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Looking into the future: Virtual events

by Managing Virtual Teams on May 19, 2014
Business

Some companies like Johnson & Johnson, Monster, British Council, WorkingAbroad, Knauf and Hewlett-Packard have already started doing virtual events. But why? They save money and the social interactions are great and green!

What is a virtual event?

It is a conference, a congress, a fair, a press release, lecture or even a fundraiser that is done entirely online using a virtual platform that lets you interact with the other participants like you were truly there, giving it a real “event” feel.

What benefits do virtual events bring?

It is becoming trendy to organize virtual events, not only for big companies but for companies of all sizes. Some of the benefits they bring are:

  • Less costs for both the organising company and the attendees. No hotel rooms, no flights, no lunches.
  • Networking made easy: easier communication with customers and partners ending with more business relations.
  • Events are easier to target, and to follow up with the participants.
  • More attendance. And some of the meetings and lectures can be attended after the event, there will be no or less interaction but at least you don’t miss anything!
  • You optimise your resources to the max.
  • Event signups are easily converted into future marketing channels, like newsletters, social media, etc.
  • Green, no need to print tones of brochures. In a virtual event you give them to people in pdf format and they will print them if they need to.

3 examples of successful virtual events:

Proz 5 day virtual event

In 2013 I attended the 5 day virtual events series organized by Proz.com, a translator and agency platform used by more than half a million translation professionals. Some of the events included Boot Camps for translators, Software demonstrations, recruitment sessions and a Networking Marathon.

Why does this event make sense? Because most of the translation professionals are freelancers that don’t have a meeting place in their professional life. Proz provided them with a 5 day platform to attend classes, recycle and expand their knowledge and interact with each other.

Roche Diabetes Care Center Event

A strictly non-online company, the Pharmaceutical Laboratories Roche hold their annual Diabetes Care Center online. In this meeting all the employees of the Care Center participate in virtual meetings via live stream about the company strategies done by Senior Managers, specific team activities and networking.

Why does this event make sense? It allows fluent communication between the global and the country organizations. During the speeches by the senior managers the entire worldwide audience can ask questions and receive answers directly from senior management.

Shakira’s baby shower

On the personal side of examples, Shakira threw a World Virtual Baby Shower donating all the presents to Unicef. This one was not very interactive yet, but I anticipate that in the future these baby showers will have live music and participation with interaction with fans of the celebrities that organise them. This idea is perfect for moms that live abroad and want to be in touch with their friends back home for this special day!

Why haven’t you attended any yet?

Because they are something new. It takes a kind of company to want to try something as new as a virtual event. If you think that it makes sense for your business to organise one, do so! The possibilities are endless now that technology has made them possible and their shape depends on your creativity! Make them fun!

Here’s some ideas:

  • Congress
  • Seminar
  • Product release
  • Trade show
  • Board of directors
  • Employee meeting
  • Birthday
  • Fundraiser

Have you attended some? What was your experience?

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

Anna Danés
Anna worked in the web sector before founding Ricaris have a nice day (www.ricaris.com) in 2009, a successful services company providing distributed solutions for companies in the web sector. Managing Virtual Teams (www.managing-virtual-teams.com) is a new consulting product bringing together all of the experience across the distributed teams of Ricaris, and putting it into bite-sized courses, virtual team activities, and consulting packages. Follow Anna @virtualteams.

Managing Virtual Teams
Anna Danés worked with several Internet start-ups, across three different continents, before founding Ricaris (www.ricaris.com), a successful Internet services company. With her knowledge of managing remote staff, and her firm beliefs that companies are responsible for creating a better world and work environment, she has recently created Managing Virtual Teams, a consulting service for companies dealing with distributed staff.
 
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