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VIRTUAL EVENTS

4 Ways to Make Your Event More Accessible

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By Paige Dorman
Paige joined the EideCom team as Vice President of Sales after spending 10+ years in various event roles. From event planning at venues, selling trade show booths, working weddings, to executing keynote speeches for 15,000 attendees; there isn’t much of the events world she hasn’t seen. She is most passionate about helping clients craft new & creative ways to engage their audience through impeccable production.

 

As I speak with more and more of my clients, I keep hearing a recurring sentiment, virtual events are confusing! In order to pull one off, you have to understand so many ins and outs, and the varying interfaces of event platforms doesn’t make it any easier. It’s time to go back to basics, and remember why we organize events in the first place – to honor and provide an incredible attendee experience. We need to make our virtual and hybrid events accessible to audiences. 

In order to do this, we have to make sure we are providing every participant with an equal experience. So, when people with disabilities are at your event, it is crucial to build the most inclusive and constructive space for success. Here are a few tips and items to keep in mind when planning an event for your audience. 

1. Ask Your Attendees if they Need Accommodations

Sometimes in the heat of the moment, we overlook the simple things. While it’s always important to make events accessible, it is useful and thoughtful to create space for your attendees to make that request. This can be as easy as including a question in your event registration. Or, you can share your planned accommodations with your audience in an email, with an opportunity for responses.

2. Include Closed Captions

This is one of the easiest ways to ensure a comprehensive audience experience. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans are deaf or hard of hearing, and providing closed captions allows attendees access to all of your important content! And this feature doesn’t just apply for pre-recorded content, many real-time transcription services and ASL interpreters are available for virtual and hybrid events.

3. Avoid Strobe/Flashing Effects

One, often overlooked, event feature that can negatively impact your audience are flashing and strobe lights. Many people with epilepsy are light-sensitive, making it extremely difficult to consume content. So, make sure you are conscious of what videos or sizzle reels you include in your program. In any situation, it is best to include a proper disclaimer before the content is presented. 

4. Read polls/questions aloud

If your event plans to incorporate polling features, or a live Q&A session, make sure your presenters are reading all of the content out loud. This includes all questions, and the replies from other attendees. Taking this simple step allows people with learning disabilities the time and space to process all of your questions, and will encourage more engagement!

 

Those of us in the events industry are all about creating great experiences for our audiences, and that means thinking about the attendee experience from every perspective. If you have any questions, or want to learn more about how to make your next virtual or hybrid event more accessible, connect with us today!

6 Takeaways From Our Biggest Virtual Event Yet

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By Kelsey Ahern
Kelsey is a client-centric project owner and manager for our virtual platform, Second Stage. Before working in the world of Event Production, she was an Account & Project Manager for a large Fortune 500 third-party logistics company. After growing and sharpening her skills, she made the jump into her passion: events. She brings a tailored project management service to each client – as she believes there isn’t a “one size fits all!”. With a  hybrid background that marries event management and project management, Kelsey is an ideal one-stop-shop professional for our Second Stage Platform.

 

 

We’ve learned a lot about hosting virtual and hybrid events this year. And, while we are still learning more everyday, we were able to host our biggest event last week, with more than 22,000 individual users! 

Since last March, we have adapted and grown in the event space to create meaningful experiences, even online. However, we are always trying to make these experiences better, and that’s why I wanted to share my key takeaways from our largest virtual event to date.  

1. Ensure engagement with a sponsor of the day

During a virtual event, you want to make sure your audience is exploring as many booths as possible. Use your platform to program-in daily sponsors, highlighting a new booth every day at a specific time. And, for an added level of interaction, have your live stream direct attendees to check out the ‘sponsor of the day’. This feature not only guarantees sponsor engagement, but allows attendees to interact with your event in-depth.

2. Chat boxes aren’t always a good thing

Chat is important to the audience experience, but if you are hosting a large show,  be mindful of the sessions you allow with group chat. As more attendees interact with the chat and with each other during a live-streamed session, it can start to take away from the stream experience. Make sure you examine up-front what activities and streams are best-suited for chat. 

3. What the *$@!!

On the topic of chat boxes, you’ll want to make sure your event’s chat feature is enabled with a profanity filter. With a larger event, you never know what kind of sh!t people could be up to. 

4. Branding is key

In order to provide a seamless virtual event experience, make sure your platform is fully-customizable. If your organization’s website and your virtual platform feel like the same space, your attendees will feel right at home! This helps to boost your brand, and also ensures a cohesive audience experience. 

5. Determine your metrics of success before the event

With our platform, you can completely customize your analytics. So, it’s more important than ever to make sure you determine your event goals before the event actually starts. This will allow you to examine your analytics real-time during the event!

6. Get people pumped!

Finally, find a way to soft-launch your event. Whether it be a pep rally, exclusive concert, or a keynote speaker, get your audience excited before your event even happens. With an online platform, you can get more interaction and engagement out of your event. For an in-person event, attendees would never fly somewhere twice. But, for an online experience, your audience can log-on at any time, building momentum for your show and increasing engagement opportunities. 

 

I hope you find these tips helpful, and, if you’re looking for more advice on how to make your next virtual event a success, connect with me HERE today!