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The Virtues of Virtual

“Long Distance... it’s the next best thing to being there.”

Some of you may remember this Bell System advertising tagline from 1977. Today, virtual “long distance” connections are the ONLY thing we can do to “be there.” We are all swimming in a new kind of virtual reality that allows us to work, play games, visit friends, connect with family, learn, and conduct business without physical proximity to one another.

We shouldn’t be afraid to adapt. We live in a world of virtual currency (Bitcoin), virtual video gaming (Twitch), virtual learning (Khan Academy), virtual dating (Bumble), virtual work options (Slack and Zoom), and now, virtual events, which are the best and only option for all conference organizers and meeting planners right now.

Here are five things that will ensure the success of your new “virtual reality.”

  1. It’s not as hard as it may seem. The technology, design, programming, economic models, hosting and delivery can all be accomplished in just 30 days.
  2. If you had an event ready to launch this year that you’re converting to virtual, the good news is, you probably have more “assets” in terms of content and speakers than you’ll need.
  3. You’re not bound by the original date of your live event. Consider extending your virtual event to create a “Fashion Week” or “Advertising Week”-like experience. Give your audience time to enjoy and participate in “day parts” that fit their schedule and new work-from-home lifestyle.
  4. You will need several partners to help you design, produce, and deliver. Our research and experience supporting over 100 virtual events has shown there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Hire a good “virtual event architect,” a good “virtual general contractor,” and the right “technical subcontractor” to get the job done.
  5. Remember you have a portfolio of events. Now, you can build out a new virtual model that is the best online learning experience, shopping and buying platform, and community building environment across all of your events. This offers huge financial benefits, economies of scale, and better outcomes.

Yes, we are all facing new challenges. But from my perspective, this crisis opens new doors for reinvention and new solutions that will produce amazing virtual engagement, and ultimately, better live events when the coast is clear.

Virtual events... the next best thing to being there!

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