Virtual events have become all the rage ever since the global pandemic forced people to stay quarantined while continuing their day-to-day activities and work, but virtual events have existed for a while now and with restrictions being eased across not just India but globally, people have come up with creative ways to host and execute meetings and events. Virtual events are an umbrella term and have a variety of categories under them such as virtual town halls, live streams, webcasts, etc.
The way that people interact has forever been changed due to the existence of online events and meetings. No longer do people need to be physically present in order to attend a live concert or a seminar or even an important meeting. The ease of access has made life much simpler. A good example of the benefits of virtual meetings is that because of their availability even when things are getting back to normal, people are still choosing to stay and work from home instead of going back to the office.
There are five major and most commonly used methods of virtual events with each having its pros and cons. They are as follows:
Virtual Conferences, much like in-person conferences involve a variety of factors from keynotes to agendas, Question and answer sessions, etc. The benefit of hosting a conference virtually is the fact that the attendees can participate from anywhere across the globe. They interact with one another without having to be present in the same room and even make use of On-demand content from the recorded virtual conferences for later use.
Webinars are virtual seminars where a speaker or a group of speakers come together to discuss topics relevant to their industries. These webinars can be hosted in one place and can be broadcast to people anywhere as long as the attendees have a decent internet connection and a device to view the webinar from. Webinars also allow participants to make use of interactive tools such as polls, interacting with the speakers, submitting questions, and so on. Webinars also allow the use of live video as well as prerecorded video streams. They enable attendees to have virtual Q and A sessions and can be used for internal training purposes as well as for external events.
Internal Hybrid events are typically virtual town halls, internal training events for employees, sales meetings etc. They are also incredibly beneficial for companies that have offices globally as the company can have all their employees attend the event simultaneously. Hosting internal events saves the companies a lot of time and is cost-effective as well compared to having all their employees gather in one location.
As the name suggests, external events are the opposite of internal events. They are held for people outside an organization and can either be industry-based conferences or user-based conferences. There is a key difference in hosting external events, which is that these types of events require a much higher level of audio and video production outputs as it is important for the people attending to have receive a similar level of quality as those who would be attending in person would receive.
Hybrid events are a combination of virtual events plus in person events. They take the best of both worlds and create a unique experience for all those who are attending virtually or physically. Hybrid events could be webinars or virtual conferences with a certain number of physical attendees. It is a nifty solution to overcome certain challenges faced while organizing either type of event. There are certain aspects of hosting an event that always go smoother when there are people present physically whereas there are other aspects that have an advantage while being hosted virtually. For example, an in-person event has the benefit of having organizers be present physically to tackle any hiccups that can happen during the event whereas if it is a completely virtual event, a software glitch will inevitably put the event on hold. Simultaneously, the most crucial aspect of virtual events is how cost effective they are. Having your attendees participate virtually is cheaper than having them travel to the on site location. With hybrid events, one can essentially host a seamless event and make optimum use of all the resources that are available to them.