Pivoting to a virtual and hybrid event strategy is a wonderful way to expand your reach and make your events more accessible to more attendees. Ensure that everyone who attends fully enjoys your event content and activities by making your virtual event inclusive to people of all genders, backgrounds, and abilities.

Here are nine steps you can take while planning a virtual event to make it a more positive and inclusive experience.

Select an Easy-to-Use Social Convention Platform

When choosing your event platform, do not overlook accessibility. People with disabilities will want to interact with your material, presenters, and sponsors regardless of your event’s intended audience.

Web accessibility is a major concern. Your chosen event platform should meet WCAG guidelines for online accessibility for people with disabilities. The key principles of WCAG focus on making content:

• Notice: Supply text alternatives and captions for non-text content and multimedia; make it easier for users to see and hear content (font size, color contrast, etc.), including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.

• Feasible: Help users navigate, find, and consume content using keyboards and non-keyboard inputs.

• Graspable: Make content readable, understandable, and appear/work in predictable ways.

• Fit: Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.

Ask about captioning, chat and communications accessibility, and platform support for accessibility-related concerns throughout the event. You should also work to make your event website and social media postings accessible by following WCAG for your website and incorporating captions and alt text for all video and image postings.

Make Use of Welcoming Terminology

Be considerate of your language and encourage your speakers to use inclusive language as well. Using gender-neutral pronouns and greetings can be more inclusive. For example, instead of saying “Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen,” a speaker could begin their gathering by saying “Welcome Everyone.”

Invite attendees to specify their preferred pronouns – but do not require them. Some attendees may not feel comfortable sharing their preferred pronouns, particularly if they are not out as transgender or non-binary. Giving guests the choice to choose their preferred names, on the other hand, proves your commitment to creating an open and inclusive atmosphere.

Encourage a Wide Range of Guests

Engaging speakers from diverse backgrounds and cultures will bring diverse and interesting perspectives to your sessions.

Hosting panels is a wonderful way to bring multiple thought leaders together to offer different opinions, experiences, and knowledge around key topics. Build panels of speakers with different racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender expressions, career trajectories, beliefs, and life experiences. This gives the sessions more depth and enables attendees to buy a better grasp of the ideas and problems being addressed.

At the very least, your speakers should reflect the diversity of your attendees.

There are many amazing speakers out there, so spend some time looking for new speakers rather than consistently using the same people. Collaborate with presenters who are females, folks of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, or representatives of other marginalized communities and agencies.

Evaluate making time for and make use of on-demand content.

Everyone’s timetable is unique, and one of the best aspects of virtual activities is the freedom they provide. Be sure to build adequate breaks throughout the event schedule. Zoom fatigue is a problem for many virtual event attendees, but fatigue is also a common symptom of many disabling conditions. Building in breaks will help with attendee engagement. It also helps those with disabilities or childcare responsibilities avoid missing event content if they need to step away.

Event owners can also choose to make event content available for on-demand viewing after the session. This is helpful for attendees that cannot attend the full event day due to medical conditions, family duties, scheduling conflicts, or other issues that arise. On-demand content is also helpful for people who want to revisit the event content or may have missed some of the information due to auditory processing challenges, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, or other challenges presented by medical conditions.

Debates and moderated talks

Moderating session chats, social media comments, and in-platform event communications will help you keep a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for your speakers and attendees. You want to ease thought-provoking conversations throughout your event – and that can lead to some friendly debates and the sharing of many different perspectives. It should not lead to hateful, violent, or discriminatory speech, however.

Program Enrollment on a Descending Basis

Many people have had a difficult two years, and while the economy is improving, some participants may not be able to afford expensive event registration fees. To address this issue, event organizers have been offering sliding scale event fees, donation-based or pay-as-you-want registration, or a possibility on their registration page to request free admission if they have faced financial difficulties over the past year. Alternatively, you could charge regular prices but offer scholarships to those who need them.

Whether this possibility is necessary may depend on your event’s purpose. Education and training workshops or events may be able to help many people by offering a discounted entry option. B2B events and trade shows may want to continue to charge regular registration fees.

Keep questions and answers comprehensive.

Whenever you incorporate attendees into your sessions or content, be mindful of which attendees you are selecting to highlight or speak. On Social27 Virtual Event Platform, speakers and moderators can use Social27 Stream to invite attendees to join the video session to ask their questions on camera. This is a fantastic opportunity to encourage attendee participation. Be sure to include a diverse group of attendees to ask questions and consider the order in which you select attendee questions. For example, if you are hosting a session at a conference in a male-dominated industry, inviting a woman to join the stream to ask the first question may help encourage more women to feel comfortable joining and speaking.

Places that are both secure and welcoming

To ensure that all events hosted by Social27 are safe and inclusive spaces and adhere to the communication policies set by event organizers, attendees can flag chats sent by other users that they consider to be inappropriate, offensive, or abusive. If the material is considered harmful, moderators may decide to remove it. To best make use of this

For example, an HR conference could run a session on recognizing unconscious bias or improving diversity in recruiting. Additionally, acknowledging important social and cultural movements or events going on at the time of the virtual event can add a human element to your events. In 2020, some event owners chose to dedicate time during their events to acknowledge George Floyd’s passing and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

When planning virtual events, it is important to prioritize inclusivity and accessibility for all attendees.

At our virtual event platform, Social27, we take inclusivity and accessibility very seriously. We strive to help event owners create welcoming events that prioritize attendee safety and accessibility.

Whether you are hosting a virtual conference, hybrid event, or online seminar, data analytics can play a key role in ensuring business success. By analyzing attendee engagement and behavior, you can find areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to improve the attendee experience and drive business success.

As a B2B marketing strategy, virtual events can be highly effective in generating leads, building brand awareness, and nurturing customer relationships. You can set up your business as a thought leader in your industry and connect with prospective clients in a more personal and engaging manner by holding seminars or other virtual events.