Why consider virtual first?

In-person, Online or Hybrid?

With Covid measures lifting, and some normality returning to our lives, there has been a common debate about whether to return to in person events and meetings, stay virtual or aim for a mix of in person and virtual – a hybrid approach.

Here at Purple Monster we’ve declared ourselves firmly “Virtual First” and we’ve been looking at why virtual events and meetings work well and how to facilitate and run meetings / events in the most effective way.

We run weekly Linkedin Live sessions to explore key topics and in this blog, we summarise the discussion we had during this session about virtual and in-person events.

Technology-led, creatively driven

We know everyone across the working world was forced into online meetings when the pandemic arrived – we had no choice. Zoom and Teams calls became the norm as did online events and webinars. As lockdowns extended we discovered the technology to facilitate this was there and had been for some time. Once we exploited the readily available tech we wanted it to do more, to push more boundaries. At Purple Monster we’ve been doing that since the beginning of lockdown. When Covid hit Purple Monster stepped away from Zoom and moved to a “green screen” style studio so we could run incredible events almost like a TV show – fun and interactive.

Revitalising Connections

What about the difference between the two event types? There are a multitude of quotes about this – here are two favourites of ours:

“Virtual Conferences: Inclusive, affordable, sustainable.”

“In Person Conferences: Immersive, great networking, revitalising”

I’m sure we can all think about in-person conferences that certainly were not “revitalising”! From Purple Monsters point of view, we are trying to be all these things – immersive, revitalising and a great networking opportunity but virtually, bringing the inclusivity and affordability benefits as well. We want to match the in-person experience but online. The team have had to learn and navigate the technology and we have done so creating brilliant experiences along the way.

Relentlessly inclusive?

We may feel we’ve been to an inclusive in-person event before where the facilitator makes every effort to include everyone’s questions, and lets the audience speak up. Whilst an in-person event can feel inclusive, engage people and involve them it wasn’t until the pandemic arrived we realised that these events were not as “relentlessly inclusive” as anticipated.

Physical in person conferences are not always comfortable places for those who are introverted or neuro divergent for example. Social environments can be very difficult for those that struggle with large numbers of people and stimuli. Although people can force themselves out of their comfort zone it’s not always enjoyable.

Virtual conferences are a different level of inclusivity.

  • All you need is internet or a 4G signal and you can take part;
  • You can look back later if you can’t make it live due to work clashes or childcare not being available;
  • You can join from literally anywhere whether that’s the office, car or treadmill;
  • Virtual conferences are also much more affordable for all.

They are altogether more inclusive experiences.

Ever advancing technology

Here at Purple Monster we recently hosted a fantastic conference with 15 speakers all over the US who were all at home. The conference was a brilliant, yet effortless production, a seamless conference with chat functions, polls and conferencing apps. The new tools made it both engaging and interesting, a perfect connection tool. Additionally, the advanced captions now available meant there seamless screen text for viewers.

Flexible working is here to stay and working lives have changed. Virtual events mean everyone can take part and the technology to facilitate these is advancing every day, it’s time to embrace virtual events, meetings and conferences and ensure they offer everything an in person day did - and more.

If you are considering a virtual option for your next corporate event then get in touch with The Monsters at info@purplemonster.co.uk and we will be happy to discuss options that might suit your requirements.