From internal team meetings to online community events, the best way to meet in the era of social distancing is decidedly digital.
And while this comes with new dynamics and surprises, we’ve been up to the challenge.
Since March of 2020, lookthinkmake has not only hosted successful virtual meetings, we’ve also attended and participated in many more, and have gained much insight on how to make digital gatherings effective and engaging.
We asked our team to share a few event recaps, tips, tricks and insights from their time working remotely. Here’s what they had to say:
Hillary: A Recap of No Love: The Roast of Andy Roddick
Due to safety concerns around COVID-19, our client, the Andy Roddick Foundation, was not able to host their largest fundraising event, their annual fall gala.
Because fundraising is essential to the foundation, ARF shifted from an in-person gala to hosting a virtual event.
ARF tapped into a unique and powerful asset: celebrity star power.
Rather than hosting a digital version of an online gala, they went back to the drawing board and determined the best path forward was to roast their founder, Andy Roddick.
Because the event was virtual and a range of ticketing and sponsorship opportunities were available, ARF was able to connect with a larger audience.
Thanks to supporters of the Andy Roddick Foundation, they ended up raising more money than any previous in-person gala.
This event showed me that digital events don’t need to be a shell of their in-person counterpart - they can shine all on their own.
Gwen: Tips for Team Meetings
In a virtual group discussion, it is important to be extremely mindful of the verbal and visual components of collaborating.
It’s easy to do this with some quick, actionable steps you can take right away without any extra software.
A few best practices include: muting yourself if you are not presenting, using the chat feature for non-urgent comments, and limiting background disruptions.
It also helps to have a designated facilitator who is responsible for talking time limits, staying on topic, and engaging all teammates with shared thematic prompts and predetermined topics that serve as common-ground conversation starters.
Patricia: Tips for Panelists and Presentations
When coordinating a panel-style discussion, keep in mind that you’re working with a group that may not normally work together remotely, or might not use the same technology.
Be sure to rehearse as a group a few days ahead of the meeting to ensure it runs smoothly, and to deal with small issues or concerns ahead of time.
For example, will all panelists have adequate lighting? Oftentimes we video conference during the day, but host presentations after work. Without natural lighting, will indoor lighting suffice? Be aware that sunsets can rapidly change your lighting, which you might not be able to adjust in the moment.
Bringing panelists together about an hour ahead of the program helps to remove any last-minute issues and verify the run of the show and presenter flow is on point.
Testing sound and transitions are key factors in keeping it professional. Be sure everyone knows how to “take over” the slide deck and has practiced turning off their mute function when it’s their turn to speak.
Overall, navigating life in the virtual world has taught us the importance of being adaptable and flexible, and has even proven to bring us some laughs, plenty of new knowledge, and a newfound appreciation for gathering on Monday mornings.
If you’ve also made the pivot to working remotely, how has your own organizational process been impacted? What have you learned along the way? We’d love to know in the comments.