Conferences and conventions are all big parts of every business’ sales and marketing strategies. These events are where people meet, make new connections, showcase products, services, and knowledge. Unfortunately, these events whether major or minor, have all been cancelled and postponed due to the pandemic.
The New Normal of Events
Some offices, stores, hotels, malls have reopened, but many companies have limited travel for their employees due to their fear of getting infected by coronavirus. We most likely won’t be able to experience big in-person events in the near future. This becomes a big loss of income for event organisers and other companies.
Virtual conferences have existed years before the pandemic, but it is only now that more companies are shifting from in-person events to digital conferences, meetings, webinars and more.
It is said that by next year, online videos which include conferences and webinars will take up 80% of web traffic.
Some think people are less engaged and feel disconnected during video conferences, but the numbers state the opposite. According to Digital Information World, 86% of virtual meeting participants reported the same or higher participation levels as-in person conferences.
Here are some more reasons why speakers should start having online speaking engagements.
Why Virtual Events Are the Future for Speakers
1. Interact More with Your Audience
In in-person events or conferences, speakers aren’t able to communicate that much with their audiences. It is only on stage that they get to talk to them, but when it comes to virtual presentations, they can engage with their audience before, during, and after their talk.
They can do this by asking and answering questions during their talk via live chats, doing a poll, and having quizzes.
If they want to seek evaluation about their talk from the virtual audience, then they can send an evaluation form link or directly ask the audience via live chat or video.
Not only will virtual speakers be able to communicate with their audience during the event, webinar, or conference. Speakers will also be able to widen their influence to their audience with the help of virtual events.
2. Widen Your Influence
Online events won’t just be available in one city in one country. Technological developments have made events now accessible to attend by a global audience as long as they have the information about an online event.
During and even after an event, speakers can personally share to the event participants their personal website link, social media handles, as well as the links to their products or services during their talk via video or in the chat.
By following speakers’ social media accounts, the event participants will be able to learn more about the speakers, their job, their works, and one day become highly influenced by the speakers. Thanks to the repost and share feature of social media platforms, speakers’ followers will be able to easily share the speakers’ works to their colleagues and even people of all ages and industries.
3. More Time For Rest and Preparation
With events now going virtual, speakers no longer have to spend hours travelling on the road or in the air and looking for a hotel to stay in. This can provide speakers more time to prepare and an added comfort while speaking. They can give their talks or presentations in the comfort of their homes without spending any money, time, or effort.
Also, more time at home for virtual speakers means more time with loved ones. No need for them to be alone in a hotel room after a day or several days after the end of every conference day.
4. Connect with Younger Audiences
If a virtual speaker posts a tweet, an article, a video, a photo, etc. about a specific topic, it is most likely that millennials and Gen Z are the ones who will contribute to the shares, likes, and comments of that specific post.
Since younger audiences are the ones usually online, speakers should take advantage of their high availability and energy on social media.
In 2017, Eventbrite stated that 90% of young adults (18-34) attended a live event--a number that shows steady growth every year. When looking to virtual events, many reports also show high energy from online audiences:
- 30% of people claim to be more likely to engage online than in person
- 67% of live-stream audiences bought a ticket to a similar event the next time it occurred
- 91 million users will utilize live streaming by 2024
These numbers show that the vigor of online events comes from the young audience who are discovering and demanding more of the content they can access online. For speakers, it is critical to understand how these young audiences move online and how they as speakers can keep their attention.
5. Get Creative and Develop Online Speaking Skills
Now that in-person events are converted to online events, speakers who got used to speaking in front of a live audience on a big stage are having a hard time making an impact on their audience who are miles away.
Moving around the stage, using a microphone to amplify your voice, and a giant screen no longer seems effective to use to an audience behind the screen.
This is where virtual speakers have to start being more creative. Their content has to be more interesting. They have to use more analogies, tell more exciting stories, and add activities that will make their presentation more appealing.
6. Contribute to Taking Care of the Environment
Virtual events don’t just benefit speakers, but it also allows the speakers and attendees to contribute to taking care of the environment.
According to statistics compiled by the virtual events platform ON24, a typical virtual event with 2,300 participants reduces carbon emissions by 3,300 tons. Also, the average number of pieces of paper saved by the use of digital documents at virtual events is 36,000 per show.
Airplanes, cars, hotel function rooms use a lot more energy that the computers and servers needed to host virtual events.
Take for example, Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX), which had 19,000 employee attendees virtually a few years ago.
According to ECO Office Gals, Cisco’s online conference prevented 84,400 tons of carbon from entering the earth’s atmosphere. That’s equivalent to the annual impact of 3.5 million trees. The company also estimates that waste was reduced by 209K pounds, with 211 million air miles saved.
Virtual Events and Conferences Are Here to Stay
Virtual events and webinars are here to stay. Nothing can ever replace the experience one can have in in-person meetings and events, but we have to adjust to this new way of life and business.
Speakers should look at the brighter side and learn to adapt to the current situation we’re faced with. Observe that there are not just disadvantages, but also many advantages of shifting from in-person events to virtual events.
This could be a way for you to have a wider reach and influence to audiences, gather more data about your readers and viewers, develop online speaking skills, help save the environment, and increase sales (if you have products and services) which will benefit both you and the event attendees.
What are you waiting for? If you agree with these reasons why virtual events are the future for speakers, click the button below to apply as a virtual speaker and get matched with event planners who are looking for speakers like you.