It’s a content-driven world out there. As a matter of fact, there are very few facets of our lives that are not somehow tied to the ever-lasting art of storytelling. Yes, everyone wants to create great content – marketers, writers, astronauts, and, of course, event planners. Delivering educational and relevant material to an actively engaged audience has never been as important as it is now. The age of digital and hybrid experiences got the wheels turning in everyone’s heads, and many still struggle with the matter of how to deliver the best virtual content to their attendees.
The short answer is – know your audience. This simple yet age-old adage has ramifications that touch upon every single aspect of your event. Here at Endless, we have a pretty solid people-first philosophy, be it within our company, towards our clients, or when it comes to planning events in general. And it’s this philosophy that has helped us educate and guide so many incredible event profs towards success. As we circle back to the delicate process of delivering the best virtual content, we invite you to read on and find out how a people-first approach can be used to achieve prosperity in this exact regard. Content is calling – answer it!
You’re Here To Serve The Audience
During an event, you’re doing many things. You’re entertaining, educating, helping, coordinating…but above all else, you’re serving. Once the content comes in, your role is to serve the audience, never the other way around. Yes, people come to you and your event, but they do so in the hopes that something of value can be extracted from the overall experience.
This is where the people-first mindset comes into play. When planning a virtual or hybrid event, every element of the design must be done with your attendees in mind. And that includes the content you’re putting forward! For as long as the event lasts, each person that is listening and engaging with you becomes the center and target of your words, gestures, and attention. For that one hour, it’s all about them and how you can help them. Which brings us to…
Ask Yourself: How Can I Help?
Life hasn’t been the easiest thing to navigate in the past year. But one of the most magical things about our industry is that we have the power to bring people together and add value to their lives in whatever way we desire. Many lessons were learned because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with our ability to empathize and get in touch with other people’s feelings drastically increasing. These are things that, from now on, we must make a conscious effort to translate into event design.
Crafting and delivering the best virtual content starts with asking yourself how you can help the people who came to you. What are their pain-points? Who are they? What makes them tick, what bothers them, what keeps them up at night? And how can the content that you will be delivering mitigate some of these concerns and solve even a small part of these issues? If your content doesn’t help the audience in some way, shape, or form, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the most engaging speaker in the world or if the design of your graphics is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You’re there to serve, but how will you do so?
Don’t Dump Away
Although it seems like a fairly obvious tip, some people still have difficulty grasping the importance of not dumping metric tons of content in your attendees’ faces. Look, we get it – when you’re very knowledgeable and excited about a certain topic, all you want to do is share it with the world. We all have that one friend with a lot of opinions about the series finale of “Game of Thrones” and is ready to slam-poet his way through a full-blown thesis about why it sucked at the drop of a hat. But even if you are also an avid fan of GoT and want to hear the guy’s opinion, the whole thing loses its charm very quickly once he speaks without pauses for forty-five minutes straight. You might want to hand him some water, but you’ll also want to excuse yourself to the bathroom and possibly never come back.
The same goes here. Delivering the best virtual content implies that you speak with enthusiasm but not so much that your audience will have trouble following. Chances are, they’re just as excited to hear what you have to say as you are to say it. Just remember to take your time, break it up with some videos and images, and let the virtual room breathe. This is not a race!
Channel Your TV Anchor
There are a lot of good tips we’ve put out into the universe for speakers at virtual events. But by far the most useful one we can give is to channel your inner TV anchor. In a live setting, there’s a lot of body language going on – you can gesticulate, walk around the stage, jump, crowd surf…the sky is quite literally the limit. Or maybe the floor.
But transport yourself into a virtual environment, and you’re a lot more constricted. Does that mean that you can’t give an amazing presentation and put the best virtual content out there? Absolutely not! This is why we bring television anchors into the conversation – they’re always engaging and know how to keep people watching throughout their respective segments. We all have it within us, so find your inner TV personality and let it run wild!
Who doesn’t love a good teaser? Putting a little something out there about the content you’re getting ready to share with your audience will do great things for the success of your event. Not only will it be a good reminder for the goodies to come and get the hype going, but it can also serve as great extra support for your attendees.
Particularly if the content will be heavy and demands a certain level of pre-existing knowledge, it can be a good idea to put together a series of downloadable files that people can get access to before the event. This allows them to fully prepare for the big day, bring relevant questions, and contribute to the conversation in a way that enriches the experience for everyone involved. It all goes back to the people-first philosophy, being of service to the audience, and delivering the best virtual content as a result!