Putting on an in-person conference can be like putting on a show. Remember what it feels like to have people coming into the main session room during the conference opening and finding their seats? The lights are low; there’s the hum of conversation and the electric feeling of anticipation. The lights go down, the music swells, and the audience is dazzled.
Some conference hosts, especially hosts of large conferences, are trying to create that same pageantry in the virtual setting. Some are hiring six-figure speakers and sending film crews to their offices. Organizations are coding their conference platforms. Or are using animation and creating beautiful, branded backgrounds. Unfortunately, when we prioritize pageantry, other parts of the attendee experience seem to fall apart.
The bandwidth requirements for some platforms, animation, and other features can leave attendees with no video or choppy video. Top-tier speakers do not moderate the chat leading to a sub-par chat experience.
As you plan your next virtual conference, base your event’s goals on why attendees are planning to come. Some attend to connect with people and new ideas. Some attendees register to build their skills. Some participate to get answers to their questions or find solutions to problems they are having. Some hope to get leads for a new job or sell their services. Some have to attend for continuing education credits. Optimize for why attendees are planning to come. Once you are confident that your conference delivers that value, you can add a bit pageantry as the icing on the cake.