At the Conference for Conference Professionals last Friday (1st April 2011), one of the speakers in a session dedicated to virtual events made the comment that the best virtual event organisers are ones that have experience in physical events.
While he had a point in some respects, i.e. that it is easier to visualise and plan the layout, flow and dynamics of a virtual event if you know how it would work in a live environment; it is all too easy to create a situation where the potential of the virtual solution to deliver a dynamic online experience is hamstrung by an inibility to think outside the event box.
What is far more important is a very clear understanding of your target audience: what you are trying to achieve in via your virtual event; what success looks like from their perspective; what they are trying to achieve by attending; and then you can design and build a solution around these goals. Like the very best live events, the very best virtual ones are not just content for content’s sake, or a random selection of suppliers and seminars brought together in a beautiful environment.