Too often organizations provide a web conferencing platform (the toolset) to allow their people and teams to meet, present, or train virtually and either believe these tools are easy to use (many are, but that's not the point) and neglect addressing the two other critical factors crucial to virtual event success.
We have seen a tremendous surge in how the lockdowns and social distancing policies have moved everyone online onto platforms like Adobe Connect, Zoom, Teams, and many more web conferencing tools so we can meet, present, sell, or train virtually.
ToolsetOrganizations need their people to still connect, communicate, and collaborate and the toolsets that are being provided range from the free to use offerings from many vendors (such Teams as part of O365, Zoom, GoToMeeting), trial versions of the more advanced offerings (such as Adobe Connect, WebEx, and others), and all of these platforms have one thing in common: They can all host a virtual event. But that is where the similarities and differences start to develop.
The platforms themselves vary between screen-sharing technology like Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting, and platform-based offerings like Adobe Connect and WebEx. Why should that matter, you may ask? Well, if you are using a screen-sharing platform, you are sharing anything that may pop up on your screen, so that could cause some issues. The platform-based offerings allow the flexibility of loading content into an online room that everyone accesses and the host then controls what is shown.
It does not matter if we are using the toolset to conduct virtual meetings, present virtual presentations, run marketing webinars, or deliver virtual classroom training—you still need to address the two other critical factors: mindset and skillset.
MindsetIn the COVID-19 online world that we are now all working in, mindset is key to how we turn up for the event. There are plenty of videos like this one where the attendee forgets they are on webcam and shows a little more than they probably intended.
Developing a virtual mindset is getting your people to think, “If I were in the office, how would I . . . ” and apply that same thinking to being virtual. Just because we are working from home does not mean we should not appear professional and business-like.
SkillsetWe all know how to meet, present, and train when we are co-located with our peers in the office, but do we have the skills to engage that invisible group online? Can we leverage (not just use) the toolset effectively so we still achieve the intended purpose we have for our virtual event, professionally and seamlessly?
This video from Tripp and Tyler is a great example of our people lacking virtual mindset and skillset as many of these challenges and issues should never happen if we are prepared, planned, and enabled to run and participate effectively in virtual events.
We have been working virtually for years by conducting telephone calls and conference calls, so adding a visual element should not be much different—but it is and that means we need a slightly different skillset.
Right now, in our lockdown situation, we may not have the same time or opportunities to learn how to develop mindset and skillset, but these resources should help.
For a deeper dive, check out ATD Virtual Conference, June 1–5.