7 best virtual events for 2021
2,900, yes! that’s the average number of searches in the UK, for the keyword ‘Virtual Events’ in just a month.
COVID-19 has changed all our lives in some way or the other, affecting not only our personal lives but the work-life as well.
The conditions for not stepping out of the house was the initial step towards the work from home culture.
But what it also affected is the meetings, conferences, classes, seminars and a lot of other events.
All these events are now being held online and people are getting used to having ‘Virtual Events’
Virtual events have evolved greatly in the past year but have been in the run for a long time.
From entertainment and learning events like live-streaming, virtual reality and augmented reality, to events like team-building and virtual conferences, we have grown a lot.
Did you know, the most popular type of virtual event is small gatherings which are followed by round table discussions and networking events.
The majority (63%) of organizations are moving to digital conferences or events which shows us that online is the next big thing, and it's already here.
So if you’ve been slacking or finding reasons to not hold an event due to other reasons, virtual events would be a very good option for you to start.
Whichever kind of event you want to host you can do it virtually in today’s world provided you have the necessary requirements in place.
The things that you need are - a good device, internet connection, a good camera and microphone.
70% of event organizers say that good microphones are critical to a successful event.
Microphones are more important than a camera in which marketers ranked at 60% importance.
So now that you understand why virtual events are necessary and what you need to organize one, let’s get into the main topic for this article which is types of virtual events.
This article will tell you the 7 best virtual events you can hold in 2021.
- Networking Events
- Hybrid Events
- Virtual Conferences/Summits
- Training/Learning Sessions
- Panel discussions and AMA’s
- Team Building and Party Events
- Immersive Experiences
Networking events are social events where businessmen and entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships and find potential clients and partners for future ventures.
We are only more familiar with the offline way of networking in the networking events.
But what about now? How do you manage to pull off an online virtual networking event?
Well, thanks to Microsoft Teams and Zoom for their breakout room feature wherein a sea of people you can connect separately with different individuals.
The key to these events is the way you plan and execute ahead of time.
Set a time limit of 60 - 90 minutes, keep the registrations and invitations limited.
Prepare different topics, questions and ice-breakers so that the attendees can start off and have a meaningful and resourceful conversation.
As it is only going to be a 60-minute event you need to keep the people up to speed and encourage them to meet as many people as possible but at the same time also find what they’re looking for.
Hybrid events are a new thing, where, in a conference, seminar, training or workshop there are in-person live audiences but also people or other speakers joining virtually.
Basically, it is an offline and online combined experience.
As physical events offer a personal touch to your events and online events let you reach out to a wider audience, a hybrid event gives you the best of both.
There can be any kind of restrictions like monetary or geographic which hinders the participation of some people.
But with hybrid events, they can register and join virtually or probably watch a recorded session for the event later.
This allows you to reach out to more people and tap into the audience which has not yet been explored.
As hybrid events have both offline and online, it is a little hard to manage and hence you need to find a good and suitable hybrid event platform.
Based on your event goals and your theme, you’ll decide you need to select an appropriate platform that would work for you.
You might have to find creative ways to keep the people engaged as it might be hard to have their undivided attention for a long time.
And hence you need to keep the event short, precise and to the point.
A virtual summit is a special collaborative event where speakers are interviewed by a host.
You can even have multiple sessions divided across a couple of days which can have several talks one after another around a specific topic or theme.
It is an interactive event which keeps the audience engaged and attentive and is also considered as one the most effective ways to lead generations, make partnerships and build your brand.
For organizing a virtual summit you need some necessary tools even if you have the budget or not, tools for registration and payment, to send out mass emails, to record and have live-sessions and to promote on social media.
For the preparation, you need to have good content and materials to last enough for the whole event.
You also need to invite speakers, so according to your theme and brand, choose your speakers wisely.
Encourage your speakers to promote your event and do the promotion yourself as well to get people to sign up and attend your event.
Lastly, go through the entire plan and practice and rehearse beforehand if needed, even if you think this is not important, it helps a lot for the smooth execution of the entire event.
Online learning and training have been on the rise since the start of 2020.
Almost everyone at one point or another had to attend an online class or training in the last year.
With all the new tools which have come up with the growing requirements, it has become easier than ever to schedule and monitor.
Most people use zoom for training and learning sessions as it is simple to use and has all the necessary features that you might require during a session.
A lot of people use other software and platforms as well which are specifically created only for teaching and learning purposes.
The creation of content is only a one-time thing for this kind of event, or if you’re taking live classes it’s even easier.
If you are in fact creating training materials, those require a minimal update and are repeatable to use for other sessions.
While these events and sessions can be easier to organise and execute keep in mind to limit these meetings to 60 minutes to 90 minutes time limit.
Having longer breaks and rest time in between sessions can increase attentiveness and help reduce virtual meeting fatigue.
Panel discussions and AMA’s
A panel discussion is a kind of discussion where you have a few SMEs (subject matter experts) and leaders from your industry have discussions on a specific topic so that the audience can learn and gain knowledge from their interactions.
A panel discussion involves different parts where you welcome everyone, introduce the SMEs, panellists and other guests, have the moderator ask them questions and finally have a Q&A session from the audience with the panellists and guest answering the questions.
An ideal panel discussion lasts for about 45-90minutes, involves 4-5 guests and panellists and of course, there’s one moderator.
AMA’s, on the other hand, are sessions where you are on one side with your audience on the other.
You have to stay online for a defined set of time, answering all the questions asked by your audience at that time.
AMAs are most famous on Reddit and you can get thousands of impressions and generate a lot of buzz using this event format.
As they are mostly conducted and used on Reddit, you get a diverse audience who can then upvote the asked questions, so that you get to answer the most important questions in time.
Team Building and Party Events
Team building and party events were on hold at the beginning of 2020, in hopes that we get to see each other soon again.
But when people realised that it's going to be a long work-from-home period, they started having these sessions online.
Team-building events are usually only done if creating a new team or probably giving the same team a break in the long sprint so that they can connect and relax and improve the internal networks.
Party events on the other hand include almost everyone from the firm or if only for a specific team, then everyone from the team.
Party events involve birthdays, corporate milestones, annual firm celebrations and lastly the annual festivals and events.
It’s hard to have the same feeling as in person, as there is no physical presence and that is why people came up with new creative and exciting ways of conducting these events.
From cooking, gift events, sketching competitions to ice-breaking sessions, karaoke and virtual escape room, people have found all kinds of ways to keep their people in the right mood.
Immersive experiences are on the rise and have a projected market value of $72.7 billion by the end of 2024.
Immersive experiences involve AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality), which have been buzzing for the past couple of years.
Companies keep finding innovative and useful ways to use immersive experiences to benefit their audience and customers.
AR and VR events can be particularly used for game releases, informative sessions, training sessions or probably even shopping experiences.
These kinds of events are more engaging and appealing, giving the audience an amazing experience.
This kind of event has the potential to completely change the industry benchmarks and attendee virtual engagement methods, making it one of the most interesting and challenging events.
We hope that this article helps you understand more about different events which can be conducted online and gave you an idea about which event would be suitable for you to conduct.
If you think that we’ve missed out any major online events, don’t hesitate to mention those in the comments!
Also, let us know if this article helped you in conducting your successful online event and your experience with these events.