Forget about long presentations
So you´ve been organizing the same conferences with similar speakers for a similar audience for the past 3, 5, or event 20 years.
Now COVID has been thrown into the mix and you are looking for the best way to deliver your conference in a virtual format.
The most obvious thing to do would be to run the same conference but just do it online – Simple
We have one piece of advice for you: Don´t. You will have wasted your time, money, and effort for nothing.
The online audience is different.
Yes, you’ve probably heard that before but here is the thing: It’s not just millennials that zone out after 15 minutes. It may just as well be your 40 or 60-year-old attendee who has been attending your events for the past 5 years and patiently watched the 90min long presentations who will turn off the video presentations after just 15 minutes. Maybe they won’t turn it off entirely, but will likely wander away – to check their mailbox, to make themselves a coffee, or to answer the doorbell.
No matter what it is – they have disengaged.
People behave differently online. No matter which generation they belong to. You need to respect and adjust accordingly if you don’t want to lose your audience.
Here are some tips to keep in mind, when planning out your next virtual conference:
- Cut down the length of presentations by 50%. What used to be a 45min presentation should turn into 20 or a maximum 25min presentation.
- Push your speakers to be far more efficient when delivering the content
- Push your speakers to interact with your audience – power-point presentations won´t fly well with virtual attendees. Live Q&A, polling, chat, reactions, or event questionnaires are great
- Include multiple breaks in the program. Twice as much as you would in real life. 5-15 minutes every 40-60 minutes will help to keep your audience mentally present.
- If you have 4h+ of content to be delivered during one day, it´s time to consider turning your formerly one-day event into multiple days.
- Make sure the content is relevant to ALL of your attendees. If during some presentations this is not the case, make sure to
- Either create the second track to provide an alternative to the remainder of your attendees.
- Or provide them with an alternative activity – visit the virtual exposition, attend the virtual round-tables or to network with one another.
- And finally – focus on the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) – don’t let your potential attendees think they don’t need to show up because they will get to watch the recording later. Don’t take us wrong – recordings are great and we definitely support this, but your potential attendees need to feel that it’s much better to be there for the live event during which they will get to interact.