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What Are Virtual Events? A Guide to Better Online Gatherings

Understanding Virtual Events & How to Enhance Online Gatherings in 2022

Organizing a virtual event takes time, effort, and patience. While you may not have to worry about things like food or decor, you need to make sure that your event platform works ahead of time and that no one will have trouble logging in. You need to create a followable agenda and let attendees know in advance what to expect. 

Learn about what virtual events are, why they’re getting more popular, and check out the different types of events you can use different event technology for below. 

Get in contact with The Sketch Effect, a dynamic team of graphic content creators that can help make your virtual meetings more enjoyable and visually engaging for attendees. 

What Are Virtual Events? 

Young man working from home office attending a virtual event

Virtual events are meetings, conferences, parties, and other networking opportunities that take place online. They are different from physical events or in-person events that take place in a physical location because attendees can be located anywhere and can access the event via a compatible electronic device and internet connection. 

Why Are Virtual Events Gaining Popularity? 

Virtual events have occurred since the advent of the telephone and video conferencing, but they have only recently seen exponential growth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, meetings that would normally take place in-person started to get held in chat rooms or on social media to accommodate social distancing and lockdown regulations.

As the pandemic has continued, all types of virtual events have been held in an effort to keep business from grinding to a complete halt. An online event keeps employees out of the office and on their devices at home, preventing the spread of illness in closed, confined spaces. In most cases, the same amount and type of work can be done, making it difficult to justify going back to physical events when COVID-19 restrictions are less stringent. 

Types of Virtual Events & Use Cases

Company enjoying virtual happy hour

Virtual Happy Hours 

Virtual happy hours are a great way to break the ice with a new team, mingle with clients, or help the office stay in touch when working remotely online. Unlike a structured meeting or presentation, employees can chat with one another, play games, and engage in other fun activities during an online happy hour. This is a great option for companies who like the happy hour concept but don’t want to be responsible for potentially inebriated guests. 

Virtual Meetings 

Virtual meetings can be just as effective as in-person conferences and come with the added bonus of keeping employees out of shared public spaces. Many employers think employees are more easily distracted during virtual meetings, but quite the opposite is true: many employees find it easier to concentrate on the material being presented during an online meeting than when meetings are attended in-person. Holding virtual conferences is also more cost-effective, particularly for larger companies. 

Live Polls 

A live poll is an online quiz, survey, or test that users engage in real-time to offer their opinions, answer questions, and provide feedback. A virtual live poll can be hosted alone or in conjunction with another online event, such as a meeting or virtual happy hour. This tool is extremely effective at getting attendees to engage with your event or to collect important data quickly, along with making an event more enticing to attend.

Trade Shows 

Trade show exhibit in Las Vegas

Trade shows were extremely difficult to hold at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many were canceled or rescheduled even into the following year. Virtual event platforms make it easier to create online tickets and post videos from the trade show while reducing the number of in-person attendees at a show. Some trade shows may be able to be held exclusively online, eliminating the need for an in-person event. 

Post-Event Highlights 

If you’ve held a trade show or in-person event and want to post highlights that attendees and people who weren’t able to make it to the live conference can enjoy, a virtual event platform is a great way to do that. It allows your company to post dynamic content in a private space, accessible only to those who have login credentials. This is a good option for trade shows and conferences that introduce new intellectual property or that need extra security.

Event Technology & Virtual Event Platforms 

Video conferencing requires good event technology and reliable virtual event platforms. You want to use an established, well-trusted event platform that isn’t known for glitches, errors, or user complaints. The application you choose should meet the needs of your business and your event, as well as the individual needs of the various users who will be signing onto the platform and using it.

Some of the most popular virtual conference applications include: 

Virtual Event Planning Tips for Virtual Conference Event Organizers

Graphic recording by The Sketch Effect about Remote Visual Notes

Hosting a virtual event can be challenging in many ways. Here are some great event planning tips for virtual conference event organizers. 

  • Log into the event ahead of time. Make sure there are no glitches when attendees go to sign up or sign in for your virtual meeting and, if there are, leave plenty of time in front of the meeting to fix any technical or connectivity issues. 
  • Send out a graphic agenda. Let attendees know what they can expect at your event and at approximately what time by sending out a graphic agenda ahead of time. You can even make this a video for maximum engagement. This is a great way to promote a longer online event where people can drop in and out as they please. 
  • Incorporate virtual graphic recording as a resource. Improve your online events by utilizing graphic recording to keep attendees engaged and to create dynamic content that can be repurposed on your website and social media accounts. 
  • Log on as an attendee. See what your attendees see so you know what to fix on your ends, such as titles, descriptions, photos, and other important features. 

Consider Visual Tools Like Graphic Recording to Boost Audience Engagement

Infographic about the science of visual communication

Virtual graphic recording is one of the best tools available to ensure that guests attending virtually get the most out of the event. With this service, an offsite Graphic Recorder joins your virtual meeting or event and sketches out the big ideas in real-time. This process facilitates better engagement, retention, and creates a memorable keepsake that can be shared after the event. From memorializing presentations by keynote speakers to visualizing brainstorming sessions, graphic recording is the best way to enhance virtual and hybrid events.  

Contact The Sketch Effect Today to Elevate Your Virtual Events & In-Person Gatherings

For more event planning tips or to discuss booking a graphic sketch artist for your next virtual meeting, contact The Sketch Effect today. 

We specialize in helping our clients maximize the value of their messaging by making ideas actionable and understandable. Learn more about other services we provide below.