As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, many people are not able or open to connecting to do business in person. Take it from someone who thrives on planning live events, that’s okay. See it as an opportunity to master your virtual game.
CPAs need to continue finding innovative ways to virtually connect with colleagues, targets and clients. Consider some new-age virtual connection approaches to keep your contacts interested. Would a cooking demo, bingo, grilling 101, digital fortune telling or photography be of interest for your audience? While some of these may require calling in an outside expert or moderator, the end result of producing a memorable event and continuing to build upon meaningful relationships will be worth the investment.
If your specific meeting purpose is more about delivering content or training, you’ll want to ensure your audience is provided with a valuable experience and walks away ready to sign up for your next session.
Focus on these key areas to boost your virtual presentation or training:
- Platform. As selecting the best venue is an important part of live event planning, make this an equal priority when deciding which virtual platform is most suitable to accommodating an impactful delivery. Will you need to share slides? Have two-way video functionality? Have attendees speak? Consider all of these factors before going too deep into agenda planning.
- Communication. Communicating before and after your event are equally important. Send a “save the date” early on. Create an informative invitation that covers meeting objectives, speakers/presenters, a high-level attendee summary and program length. A day-of confirmation reiterating how to log in is recommended since your attendees are likely participating in multiple virtual engagements daily. At the end of the event, send attendees a thank you message including a summary of any event polls or Q&A and offer a chance for them to submit feedback through an event survey. And keep the line of communication flowing with those who couldn’t attend by sharing presentation slides, thought leadership or Q&A if appropriate.
- Audience engagement. You’ve decided on a platform and sent out the invitation, now what? How are you going to keep them attentive through a two-hour CPE session or overview of your tax report? Integrate simple, yet powerful, elements such as music upon log on, opening videos, ice breakers, polling questions or whiteboarding exercises. When planning your content sequence, make it a priority to gain your audience’s attention early on and keep their engagement level up.
- Visual. Keep your slides simple, and be mindful of font size and color. Attendees may differ in their sight, hearing or cognitive abilities. Make sure your speaker lifts their computer camera to eye level. When possible, position the speaker in front of natural light for a clear picture, and ensure backgrounds are minimal to reduce distractions.
- Audio. Using a headset or ear bud connection can ensure clear audio and that nearby noise is not heard by attendees. Mute all attendees except the speaker. Remember, leading a virtual meeting can bring unforeseen technological challenges or hiccups. That’s why having a rehearsal with speakers on your event platform a few days prior is so important.
It’s best to continue to build upon virtual event best practices and refine ways to hit the virtual bullseye. Why? Because mastering virtual events can have a significant impact on long-term growth, facilitating important connections and bringing prospects back for more.