What Makes a Great Virtual Event Manager?
Event manager = 1/3 mad scientist, 1/3 psychologist, 1/3 logistics expert.
Since digital events share many of the attributes of physical events, it makes sense to start by discussing some of the attributes of event managers in general. In many ways, events are like chemistry experiments – place a few thousand people in a large bowl (convention center), add training sessions and other content, sprinkle in a few pyrotechnics, throw in enough food to feed a small army and mix. If the event organizer has been successful, all the ingredients combine safely and seamlessly.
In my experience, all event managers share three attributes in common – passion, people skills and precision. Passion is critical for a number of reasons. First, it allows event managers to survive and thrive in a high-pressure business. Second, events often take on the character of event organizers, making their emotional states critical to motivating the other members of their team. People skills are equally important, as 50% of the success of any event (and probably much more!) comes down to the everyday negotiations, discussions and compromises that form the foundation of any event. Finally, event managers need to be precise in everything that they do, ensuring that every item (from the smallest box of t-shirts to the latest $100,000 sound system) arrive on time and work as planned.
Regardless of the type of event, the basics of passion, people skills and precision will form the core of any event manager’s success. However, as digital events gain in popularity, a new set of skills will be required to fully take advantage of this new medium. It is important to keep in mind that for each of the attributes below, Social27 and other platform providers have the specialized resources to make any digital events a success. But, to get the most from this type of partnership, developing the skills below will definitely help.
Virtual event management – we built this city on 1’s and 0’s
As digital and hybrid events have become a part of many companies’ marketing strategies, the need for digital event management has also increased. For the most part, corporate event managers have been asked to look after all events (online, physical and hybrid), although a few firms have hired digital event managers to look after their online efforts. Regardless of how digital events fit into the corporate structure, anyone looking to manage (or hire someone to manage) a digital event should consider the following skills and characteristics as a good starting point for success:
- Social networking expertise – Social networking applications like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are deeply integrated into many digital event platforms, including Social27’s. As a result, it is important that the digital event manager understand not just the practical problems an attendee might have, but also how to leverage these services in a fun and engaging way. Moderating chat sessions in the Networking Lounge might be a job that falls to the digital event manager – so being able to keep an upbeat and dynamic conversation with triggers for engagement is a skill worth nurturing. Socialnomics, Erik Qualman
- Community savvy – At an in-person event, people tend to gather in the bar, lobbies and other nooks and crannies. At a digital event, these spontaneous meetings are not generated by a visual connection – you just happen to ‘see’ Helen is at the event and start a conversation with her. A digital event manager needs a good understanding of human behavior and how to proactively bring people who have similar interests together. Digital events require tremendous skill as a tribal leader. Suggested Reading: Tribes by Seth Godin.
- Understanding the power of “games” – At a digital event, managers have a complete range of devices at their disposal to drive attendee behavior. In addition to driving behavior, games can encourage people to work together and can accelerate the process of building rapport. The best digital event companies will work with their corporate counterparts to design a set of game dynamics that works for each event. But it still helps to know a bit about the terminology and opportunities. Suggested Reading: Game Dynamics and Games in Digital Events.
- Creativity and the ability to bring ideas to life – Creativity is a key attribute for all event managers, and this is especially true for digital event mangers. In some ways, getting 1000 people down the elevators to the auditorium is easy compared to getting 1000 people located across the world to “feel” like they really experienced a digital event. Whether through entertainment (music, video), game dynamics (prizes, group participation), or communication (comment walls) the goal of every digital event manger should be to work with their platform provider to think of creative ways to help attendees feel engaged and connected. Suggested Reading: A Whack on the Side of the Head, Roger van Oech
- Digital content aware – In many ways, content is more critical at a digital event than at an in-person event; since attendees can leave anytime and there are fewer emotional distractions, the quality of videos, digital handouts and other content is absolutely essential. Digital event managers are at the center of the content creation process and must balance the needs of presenters, editors, stakeholders and other team members to make sure that the final show is flawless. Complete Guide to Career in Special Events, Gene Columbus
The more things change, the more things stay the same… kind of
As I said earlier, all event managers, regardless of the medium that they work with, require passion, people skills, and precision to be successful. However, as digital and hybrid events become a more important part of all companies’ plans, a new set of skills will be required. With a new world of opportunities opening up for digital event managers, there has never been a better time to be a part of this exciting industry.
Host your own virtual 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 Digital Events platform brings the best of content streaming, networking with rich profiles, virtual sponsor pavilions, lead generation, gamification with points and badges, AI chatbot support and deep analytics powered by machine learning.