From internal team meetings to online community events, the best way to meet today is decidedly digital. And while this comes with new dynamics and surprises, we’ve been up to the challenge.
Since March, lookthinkmake has not only hosted successful virtual meetings, we’ve attended and participated in “many more, and have gained much insight on how to make digital gatherings effective and engaging.”
Here are some event recaps, tips, tricks, and insights from some of our LTMers:
Due to 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 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 that digital events don’t need to be a shell of their in-person counterpart, but can shine all on their own.
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.
When coordinating a panel-style discussion keep in mind that you’re working with a group that may not normally work together remotely or be using the same technology. Be sure to rehearse as a group a few days ahead of the meeting to ensure it runs smoothly, and that small issues or concerns are dealt with 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 of sunsets as the rapidly changing light can be unmanageable in the moment.
Bringing panelists back together about an hour ahead of the program helps to remove any last-minute issues and verify the run of show and presenter flow is on point.
Testing sound and transition are key factors to 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.