PCMA EduCon took place in Los Angeles in June 2019 and I was lucky enough to be asked to mentor the attendees of PCMA’s Homeless Hackathon and to present a session on online events.
What a packed few days. PCMA continue to dedicate their efforts towards leading the event industry response to homelessness. Following the Social Justice panel session at Convening Leaders in January, PCMA decided to run a hackathon to look at, event industry based, solutions to the dire, global, homelessness crisis.
The Hackathon took place a day before the official kick off on the Tuesday and it was a very inspiring day. I will write a dedicated post about the Hackathon soon as it deserves a lot more space than part of the EduCon round up. But here’s how someone else summarised it!
PCMA EduCon Homeless Hackathon summary
Taking Your Online Events To The Next Level
On the Wednesday afternoon I had an hour with attendees to look at online events and this session will be the focus of this post. Here’s my edited slide deck.
Slides from my session at PCMA EduCon 2019
Placing Online Events in context
As I’ve written previously, I believe that every event business should consider how they can “digitalise” their events. Organisations can no longer rely solely on income from physical events. In slide two I placed this in context, saying that a diversified business is a more secure business.
The next nine slides cover my BIG FIVE reasons why every organisation should consider online / digital events. I asked the attendees to focus on the one that most strikes a cord with their organisation. We then jumped into the details of how to make online events sparkle!
Within the 60 minutes I focussed on these three important areas:
- How to ensure your content is as good as it can be
- How to ensure you have as much online engagement as possible and
- How you ensure you have the correct objectives
First place to start……think about your online event very much as a physical event by getting the CONTENT right
If you want someone to pay attention and to enjoy the experience of an online event, then you have to think about how you texturise that content. And the best way to get a grip of texturising content is to look at the principles of meeting design.
I know that the idea of scaling the “meeting design” mountain can seem daunting. So a few years ago I came up with ten simple tips. If you are designing a physical or an online event these simple tips will set you right.
All too often, organisations jump straight into streaming their big annual conference without thinking about how they can make the content more “sticky” meeting design is the answer.
Meeting design should be part of any meeting that lasts more than a few hours.
I would say texturising the content is even more important if you have an online audience. And that’s why I started here:
Make sure your content is as good as possible before pointing a camera at it!
So what does texturised content look like for an online event? Have a look at the preview video for one of the online events we managed for Practically Perfect PA to get a good idea. I shared this video with the attendees.
Before I moved on to engagement, I showed the attendees a short video tutorial we show to all of the speakers at the PPPA online events. If you want your speakers to deliver great content you have to step up, and help them deliver that content. Otherwise, you end up with boring old slides.
We have to move away from laptop style webinars to much more engaging formats. Drop me a note if you want to see the tutorial we use.
Engage your audience
Here’s two of the images I shared. I think they do a good job of giving you an overview of the importance of engaging your audience online.
How to use a social sidekick for your online event
Seven ways to ensure your online event is engaging.
And finally I covered objectives. I think I will detail this image in a later post. But for the moment here are the seven objectives I think that cover any and all online events.
I asked the attendees to think about the objectives for their events and then consider how successful they currently are in achieving them.
Note the list doesn’t include “Because my boss asked me” or “Because we did it last year” Those don’t make my list.
What else besides my session took place at PCAM EduCon?
Food. The amount of food at these events still makes me full and mad in equal measure. I hate to think about the pile of waste food following these large US events.
Entertainment. I got to see En Vouge. They were brilliant.
Online. My session was streamed live and I also did a interview for the online audience from the Mash Up Studio which was kinda cool.
All in all it was a great event. Almost 800 attendees. It is a “small” event according to the Event Manager. Small? Small? Only in the US I thought.