As many have noted, the way we do business has changed, certainly for the short term and likely also for the longer term. One fundamental and very visible adaptation is how we communicate, whether it’s with our colleagues, our clients, or, on the personal side, our friends and family. We are all seeking out new ways to connect with each other from a distance. For many client-facing businesses, we have seen a significant uptick in webex, webinars, video conferencing and other applications. While many are old hands in using technology to communicate, for others it may be less familiar. Here are seven tips to conducting a successful event.
1) One invitation is never enough. We are all being inundated with invitations to connect virtually right now. Once you’ve sent your initial invite, be prepared to send one or two follow-up reminder emails and perhaps follow up by phone. You’re likely to add quite a few attendees along the way.
2) Be prepared. While it may sound like speakers are presenting spontaneously, that is rarely, if ever, the case. Decide ahead of time what you want to say and put together speakers’ notes. In this fast-changing environment, though, be ready to adapt them along the way.
3) Change it up. Similar to in-person meetings, one person presenting for 20 to 30 minutes may not keep your attendees’ attention. Have two or three individuals speaking, but make sure each person has a specific topic on which to speak.
4) Practice makes perfect. Make sure you are familiar with whichever application you are using and that your presenter(s) are comfortable speaking. Have at least one “rehearsal,” but optimally two or three. This gives you a chance to work out any kinks, practice handing off being the presenter and helps everyone feel confident on the actual “show” day.
5) Honesty really is the best policy. This is a tough time, and human instinct is to try to make people feel better. However, your clients have access to all of the real and not-so-real news that you do. They want your honest view on what’s taking place and what you are doing in response.
6) Ask the tough questions. Chances are you’ve been talking to your clients regularly during this time and some common themes and questions have arisen. Have some feeder questions around those topics ready, just in case you don’t get live questions.
7) Always say thank you! It’s a stressful time, with many things competing for one’s attention. Show appreciation for the fact that your attendees took time out of their day to listen to what your firm had to say. For those that were unable to attend the event live, give them the option to watch/listen post-event (most, if not all, meeting applications have the option to record events) or contact you directly for a synopsis of what you covered.