Trade shows, massive conferences, and other external events get lots of attention. And rightfully so – corporate events are great for creating brand awareness, generating revenue, and establishing your company as an industry leader.
But internal events hold their own as valuable tools for strengthening your relationships with customers and employees alike. They can help you boost morale, increase employee satisfaction, learn more about your customers, and create spaces for professional growth.
Corporate virtual events, in particular, are a great way to cultivate relationships. You can deliver value to your clients, strengthening your relationships and increasing their confidence in your brand. Or, you can leverage internal events to upskill your workforce and deliver value to your team.
Why take your Corporate Events Virtual?
Hosting a corporate virtual event offers distinct advantages over live ones, although there are some limitations, too. The advantages include reduced costs and improved convenience – your team can attend from home, or in-office, without having to travel to a physical venue.
Moreover, if you have a distributed workforce, a virtual internal event ensures everyone has an opportunity to attend. However, virtual events do present some challenges. So you’ll need to think strategically and explore ways to translate live experiences into the digital landscape.
In live internal events, employees and customers can interact physically, chat over coffee, introduce each other with business cards, and raise their hands to ask questions from your speakers. And another crucial distinction between live and virtual events is your attendees’ presence.
In live events, your audience is physically present, which makes it easier to keep their attention. If you’re hosting a virtual event, they may be attending from home or the office, where there are plenty of distractions.
So to pull off a successful internal event, you’ll need to create an interactive, valuable, attendee-first experience to keep your audience engaged and satisfied. And here are some of the best practices for creating a high-performing corporate internal event.
Take Suggestions Beforehand
With external events, marketing your conference to audiences outside of your network is normal. But with internal events, you’re exclusively engaging your existing network, whether employees or customers. Fortunately, you can take advantage of the heightened intimacy to create a more personalized, relevant experience by taking suggestions for your event.
You can collect suggestions by sending out a company email with a feedback form, letting your network know about the upcoming event, and requesting their input. For example, you could ask them for topics and talk recommendations, ideas for interactive sessions, and even ask for volunteer speakers.
The best way to design an event that’s highly relevant to your network is to learn their preferences. And the most effective way to learn that is by asking.
Create High-Quality, Engaging Content
Would you watch the news, or even a movie, if it were just one still frame with an audio droning on? Unlikely. You might make it through 5 minutes, but 30 is out of the question. Your attention is kept by changing images, evolving narratives, and a high-quality experience.
When creating your event’s content, you need to think along similar lines. Your content might be thought-provoking and well-researched, but to keep your audience’s interest, you need to strategically plan the delivery.
You can leverage dynamic, interactive content to keep your audience engaged. For example, you can ask attendees questions during a talk and further gamify the session with polls. Unlike in external events, moderation isn’t much of an issue for internal ones. So, speakers can interact with your audience more freely.
Facilitate Networking and Development Opportunities
Around 93% of millennials and Gen-Z expect learning opportunities to be provided by their employer, stressing the need for organizations to introduce upskilling initiatives and professional development opportunities.
Moreover, upskilling your workforce can also yield significant ROI benefits and improve organizational efficiency. So, learning opportunities benefit both employees and your company directly.
With corporate virtual events, you can provide employees with new learning and networking opportunities to increase employee satisfaction. For example, your senior executive team can prepare keynote talks, providing team members with important insights and knowledge to develop professionally.
Moreover, you can also consider interactive virtual workshops to upskill your team more formally. When organizations grow, senior-level executives move towards management and decision-making and away from operational roles. This means your mid-level employees have less opportunity to learn from senior executives – but you can bridge that gap with an engaging corporate training session.
Define Clear Goals and Attendee Journeys
Just as you’d do with an external event, it’s important to define clear goals and map the attendee journey for your corporate internal events. Ask yourself questions like:
- What do I want my audience to get out of the event?
- How do I ensure my attendee receives the intended value?
- How do I remove friction for my attendee and optimize their experience?
Done right, internal virtual events can yield significant ROI, although it may be less obvious than for external events.
Use the Right Tech
To design a truly engaging, immersive virtual event and drive engagement, you’ll need to use the right virtual events platform. If you use a platform that lacks gamification, has unreliable streaming, and limits networking opportunities, your audience engagement will suffer.
Thus, if you’re planning a corporate virtual event, it’s important to vet your virtual events platform partner for the right engagement functionality. Here’s a quick checklist for what to look for:
- Polling, Q&A features with anonymous and upvote options, and quizzes.
- A public chat that also lets users initiate 1:1 with other attendees
- Breakout rooms and booths for networking, so your attendees can network with like-minded professionals.
- Broadcast quality and uptime assurance.
While the last point isn’t technically an ‘engagement’ feature, broadcast quality and uptime do affect attendee engagement. Low-resolution content is difficult to follow, and if your session lags or crashes, you’ll lose your audience’s attention.
As with any business effort, corporate virtual events are never perfect. There is always room for improvement, and the best way to refine future events is to collect feedback from your existing ones.
The best time to collect feedback for your event is right after it concludes. This is because the experience is fresh in your audience’s mind, and they’ll be more motivated to share their insights. So consider using a post-event survey form to collect feedback and be sure to learn from your audience’s insights.
Virtual corporate events are excellent for delivering value and strengthening your relationships with customers and employees alike. But to make sure your internal events are a success, it’s important to outline clear goals and create a clear roadmap for achieving them.
If you create high-quality content, design relevant immersive experiences, and deliver tons of value, you’ll have attendees lining up for your next event.