Redesigning Events for a Virtual World

Back in March, seemingly overnight, the entire country shifted to work from home and social-distancing measures. Along those same lines, travel came to a crawl, and organizations’ business models were put to the test. A large part of what Policy Research does involves holding in-person events such as conferences, trainings, and policy academies. An equally large part of our work consists of virtual events, such as webinars and meetings. The growth of these events has been accelerating over the last 10+ years and has skyrocketed the last 3 months.

Virtual events are not new to Policy Research, and we’ve been successfully holding them for over 15 years with attendees continuously giving us high-satisfaction ratings. Technology is a small part of running a successful event. Lots of planning, development, and technical preparation sessions goes into each one to ensure they run as smoothly as possible. These days, there are numerous platforms available to choose from all with a varying assortment of features, including WebEx EventCenter, WebEx Training Center, Adobe Connect, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and GoToWebinar. Features include breakout rooms, seminar rooms, polling options, whiteboards, file exchanges, virtual toolboxes, meeting spaces, chat, video sharing, and mobile options. Each platform has their pros and cons, and each event requires its own set of specifications as no two are identical.

Demand for online events has never been higher and Policy Research is fortunate to have extensive experience running them. To be clear, virtual events are a different type of event and are by no means meant as an equal replacement to in-person events. There are some things that can’t be replaced from an in-person event like engaging in impromptu side-bar conversations, discovering shared experiences, developing relationships that get built by listening and feeling what others have to say.

We hope to see you soon at one of our in-person events when they are safe to resume, but until then we hope to see you virtually.