Online tech events have opened a whole new world of world-class content, speakers and communities. Organising an event, however, has just become more challenging: From networking to attention spans and cutting through the noise - your audience experience needs attention. At OfferZen, we’ve played with a few different formats over the past 18 months. Here’s what we’ve learned.
Create an experience
With online events, it becomes even more important to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and focus on the experience you’re creating for them. Do you have a proper flow or agenda? Are you creating opportunities for them to be part of the conversation by using polls and Q&As strategically throughout the event? Is your event too long or part of your agenda too short? Think about how you would feel attending an online event and shape yours accordingly.
Be creative - but stay true to your community’s end goal
Online events offer many opportunities to create interesting events and play with different formats. With all the creative options available when it comes to content, platforms and interactivity, make sure you’re still helping your community connect around the original goal. Whether it’s learning how to code, connecting with underrepresented people in tech, or unpacking the newest tech updates, your event should enable your north star. So don’t get too caught up making attendees virtual avatars!
Speaker presentations matter more
Unfortunately, when all you can see on a screen is a badly designed presentation and a speaker’s face really tiny in the corner, it’s easy for an attendee to get distracted. Help your speakers tell a story. Presentations should be designed, considered and take attendees on a journey. Heavy text filling a screen is a big no go.
Be conscious of time differences
Online events break the barriers (or borders) that physical events create. Just be conscious that you may have people dialling in from anywhere in the world. This is hard though, especially if you are targeting specific locations - you can’t really control who registers for your event.
If you are focused on a certain time zone, try and have the talks available to replay after, so that more can access the content and not have to wake up at 1am.
Too much is… too much
Platforms with all the fancy bells and whistles can actually be more distracting for an attendee. Consider what you actually want attendees to be able to access and give them that. Everything else is a bonus. Oh, and make sure attendees know how to use it and get what they need. Usually having a demo or a human to guide, on the side, is a big win if anyone gets stuck.
Get feedback and iterate
You may have been running events for the entirety of the pandemic or only recently starting exploring the online space as lockdown continues. Either way, as with all things tech make sure you’re constantly improving your product. Get feedback from your attendees and action the useful bits. Set up follow-up chats if you need more context or to better understand feedback. In this way, you are involving your community in making online events work for them.