5 Design Tips for Great Virtual Events
Digital screens have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. As a result, whether we think about it this way or not, these screens have...
Just like sitcom producers have to choose between a single-camera or a multiple-camera setup, you’ve got some setup decisions to consider too. Do you go 100% virtual? If so, do you take the webinar route and show slides and video only? Or, do you embrace the TED model and broadcast live or pre-recorded speakers? And what about your audience? Should everyone log on from home at once? Or do we want pockets of audience gathering in small groups? These questions are, for now, rhetorical. But these are the design conversations we should be having.
In the virtual approach, your audience isn’t bound by etiquette. They are unsupervised and surrounded by distractions. This means your storytelling approach must adapt accordingly. Keeping things tight, keeping things moving, and staying one step ahead of the audience should be top of mind when crafting your run of show. Embrace short-form storytelling models like Pecha Kucha, sketch formats, and interstitial “commercial” breaks. And keep in mind that no one likes reading, except that guy whose glasses broke in that one Twilight Zone episode. And poor him.
As we think about decreasing our total running time and segment lengths, let’s think about increasing interactivity and ways for your viewing audience to participate and feel heard. Perhaps presenters stick around for a live Q&A. Maybe you embrace a technology platform that allows for virtual breakout rooms. Could be that you pepper live polling moments into your content flow. As popular as bingewatching is, that doesn’t fly too well here without some way to generate audience activity.
Speaking in a live space is different from speaking in a virtual one. Crowds don’t feel the same as cameras. Consider retraining any speakers who are used to doing it live so they can feel comfortable and confident in a studio setting. Trusting a director to establish a vision for the show, and following best practices for delivery accordingly, can help avoid the feeling that your virtual event feels a little off. It need not be someone wearing puffy pants and holding a giant megaphone. But it does need to be someone who can focus your event with a clear creative vision.
Deep down, we all know what works on screen. This new world of virtual engagement really isn’t all that new when you think about it. Sure, virtual engagement technology is advancing every day. It can be tough to keep up with that. But really all the new tech is doing is broadening our tool set. At its core, this is an exercise in leveraging tricks from the media we all grew up with. So, to get your head around how to craft effective virtual presentations, go watch a TED Talk or spend some time with Netflix. Easiest homework ever.
Considering a virtual event or engagement? Our team of creative strategists, content creators, and technology experts can help your brand maintain competency and credibility in times of pivot. Contact us to learn more about our virtual offerings – we’re happy to talk with you!