We have witnessed great success and some unfortunate blunders as organizations are rapidly turning toward virtual meetings and events. Controlling the message begins with crafting the content well before the delivery of the message.
ROI becomes predictable when working in a controlled environment. When the right message is delivered, and the audience reacts as intended, ROI is realized. Conversely, should the WRONG message be received, the results will likely be the opposite of what was intended. That means, no ROI and a lost investment. So taking time up-front to be incredibly clear and intentional with content is primary, and even more critical in a virtual environment where content is what attracts and retains your audience.
An example – the intention is to invite everyone to a party next Saturday. Invites go out and planning the party continues. Great. Until the first few people show up on the wrong Saturday. That’s the precise moment you realize you didn’t fully communicate which Saturday. Very innocently, the outcome was unknowingly sabotaged. A slight adjustment to the communication would have made all the difference.
Virtual Event Content Creation Best Practices
Taking an event virtual means control is that much more critical. The 10 best practices below take into consideration adult-learning principles along with the restrictions of communicating via an electronic environment.
The speed a presenter speaks is indicative of how much information is being transmitted, yet is not a fair representation of information being absorbed! Give attendees a chance to process and absorb information.
Visuals convey information 60,000 times faster than words. And stories create context, relevancy and long term memory where a monologue of facts falls short.
The majority of business communications are crafted for adults. Adults like to share opinions and participate in the journey. Questions are good, that means the audience is listening and guiding the presenter to share relevant information.
Focus on the information the audience finds relevant, rather than just what an organization deems important, will increase engagement. The adult mind in 2020 is noted to have an attention space of 8 seconds or less – which is down from 12 seconds in 2018.
Say it simply. There is a theory out there that “if you can’t say it simply enough, you don’t know it well enough.” In virtual environments absorption time is critical.
Stay put with minimal movement of the body, hands and head. And remember, that eye roll is what everyone is going to remember.
Maintaining a position within the visual frame sounds basic, and yet the slightest lean in a chair or shift in position has taken the presenter directly out of frame. The audience certainly remembers that blooper, yet may not remember what the spoken words may have been. And what is in the background or overhead does matter. Remember the human brain is overactive and always processing images. Each frame of a virtual presentation is being scrutinized.
Rehearsals are equally meant to create comfort and natural behavior as much as they are meant to problem solve technical issues. The audience certainly reacts to the presenter’s comfortable level.
Communicate exactly what you want heard the first time, and the second time. The ability to reinforce a message is truncated exponentially in the virtual framework. Clear and concise communication, staying on-point to messaging hierarchy is like taking a guided tour of a museum.
Every story, visual aid, appearance, backdrop, musical note and blooper is supporting or sabotaging the message. Purposeful communication keeps your message on-target.