Why Emotions Matter in Virtual Events
“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” – Walt Disney
When you hear the word, “virtual events,” what is the first image or phrase that comes to mind? Technology, computer screens, conference call speakerphones, putting your phone on mute? Virtual events often are discussed in the realm of technology, communications and business efficiency – after all, they are an exceptionally fast, efficient and cost-effective method for sharing information and training.
However, this is too narrow and simplistic of a conception of what virtual events can be. The truth is, at their best, digital events are not about technology, they’re about emotion. digital events have the potential to make an impact on the senses and touch the hearts of people. Digital events do not have to be merely a technological exercise or an exchange of information; they can be a powerful emotional experience.
Technology (like virtual events) is not the opponent of emotional connection; if anything, technology is expanding the possibilities for how people can create emotional connections online. For anyone who uses Facebook, it’s no secret that online communications technology has the power to bring people together in new and unexpected ways. Have you ever felt happy (or sad) upon hearing the latest news from a far-away Facebook friend? Have you ever laughed or cried while watching a movie? Just because we are interacting with each other via computer screens, doesn’t mean it is impossible to create emotional bonds and emotional resonance.
In fact, if you want to create a virtual event that will have lasting impact on your audience (and generate significant results for your organization), making sure that your event delivers emotional impact is more important than ever before.
Here are a few key ideas for creating emotional impact at your next digital event:
- Put customers in the right frame of mind: Setting the mood for a virtual event starts with the earliest planning stages. Deciding on a theme, choosing a date and sending invitations all are part of what should be a comprehensive strategy for promoting the digital event. Every communication you send via e-mail or social media needs to be part of a consistent “tone of voice” that appeals to your audience’s emotions as well as their intellect. Reinforce the overarching mission and purpose of the event, as well as the intricate details of the schedule and subject matter: focus on the “why” instead of merely the “what.”
- Make the best use of imagery: Too often, digital events focus on delivering information (i.e., lists of bullet points in a slide show) rather than conveying emotion. Imagery – like photos, cartoons, artwork and videos – is often the most powerful way to incisively transmit a message. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” after all. Rather than clutter up the screen with too much text, make time to create “breathing room” for the imagery that is part of the digital event presentation. Don’t rely on stock photos – keep it real and authentic. If you’re sharing testimonials from people who have taken your organization’s training program, show actual photos of the alumni. If you’re raising money for a children’s art program, show actual scanned images of artwork made by children you’ve helped.
- Create beneficial interactions between users: Attendees don’t come to digital events just to listen to speakers or read information, they come to network and create new connections with other people. Is your digital events platform up to the task, or are your audience members limited merely to simple exchanges of “smiley faces” and short text-based messages? Solutions providers like Social27 can help create a robust digital events platform that delivers a more engaging, interactive user experience.
- Use emotional profiling during the event: One of the traditional ways to measure audience feedback (before, during or after a digital event) is the survey. However, there are limitations to using surveys. Audience members aren’t always completely candid. Some surveys are poorly designed (with too many questions or too vaguely worded questions), making it hard to gather well-focused, actionable feedback. Audience members might forget to fill out a survey until after the event is over, when their initial impressions have faded. The best way to get up-to-the-minute feedback to see what is working (and what needs to be improved) with your digital event is the mood-o-meter from Social27, where attendees share their feedback in real time.
When you plan your next digital event, don’t limit your thought process to issues of “technology” alone. From day 1 of the planning stages, through the post-event feedback gathering, always pay attention to how you are facilitating and responding to the emotions of your audience. People respond to your digital event (and decide whether to buy what you’re selling) not only with their minds, but with their hearts.
Host your own digital event:
Interested in hosting your own digital event? Social27 has been enabling organizations across all industries and sizes to host their own engaging digital events since 2010.
The Social27 Virtual 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.