Virtual events are just like in-person events, except when they aren’t… 

Over the course of their careers, most business people have the opportunity to attend dozens of conferences and hundreds of customer meetings. For most of these travelers, the process of participating in an in-person event becomes a largely subconscious process. While some attendees will take the time to schedule formal side meetings, many realize that it is simply easier to connect on the event floor or at a more social location outside of the main event. As a result, when the time comes to attend their first virtual event, many attendees assume that all they need to do is show up and that the rest will take care of itself. The reality is a bit more complicated.  

In terms of capabilities, virtual events are every bit as effective as in-person events in terms of sharing information, providing attendee networking opportunities, and developing new skills. But, in order to get the most from virtual events, attendees need to take a more proactive and conscious approach. Following are my top five tips for virtual event attendees. Of course, many of these apply to the in-person events world as well, but, they are especially important online, where there are fewer opportunities for organic interaction.  

Top 5 tips for virtual event attendees 

Don’t be shy. Reach out and touch someone – At an in-person event, there are numerous opportunities to meet socially with partners, customers, and other attendees. At a virtual event, connecting is simple, but, it requires you to make the first move. Most virtual events today have a networking lounge where you can talk to other attendees via chat, email, or message board.  Many services will also allow you to filter through the list of attendees to find just the ones you want in terms of location, job role, or interest. 

Don’t forget to have fun with games and prizes  The best virtual events offer games and other interactive activities. In addition to giving you the opportunity to win prizes, these activities are designed to help you to experience everything that the event has to offer. For example, Social27’s game platform rewards attendees for posting content, engaging with other attendees, going to sessions, and providing feedback. Participating is not only fun… it will help you to get the most from the event.  

Make yourself heard – Virtual event organizers spend a considerable amount of time building in mechanisms to allow you to provide feedback on your event experience. Unlike at an in-person event, these mechanisms give presenters the opportunity to adjust their presentations in real-time. They also provide the opportunity for you to ask any question that you have on your mind. As a result, it is often productive to come to the event with a list of any burning questions that you want to ask. 

Keep your profile up to date – When you first sign up for an event, it’s often tempting to provide as little information as possible. At an in-person event, this might make sense since much of the information is used for marketing purposes. But, at a virtual event, your profile is deeply tied into your event experience. Not only can content be customized based on your profile and preferences, but, any social matchmaking (connecting you with other attendees) will also be linked to the information that you provide.  

Be proactive and join the conversation – Virtual events are anything but passive experiences; not only can you participate in discussions, but, you can often post your own videos or other content. By participating in the conversation directly, you enhance the event experience for other attendees and position yourself as someone who others will want to connect with 

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” – Tony Robbins 

For many virtual event attendees, the tendency is to move through the experience anonymously, viewing content, but, otherwise remaining invisible. This is a pity because virtual events provide much more than information sharing; they provide a deeply customized platform for building relationships, sharing opinions, and participating in communities. But, in order to get the most from virtual events, attendees must take a proactive approach. Virtual event attendees must become a part of the experience.  

Host your own digital event: 

Interested in hosting your own virtual event? Social27 has been enabling organizations across all industries and sizes to host their own engaging virtual events since 2010. 

The Social27 Digital Events platform brings the best of content streaming, networking with rich profiles, digital sponsor pavilions, lead generation, gamification with points and badges, AI chatbot support and deep analytics powered by machine learning.