective because they don’t require the purchase of an expensive venue, catering or any other physical needs that traditional conferences do.
For those who work from home full time, virtual gatherings provide them with an opportunity to participate remotely without having to travel long distances (or take time off) so they never miss out on important meetings–no matter where they live!
Disadvantages of Virtual Events
The main disadvantage to Virtual Events is a lack in interaction between attendees and presenters. Virtual Conferences offer little chance for networking opportunities which can be problematic if you’re looking for business connections. Another drawback is not being able to physically meet with new contacts at the conference if one party attends virtually while the other does not;
Virtual events also come with a higher risk of technical difficulties, such as freezes or lag time. Virtual presenters must be prepared to deal with these issues and have back up plans in place should they occur.
Though virtual gatherings can certainly provide some benefits for both attendees and organizers–especially those who live too far away from the event or cannot attend due to other reasons–they don’t offer many opportunities for networking which is often one of the most valuable aspects of conferences. Virtual Events can run into problems if there are any technological difficulties that cause delays because presenters need to plan ahead before hand so they’re always prepared when something goes wrong!
Fortunately, savvy virtual event strategists know exactly how to mitigate these disadvantages and turn them into advantages, particularly when it comes to virtual event engagement and networking.
Virtual Event Platforms
Given the wide range of types of virtual events, what are some of the tools and platforms that help put on virtual events?
- Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams can all work! Zoom also has full summit capability.
- Airmeet – recommended!
- Run The World
What’s great about virtual events is that event coordinators can be creative and innovated in their use of available technology to build an experience that will interest and engage their audience.
For instance, an organization could host a virtual event within a Facebook Group using the built-in Event and live video components to stream content.
We’ll cover the available technology and platform options in more detail in other articles and platform reviews.
Virtual events allow people who are unable to physically attend an event, either because it’s too far away or other reasons, to participate remotely. Virtual events are cheaper and don’t require the purchase of an expensive venue as well as reducing travel expenses for attendees since they can watch live or catch up on recordings later after the fact–all you need is a computer that has access to internet! Virtual gatherings also offer many benefits for both parties involved: For attenders, virtual events eliminate travel expenses while still allowing them access to speakers remotely;
For conference planners, virtual events provide increased security by removing people who might try to cause harm from the event. Virtual Events come with some disadvantages though such as lack in interaction between attendees and presenters which can be problematic if one party attends virtually while another does not. There’s also a higher risk of technical difficulties and Virtual presenters need to be prepared with back up plans set in place should anything happen. Virtual Events are a great way for those who cannot physically attend an event because it’s too far away or they have other reasons not to, can still participate remotely!
If you feel like you still have questions, and want to make sure you put on the best event possible, consider scheduling a virtual event intensive.