The popularity of virtual conferences has grown exponentially in recent years, and even more, after the COVID-19 pandemic mishap occurred. The prevalence and preference for virtual conferences are linked to the convenience they offer to netizens. One can participate in a virtual conference through a virtual AGM platform from any geographical location. To attend a virtual conference, a stable internet connection and a device are the only requirements.
However, people are still in the process of getting the hang of the virtual world. Event organizers and corporate firms may commit trivial or major errors while in a virtual conference that can result in hampering the success of the event or conference. Listed below are 10 virtual conference mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Lack of rehearsal
Organizers may not consider rehearsing for the virtual conference or event. This is a major mistake since not rehearsing before the conference does not help realize loopholes and obstacles and also execute improvisations.
It is of utmost importance that a rehearsal is conducted to analyze the obstacles and also take cognizance of the improvisations. This also gives the speakers clarity about the timing of their speeches. Rehearsing also facilitates the testing of the virtual conference platform and its functioning. Technological blunders can be avoided on the day of the conference if the platform is tried and tested. This also gives the participants practice with the virtual corporate meeting platform.
2. Unrealistic expectations
Adapting to the virtual conference world was more of a need than a want, at least after the pandemic. The virtual conference mode is a great substitute for a physical event for sure, but are the experiences of the two exactly similar? Not exactly. It is important to accept that a physical event and a virtual event are very different from each other in terms of the experience they offer. The experience of a physical event cannot be exactly conveyed through a virtual conference and it is necessary to manage expectations. If the organizers have unrealistic expectations from the virtual conference, and also fail to deliver what they intended to, it would disappoint the audience.
Instead of holding on to make the online conference a copy of the in-person one, organizers can work with the advantages offered by the virtual event platform. It is more important to deliver what was promised to the audience while the strengths of the virtual world are navigated.
3. Swaying from the aim
Any virtual conference requires fixing a goal, an aim of the event. All the hard work and planning go in vain if the original aim of the conference is swayed.
To avoid swaying from the aim of the conference, the goal should be decided upon beforehand. The objectives should be kept in mind while planning the conference.
4. Lack of agenda
To execute a thriving virtual conference, at least an outline of it is required. A schedule keeps everyone on their toes, the event remains systematically organized, and not a lot of time is wasted focused on a single detail. The lack of an agenda makes the whole thing go haywire and the conference may get off track.
A minutely made timeline is not necessary, but a simple structure of the event will do. The structure should cover what elements the conference will have and when. Once the agenda is set, it may be circulated to the audience as well to give them an idea.
5. Adding too many elements
With virtual conferences, location is not a limitation. Attendees can attend the conference from anywhere via the virtual corporate meeting platform. Accessibility is on a whole other level in the present era. However, most organizers forget to take note of the fact that the attention span of the audience is not exactly long. if the conference is overstuffed with too many elements, the audience may find it difficult to focus, and this will result in them getting bored.
To avoid boring or overwhelming the audience, the elements of the conference must be systematically divided and limited. The information should be displayed in a conveniently digestible manner to keep the audience focused and engaged.
6. Disregarding mistakes
No conference goes on without at least one hiccup. A virtual conference is no different. It is natural to face issues while navigating technology for the first time and making mistakes is part of the process. It is possible that during the event the presenter might not be able to allow people to enter the room or may share the wrong image or document while sharing the screen.
Ignoring or disregarding that a mistake happened makes the audience feel awkward. Acknowledging the hiccup and moving on with a smile on the face is what is important and maintains the rhythm of the conference.
7. Lack of back-up
Both people nor technology are error-free. No amount of practice can guarantee the conference to sail smoothly. There is always a chance that a technical mishap occurs or the host of the conference falls sick. Perhaps the internet connection may bail, the microphone may stop functioning or there may be a mass power cut! Some things are unprecedented and in no one’s control.
Whatever the malfunction may be, the conference may halt. Hence it is necessary to have a backup plan in such cases. For instance, a co-host must be prepared to take over the conference if the main host is unavailable on the day.
8. Lack of audience participation opportunity
A conference cannot be deemed successful if it lacks audience participation. If the audience is not able to engage in the conference and give their input, they will feel boredom.
To engage the audience, they can be invited to participate in the Q&A sessions and interact with their fellow participants and speakers. It is critical to devise an engagement strategy that matches the tone of the conference.
9. No fun
Hosting a virtual conference is definitely stressful, but is it important to have fun while at it. The lack of fun elements in an already sophisticated and work-centred conference will only make the audience want to press the ‘leave meeting’ button.
A fun element like a tiny game can be incorporated to keep the audience interested. Little bits of humour can be added to the tone of hosting the conference to make it feel less formal and more welcome.
10. Using the wrong Virtual AGM Platform
Since the conference is virtual, the most important aspect of it is the platform it is streamed on. The incorrect virtual corporate meeting platform which may have technical follies will not help in audience engagement or inputting the point across. Hence it is necessary to pick the right virtual meeting platform, like Dreamcast, to ensure a smooth conference and that the aim is achieved.
Organizers must take a look at all the available virtual meeting platforms on the market and make an informed decision. The required features must be checked for and the platform must be tested and tried at least once before the conference.
Mistakes are not the end of the world and can be rectified in time. A trivial mistake will not lead to penalization and an apology will always work. The only thing that matters is keeping in mind that nothing in the world goes as planned and a few hiccups here and there are all part of the process. What matters is learning new things and unlearning what does not benefit anymore.