Lessons Learned from conference event planning

Unscripted Conference October 21–22, 2020.

Differentiating from other virtual events:

Digital fatigue produced by too many other events was reported as the biggest challenge to virtual event organizing (Source: Wild Apricot). The month of October was no exception to this finding. To stand out from other virtual events, we had to consider the spectrum of speakers and attendees. There is little value in running a virtual event in the same month with the same messages and speakers.

Supporting conference stakeholders:

Virtual events rely on digital platforms as physical events rely on venues. Ask questions around accessibility to your digital platforms as you would with physical spaces. How easy is it for attendees to log in to the event platform to join a speaker session? Do your speakers have the proper equipment to present? What is the process like moving from one session to the next? And how accessible and inclusive are sessions during and after the event? These are only some of the questions event organizers should be considering when planning their events.

Building Safe Environments:

Psychological safety plays a big role in gatherings. People are more willing to speak up, share, and network with others when they feel like they can be themselves. Conference events are often recurring, so building credibility and authenticity amongst stakeholders is a great way to boost future endeavors and opportunities.

Cultivating Authentic Interactions

Interacting with other attendees is one of the greatest benefits of conference gatherings. Creating a community of belonging by design can be challenging because it is easy to be limited to the virtual platform and conference agenda. One way to engage attendees and drive interactions is to diversify your communication channels. While event platforms may have chat and messaging capabilities, consider long term communications and post-event conversations.

Planning a Diverse and Inclusive Virtual Event Is About Intention.

Virtual event planning is not easy, it took hours over a span of months, attention and deliberation from a whole team, and there are still many lessons to be learned. The best any conference organizer can do is adopt a human-centric approach to event planning and continually improve the experience for many people attending events. With virtual events, there is an opportunity to include more voices and reach out to more people that would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend a conference event. This blog post shares some tips for building virtual events to align industries, bring people together, and stand out.

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Tiffany Jachja

Tiffany Jachja

Software Engineering Manager covering topics on software, personal development, and career.