The rise in virtual events: an interview with our new Special Projects Manager Max 

For over three years now, our team has been working hard to deliver in-house virtual event solutions that allow our clients to benefit from new technologies.

Over recent months the overwhelming demand for virtual events has caused us to increase our virtual offering. As part of this, our virtual event specialist Max has been promoted to the new position of Special Project Manager.

We quizzed our technical whiz to find out what his new role involves and how he is continuing to implement more innovative solutions for our clients.

1. ‘Special Projects Manager’ sounds a bit like an MI5 role - what exactly does it mean?

“As Special Projects Manager, I’ll be working on integrating virtual and live events, using technology to make our events even better. It’s not just about ensuring the smooth running digital events, although that is part of it, it’s about finding and implementing the most innovative enhancements for each client's event.

Due to the effects of COVID-19, virtual events have become a much more important part of the industry. I think when physical events come back into play, there will be an expectation to include virtual elements, because you can reach a much wider audience conveniently.

We want to make transitioning to virtual as easy as possible for clients. As part of this goal, I’ll be working on projects where I can lead creative and unique solutions to clients’ full or part virtual events“

Learn more about the different types of virtual events you can use.

2. What’s your favourite part of the new role so far?

“I enjoy seeing the end results of all the preparation and set-up we do. For example; when a virtual event is live and I can see the delegates asking questions on the chat, and the presenter talking and enjoying the discussion.

It’s good to see that people are comfortable on-screen and that hundreds of people can all come together to watch the event run smoothly. Virtual events are so different to live events as you are just talking to a camera, so it can be really daunting cracking jokes and not having anyone there with you to laugh back - part of our offering is speaker training to make them feel comfortable just like they are on stage.

It’s so good to see 5 minutes into the event when the speaker has relaxed into their presenting role. This helps the stream and makes the whole event feel more natural.

Another highlight is showing clients their branded website, as just about everything can be customised to really bring the brand to life on a webpage.

It’s also fun to get creative and look at how we can do things differently, whether it’s sending packages to attendees’ houses, doing cocktail masterclasses, or virtual escape rooms. It’s good to see people having some fun while everyone is cooped up at home!”

3. What do your day-to-day activities involve, when delivering a virtual event?

“Preparation of all the content and technical set-up is key, so I spend a lot of time on content creation and working with clients to put their vision into action. We can do some really cool things with videos, performances, presentations, and activities within virtual events - so there are a lot of options to make the content engaging and fun.”

See our recommended fun virtual team building activities for remote teams.

“I’ll be working with the team on setting up a branded event website, the registration site, and conducting rehearsals. We like to coach the presenters and speakers beforehand so that they feel comfortable with the virtual format on the day.

Finally, I would work on setting up a studio or equipment needed to start live streaming and running the event virtually. I do 50 million checks of everything just to make sure it’s all running properly. Being on it is key, which means plenty of coffee on live days.”

4. Why do you think it’s so important for businesses to consider using virtual events?

“I think that all businesses will have to get on board with virtual events in some way as they’re definitely here to stay. Whereas before it may have been a bit scary to think about venturing into digital, now many more people are working remotely and there is a need to create virtual experiences that engage.

Virtual events won’t fully replace live events, but they can be added to a physical event to reach a much bigger audience at a lower average cost. They’re also the best way to create an environmentally-friendly event, which is growing in importance for clients.

It’s also getting easier for those who want to try out virtual events to find someone who will show them how to do it so that they don’t fall behind.

The convenience of a virtual event is a big benefit - there’s a quicker turnaround time for the delivery and you can potentially create more events for the cost. A worldwide company could produce a main virtual or hybrid event and then put on other local events for different regions to get together and watch the live stream.

There’s also the opportunity to create more frequent company updates virtually, instead of having one physical annual update. This way companies can better communicate and get key messages out faster.”

5. Do you have any ideas about what’s in store for virtual and hybrid events?

“There’s a lot of room for virtual to grow and so many opportunities that haven’t been tapped into yet.

You can be really creative with the structure, activities, and aesthetics of an event by using virtual technologies, and there will be a lot more developments to give audiences new messages in different ways.

Everyone is used to using social media and want to engage in more interactive ways. People don’t want to see a Powerpoint presentation at a conference - more and more audiences are expecting interactive videos, Q&As, and slicker communications.

But with all that’s going on and all the noise online, it will be important to find meaningful and fun ways to connect virtually, so that people feel that they’re part of a wider experience, even if they’re at home.”

We’re thrilled that Max will be driving our virtual event offerings forward and combining his live event expertise. If you’re interested in creating a virtual event or would like to learn more about how to integrate your live events with virtual, give us a shout!