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A conference… but virtual? No shaking hands, no walking up to a colleague to discuss, no sharing the stage with the speaker. Making such an event memorable used to be no easy feat.
Except… that it is now. Well, a lot easier than it used to be. Virtual conferences have come a long way from your standard Zoom meeting. Now, you can do everything from hosting attendees at a virtual lobby that looks just like your building, to engaging with a live Q&A session with them. There’s a lot that can be done!
But you still need the right virtual event platform for this. The best virtual conference platforms make sure they add the most useful and interactive features to their product, either natively or with integrations with top service providers so you get top-of-the-line functionality.
Let’s take a look at some of these capabilities.
The first step in leveling up from a basic virtual meeting to a conference that feels ‘real’ is offering an event space. This helps attendees feel as if they’ve arrived at the actual event, similar to how they would enter a building for a physical event, and then locate the auditorium for the conference. Remember that not all visuals are created equal. While some platforms offer rich and immersive environments, others offer flat 2D designs that aren’t intuitive to navigate.
Again, there isn’t going to be a virtual conference without a webinar function. The best kind will offer webinars that integrate deeply with any virtual meeting platform you use and are easy to set up and use.
Extra points if the platform lets you brand the space as well! Customize it to look like your own venue or locality so attendees feel more connected with your platform.
Breakout rooms are a great way to network with attendees, collaborate, and brush up on their problem-solving skills. New-age virtual event solutions will also let you add this much-loved feature of physical events. You can split attendees into different groups and encourage them to discuss ideas and brainstorm on industry topics. This makes standard virtual events much more engaging and stimulating.
Next, the best virtual conference platforms focus on enhancing their webinar features. The most important among these is offering attendees a way to interact with the speakers and ask questions in real-time.
This is a great way to simulate in-person conference interactions. Being able to contribute to the discussion helps people stay invested in the content of the talk and is a great way to exchange ideas and dissect them with a group.
Another great feature to have is live polling during webinars. You can ask attendees how they feel about a certain topic and get a pulse on how engaged they are with a session.
Moreover, this is also great for post-event analysis as polls let you can gather insights about engagement levels and also learn more about your audience, with each question to see what resonates best with them
This will also help speakers shift gears during the session depending on what the group would like to discuss more.
The best virtual conference platforms make sure that their solutions are inclusive. For this purpose, many of these platforms use auto-generated captions for webinars. These help people with hearing impairments to also follow the discussions and be part of them as well. Captions also generally help viewers keep track of the webinar content more easily.
If you’re addressing a multi-lingual crowd, then live translations are a great feature to have in your arsenal. Some of the best virtual conference platforms integrate with tools like Wordly and KUDO that enable readers to read and listen to a live webinar in their language of choice. Conferences with such capabilities are able to expand globally seamlessly.
While the ability to interact with the speakers sets the standard for successful conferences, the option of interacting with other attendees is also very important. Several people attend conferences to make new connections with people that have shared interests and there’s no reason for a virtual conference to deprive them of that. A great tool will offer multiple ways for attendees to engage with one another, such as via chat, audio, video, and even group meeting options.
Gone are the days where people would mark webinar invites as spam. Now, people look forward to attending exciting virtual conferences that offer new insights from their favorite speakers, two-way exchanges with them, and the opportunity to network with others in the industry.
But for all this to happen, you need to opt for the right virtual conference platform. Make sure you use this checklist to see the kind of features they offer natively and the integrations they support.
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