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The Show Can Still Go On

By: Julie Ratcliffe | Jun, 23 2020
Technology Education Strategy & Learning Design

This guest blog post is from Julie Ratcliffe, who is the Content Production Specialist for CommPartners, responsible for most of the blogs, white papers, social media posts, and any other content you find coming from CommPartners. With a background in journalism, video and content production, and community outreach, she enjoys connecting and communicating with people.

The association industry has seen many events canceled or postponed in the past three months, but, thanks to virtual learning, the show can still go on. Follow these steps to get your virtual show on the road.

  1. Determine Goals: It’s essential to identify your education and organizational goals before taking any other steps. Your goals will determine the best platform to choose and the time and financial commitments your organization is prepared to make. Ask yourself - Is your organization still teleworking? Have you begun transitioning back to the office? Are you hosting a multi-day event or a one-time offering?
  2. Choose your platform: Once you’ve outlined your goals, use those goals to choose a virtual event platform. For example, if you know your event will be a multi-day event with several sessions and networking, then a conference platform is a great choice. If this will be just a one-time occurrence, then your program may be better suited for webinars. If you’re going back to the office and will be able to host small-scale live events, then livestreaming might be an excellent transitional option.
  3. Create a Virtual Event Team: Just like an on-site event, a virtual event takes time and effort to pull-off. To make sure it goes off without a hitch, develop a team dedicated to ensuring the success of your event. You should be prepared to dedicate the same amount of staff to a virtual event as you would for an on-site event. 
  4. Get Creative: Your event does not have the benefit of face-to-face interaction. Incorporate elements that will get your attendees talking and interested. If possible, include things like gamification, discussion boards, virtual gift bags, break out rooms, virtual happy hours, etc.
  5. Reflection: Include post-event surveys as part of your event so you can see how you did. Feedback, positive and negative, will help your organization grow and continually improve.

Virtual events can be evergreen, be sure to record each session and archive! Pair your resources with an LMS, Learning Management System, and create a learning library to be used to supplement live learning in the future. This creates a more sustainable education program for your organization that learners can reference long after stay-at-home orders are lifted.

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