Virtual Events – Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
What We’ve Learned about Virtual Meetings
It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since the beginning of the pandemic in America. During the past months, we’ve had to rethink the way we work, learn, play, and more. We’ve also had to figure out how to keep businesses going – and growing – despite significant obstacles.
Technology has helped us adjust to a new environment. And even though we miss the in-person connections with customers and co-workers, a virtual approach may be our reality for a while longer.
We jumped in with the first Ultraflex virtual trade show in October 2020. Our next one is March 17 – more about that in a moment. Since our first show, we’ve hosted and participated in many virtual trade shows and training sessions. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot.
Lesson 1: Do a Trial Run
Technical glitches can create a major disconnect. We’ve had our fair share and learned early on to devote enough time for a full run-through with technology and presenters. Our advice is to have a backup for anything and everything, such as the loss of an internet connection, a video that lags or won’t play, or a presenter who may or may not have experience with screen-sharing.
Lesson 2: Minimize the Monologue
We’ve all attended a virtual meeting or event where one talking head presents slide after slide. About 45 minutes later, the presenter announces: “Are there any questions?” By that time, many attendees have zoned out.
The challenge is to find ways to engage with participants throughout the event. Yes, it takes some work and creative thinking, but the extra effort will pay off. The best solutions are often born after engaging with customers who talk about their needs or concerns – things you may have never considered before.
If you want to keep participants on high alert during your virtual event, show videos, demonstrations, panel discussions, give them polls to answer and quizzes to take. Here’s a good article on how to keep attendees engaged before, during, and after your event.
Lesson 3: Show Your Customers You Care
Without face-to-face contact, your customers may not realize how much you care about their success. Whenever you engage virtually with customers, make sure they know you are thinking creatively about how to meet their needs.
For example, when businesses began reopening last summer, we helped customers learn how to implement signage, seat covers, wall and floor coverings, and more to help consumers feel safe while navigating seating, directions, and social distancing.
Lesson 4: Take Part in Virtual Trade Shows
We don’t know when we will be together again. In the meantime, virtual events can help us stay productive and allow us to continue inventing new and amazing solutions.
During the past few months, Ultraflex virtual trade shows have given customers a place where they can see, learn, experience, and talk about new applications, trends, and challenges for the industry.
Our next virtual trade show is March 17. We’ll be looking at important market trends, including green initiatives that allow products to evolve in an environmentally friendly way. Learn more and register for the March 17 virtual trade show here.
If you missed our previous virtual trade shows, you can view our archives anytime:
• The October 7, 2020 virtual trade show focused on working with digitally printable textiles.
• The October 21, 2020 virtual trade show focused on the latest innovations in décor solutions.
• The November 4, 2020 show explored how to finish fabrics using Bannerups and SEGDesign.
• The November 18, 2020 show explored a range of décor products and how they are tested for durability and certification.
• The January 13, 2021 show focused on navigating Personal Protective Gear (PPE) and how Ultraflex can assist.
• The January 27, 2021 virtual event showed ways to safely and comfortable invite people back to indoor dining and shopping with proper signage and social distancing signage and barriers.
• The February 24, 2021 event showcased the importance of color management with dye-sublimation.
You can also find us at the virtual ISA Sign Expo April 7 to 9. We’ll showcase the latest products, market trends, and solutions that can help you reach unique audiences and grow your business. Register for the event here.
We’re ready to explore the possibilities with you – on whatever device you choose. For more information about how to get started, email us.