The Virtue of Virtual: Some Events Still Thrive Online

by Genesis Celis, Nareatech and Alex Rogers, Scaling Intimacy

 

As we near the fourth anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reflecting on our sudden global shift to virtual platforms, like Zoom, to connect with colleagues, hold meetings and gather as a teams.

But now, as organizations figure out their new normal, the question on everyone’s minds is: Do we stick with virtual or dive back into in-person gatherings? 🧐

When the pandemic hit, we all quickly adapted and learned virtual facilitation with new tools. We had a global collective learning like never before. These virtual platforms provided a much-needed solution during uncertain times, and they couldn’t fully replicate the magic of some in-person interactions. 

While we cherish the richness of in-person connections, it’s essential to not forget what virtual events have taught us. They’ve introduced us to new tools and experiences that continue to be relevant and make some types of gatherings even better.

It’s not about favoring one over the other; it’s about embracing the unique virtues of each and using the event format that best meets your audience and learning goals.

Rediscovering the Value of Virtual Events Amidst the Return to In-Person

Let’s take a closer look at 3 reasons why virtual events are worth being a part of your toolkit. 

1. 🤝 Inclusion and Accessibility 

Virtual events promote inclusion by breaking down geographical barriers and bringing together people from all corners of the globe. In a world where travel can be challenging and expensive, virtual events provide a level playing field for everyone to participate, regardless of their location. Tools like closed captions, automated transcripts, screen readers, and adjustable video and audio settings make participating in virtual events more accessible for people with a variety of needs. 

Moreover, virtual events are not only kinder to our wallets but also to the environment 🌎 🌱. By eliminating the need for travel and reducing the resources required for hosting. This sustainability aspect aligns with the growing awareness of our business impact on the planet.

2. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Breakout Rooms: A Game-Changer

Small discussions with the breakout rooms sessions offer flexibility and scalability that is unmatched at in-person events. We can easily create and manage multiple mini-sessions to accommodate diverse topics and interests. The breakout experience in Zoom enables facilitators to easily mix and match participants in an intentional way and control the length of those conversations. This allows you to have multiple small group discussions, without risking losing control of your agenda. 

3. ✅ Monitoring the Participant Experience 

Virtual platforms offer valuable insights into participant experience and tools for engagement through attendance metrics, real-time feedback, reactions, quizzes and polls. Event hosts have quick access to invaluable data to check-in with your audience and respond in real time to their needs. The chat allows you to hear from everyone in the room at one time, and cultivate meaningful learning between participants. 

 

Maximizing Virtual Events 🖱️

While in-person gatherings might be preferred for many types of events, virtual events have solidified themselves as important tools for many teams. They can complement in-person events and be particularly beneficial for: 

  • Small group check-ins for cohort-based learning experiences 
  • Cross-cultural/international groups 
  • Kick-off gatherings before in-person programs like retreats and offsites 
  • Integration, reflection and “post-mortems” after in-person meetings or projects 
  • Ongoing learning and training for distributed teams

And of course, virtual is still the primary way that distributed, remote and hybrid teams communicate and gather. 

As you are preparing to lead your next event or team gathering, be sure to ask the question – which format would best amplify the outcomes I am hoping for and create the best experience for my audience?

Virtual might still have a role, even for in-person teams! 😉

 


 

To support facilitators who are creating compelling virtual events, we’re excited to introduce our new video series in partnership with Nareatech,  “Maximizing Zoom for Interactive Experiences.” This series offers essential tips for mastering Zoom, boosting engagement, and incorporating multimedia for dynamic gatherings. Whether you lead meetings alone or want to improve your skills, this course caters to your Zoom needs and enhances your virtual events.

This mini-course is great for people who lead Zoom meetings alone, have trouble keeping up with new Zoom features, and want to make their meetings more fun and interactive. If you want to use technology to make your virtual meetings more exciting, this course is perfect for you. 🤓

 

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About the Author

At Nareatech, we see ourselves as your partners in crafting seamless and memorable virtual experiences. With a blend of creativity, experience design, and meticulous attention to detail, we ensure your sessions go smoothly, allowing you to fully engage with your audience. Follow us at: nareatech.substack.com/